Weekend Forecast for November 9-11, 2018

By Reagen Sulewski

November 9, 2018

Time to grump again!

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Reboot culture strikes again for one of November's biggest weekends, as two projects get a second look in new formats and with new leads. But hey, there's at least one semi-new idea out there this weekend, as Hollywood continues to cannibalize itself for its biggest films.

While it's admittedly been most of a generation since the last Grinch film, it's also been followed by a number of Dr. Seuss adaptations, both live action and animated, leaving some feelings of oversaturation, not the least of reasons being that quality has varied to extreme degrees, and that the live action-products failed to leap the Uncanny Valley. It's been six years since The Lorax, though, so maybe it's time to give it another try?

The Grinch gives us another tour through the origin story of the green-suited stealer of Christmas and the reasons for his misanthropic ways. Fully animated, by the crew behind the Minions movies, and avoiding the creepy feeling of an actor in full body makeup, it has the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch (adopting a whiny nasal tone) waging war on the wildly Christmas-philic residents of Whoville. A key difference is that this Grinch seems to be just dealing with his own issues and is actually liked, whereas in the Jim Carrey version, he was working out trauma from the citizens of Whoville being active jerks and borderline racist.

While the film's tone seems a bit sanitized in attitude compared to the original Seuss work, it's openly shooting for a younger, family audience, so that probably works in its favor financially. Reviews are middling, but generally give it points for being better than the 2000 version. While its tough to find fans of it now, it was an enormous hit at the time, opening to $55 million the weekend before Thanksgiving and grossing $260 million overall. Other Seuss movies haven't been quite as lucrative, although The Lorax was surprisingly strong at $214 million, again despite having almost no fans and little critical support.

It's been quite some time since the last “blockbuster” family film, with either Incredibles 2 or Hotel Transylvania 3 fitting that bill, making this a strong contender to make a huge splash in the market, thanks to relative timeliness and significant subject familiarity. An opening weekend in the neighborhood of $75 million doesn't seem out of the question.

Just in time for Remembrance Day/Veterans' Day, a World War II film... of sorts. Overlord's nutgraf describes it as a story of “two American soldiers behind enemy lines before D-Day”, which is slightly misleading in the same way that describing Titanic as a love story aboard an ocean liner doesn't quite get to the heart of the story.

Directed by relative newcomer Julius Avery but produced by J.J. Abrams and written by Billy Ray, it's not exactly your traditional war movie, mixing some genre terror into the mix. The two soldiers behind the lines stumble upon a secret Nazi lab that's working on bringing their dead back to life, playing out like a slightly less manic version of the video game Wolfenstein. While this would seem to fit in with the Cloverfield universe, this has been denied by all sources, though it's still spiritually similar, mixing a serious topic with genre overtones.




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The cast is a modest one, with Wyatt Russell, Bokeem Woodbine and Iain de Caestacker being the most recognizable in the bunch. It also comes in with solid reviews, which might convince some of the skeptics that balk at the odd mish-mash of setting and genre. There's something about the reverence usually held for war films that makes this feel ... off. Of course, it's not like it's purporting to be a real story, and no one in 2018 is actually sticking up for Nazis now, right? ...

Anyway, moving on. Wonder Woman successfully warped WWI history to little complaint, and Inglorious Basterds tromped all over it like it was The Lord of the Rings and they were headed to Mordor. What's likely to keep this from being a giant hit, then, is the modest cast and lack of hype around quality. No one's gaming this one for Oscars like with Basterds, for instance. I'd expect a solid weekend of around $14 million.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was one of the hottest literary properties to bring to the big screen in the late 00s, with the American adaptation of the first book of the best-selling Swedish phenomenon hitting screens with David Fincher directing, and Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in starring roles... only to fall a bit flat with just $102 million domestic. This basically priced all of those players out of any sequel and killed the franchise in its crib. The Girl in the Spider's Web, the first of the novels written after original author Stieg Larsson's death, arrives in theaters with an all new cast and crew, and a very different vibe.

Claire Foy, best known from her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in The Crown makes the logical step into Lisbeth Salendar, the tattooed, goth, emotionally stunted title character of these films, with the Craig counterpart being played by unknown (in North America) Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnasson. Indeed, the only real recognizable names other than Foy are Lakeith Stanfield and Stephen Merchant, both playing outside their usual strengths.

While the original story centered around a serial killer, Spider's Web goes for international intrigue, with Salendar being asked to infiltrate and destroy a program that can access all of the world's nuclear arsenal. Suddenly she's Jason Bourne. In terms of striking while the iron is hot, this film is ... not that. When the first film came out, the book series was still very zeitgeisty. At this point, it's hard to think of just when this series was relevant and talked about, although its larger themes about violence against women have never been more pertinent. I don't think that's nearly enough to drive it into being a hit, and it should see around $11 million this weekend.

The Freddy Mercury/Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was a huge performer last weekend, opening to $51 million, with a huge split between critical reception and word of mouth, with the latter wildly outpacing the former in terms of positivity. While I don't expect proper legs, there should be a solid second weekend of around $32 million.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms might be Disney's first disappointment of 2018, though that's a relative term, given that it opened to $20 million. On a $130 million plus budget though, that's a brickbat across the face. Time to pack in the idea of a successful Nutcracker movie for another 20 years, until someone gets the bright idea that *they're* the ones to do it. Give this $11 million this weekend.

A Star is Born is still hanging in strongly, dropping just 22 per cent last weekend, and should earn another $8 million this frame, creeping towards $200 million (I think it falls just short though). Tyler Perry's Nobody's Fool could be looked at as a nice success for him at $13 million, or slumming it a bit for its star Tiffany Haddish. I'd expect a drop to $6 million this weekend. Venom crossed $200 million mid-week, showing surprising strength at this point. It may be able to grab one more weekend at $5 million.


Forecast: Weekend of November 9-11, 2018
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 The Grinch 4,141 New 74.5
2 Bohemian Rhapsody 4,000 0 32.3
3 Overlord 2,859 New 14.2
4 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms 3,766 0 11.7
5 The Girl in the Spider's Web 2,929 New 11.3
6 A Star is Born 2,848 -583 8.1
7 Nobody's Fool 2,468 0 6.3
8 Venom 2,351 -716 5.5
9 Halloween 2,708 -1,067 4.6
10 Smallfoot 1,318 -684 2.5

     


 
 

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