Long Range Forecast: ‘Doctor Strange,’ ‘Trolls’ & ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

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The weekend before Election Day, featuring a candidate that couldn’t be dreamed up in the most audacious film, November kicks off with three new wide releases. Disney adds another superhero to the Marvel universe with Doctor Strange, Fox/Dreamworks adapt yet another children’s toy for the big screen with Trolls, and Lionsgate brings their war drama Hacksaw Ridge.

Doctor Strange (Disney)

PROS:

  • The newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe joins what is one of the most financially successful movie franchises of all time and certainly of the past decade.
  • Although Doctor Strange is one of the lesser-known Marvel characters — certainly less famous than, say, a Captain America or Incredible Hulk — look at the two most recent “origin story” films for lesser-known Marvel characters. Ant-Man opened with $57.2 million last July for $180.2 million total, and Guardians of the Galaxy opened with $94.3 million in August 2014 for $333.1 million total. While this seems unlikely to reach Guardians which was a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, a gross akin to the successful Ant-Man is definitely within reach.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch portrays the title character in his first starring role since his Oscar-nominated performance in 2014’s The Imitation Game. (His role in last year’s Black Mass was a supporting one.) Rachel McAdams also appears in her first wide release since her Oscar-nominated role in last year’s Spotlight. Along with Chiwetel Ejiofor, the cast list is impressive.
  • With no other superhero movies released for several months before or after, Doctor Strange has the genre entirely to itself during its entire theatrical run, preventing any direct competition. Compare to that the crowded marketplace this spring summer, where five superhero movies came out in five months.

CONS:

  • The aforementioned lack of familiarity with the Doctor Strange character outside the comic book fandom could hurt the film. (Although that same factor didn’t seem to hurt such lesser-known characters as Ant-Man or Deadpool.)

Trolls (Fox / Dreamworks)

PROS:

  • The animated movie follows in the tradition of other famous toy-to-screen adaptations including The LEGO Movie, the G.I. Joe series (The Rise of Cobra and Retaliation), and the Transformers franchise.
  • The all-star voice cast includes Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, and James Corden. Don’t be surprised to see a “Carpool Karaoke” segment with Corden, Timberlake, and possibly Kendrick before the movie’s release — almost every installment of the segment has attained at least 10 million views on YouTube.
  • Timberlake’s song “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the soundtrack reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, where it spent 15 weeks in the top 10. (But do hit songs from movies create high box office? A recent analysis from Boxoffice Pro determined that the answer is murky.)
  • With more than a month since the release of Storks in late September and three weeks until Moana comes out, Trolls will have a solid space in which it is the only real animated option for families.

CONS:

  • Buzz has been comparatively quiet online compared to other big animated films this year like Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, and Zootopia.
  • Many have remarked that the characters seem annoying or irritating in trailers and television spots, although then again some of the most successful animated films have featured “annoying “characters.

Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate)

PROS:

  • The film received an astounding 10-minute standing ovation when screened this week at the Venice Film Festival. If that positive reception extends to the general public, this could be a must-see film.
  • Andrew Garfield plays Desmond T. Doss in the true story of the conscientious objector who refused to fire a gun in World War II but nonetheless saved the lives of dozens of soldiers. The tale is inspiring and Andrew Garfield has had box office success with all three of his wide releases this decade: The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and The Social Network.

CONS:

  • Mel Gibson is the director, marking his first time behind the screen since 2006’s Apocalypto. Gibson has been persona non grata in Hollywood for a decade since his drunken anti-Semitic outbursts in 2006, then again with racist comments he made in 2010. He’s attempted something of a comeback in the past few years, but his 2003 action film Machete Kills bombed with $8.0 million and his side role in The Expendables 3 came in what was easily the lowest-grossing film in that franchise. While he’s not in front of the camera here, his very association with the film could turn off many viewers.
  • Coming right before Election Day, this is the only one of the three wide releases that could be considered “political” in its themes. That could hurt the movie, as American audiences might be getting enough of that on their television screens and news feeds as it is.

Check out the Boxoffice Pro official long range forecasts in the table below.

 

Title Release Date Distributor Opening Weekend Cumulative
Doctor Strange Nov 4, 2016 Disney $88,000,000 $255,000,000
Trolls Nov 4, 2016 Fox / Dreamworks $28,000,000 $92,000,000
Hacksaw Ridge Nov 4, 2016 Lionsgate $11,000,000 $37,000,000
Inferno Oct 28, 2016 Sony $36,000,000 $100,000,000
Rings Oct 28, 2016 Paramount $16,000,000 $34,000,000
Ouija: Origin of Evil Oct 21, 2016 Universal $12,000,000 $29,000,000
Keeping Up with the Joneses Oct 21, 2016 Fox $11,000,000 $32,000,000
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Oct 21, 2016 Paramount $22,000,000 $62,000,000
I’m Not Ashamed Oct 21, 2016 Pure Flix $4,500,000 $17,000,000
Boo! A Madea Halloween Oct 21, 2016 Lionsgate $10,000,000 $26,000,000
The Accountant Oct 14, 2016 Warner Bros. $17,000,000 $60,000,000
Kevin Hart: What Now? Oct 14, 2016 Universal $11,500,000 $25,000,000
Max Steel Oct 14, 2016 Open Road Films $7,000,000 $24,000,000
The Girl on the Train Oct 7, 2016 Universal $24,000,000 $80,000,000
The Birth of a Nation Oct 7, 2016 Fox Searchlight $19,000,000 $78,000,000
Friend Request Oct 7, 2016 Freestyle Releasing $3,500,000 $8,000,000
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Oct 7, 2016 Lionsgate $5,500,000 $16,500,000
Deepwater Horizon Sep 30, 2016 Lionsgate $21,000,000 $71,000,000
Masterminds Sep 30, 2016 Relativity Media $10,000,000 $28,000,000
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Sep 30, 2016 Fox $27,000,000 $90,000,000
The Magnificent Seven Sep 23, 2016 Sony $49,000,000 $150,000,000
Storks Sep 23, 2016 Warner Bros. $25,000,000 $87,000,000
Bridget Jones’s Baby Sep 16, 2016 Universal $13,500,000 $44,000,000
Snowden Sep 16, 2016 Open Road Films $4,500,000 $10,000,000
Blair Witch Sep 16, 2016 Lionsgate $21,000,000 $49,000,000
Hillsong – Let Hope Rise Sep 16, 2016 Pure Flix $3,750,000 $12,000,000

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