November 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
November 3, 2016
6. Hacksaw Ridge (November 4th)
Mel Gibson rolls back into town, after his laundry list of verbal abuses over the years, and a recent cinematic history that some may have forgotten (his return to starring roles, Edge of Darkness, did fairly in 2010, while the following year's The Beaver remains a curiosity). The man's penchant for war films continues, this time with a difference: the story is about Desmond T. Doss, a World War II hero whose Seventh-Day Adventist faith forbade him from killing, a command he followed, turning his attentions on saving 75 of his fellow soldiers while under enemy fire at Okinawa. Other than stars Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn, Gibson has assembled a who's who of rising Australian actors, like Teresa Palmer, Luke Bracey, and, Sam Worthington, he of Avatar, Terminator 4, and the Titans films (whew!). Hacksaw Ridge is perhaps the month's non-genre release with the biggest potential, with reviews that peg it as well-directed and -acted. World War II films always do well.
Opening weekend: $13 million / Total gross: $55 million
7. Bad Santa 2 (November 23rd)
The month's second holiday-themed entertainment is this sequel, an entry far more attune to raunchy humor than the more pleasantly saccharine Almost Christmas. The plot seems to be much as before, though direction and writing are handled by a different team this time (Mark Waters is the director, and hey, he made Mean Girls). Billy Bob Thornton returns to star, of course, and Kathy Bates seems right as his mother, whom he decks across the face right as she comes back into his life. They are joined by some of the original film's most memorable supporting performers, including Tony Cox, who played Bad Santa's chief lieutenant, before breaking out into a string of funny roles in sub-par comedies, and Brett Kelly, whose Thurman Merman looks not to have changed much in 13 years (I will note out of general interest that the original film was John Ritter's last live-action role, released posthumously). The original Bad Santa was the last of a trio of 2003 holiday films (with Elf and Love Actually) that have since been enshrined as classics of the genre (and only Elf was not rated R, by the way). Bad Santa 1 has its fans, then, and if the quality holds up, Bad Santa 2 can play less like a sequel and more like the first film: a decent opening and respectable holds all the way to around the time when the real Santa hits town.
Opening weekend: $21 million (5-day) / Total gross: $53 million
8. The Edge of Seventeen (November 18th)
Hailee Steinfeld headlines this exceptionally well-received teen drama with a to-the point title and poster. Those reviews compare the film to both the by now obligatory list of teen classics (Sixteen Candles, Clueless, and so on) and serious adult dramedies like Terms of Endearment (whose director, James L. Brooks, co-produces here). Such reviews are obviously worthy of notice; it's good to see Steinfeld get what is likely her best role since her Academy Award nomination for True Grit; and Woody Harrelson has a well-received turn as her guidance counselor (the two have a memorable scene that takes up much of the trailer). But the film's biggest limitation may, frankly, be its genre: high school-set teen movies just don't seem to light up the box office like they used to, unless they aim for science fiction or the supernatural. We're a long ways removed from 1999, when it seemed like roughly every other film ended in a high school prom. Young actors these days are busy fighting their high school principles recast as dictators of futuristic dystopias, and wield more bows and arrows than they do pens and textbooks. Having said that, in a season where a film needs really strong critical acclamation to break out, no one can say The Edge of Seventeen doesn't come prepared.
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $43 million