Weekend Forecast for December 25-27, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
December 24, 2015
And now we plunge headlong into the Christmas box office season, albeit with a more of a hodgepodge group of new films that steer away from any kind of tentpole nature. You can probably guess why that is, although to me it's an unnecessary precaution by studios with the nature of Christmas box office. Thus, it's Star Wars and Misc. for Christmas movies this year.
The one with the best overall prospects is a reunion of an unlikely but productive comedy team, with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg coming back together for Daddy's Home. Ferrell stars as the second husband of Linda Cardellini and her two kids (who despise him, mostly), who faces a tremendous challenge to his status by the return of Wahlberg's bad boy/unreliable dad. As the games begin, this leads to ever-increasing levels of antics which spin out of control in Ferrellian fashion.
A comedy of the cringe variety, it appears to be another in the line of films where Ferrell shows up to set with close to nothing and attempts to spin gold out of straw. When it works (Anchorman), it's amazing, but when it doesn't (Anchorman 2), it's kind of a dirge to get through. Daddy's Home appears to be more of the latter, with jokes about hitting cheerleaders in the face with a basketball being the highlight. Admittedly, the overall premise of Responsible Schmuck Ferrell being contrasted against Irascible “All That Is Man” Deadbeat Wahlberg has some promise, but the execution of said idea leaves a bit to be desired. We're not quite in Ferrell's hubristic Land of the Lost territory here, but it's clearly lesser Ferrell, and there's likely not much urge to see it beyond Ferrell-superfans. I'd expect around $18 million as an opening weekend.
In the “respectable drama” department, we have Joy, the third collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell, which sees Lawrence as the head of a matriarchal business dynasty over four generations. Also starring Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Diane Ladd, Isabella Rossellini, Virginia Madsen and... Susan Lucci..., it's billed as a sweeping tale about family and power and is clearly banking on the goodwill from Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle carrying the day. However, it is extremely difficult to tell from the ads just what this film is actually about, and without raving critical support (it's managed a few things here and there, including a couple of Golden Globe noms), we're sitting at “Hey, it's Jennifer Lawrence, and she's doin' stuff!” This might actually be enough for some people, but it's going to keep it from really breaking out, at least at first. Honestly, if it was fantastic, I think we'd be hearing a little about it by now, so... yeah. I expect about $13 million here.
The Big Short opens Wednesday in a “national” release, but still wide enough to qualify as within reach of just about everyone. Based on Michael “All of my non-fiction books get adapted” Lewis's book about the 2008 banking crisis, it follows a group of oddballs who saw it all coming and engineered a way to make millions off it. With a tremendously star-studded cast of Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Marisa Tomei, and Melissa Leo, it's a slightly comedic take on just how topsy-turvy and insane the financial system got prior to the crash – and how it hasn't really changed. It's a strange mix of a film, which on the surface looks like it should be a prestige film, but can't shake a strange tone.