Weekend Forecast for December 22-24, 2017

By Reagen Sulewski

December 21, 2017

It's almost an all-singing, all-dancing weekend.

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Downsizing is this year's winner of the film mostly likely to be a prank gone too far – Alexander Payne directs Matt Damon in this sci-fi satire about a world where literal miniaturization has been invented and is presented as a way of solving many of the world's problems – environmental, financial, social. This seems pretty cute as a sketch, but how are you building a feature around this? (Side note: Charlie Kaufman could totally build a feature around this.)

While not discounting the idea that there's something deeper here buried in the premise, there's a lot of reliance on oversized props and sight gags that don't really inspire a lot of confidence. Payne may have earned the benefit of the doubt based on past works and is capable of brutal satire (Citizen Ruth remains extraordinary in its viciousness), but that doesn't mean every swing is going to be a home run.

Also starring Kristin Wiig, Jason Sudekis, Christoph Waltz and James Van Der Beek, this looks to be too weird for mass audiences and critics alike, and should end up with a fairly poor $8 million opening weekend.

Speaking of terrible comedy, Father Figures gives us a truly awful looking road comedy about two brothers (Ed Helms, Owen Wilson) who go on a search for their real father after being told that their mother (Glenn Close) has been lying to them all this time, and doesn't actually know for sure who it is. So basically, it's a non-musical, gender-flipped Mamma Mia!, and is about as dire as that sounds, having been held back from critics.

The cast of potential dads includes J.K. Simmons, Terry Bradshaw, Chris Walken, Katt Williams (!) and Ving Rhames (!!) which tells you what sort of insane nonsense we're dealing with here. You can't always look at a film's marketing material and get a sense of quality but in the case of this film's poster – a monstrosity of Photoshop and the crop tool, which just plops the heads of the cast in a high school collage that's supposed to say “Prepare for wacky, not-forced-at-all fun!” - it's unfortunately clear what we're dealing with. While it's been bombarding the airwaves with advertising for some weeks, this is one of those times where every ad just makes people madder and madder or think “Hey, didn't this come out three weeks ago?” I'd look for just $7 million this weekend.




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Oscar hopeful The Shape of Water jumps to around 700 venues after close to $2 million in 158. The Guilllermo del Toro film about an unconventional sci-fi romance has won over a wide range of critics and audiences and stands as one of the holiday's big buzz films. It should hit about $6 million this weekend.

Darkest Hour expands to a little over 800 venues this weekend after earning nearly $1 million in 84 last weekend. Starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in the worst days of World War II, as France neared defeat and it seemed England would be next, it's a film that's much more about its larger-than-life character than anything else it might depict. With Oldman finally in line for what seems like an alley-oop Oscar win, this is almost all on him for its potential at the box office. It's unlikely to be a huge success in that right, but getting out in front of audiences at all is a win. With this expansion, it should get to about $3 million this weekend.

Everything's running second to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which opened with a very strong $220 million. While that's an eye-popping number, it does show a slight fall off from The Force Awakens, and hints that it's not immune to a fade in enthusiasm. We're not in low-drop territory just yet, and even if we were, two years ago proved that these mega-openers succumb to gravity like any other, regardless of the time of year. Thus, we should expect about $115 million this weekend for The Last Jedi.

Ferdinand was an underwhelming performer in its open, with just $13 million and shooting well under previous Blue Sky releases from the past. It's got family audiences to fall back on now at least, and should survive well through the holidays, but for now will come in with about $8 million this weekend. Likewise for the other big family release right now, Coco, which will grab about $6 million this frame and hope for a boost over the next week.


Forecast: Weekend of December 22-24, 2017
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi 4,232 0 114.7
2 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 3,765 New 37.4
3 Pitch Perfect 3 3,447 New 34.6
4 The Greatest Showman 3,006 New 12.2
5 Downsizing 2,668 New 8.2
6 Ferdinand 3,630 +9 8.0
7 Coco 2,111 -279 6.5
8 Father Figures 2,902 0 6.5
9 The Shape of Water 726 +568 5.0
10 Wonder 2,676 -371 3.8

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