December 2019 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
December 7, 2019
Several challengers enter, but there's only one film anyone is actually talking about in December 2019: the festive-themed slasher movie! 'Tis the season to be jolly, and Black Christmas gives us a holiday-enthusiast who's decidedly axe-happy and ready to splurge during the season.
Otherwise, December 2017's two biggest movies are re-litegated yet once more, flanked by a musical, an animation, and a political drama, (at least) two of them involving a very costly fat suit. But none shall outwit the horror film madman haunting the holidays.
1. Black Christmas (December 13th)
I gave you my heart
The very next day
You ripped it in half.
-Ancient Norwegian haiku
Did you really think I would open with Star Wars? never. Shoving aside all the Marvel animated films self-pollinating themselves into ever greater numbers, Black Christmas is the December movie real people want to see.
Black Christmas was a Canadian horror film from 1974 that is usually given credit for inspiring that greatest of genres, the slasher film (others cite Psycho or, as in Scream 4, Peeping Tom).
Here we had numerous young women (Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin included), at an eerie college's sorority right outside of Toronto, vanishing one by one; as few realized that the killer is indeed living right upstairs in their very own house, dragging his victims back up into the attic, like going to an evil heaven. In the first shot of the film, he sneaks up the side of the building and comes in through the window. And as the film ends, the now-dead boyfriend of one of the women is somehow implausibly blamed for the crimes, while the killer remains to plot his lot all the way into New Year's and beyond.
Halloween, Friday the 13th, and other delights followed, and then the slashers receeded in the early 1990s, rose into self-reference with Scream in 1996, and then were partly revived into self-reverence by a strange new trend that followed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2003: remaking all the big-name horror classics everyone's heard of but many hadn't seen. None shalt be spared.
Black Christmas came again in 2006, released on the 25th, where it netted $3.3m before its eventual decline down to $16.3m. This time, just to eff around and avoid delivering a little-changed remake, there were ''two'' killers: one nestled themselves upstairs, and another, a female killer, escaped from Arkham Asylum on Christmas Eve, as serial killers wont to do, and re-joined her compatriot for the holiday events. A good time was had by all. (oh, crap, I just completely spoiled both films to the many or most people of North America who have never seen them. Oh, well).
Now Black Christmas comes yet once again, remade one time more, and bearing the exact same title, but with a release strategy that gives it an extra twelve days. It's from Blumhouse, canny as ever.
This Black Christmas, we have four more sorority sisters, adorning the poster of the film as they strand bestride each other on a clearcut winter field, each holding a sharp weapon, ready in defense. No mad killer will strike them down. This time, they're fighting back. That's feminism in action.
Imogen Poots has been toiling away in American comedies for years, and headlines Black Christmas as the lead sister, leading the charge against the night. Cary Elwes finds himself among the supporting cast, and judging by his recent roles will play a self-serving administrator with remarkably bad judgment, a character trait the film will punish him with by falling under the butcher's knife. The film was announced in June, production took place over the summer, somewhere where snow exists or could be mechanicized, and here we are.
The best Christmas movies of the 2010s are probably Almost Christmas (2016) and the new Last Christmas (2019), which I'll happily shout out as it makes it play to stay in theaters for the next three weeks. Some might cite Office Christmas Party (2016). Others more may mention Krampus (2015), the other big Christmas horror film this decade and the one whose box office is most emulatable here. It opened on December 4th (at $16m) but had classic horror drops on weekends all the way into Christmas. Legendary as the brand is, I think we'll see much of the same here. Happy Black Christmas.
Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $25 million
(just kidding: real opening: $142 million / Total gross: $814 million)
Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Da Hood Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (December 20th)
Star Wars 11 (or Star Wars 12, if you count The Clone Wars movie).
Yet another 2 hour and 35 minutes spent in some unnamed dark distant corner of the universe, another $600m toll on the national tab, and another film in the primary Star Wars canon, arriving in town just in time for Christmas and banging down loudly, very, very, loudly, on our doorstep, under the completely false presumption that anyone had wanted another.
Why? In The Last Jedi, all plot threads and canon questions were satisfactorally resolved. I exited the film, which actually was quite good for a change, with a high smile and back arched straight. Did we really need another?
"Satisfactorally resolved" is my go-to line for rejecting further Star Wars films, but this time out it's really true! In The Last Jedi, we discovered Rey's paternity, we slew the evil leader of the First Order, and we gave a graceful send-off to Carrie Fisher, an icon of this franchise specifically and American pop culture cumulatively. Sure, technically speaking, Daisy Ridley's Rey still has to beat up on ornery old Adam Driver, but do we really want to see a whole (two and a half hour long needless to say) movie about that? Is the fight between a few remaining resistance members and Darth Vader's grandson (ugh) really that urgent that another film was needed so quickly?
In our very modern late 2010s era, the Star Wars films have "rebounded" from "mere" $474 million (1999), $310 million (2002), and $380 million (2005) grosses, into $936m (jezzzzz!) in 2015 and $620m in 2017. In between, there was Rogue One ($532m), and Solo ($213m). You win most, you lose one.
As fans debate the meaning of the opaque title "The Rise of Skywalker," Daisy Ridley returns as the lead Jedi warrior, our heroine, battling the forces of evil one last (? ?, !) time. She is assisted, as before, and as before, by Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron and John Boyega's Jake Pentecost Finn, the rebel stormtrooper made good. I think they'll do just fine. Adam Driver is still the bad guy, with his brow extensively burrowed yet more and further out as he schemes to usurp universal power he will never know quite how to enjoy or wield - what is the purpose of these imperial colonizations? (elsewhere, you can find him starring in Netflix's Marriage Story and Amazon's The Report, and is assured his second Oscar nomination, consecutively to his first). The supporting cast will be called upon as needed, although I assume Han Solo is still dead and the two original Skywalker siblings are on pending status.
There was apparently some fan dissatisfaction with the last film - Rey had randos for parents instead of having being birthed by some genealogically-linked mildmend superheroes (so?), and Luke and Leia apparently, temporarily, died (actually, they didn't, and probably never will). Last Jedi's director, Rian Johnson, makes clever and unexpected films, and subsequent to Jedi's quasi-quasi-hostile fan reception was shifted off to make Knives Out, an all-star murder mystery which had a marvelous plot resolution and 97% Tomatoes score, and which will probably be passing $100m right as Star Wars is rolling into town... Ah, his loss.
JJ Abrams, this franchise's version of old faithful, is back to bring 'em home after putting forth this whole Disney-Star Wars complex back in 2015. And given the record performance for his motion picture The Force Awakens, the highest-grossing film of all time in the United States, what box office fate shall this new Star Wars meet as it, for real this time, concludes the story?
Well, that's the question of the day. Black Christmas will win the month, of course - financially, morally, realistically - but we still need to find out how much Star Wars will make at number two.
And as usual the trailers and anticipationary material muck around with various identifying genealogical muckracking - who is the last Skywalker? Did Emperor Palpatine have a twin brother who was equally as charming and handsome? Were we lied to about Rey's parentage? And other questions one does not wish answered under any circumstance. No matter anything else, and while it will never outmatch nor outwit Black Christmas, I feel Star Wars will at least have the satisfaction of standing triumphant over Joker, Jumanji, and Frozen, the trifecta of challengers all lying slain at its feet come the ringing in of New Year's Day.
Now, for a while, it looked like Disney may spare us, but, no, more Star Wars films have been announced to menace Christmases future and past. Next year we have the time off, but after that they'll be coming down the pike yet once more, one after the other and on wards, because evil never dies and good by its very nature can not claim a final victory. In the meantime, enjoy having all those plot threads satisfactorally resolved.
Opening weekend: $251 million / Total gross: $759 million
3., Jumanji: The Next Level (December 13th)
Jumanji first sucked in poor Alan Parrish back in 1969, keeping him in its mock jungle wild for the next twenty six years, when he was old enough to look like Robin Williams and star in his own holiday-season blockbuster.
Jumanji was released on December 15, 1995, where it was successful enough to the tenth biggest movie of the year (alas, at $100m, all it then took). It had a sort-of follow-up, Zathura, a science fictional Jumanji from the same author and director Jon Favreau, which despite being perhaps the best film in the series went no higher than a $29m pittance in 2005. Anthropologists still cite no logical cause for this discreprency.
But insofar as a full-on sequel bearing that name, after many rumours, semi-greenlit scripts, false starts, and misdirection, a sequel finally was made for December 20, 2017. Riding nostalgia; a friendly, jokey and adventurous disposition appealing to the whole family; and the sudden availability of audiences who had somehow soured on Star Wars 9, which was playing in the theatre next door, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle grossed itself $404m over the holiday season, populating theatre seats quite robustly one day after the other, momentum alight (also, it had The Rock in it. Jumanji franchise, consider yourself saved). And after two weeks or so in theatres, it was even outgrossing Last Jedi on daily numbers. Begorrah! We knew we loved you, Rock, we just didn't know how much.
Unlike the 1995 crew, the current Jumanji people had no problems going ahead with another film, easily skipping over development hell and onto the more rambling on set. And so, the wooden game board from family-friendly hell finds itself very active after 23 years of dormancy, rebranded as a video game to keep up with the times, yet somehow still remarkably out of date (what has technologically replaced video games, anyway? I know it's happened).
They're all back again - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, his persistently heterosexual life partner Kevin Hart, along with Jack Black, who has become one of the biggest children's film stars in recent memory (it was inevitable), and Karen Gillan, who's quietly built up an impressive box office haul in genre movies (she's the blue Evil Space Alien in Guardians and Avengers movies, but at least gets to appear au naturel here). They're all-stars, literally defined and cannily-cast.
The gang are again playing mere video game pixels, not real boys but avatars for a group of reluctant though increasingly enthusiastic humans who've been sucked into the game (Jumanji's life motto: play me). The four pixelated leads will be onscreen yet again for most of the film as simulacra, but their players have switched up here and there - Danny DeVito and Danny Glover are the granddads of two of the teenagers from Jumanji '17, recruited to join returning others in the virtual world.
As before, the plot of the first movie is spun backwards. In the original (and also, of course, Zathura), the game unleashed its lightly-violent chaos on the real world, and annointed intelligent and resourceful local children to work on sending all the rampaging gorillas, zebras, elephants, and ice gun-wielding spacemen back into the gameboard from whence they came. But the Jumanji of the 2010s takes its players into the game and keeps them their for all the action setpieces. Us in the real world are safe.
In gamer cypersace, they shall look and sound like Johnson, Hart, et al, all of whom are given many more opportunities to practice comic mimicry as they impersonate DeVito, Glover, and every assortment of high schoolers and their stereotypes. Other avatars are the returning Nick Jonas (one in a string of solid acting work) and Awkwafina. They are all once again embedded in prototypical action adventure fatigues, placed into a dangerous setting of the game's creation, and communicated the game's mission of making hundreds of millions of dollars at the North American box office, perhaps at Star Wars and Frozen's expense (1. hey! that's a fantastic mission, and 2. at least we can be sure Jumanji won't eat into Black Christmas's box office...).
Opening weekend: $62 million / Total gross: $335 million
4. Richard Jewell (December 13th)
Clint Eastwood retells the nightmare at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where far right extremist Eric Rudolph planted a bomb that directly killed a woman and injured over 100 people. Richard Jewell was a security guard who first discovered a backpack loaded with pipe bombs, and bravely helped lead evacuations. He was called a hero in the subsequent days, and as a result of media malpractice was thought of a suspect for many more, before his name was definitively cleared later in the year. He died in 2007. Rudolph was identified as the culprit in 1998, and lived mostly as a woodland hermit before his capture in 2003. In prison he remains.
Eastwood is a quite grown man with a distinguished and lengthy filmography, and in this phase of his career has moved on from the fictional morality pieces he commandeered in the early 2000s (Blood Work, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby) into real life stories of violence (American Sniper) and crime (The Mule), and, everstill for a star and director of cowboy films, moral dilemmas for his tortured heroes, first drawn from imagination and most recently from life.
Paul Walter Hauser stars as Jewell, and he's a character actor (former character actor?) onto his third Oscar season in a row, having played one of Nancy Kerrigan's assaulters in I, Tonya and co-starred in, but not, of course, as BlackKklansman, a stereotypical none-too-bright member of triple k. Eewhere, Eastwood has assembled his usual excellence-level cast as the lead players in this stage of Jewell's life - Kathy Bates as the man's mother, Sam Rockwell as the good-hearted lawyer who guides Jewell out of the darkness, Jon Hamm as the FBI agent prone to harsh interrogations and ice-cold accusatory glances, and Olivia Wilde as the wickedest of them all, a reporter who leads the charge on attacking Jewell (whether accurate or not, this role has proven quite controversial).
Eastwood's last film was The Mule, which came from the same studio and opened on the very weekend in December 2018. Studios like that consistency. Me, too. In The Mule, Eastwood played a real guy, a very old man who carried an awful lot of drugs across the border while still finding the on-screen time to indulge himself with the fairer sex (when I told my friend about the presence of those, uh, "adult-oriented" scenes, he didn't believe me. I agreed). In a season consisting mostly of superhero movies clanging up to each other, and up to Mary Poppins, on the big screen, Eastwood was practically the only grown-up in the room, and over-50 audiences buyoed his film into its $103 million total, methodically, week by week after its first weekend, at $17m. It may have been the man's ninth "one last hurrah" role, but no one minded.
It's a winning formula. And here it comes again. Bates just won an NBR for her work, and Rockwell is headed for his third consecutive Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for this film. That's strong awards cred, and the film trailers are suspenseful, the Eastwood name, as stated, quite potent, and the material compelling enough, to induce another opening well into the high teens. The holiday season spell should take over from there shortly after. Wherever Richard Jewell is now, good for him.
Opening weeknd: $20 million / Total gross: $95 million
5. Little Women (December 25th)
While I've seen Black Christmas (1974) numerous times and Black Christmas (2006) twice, thus far, I have also lived all these thirty-odd years without having seen any version of Little Women, ever, under any kind of circumstances, or durress. I apologize.
Little Women began as an 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, depicting the travails of the growing March sisters in Concord, Massachusetts, as the Civil War raged on elsewhere and New England menfolk were of scarcer supply (there were four sisters, not including any fetuses absorbed into the others in the womb - thanks for the tip, Riverdale!).
The material has been made and remade again at roughly equal intervals (um, sometimes every year), including 1933 and 1949, and the version many of other millennials know quite well, 1994, with Gen X's own Winona Ryder as lead sisterette Jo March matching wills with Susan Sarandon as her watchful mother Marmee. That one opened on December 21 and finished with $50m, and 25 years later, history is being made to repeat itself.
I'm not joking when I say every year - the BBC remade Little Women in 2017 with Maya Hawke, Pure Flix remade Little Women in 2018 with Lea Thompson Mother March, and now Greta Gerwig has selected Alcott's tome as her big second film.
Oh, yes, about that - Greta Gerwig (it's alliterate) co-directed Nights and Weekends with Noah Baumbach in 2008, but made her solo directing credit with Lady Bird (2017), a well done teenage movie that received an immeasurable lot of critical praise and vibrant adoration that season, not to mention Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Actress, Director, Screenplay, and so on. (I dunno, I thought The Edge of Seventeen, released the previous November, was an even better teen film. No one nominated that).
The role played by Susan Sarandon in 1994 is now Laura Dern's, with Meryl Streep as a doting, awards-baiting aunt. Saoirse Ronan, the star of Gerwig's Lady Bird and an actress who has entered into competition at just about every Oscar season for the last five years, overtakes the Ryder role. Emma Watson is another little woman, and her is a marquee name worth its weight in gold, many bullions of which do the box office sums of the Harry Potter octology, and Beauty and the Beast ($504m total), translate into, not to mention The Perks of Being a Wallflower ($17m - well, imagine having seventeen million dollars).
Other, littler, women are on the upswing of their careers. Florence Pugh was already the star of Fighting with My Family and Midsommar this year, two smaller films with a lot of positive notices, while Eliza Scanlen was on Sharp Objects on tv and chose not to stay there. The object of their affections is Timothee Chalamet, in a role that Christian Bale of all the people in the world filled in 1994, before he had completed his transformation into an angsty actor continually shedding and gaining his weight in exchange for acting trophies (who knew the Devil cared about your weight?).
So, Little Women has a name cast, an awards-nominated director, approving reviews (96% and counting), and a release date that has been proven to work, literally, for the exact same story, released on just the same week, and which also understandably had good reviews and big stars.
That makes the box office easier to predict. Times have changed in 25 years, to be sure, but the movie has enough going for it, and relatively little competition, to remind us that times ain't a-changing all that fast.
Opening weekend: $22 million (5-day) / Total gross: $76 million
6. Spies in Disguise (December 25th)
From Blue Sky Studios, animation, and 20th Century Fox, a film about a teenage boy (Tom Holland) who has apparently spent all his time and scientific brilliance on a formula that successfully transforms human beings into pidgeons (the kind who are one foot one with feathers). Mission accomplished?
Will Smith has been one of the most reliable movie stars from roughly 1996 on, much like Adam Sandler. And while Smith seemed willing as Sandler to go along with the seductive Netflix flytrap, he has apparently relented, and in following recent box office winners Suicide Squad and Aladdin, here gives what is his second voice lead, after Shark Tale (2004). He's a secret agent who becomes the first artifical pidgeon, and then must team up with the little too-creative high school teenager to save the world from the usual group of anonymous malefactors. This is a film premise that is perhaps taking the idea of a "high-concept film" just a little far.
His co-lead Tom Holland shows up at the movies every few months or so, rolling into town with the Marvel CU circus, but for now he's in the voice booth, for a character who looks a little like the Peter Parker/Spider-Man on Disney XD's Spider-Man television show (although, if I may add, neither looks like Tom Holland).
As often, the studio spared no expense on animated co-stars: Rashida Jones, serial villain Ben Mendelsohn, and Reba McEntire and Rachel Brosnahan and oh, Karen Gillan again, not content with a mere one $100m grosser this month (see Jumanji), all of them carefully given character posters on impawards.com, with features more than vaguely resembling their own (at least the human characters).
Always seeking box office comparisons, however nonsensical, the film reminds me of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, another CGI animated movie about a very smart teenager who lands the world into accidental mischief, and whose posters I remember seeing all over in December 2001. By the time all the snow was cleared from everywhere but Aspen and Alaska, Jimmy got himself $80m. That's our ballpark.
Opening weekend: $25 million / Total gross: $75 million
7. Bombshell (December 13th)
Double-entendre is the name for a film that gathers a couple of the big plot threads dangling around Fox News, that pristine institution of redoubtable reportage and high-caliber, intelligent analysis, consistently elevating public discourse since 1996 (OK, OK, just for the record, when I praise slasher movies, I really do mean ''that'').
Its release in mid-late December (in select markets on the 13th, wide the following week) echoes films like The Big Short and Vice, increasingly comedic titles about recent political events that actually were quite mostly tragic ("tragedy plus time equals humour," as the Joker famously said [and not the sourpussed 2019 Joker]).
Nicole Kidman stars as Gretchen Carlson, a prime network star who broke the lid on sexual harassment at Fox in July 2016, banishing network founder/mastermind/honcho Roger Ailes from the management offices and back to wherever it was he remained until his death the following year. The chronology is important: this was a year before Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent rise of #MeToo.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the F. News frontlines, Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is deeply disturbed and completely agahst when, after a Fox News debate, El Presidente, presumably speaking from repeat personal experience of his own, said she must have been "bleeding out of her wherever." I understand the horror and humanity. Neither Kelly nor anyone else in her network nor life orbit could have possibly guessed that he would say something like that. (in other news, a couple who allowed a snarling lion into their suburban home is simply aghast that it ate a bunch of people and totally defaced the couch. The fault is obviously with the lion).
Margot Robbie plays a lesser known Fox figure, locked in a room with John Lithgow, who is either wearing a fat suit (?) or has frighteningly gained an awful lot of weight to play Roger Ailes, in the method tradition of Christian Bale as Dick Cheney. Regardless, Lithgow has worked much in the last few years, a trend I hope will continue for an ever-entertaining actor who is one of the five people I follow on my Twitter account, that I actually never use. (trust me, it's still an honour.)
Bombshell is directed by Jay Roach, who went far away from his Austin Powers days to political dramas like Recount (2008) and Game Change (2012) on HBO, and who now melds the two on the big screen with just a touch of dark humour. As the women fight back, Billie Eilish's "I'm a bad guy" plays on the soundtrack. It's clear, and funny. Will it reach Big Short numbers? Maybe not. But Vice area should be good enough.
Opening weekend: $11 million (wide) / Total gross: $47 million
8. Cats (December 20th)
The Cats stage musical stars homosapien actors, of course, dressed as humanoid feline cat people with rather alarming anthrophomorphic qualities (four legged walks kept to a minimum). They parade up there on the stage and belt out merry melodies, as they count down to something called the Jellicle Ball (it is so. I am not partaking in dirty humour).
Andew Lloyd Webber created Cats in 1981, though from the line-up of popular modern musicals, it's the one I know least about. When the song Memory came on during the trailer, I knew I'd heard it before, but was unaware of the connection. The film at last gives the melodies a major film adaptation, with the same premise and execution, as the big screen is filled with eere cat people, as friendly as they may be.
Tom Hooper of The King's Speech and Les Misérables returns to guide along the octaves here, too. There's mostly cast to type here. James Corden plays the jovial ringleader, who is quite much portly and presumably borrowed John Lithgow's fat suit from Bombshell (I pray tell it's not natural). Taylor Swift takes advantage of her lithe feline features, starring in her first film since the underrated The Giver in 2014, where she had nary a cameo. This one's much bigger. Judi Dench is wise and tender cat, and Ian McKellen is a suave older gentleman. Jennifer Hudson won her Oscar for Dreamgirls, and returns in feline form in her first big screen stage musical adaptation since, while Rebel Wilson and Idris Elba are also here, because they always are. They'll do their thing well.
The musical genre belted out tune after tune on the big screen for decades, before going out of style right around the time of 1975. Was it The Rocky Horror Picture Show that did them in? The summer blockbuster? The Rise of disco? I wonder...
Musicals were resurrected in the 21st century, not as an everyday average genre but a special cinematic event: Moulin Rouge (2001) was big and Chicago (2002) was much, much bigger than that still, and after Chicago blew away most of the competition in its holiday season, Hollywood decided to release an annual musical and nearly always, always slate it for December. So here we are.
How do these Decembers hold up? We've had our duds (The Phantom of the Opera, 2004, and The Producers, 2005, though both are enjoyable films), our triumphs - the $100m crossers, Dreamgirls (2006), Les Misérables (2012), and Into the Woods up in 2014 (Corden was in that one, too), and our oddities (Nine, 2009, with Daniel Day-Lewis as an Italian director tormented by writer's block and the love of just one too many women, was certainly sui generis, but Fergie's "Be Italian" was great.)
Cats seemed like perhaps the last man standing in a known group, the final major musical not to transform itself into a big screen adaptation. Maybe the weird cat people are hard to film.
No reviews for the Cats yet, and perhaps it won't be a player in the awards season, but just about any name musical with this cast and credentials should get a look-see over the Christmas weeks. And I can finally see what Cats is all about.
Opening weekend: $15 million / Total gross: $45 million
9. Playmobil: The Movie (December 6th)
This is the first time I can remember when I've forecast a movie twice, even though I'm not sure I should have forecast it at all.
Playmobil was previously scheduled for August 30, which is when I caught it in my August forecast net (interestingly, every other prediction was completely accurate). But weeks passed and the film was covertly moved to December 6 for no understandable reason. Here, it is already playfully opening to under single million digits (they're projectin' seven hundred thousand something), for the weekend, even as it plays in 2337 theaters.
No matter. Everything I said before is true still. As before, Playmobil still stars Gabriel Bateman (Andy Barclay Vol. 2 in the new Chucky movie) as Charlie and Anya Taylor-Joy as Marla, two reasonably live action humans who are forced to contend with the evils of the German line of building toys Playmobil, which have populated toy store shelves since roughly 1974, and where they may perhaps remain for 45 years more. The poor defenseless children are sucked into a nightmare of CGI animation, where they are inconvenienced by a voice cast that includes Daniel Radcliffe, Jim Gaffigan, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and even Meghan Trainor, a name that is as good a warning now as it was in August that there will be a musical number.
Playmobil was sketched into existence on distant lands (it's French), and knocked around the release schedule, and though children's titles often have good legs during the holiday season, I'm not sure a repeat weekend of $700,000 is in store for the 13th. Maybe during the holidays.
As for Gabriel Bateman, this is a depature, in that the young man takes just the slightest break from R-rated horror films like Lights Out and Child's Play to partake in these less MPAA-restricted proceedings. The great R-rated Playmobil movie has yet to be made.
(old prediction) Opening weekend: $3 million / Total gross: $10 million