Post-Election Box Office Spreads the Love
By John Hamann
November 13, 2016
Finishing third is Arrival, the new Amy Adams sci-fi release from Paramount. Arrival puts more emphasis on science than fiction, and the result is a very well-reviewed think-piece; however, it looks like only very discerning adults showed up this weekend. It got started on Thursday night at previews, earning $1.45 million. This is similar to the results we saw through the fall season, where films would start with a similar preview amount and move on to earn $20-25 million. The Friday number was somewhat stronger than those results, but likely only because of the Veteran’s Day Friday. Arrival earned $9.4 million over its combined Thursday preview/Friday, a decent but somewhat unspectacular start. Interstellar started with $16.9 million but was admittedly a bigger film. Arrival was more on target with films like Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat), which started with $10.6 million on its first day.
The weekend result for Arrival came in at a decent $24 million and it should be considered that Paramount launched the Amy Adams flick at only 2,317 venues. Why would the studio launch this one over such a limited run? Arrival is a very good movie – currently 93% fresh at RottenTomatoes, which has the studio looking for a long run into the holiday season as they have the opportunity to expand the venue count. The problem with the movie is the Cinemascore. Arrival earned only a B from audiences, lower than Bridge of Spies (another adult thriller/think piece) score of A, but in the same ballpark as Interstellar and Inception (both earned a B+). The best news for Paramount is that this one cost only $47 million to make and has Adams being mentioned as an Oscar contender. It will be very interesting to see what happens to Arrival next weekend, but for now, Paramount looks to have a winner should this one do decently overseas.
Comedy Almost Christmas is fourth, opening more than a month before Santa Claus comes to town. The Universal release was ready to celebrate early and did, recording a $5.9 million gross on Friday. That’s almost exactly the same score as Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, which got started with $5.7 million on its opening day, although it was released much closer to Christmas, on December 13th. Almost Christmas was able to turn that strong opening day into a weekend gross of $15.6 million, again from a moderate venue count of 2,376. The opening weekend is also similar to This Christmas from Screen Gems, as it was also produced by Will Packer and opened to $18 million in November 2007. It went on to earn a healthy $50 million domestic against a $13 million budget. Reviews for Almost Christmas were mixed, with the RottenTomatoes score coming in at 42% fresh and the Cinemascore a solid A-.
Regardless of reviews, Almost Christmas producer Will Packer continues to crank out the hits. The two Ride Along films earned almost $300 million worldwide versus a combined production budget of $65 million, No Good Deed earned $55 million worldwide against a $13 million budget, and the two Think Like a Man films grossed $166 million worldwide against a combined $36 million production cost. These aren’t blockbuster amounts, but combined, Will Packer has a resume where the combined domestic box office has reached $1 billion.