December 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
December 1, 2016
8. Collateral Beauty (December 16th)
Suicide Squad grossed untold (and unholy) millions and brought Will Smith back to the fore as a star of summer blockbusters, but in Collateral Beauty, he stars in yet another role that forfeits special effects for dramatic impact, this time playing a New York advertising executive who deals with tragedy through means both typical and supernatural. The cast is full of notables playing both humans (Edward Norton, Michael Peña, Naomie Harris) and simulacra (Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jacob Latimore) [and yes, as I learned from comic books at a very young age, "simulacra" is a pretty cool word].
The film reminds me in just so many ways - release date, style, ambiguously fey title - of Smith's Seven Pounds, that 2008 drama which also featured the man as a grieving professional handling his troubles in unusual ways, and which took in $69 million over a less crowded holiday season. Director David Frankel has a lot of experience tackling appealing commercial entertainment (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me), and Collateral Beauty, too, seems like sort of a light dramatic fantasy, maybe a bit too odd to do well against a host of more conventional films, especially all the Oscar dramas that are slowly but steadily gaining screens. Still, the draw of the cast ought to give Collateral Beauty a good head start, even if it is opening against the very fat, very ugly elephant in the room, and might just get stomped on.