If you want to go to the movies on January 13, 2017, you certainly have your fair share of options, as five films will either open or expand into wide release. Warner Bros.’ crime drama Live By Night and Lionsgate’s film about the Boston Marathon bombing Patriots Day will both expand into wide release, after limited openings in December. Paramount’s action comedy Monster Trucks may became one of the largest financial failures in cinema history. Sure to open above it are Open Road Films’ crime thriller Sleepless and STX Entertainment’s horror The Bye Bye Man.
Live By Night (Warner Bros.)
- This 1920s-set gangster crime drama stars Ben Affleck in the lead role. Affleck has had a very good year at the box office in 2016, playing Batman in March’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice which earned $330.3 million, and also the lead in October’s The Accountant which has so far earned $79.1 million and counting. (The film looks likely to end up with $90-$95 million or so, which was as much or more than most analysts predicted.)
- The novel by Dennis Lehane, upon which the film was based, won the Edgar Award for best novel of the year. Lehane’s novels adapted into films include 2010’s Shutter Island which earned $128.0 million. If this movie is good as the reviews of the source material book, the film could benefit from positive word of mouth.
- Buzz so far has been existent but somewhat quieter than might be expected. And if the limited release in December doesn’t break out with a high per-theater average at the box office, as it may not given the crowded release schedule that month, that could prevent buzz from spreading even more.
- With competition from fellow crime drama Sleepless, it remains to be seen which one will come out on top that weekend and in the long run.
Patriots Day (Lionsgate)
- The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and citywide manhunt for the suspects shortly thereafter is a news event that virtually everybody in America knows and remembers where they were when it happened. Sully and Deepwater Horizon earlier this autumn both reinforced that familiarity with a life-threatening news story from the past few years can potentially lead to box office success, as those were two of the highest-grossing title of the fall season.
- Mark Wahlberg leads a cast that also includes recent Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and John Goodman. Wahlberg’s Deepwater Horizon has earned $60.7 million and counting at the box office so far, while his 2013 Lone Survivor made $125.0 million. In other words, when Wahlberg is playing real life heroes of survival films, he has exhibited a good track record at the box office.
- Will audiences flock to a movie featuring death and destruction during the depths of winter? To be fair, they did in January 2015 for The Revenant and January 2014 for American Sniper. But this year, with a President Trump taking office the following weekend after Patriot‘s wide release and roughly 50% of Americans on edge about that prospect, not to mention a few months after the most deadly mass shooting in American history in Orlando, domestic audiences might not be in quite the same mood as they were in January 2016 or 2015.
- Stories combining tragedy and hope with sports are already a dime a dozen this season, with Bleed For This and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Sleepless (Open Road Films)
- Originally titled Sleepless Night, this crime thriller is about a Las Vegas police detective searching for his son who’s been taken hostage by drug lords stars Jamie Foxx in the lead role. Foxx has had several nine-digit-grossing hits at the box office this decade, such as $202.8 million for 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, $162.8 million for 2012’s Django Unchained, and $117.5 million for 2011’s Horrible Bosses (particularly impressive for a comedy).
- Opening on Martin Luther King Day weekend, the largely African-American cast could appeal to audiences in that same demographic. Previous box office hits on that weekend have been African-American aimed films like 2014’s Ride Along with $48.6 million, 2016’s Ride Along 2 with $41.0 million, 2005’s Coach Carter with $29.1 million, 2007’s Stomp the Yard with $25.8 million, and 2009’s Notorious with $23.3 million.
- On the other hand, Foxx has hit a bit of a box office snag with his two most recent films. 2014’s Annie made $85.9 million, a decent sum but below what many were expecting, while 2014’s Horrible Bosses 2 earned $54.4 million, less than half the total of its predecessor. Could the man considered one of Hollywood’s most popular and bankable stars be losing his attraction?
The Bye Bye Man (STX Entertainment)
- Based in part of Robert Schneck’s supernatural book The President’s Vampire, the film is about a being called the Bye Bye Man who possesses people and causes them to commit mass murder sprees. Its creepy undertone and vibe could appeal to fans of horror and thrillers alike. And with a reported $6 million budget, low even for the famously low-budget horror genre, it will take very little for this title to turn a profit.
- Released the weekend after fellow horror film Amityville: The Awakening and the weekend before the horror Split, it’s highly unusual to have three horror releases in three consecutive frames, excluding mid-to-late October shortly before Halloween. In fact, it may have been years since it last happened. It’s hard at this point to ascertain which film will ultimately win out the most at the box office, but if anything current trends might indicate that The Bye Bye Man may rank as the third most likely of those three.
Monster Trucks (Paramount)
- There are truly no positives to list here.
- The film had a budget of more than $100 million, and the Hollywood Reporter reported in September that Paramount is planning to take a jaw-dropping $115 million write-down on the film due to its expected disastrous performance at the box office.
This science-fiction “comedy” is not about monster trucks, but about monsters who live inside trucks. Get it? The Independent called it “a Paramount movie with a $100 million budget that actually exists.” That can’t be good.
- It was originally scheduled in May 2015, then pushed back to December 2015, March 2016, then its current release date of January 2017. It’s now being dumped in January, one of the worst months for box office grosses — especially if excluding awards-contender films that debut in limited release in December and then go wide in January.
- The campy “so bad that it’s good” vibe that the film is aiming for has sometimes proven a hit on television, such as the Sharknado series, but has almost always failed to work at the box office for theatrical releases. Think the $13.8 million opening and $34.0 million total for the highly-anticipated-but-ultimately-failed 2006 comedy thriller Snakes on a Plane.
Check out the official Boxoffice Pro long range forecast in the table below. Shawn Robbins and Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report.
|Title||Wide Release Date||Distributor||Opening Weekend||Cumulative|
|Live By Night||Fri, Jan 13||Warner Bros.||$25,000,000**||$69,000,000|
|Monster Trucks||Fri, Jan 13||Paramount||$12,000,000**||$22,000,000|
|Patriots Day||Fri, Jan 13||Lionsgate||$23,500,000**||$78,000,000|
|Sleepless||Fri, Jan 13||Open Road Films||$13,000,000**||$42,000,000|
|The Bye Bye Man||Fri, Jan 13||STX Entertainment||$8,000,000**||$17,000,000|
|Amityville: The Awakening||Fri, Jan 6||Weinstein / Dimension||$8,000,000||$17,000,000|
|Underworld: Blood Wars||Fri, Jan 6||Sony / Screen Gems||$17,000,000||$42,000,000|
|Why Him?||Fri, Dec 23||Fox||$11,000,000||$54,000,000|
|Passengers||Wed, Dec 21||Sony / Columbia||$38,000,000*||$177,000,000|
|Sing||Wed, Dec 21||Universal||$24,000,000*||$115,000,000|
|Assassin’s Creed||Wed, Dec 21||Fox||$13,000,000*||$56,000,000|
|Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||Fri, Dec 16||Disney||$135,000,000||$405,000,000|
|Collateral Beauty||Fri, Dec 16||Warner Bros.||$13,000,000||$75,000,000|
|The Space Between Us||Fri, Dec 16||STX Entertainment||$8,000,000||$45,000,000|
|Office Christmas Party||Fri, Dec 9||Paramount||$17,000,000||$70,000,000|
|Miss Sloane||Fri, Dec 9||EuropaCorp||$8,000,000||$26,000,000|
|Incarnate||Fri, Dec 2||High Top Releasing||$4,500,000||$9,000,000|
|Moana||Wed, Nov 23||Disney||$70,000,000*||$300,000,000|
|Allied||Wed, Nov 23||Paramount||$13,000,000*||$63,000,000|
|Bad Santa 2||Wed, Nov 23||Broad Green Pictures||$13,500,000*||$47,000,000|
|Rules Don’t Apply||Wed, Nov 23||Fox||$5,000,000*||$19,000,000|
**= 4-day weekend (Friday through Monday)
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