While last weekend with $118.2M in ticket sales was considered to be slow given its overall -45% drop from the previous Black Friday 3-day period, this weekend’s box office will ratchet down even more as the major studios opt to hold back on any wide entries. Again, this is due to the annual distraction of holiday activities; their thinking is that it’s better to starting teeing off next weekend and play into Christmas, after which point moviegoing explodes.
What is going on this weekend is that those distributors with awards season fare are looking to take advantage of the lull by either launching new titles or widening movies which might turn up at tomorrow’s Golden Globes. It will certainly be a weekend weighed by the power of the screen average.
In regards to the top three holdovers, look for them to ease 35% to 40% each and that includes Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet ($15.3M-$16.6M in weekend 3), The Grinch ($10.7M -$11.6M in weekend 5) and Creed II ($10M-$10.8M in weekend 3).
Openers include Focus Features’ Margot Robbie-Saoirse Ronan period piece from director Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots, which is debuting at four theaters including Los Angeles’ Landmark on Pico and Hollywood ArcLight and New York’s Paris Theatre and Angelika Film Center. The movie centers around the divide between Mary Stuart (Ronan) and her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England (Robbie). The movie carries a 78% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Roadside Attractions has Peter Hedges’ teenage drug addiction recovery-family drama Ben Is Back starring the director’s Oscar-nominated son Lucas Hedges and Oscar winner Julia Roberts. Ben is also playing at the Landmark and Hollywood Arclight in LA and the New York’s Angelika and Landmark at W 57th. Current RT is 83% fresh.
NEON has their TIFF acquisition Vox Lux from filmmaker Brady Corbet and starring (and produced by) Natalie Portman and Jude Law. Booked at six locations spanning NY, LA and San Francisco, the movie focuses on the uncanny story of a school shooting survivor who rises to become a pop star contending with all of the career’s demons. Pic will play at Lincoln Square and Film Forum in NY, AMC Century City and Hollywood ArcLight in LA, and the Metreon and the Mission in San Francisco. RT is 81% certified fresh.
There hasn’t been a lot that’s been working in the specialty sector this year, specifically platform releases that opened in 1 to 40 theaters and then crossed over to higher box office amounts. Of that subset of independent films, Fox Searchlight’s Isle of Dogs is the highest grossing title year to date with $32M. As such, there’s a lot of hope that Searchlight’s period comedy The Favourite from director Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone will ultimately break out to higher figures and appeal to a wide spectrum. Business for the film has been strong in both arthouses like the Landmark on Pico and Camelview in Scottsdale, AZ as well as hip houses like the Alamo Brooklyn and San Francisco, and Union Square NY grossing a current running cume of $1.8M. Last weekend the pic minted $1M from 34 locations for a near $32K screen average. This weekend The Favourite heads into 93 theaters.
There’s a chance depending on its amount of Globe noms tomorrow that Searchlight’s Lee Israel biopic dramedy Can You Ever Forgive Me? will expand beyond the 272 theaters it’s currently playing at in the weeks to come. The Melissa McCarthy-Richard E. Grant feature counts $6.6M to date.
Also playing to awards fare-loving audiences is Sony Pictures Classics’ The Wife starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce. After opening on Aug. 17, and hitting a peak expansion of 541 theaters with a running cume to date of $7.7M, the Bjorn Runge-directed movie is jumping from six theaters back into 400-plus.
After grossing $194.1M stateside and with a current theater count of 1,081, Warner Bros. A Star Is Born hasn’t dropped the mic yet. The Bradley Cooper-directed pic will get a week’s play in Imax on Friday (it never screened in the format during its fall run) with a special behind-the-scenes featurette with star Lady Gaga entitled “The Road to Stardom”.
Universal/Participant Media/DreamWorks’ Green Book is gradually expanding its coverage from 1,065 to roughly 1,165 as it looks to drive to higher ground from Globe and SAG noms. The Peter Farrelly-directed drama had a -29% third weekend hold in a frame where most pics fell between -40% to -60%. Pic’s running total to date is $15M.
Technically speaking, Universal has the sole fresh wide entry, but it’s re-release: The 25th anniversary edition of Steven Spielberg’s Best Picture Oscar winner Schindler’s List in roughly 1,000 theaters. The movie’s picture and sound have been digitally remastered in 4K, Dolby Cinema and Dolby Atmos.
CBS Films’ Vincent van Gogh movie At Eternity’s Gate will increase its theaters from 48 to 172 locations in the top 50 DMA markets. The Julian Schnabel film which stars Willem Dafoe as van Gogh has earned close to $700K through eight weeks.