Weekend Forecast for November 2-4, 2018

By Reagen Sulewski

November 2, 2018

What a time to be alive.

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Although October offered its fair share of heavy hitters, November is the usual start of the run where we have heavy hitters every single week, basically to the end of the year. While there's no record breakers in this week's mix, it's a solid trio of wide releases that should make their mark.

Among the larger-than-live front men in rock, Freddie Mercury stands tall, having essentially perfected stadium rock with his band Queen. While they had a huge popularity through their albums, they were the premiere “had to see 'em live” band of the 70s and 80s thanks to Mercury's supreme showmanship and they insane arrangements of their songs. Bohemian Rhapsody, releasing this week, purports to go into that world, from when Mercury found the rest of his band mates, up to their triumphant and legendary performance at 1985's Live Aid, skipping out before his eventual death from AIDS in 1991.

Originally conceived as Sash Baron Cohen vehicle, his desire for a warts and all portrayal led to a change in direction, both script-wise and in personnel, with Rami Malek (notably of Mr. Robot) doing an uncanny job of channelling Mercury in a slightly more sanitized story, with Bryan Singer (notably being left completely out of any promotional material) behind the camera. Using the titular song as an anchoring device and centerpiece, it's a tour of 70s nostalgia hitting at a time when Queen nostalgia is peaking for the second time. It's not without its controversy, mostly for sidestepping his hidden gay lifestyle and a near total elision of his illness, and this might be keeping the film from true greatness.

Also featuring Lucy Boynton as Mercury's on-again off-again lover, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, Joseph Mazzello and a wink-wink nudge-nudge cameo from Mike Myers, it's a mostly standard tour through rock debauchery and stardom, and receiving mostly mediocre reviews as a result. Queen is one of those rare cross-generational bands (despite the lack of ability to see them live in 30 or so years), and Mercury is still held up as an iconic personality, so as a bit of hagiography, it's well timed. It's rare for one of these things to really achieve true greatness (until Come As You Are, the Kurt Cobain movie in 2042, amirite?). With tons of hype and press, it should reach a solid opening weekend of around $36 million.

Disney has had itself a year. Eight films, all but one having grossed over $100 million (the eighth just shy) and three of those over $600 million. A holiday-themed release seems like a slam dunk to add to that list ... except this one seems to be running into trouble. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a visual spectacular, a re-telling of the story underlying the Tchaikovsky ballet, expanded into an Alice in Wonderland like mythos.

Starring Mackenzie Foy as Clara, it also features Keira Knightly, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman, with direction by both Lasse Hallestrom and Joe Johnston (stepping in for reshoots) but makes it into a candy-colored explosion of set design and nonsensical plot. I'm reminded of the regrettable Tim Burton remakes of Alice in Wonderland, along with Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful – all attempts to revamp and update classic material. Some of these were fairly commercially successful, but little if any lasting entertainment resulted. Nutcracker has ended up as ballet without the ballet, which seems alienating at the least.


It's Disney though, so they may be able to brute force this. No one's ever really made a version of this for the big screen that worked, with 2010's edition that starred Elle Fanning at $20 million being the high water mark. A Macauley Culkin version in 1993 was a famous all-time flop, with just $2 million. This version should blow past all of those, but that's another edition of Low Bar Theater, and reviews are just miserable. An all-encompassing ad campaign has certainly made people aware of this, but it's likely to be Disney's first real miss of the year, unless it can survive through Thanksgiving. I'd expect $20 million this weekend.

While the big Tyler Perry announcement this week was that he's retiring Madea, the reason anyone's paying attention is because of his new film, Nobody's Fool. A bit of an excursion outside of his wheelhouse, it's a Bridesmaids-style comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Tika Sumpter. The duo play sisters, with Haddish having just been released from jail and moving back in with her professionally successful, but personally miserable sister. After saving her from a catfishing scheme (as a prelude!) Haddish then proceeds to mess about in her love life with wacky culture clashes ensuing in a slobs vs snobs tradition.

Haddish, who can get pretty obnoxious as a character gets Very Obnoxious Indeed in this, while Sumpter is left as the straight woman shocked at her brashness. Whoopi Goldberg is also on hand as their long-suffering mother. Not released for critics, as is tradition for Perry, it's likely to suffer from not being connected to his usual universe of films, nor with the typical dramatic/comedic blends. It's a straight up comedy that isn't really distinguishable from the usual raunchy comedies we've seen in the past few years. Haddish is coming off the success of Night School but this may represent some oversaturation, and should come in around $14 million.

The Halloween remake/sequel cam crashing down in it second weekend, as expected, but still earned about $31 million and is quickly approaching $150 million. With the rate of decline, it's unlikely to get to $200 million, but this is about half again as much as the previous ten films in the franchise have earned. Give it about $13 million this weekend.

A Star is Born continued its modest legs last weekend, earning $14 million and pushing over $150 million mid-week. It'll likely be well out of theaters before awards season can have an impact, but it's probably headed for close to $200 million domestic, earning $10 million this weekend.. Its weekend-mate Venom will be just shy of that after this frame, with $6 million, and should be on track for $220 million domestic.

Forecast: Weekend of November 2-4, 2018
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Bohemian Rhapsody 4,000 New 35.2
2 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 3,766 New 20.6
3 Nobody's Fool 2,468 New 13.8
4 Halloween 3,773 -213 13.1
5 A Star is Born 3,431 -473 10.5
6 Venom 3,067 -500 6.4
7 Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween 2,828 -895 4.7
8 The Hate U Give 1,507 -868 3.5
9 Hunter Killer 2,720 -8 3.2
10 First Man 1,712 -1,242 3.0



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