January 27 should be an exciting weekend at the box office, something you often can’t say about weekends in January. Sony and Screen Gems release their science-fiction action sequel Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Weinstein Company hopes to strike “gold” with their adventure film Gold. Universal goes for the family crowd with A Dog’s Purpose. And Warner Bros. opens their comedy Bastards.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Sony / Screen Gems)
- The sixth installment in the Resident Evil film franchise, this series definitely comes with a built-in fan base. The original Resident Evil back in 2002 was followed up with Apocalypse in 2004, Extinction in 2007, Afterlife in 2010, and Retribution in 2012.
- And with the title The Final Chapter, it’s clear to audiences that this ties everything up and isn’t just another attempt to cash in with a sequel that will be followed by another sequel, followed by another. The studio keeps producing these Resident Evil movies and people keep coming…
- …but they’re coming less. Adjusted for inflation, the most recent installment Retribution was the lowest grossing of the five Resident Evil films, selling about 21 percent fewer tickets than the next highest-selling installment. To put that into perspective, Retribution‘s $42.3 million was only a bit more than the $40.1 million earned by the original Resident Evil a full decade before, and ticket prices had gone up noticeably since then. If anything, it might seem a surprise that the studio greenlit another sequel after that.
- Four of the previous five films in the series had come out in the month of September, with the series carving out a niche for itself as some of the higher-grossing movies during that month, usually one of the lowest-grossing of the year with few action or sci-fi films as competition. But this January, there will be in-genre competition from the likes of Underworld: Blood Wars and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.
Gold (Weinstein Company)
- The dark comedy about real-life American Kenny Wells who struck it rich in the 1980s by discovering an Indonesian gold mine stars Matthew McConaughey. It appears similar in both plot and style to 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short, both of which performed well (especially given their heavily insider-economics themes) with $116.9 million and $70.2 million.
- McConaughey is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now, with 2014’s Interstellar earning $188.0 million and a Best Actor Oscar for 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club.
- Although it wasn’t expected to be a huge blockbuster, McConaughey’s Free State of Jones in May was a real dud with only $20.8 million. Although it was about slavery, 12 Years a Slave earned $56.6 million despite playing in fewer theaters. So McConaughey is coming off a box office miss here.
A Dog’s Purpose (Universal)
- The story of a dog who lives several lives through reincarnation is based on the novel of the same name by W. Bruce Cameron, which spent almost a year on the bestseller list. Fans of the book call it a tearjerker and a heartwarming tale — which, if anything, might have made the film a better fit for a November or December than a January release.
- This is really the only family-friendly film being released in January. Maybe Monster Trucks two weekends earlier, but current projections are for that film are very low. Everything else this January is a drama, action, or horror aimed at older audiences. Nothing else you can bring the kids to during the entire month.
- Audiences might not be looking for sentimental or the kind of movie that can make you cry. Me Before You, perhaps summer 2016’s biggest contender in that genre, was a box office disappointment amidst all the typical summer blockbusters it competed against. Between new releases and holdovers, A Dog’s Purpose could get clobbered amid all the sci-fi and action films out by late January.
Bastards (Warner Bros.)
- In this comedy, Owen Wilson and Ed Helms play two brothers who discover that their mother lied about their father’s identity, and in fact she doesn’t know who he was. So the two men embark on a road trip to the several potential fathers to track their biological parent down. Similar to the aforementioned section on A Dog’s Purpose which mentioned that it’s the only family-friendly wide release this January, this is the only real wide release comedy that month. (It’s still to be determined whether The Resurrection of Gavin Stone will be released in more than 1,000 theaters.)
- Wilson, clearly the biggest name of the two lead stars, has had a bad year at the box office with his comedies. February’s Zoolander 2 only made $28.8 million, about 36 percent less than Zoolander‘s $45.1 million despite the original being released in 2001. (Adjusted for inflation, the sequel sold less than half the tickets of the original.) Then Wilson’s September release Masterminds only made $17.3 million.
Check out the official Boxoffice Pro long range forecast in the table below.
|Title||Wide Release Date||Distributor||Opening Weekend||Cumulative|
|xXx: The Return of Xander Gage||Fri, Jan 20||Paramount||$32,000,000||$72,000,000|
|Split||Fri, Jan 20||Universal||$16,000,000||$45,000,000|
|The Founder||Fri, Jan 20||Weinstein||$9,500,000||$39,000,000|
|The Resurrection of Gavin Stone||Fri, Jan 20||High Top Releasing||$1,400,000||$3,000,000|
|Live By Night||Fri, Jan 13||Warner Bros.||$25,000,000**||$69,000,000|
|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|
|Monster Trucks||Fri, Jan 13||Paramount||$12,000,000**||$22,000,000|
|The Bye Bye Man||Fri, Jan 13||STX Entertainment||$8,000,000**||$17,000,000|
|Underworld: Blood Wars||Fri, Jan 6||Sony / Screen Gems||$17,000,000||$42,000,000|
|Amityville: The Awakening||Fri, Jan 6||Weinstein / Dimension||$8,000,000||$17,000,000|
|Why Him?||Fri, Dec 23||Fox||$9,000,000||$54,000,000|
|Passengers||Wed, Dec 21||Sony / Columbia||$31,000,000*||$145,000,000|
|Sing||Wed, Dec 21||Universal||$30,000,000*||$165,000,000|
|Assassin’s Creed||Wed, Dec 21||Fox||$20,000,000*||$77,000,000|
|Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||Fri, Dec 16||Disney||$155,000,000||$460,000,000|
|Collateral Beauty||Fri, Dec 16||Warner Bros.||$13,000,000||$72,000,000|
|Office Christmas Party||Fri, Dec 9||Paramount||$17,000,000||$70,000,000|
|Bastards||Fri, Jan 27||Warner Bros.||$8,000,000||$22,000,000|
|A Dog’s Purpose||Fri, Jan 27||Universal||$16,000,000||$65,000,000|
|Gold||Fri, Jan 27||Weinstein Company||$7,000,000||$22,000,000|
|Resident Evil: The Final Chapter||Fri, Jan 27||Sony / Screen Gems||$24,000,000||$52,000,000|
* = 3-day weekend (Friday through Sunday)
Shawn Robbins and Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report.
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