Long Range Box Office Forecast: Ghostbusters: Afterlife Outlook, Eternals Tracking Softens, and More Updates

Photo Credits: Sony Pictures / Columbia ("Ghostbusters: Afterlife")

The pre-Thanksgiving domestic box office corridor will get a jolt of momentum with Ghostbusters: Afterlife on November 19. How is the anticipated follow-up to the classic 1980s franchise shaping up in box office outlooks so far?

In addition to that analysis below, we’ve also updated preliminary ranges for Eternals based on revised models factoring in mixed critical reviews, which are impacting social media sentiment, and a potentially related slowdown in pre-sales activity for the next Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster.

Nevertheless, the MCU brand has a gargantuan built-in audience even for unestablished sub-franchises that may be somewhat review-proof come opening weekend, so a great many factors are in play before the film opens one week from now.

Meanwhile, preliminary tracking ranges for Clifford the Big Red Dog (opening Wednesday, November 10) and King Richard (November 19) can also be found in the chart below.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Sony Pictures / Columbia
Friday, November 19 (Domestic)

PROS:

  • Fans of the iconic 1980s films have been enthusiastic about a return to the franchise’s roots as promised by director Jason Reitman, son of the original movies’ helmer, Ivan Reitman. As a direct sequel to the Bill Murray/Dan Aykroyd/Harold Ramis/Ernie Hudson-led films, nostalgia is a driving element for this follow-up — especially with the tease of returning characters from the original films.
  • Pre-release buzz and regular trailer rotations were already kicking in months before a planned summer 2020 release until the pandemic forced multiple delays for Afterlife, further increasing its profile as one of the films awaited by fans during this rebound phase of moviegoing. It will be exclusive to movie theaters upon release.
  • Current forecasting models point to interest levels comparable to Ready Player One, with interest highest among men over the age of 25 but considerable outreach to younger generations as well. Industry screenings in recent months have generated positive buzz, and the opportunity for expansion to include families and fans of pop culture staples like Netflix’s Stranger Things is notable given the focus on young main characters and an audience-friendly cast led by Paul Rudd.
  • Opening two weeks after Marvel Studios’ Eternals allows enough breathing room to prevent significant audience overlap, as does the fact that this will be the last live-action tentpole aiming for multiple demographics to be released before the middle of December. A full-scale Premium Large Format footprint is expected, with IMAX a notable component.
  • Furthermore, opening on the Friday before Thanksgiving should help extend the film’s legs and multiplier so long as word of mouth delivers. Critics are generally positive so far at 77 percent (from 35 counted reviews) on Rotten Tomatoes.

CONS:

  • The monkey on the back of the franchise is 2016’s Ghostbusters reboot, which misfired at the domestic and global box office with $128.4 million and $229.2 million, respectively, on a production budget north of $140 million. Although that film won over some fans and was driven primarily by women over 25, it also alienated much of the brand’s pre-existing core audience. Winning over that segment while still attracting a diverse crowd will be key to Afterlife‘s prospects beyond opening weekend.
  • This film is aiming to be more family-accessible than the 2016 effort, a challenging prospect right now given the prolonged wait for kids under 12 to be approved for COVID-19 vaccination and uncertainty as to how soon many parents would take advantage of such availability. Cautious household heads with younglings have shown their hesitancy to return to cinemas, and that may remain a factor heading deeper into the holiday movie schedule as it also coincides with flu season.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2021 Calendar
(as of 10/29/21)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
11/5/2021 Eternals $67,000,000 – $92,000,000 -12% $165,000,000 – $215,000,000 -25% 4,000 Disney / Marvel Studios
11/5/2021 Spencer         n/a NEON / Topic Studios
11/10/2021 Clifford the Big Red Dog $9,000,000 – $14,000,000 -18% $35,000,000 – $65,000,000 -18% 3,100 Paramount Pictures
11/12/2021 Belfast         n/a Focus Features
11/19/2021 C’mon C’mon           A24
11/19/2021 King Richard $6,000,000 – $11,000,000 NEW $15,000,000 – $40,000,000 NEW   Warner Bros. Pictures
11/19/2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife $45,000,000 – $65,000,000 NEW $130,000,000 – $190,000,000 NEW   Sony Pictures / Columbia
11/24/2021 Encanto           Walt Disney Pictures
11/24/2021 House of Gucci           MGM / United Artists Releasing
11/24/2021 National Champions           STXfilms
11/24/2021 Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City           Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/3/2021 Red Rocket           A24
12/3/2021 Wolf           Focus Features
12/10/2021 Cyrano           United Artists Releasing
12/10/2021 Don’t Look Up           Netflix
12/10/2021 Violence of Action           STXfilms
12/10/2021 West Side Story (2020)           Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/17/2021 Nightmare Alley           Disney / Searchlight Pictures
12/17/2021 Spider-Man: No Way Home           Sony / Columbia / Marvel Studios
12/22/2021 The King’s Man           Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/22/2021 The Matrix Resurrections           Warner Bros. Pictures
12/22/2021 Sing 2           Universal Pictures
12/25/2021 A Journal for Jordan           Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/25/2021 American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story           Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company
12/31/2021 (no releases scheduled)            

All above figures represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation before release. These are not final forecasts.

Pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections are available exclusively to Boxoffice PRO clients. For more information on forecasts, pricing, and availability, please contact us.

As always, the news cycle is constantly evolving as the pandemic dictates. Projections are subject to change amid breaking announcements.

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