Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
November 9, 2019
Welcome to November, that time of year when... box office is just as crappy and depressing as the majority of the year.
Yes, even a sequel to one of the greatest horror movies of all-time can't generate any kind of excitement. In fact, despite predictions that Doctor Sleep, the adaptation of Stephen King's sequel to his classic novel The Shining, would finish in first place, that is not to be. Instead, Roland Emmerich's latest explosion bonanza will take the top spot. Midway, a WWII film featuring Luke Evans, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Ed Skrein, Nick Jonas, Dennis Quaid, Mandy Moore, and Aaron Eckhart, earned $6.3 million yesterday. Given the $100 million budget (WHY?), that's not going to be nearly enough, but at least Lionsgate will be able to claim victory for a weekend. Look for about $18 million before this one fades away in the wake of next weekend's glowingly reviewed Ford v. Ferrari.
You might be surprised to learn that Stanley Kubrick's classic 1980 horror film The Shining is only 85 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes. A lot of people take issue with the film's differences from Stephen King's novel, but for my money, the film is the more chilling of the two. Also, I'm a mark for Kubrick. Anyway, King released a sequel to his book a few years ago, surprisingly without a lot of fanfare though it sold plenty well as his books always do. Obviously, a movie version was going to happen, but it might have made more sense either to release it during the scary season of Halloween or perhaps to space it further away from IT Chapter Two.
Featuring Ewan McGregor as the grown up version of Danny Torrance, Doctor Sleep also has the terrific Rebecca Fergurson as its central villain (I think?). With just $5.2 million yesterday, Warner Bros. has to be supremely disappointed. $14.5 million is the best it can hope for, though at least the budget was relatively low at $50 million or thereabouts.
We had FOUR new wide releases this weekend, and the one that took third place is the romance Last Christmas, starring Khaleesi and the dude from Crazy Rich Asians. Okay, okay. Starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding (and Michelle Yeoh, too - also of Crazy Rich Asians). It received only middling reviews, perhaps because a lot of critics thought George Michael would be disappointed to see what his music inspired. I'm not going to give away the BIG TWIST, but it's pretty obvious if you watch the commercials or, you know, listen to the lyrics.
With a $4.1 million total yesterday, Last Christmas isn't going to have much more impact than your typical Hallmark Christmas film (and maybe not even that much). Look for about $11.5 million this weekend, though the holiday theming might allow it to hang around for a tiny bit. This genre is just tough to pull off these days.
Finally, our last wide release is the one that made me cringe whenever I saw the preview. With $3.6 million yesterday, let's all hope that John Cena won't have a long and storied movie career. Playing With Fire was a terrible, terrible, terrible looking movie that made me sad for Keegan-Michael Key. C'mon, Peele! This kids (?) movie should take in about $10 million for the weekend.