“The tracking is so fragmented,” exclaimed one distribution source today about the presence of Disney’s titan Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the marketplace and how it’s impacting projections. As a result, a number of the wide releases will be clustered together in regards to their openings on the chart. While studio distribution chiefs remain hopeful about their titles legging out during the holidays and pushing the overall domestic B.O. to an $11B year, Force Awakens will continue to be the masses’ top choice next weekend after posting a near $248M opening with $160M-$162M, off 35%. When it comes to advance tickets sales, most moviegoers bought tickets for the film’s Thursday night opening, first Friday and Christmas day.
Coming in second is Paramount/Red Granite’s Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg PG-13 comedy Daddy’s Home about a nice stepfather who squares off with his step kids’ acerbic father. The film, directed by Sean Anders, marks the reunion of Ferrell and Wahlberg since 2010’s The Other Guys which made $119.2M at the domestic B.O. Daddy’s Home is expected to ring up a gross in the $20M-$25M range at 3,200 locations off an estimated production cost of $50M. Anchorman 2 which played during late December 2013 is the comp here, which made $26.2M over its FSS after a Wednesday debut.
In third, look for director David O. Russell’s reteam with actress Jennifer Lawrence, Joy, from 20th Century Fox. It marks their third collaboration together, their previous two outings having legged out to high figures thanks to their awards groundswell: Silver Linings Playbook ($132M) and American Hustle ($150.1). Joy is inspired by the life story of Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop and became an HSN sensation. The film features an all-star cast including Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rosellini. It arrives to theaters with two Golden Globe noms (best comedy, best comedy actress for Lawrence) and three Critics’ Choice nominations (best comedy, actress and comedy actress) and it is expected to file $13M-$15M at 2,891 theaters.
From Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital and Village Roadshow is the Peter Landesman sports drama Concussion starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of CTE, a football-related brain trauma, in a pro player and fought against the NFL for the truth to be known. Armed with a Golden Globe drama actor nom for star Will Smith, industry analysts put the film in the mid to high teens, though the studio is expecting $8M-$10M at 2,820 venues off an estimated $35M budget.
Alcon has their remake of the cult 1991 film Point Break about a young FBI agent who infiltrates a group of extreme sport crooks. Alcon financed the film which carries a cost north of $100M and is handling P&A. It moved on to the Christmas day soon after Paramount’s Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation left for a late July spot where Point Break was originally residing. Warner Bros. is handling for a fee and insiders have its opening at $15M-$17M at 2,850 theaters. Point Break has already made $43.2M from eight Asian markets with Russia, Denmark, Finland, and Norway opening in sync with the U.S./Canada.
Meanwhile, Fox’s family holdover Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip is looking at being even or upticking slightly from its opening weekend of $14.3M at 3,653. Uni’s Sisters is expected to dip 25% for a $10.4M second weekend. Again, every day is a Friday this week and next week, so nothing is going to live and die by its weekends.
Paramount is keeping the rein on its critically-acclaimed all-star dramedy The Big Short at 1,600 locations so that it lasts through awards season. After making $1.3M from eight locations in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago, the Adam McKay-directed film goes wide on Wednesday in hopes of making $10M over five days and $8M over FSS. Given its hunky cast with Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt, The Big Short has been a destination for females drawing 57% of the demo in its opening weekend. The film was named by AFI as movie of the year. It also boasts seven Critics Choice noms (best picture, comedy, acting ensemble, screenplay, editing, Bale and Steve Carell for comedy actor) four Golden Globe nominations (best comedy, screenplay, and Bale and Carell in comedy actor slots) and two SAG noms (ensemble and Bale supporting actor). The Big Short also plans to make another wide break on January 8.
Weinstein Co. trots out director Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie, The Hateful Eight in a 70M roadshow version complete with intermission and programs, at 100 sites in 44 markets. It’s looking to make $3M-$4M. To date, the western has six Critics’ Choice noms (acting ensemble, cinematography, score, hair & make-up, screenplay and supporting actress Jennifer Jason Leigh) and three Golden Globes (screenplay, score and supporting actress Leigh). In the wake of TWC going to great lengths to restore 70MM projectors, making them available gratis to theaters, the Oscar-winning filmmaker voiced his criticism of Disney boxing The Hateful Eight out of Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome, a venue which has its format credited in the film’s opening credits.
TWC is also expanding its awards and arthouse crowd pleaser Carol from 16 sites to 175-180. The Todd Haynes feature adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s lesbian romance novel The Price of Salt, is projected to make $6K-$7K per theater for a sixth weekend of $1.26M. To date, through Sunday, Carol counts $1.6M.
Fox also has its Leonardo DiCaprio-Tom Hardy revenge western The Revenant from New Regency. Pic, which follows 1820s frontiersman Hugh Glass, who is mauled by a bear and left for dead only to rise and avenge his son’s death, was directed by last year’s Oscar winner Alejandro Inarritu. It debuts in four locations in New York and Los Angeles, and $50K a theater would be a decent start for this film which has earned a SAG lead actor nom for DiCaprio, nine Critics’ Choice noms (including picture, actor DiCaprio and supporting actor Hardy), and four Golden Globes noms for drama picture, lead actor, director and score).