Long Range Forecast: ‘Snowden,’ ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby,’ and ‘Hillsong – Let Hope Rise’

On September 16, four new films will see wide release. Open Road Films brings one of the most controversial true stories of this decade to the big screen with Snowden. Universal completes their romantic comedy trilogy with Bridget Jones’s Baby. Lionsgate releases their horror flick The Woods. And Pure Flix opens their religious documentary Hillsong – Let Hope Rise.

Snowden (Open Road Films)

PROS:

  • National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden revealed classified documents showing the previously-unrevealed extent of NSA digital surveillance. Everybody has an opinion: some call him a hero, others call him a traitor. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump implied in a recent speech that Snowden should be executed, while rumors abound that President Obama might pardon Snowden during his lame duck session. No matter your stance, the film should certainly stir up some controversy, which is often good for ticket sales.
  • With the presidential election right coming arriving three weeks later putting, politics and surveillance on Americans’ minds, perhaps the film’s mid-September release date — usually a time of low grosses — could actually play to the movie’s advantage.

CONS:

  • The film was unable to find a major studio willing to finance or distribute it, leaving it to independent distributor Open Road Pictures. Considering there are several A-listers in the cast and it’s based on a person who almost everybody knows about, that’s a likely sign that the major distributors didn’t think it would make much money.
  • Originally slated to open in December 2015 in time for awards season, the film was pushed back to May 2016 for the start of the summer movie season, then delayed again to its current September 2016 date. That doesn’t indicate much confidence in the film. Films generally make more money in December or May — traditionally two of the highest grossing months on the calendar — than September. This may have been a squandered opportunity from a box office perspective.
  • Lead star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who had massive hits a few years ago including The Dark Knight Rises and Inception, has seen his last three films underwhelm at the box office: The Night Before with $43 million, The Walk with $10 million, and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For with $13 million.

Bridget Jones’s Baby (Universal)

PROS:

  • The first two films in the romantic comedy series, 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and 2004’s Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, have a passionate fan base. Renée Zellweger received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role in the first installment.

CONS:

  • Zellweger hasn’t acted in a movie since the bomb Case 39 back in 2010. That’s six years without a movie, which is usually fatal to the career of a previously A-list actor or actress. She’s also 47, which is unusually old for a female lead, especially for a romantic comedy — although it has worked at the box office before, such as Meryl Streep in 2009’s It’s Complicated.
  • The first two Bridget Jones films centered around a love triangle between the title character and two men played by Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, but Grant has not returned for this third installment.
  • Though only partially adapted from the 2013 book Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, that book didn’t sell as well as previous installments in the Helen Fielding book series. A sentence from the New York Times review of the book might help explain why: “She [Jones] weighs 175 pounds and spends a lot of unsexy time dealing with the kids’ vomit and diarrhea.”
  • It’s been 12 years since Edge of Reason came out. Several sequels this year where it had been at least a decade since the previous installment have underperformed, including Independence Day: ResurgenceBarbershop: The Next Cut, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. (Then again, the highest-grossing film of the year so far is Finding Dory, which also meets that same qualification.)

Hillsong – Let Hope Rise (Pure Flix)

PROS:

  • Christianity-themed films, though unlikely to ever again replicate the box office success of The Passion of the Christ, have seen moderate hits in the past few years include Miracles From Heaven and Heaven Is For Real. If this documentary catches on, perhaps it could replicate that success.

CONS:

  • Buzz has been low. And Pure Flix, a Christian-centered film distributor that only launched last year, has nas never had a film opened to more than $7 million or making more than a cumulative $21 million.

Check out our complete long range forecast in the table below.

Also please note The Woods has been removed and will be re-assessed with next week’s publication due to the film’s reveal as a Blair Witch sequel.

Title Release Date Distributor Opening Weekend Cumulative
Bridget Jones’s Baby Sep 16, 2016 Universal $12,000,000 $39,000,000
Snowden Sep 16, 2016 Open Road Films $6,000,000 $16,000,000
Hillsong – Let Hope Rise Sep 16, 2016 Pure Flix $6,250,000 $21,000,000
Sully Sep 9, 2016 Warner Bros. $20,000,000 $74,000,000
When the Bough Breaks Sep 9, 2016 Sony $19,000,000 $40,000,000
Before I Wake Sep 9, 2016 Relativity Media $6,000,000 $12,500,000
The Wild Life Sep 9, 2016 Lionsgate $3,750,000 $9,000,000
The Light Between Oceans Sep 2, 2016 Disney / Buena Vista $7,000,000 $30,000,000
Morgan Sep 2, 2016 Fox $7,500,000 $21,000,000
Solace Sep 2, 2016 Relativity Media $4,000,000 $10,000,000
Don’t Breathe Aug 26, 2016 Screen Gems $9,000,000 $22,000,000
Hands Of Stone Aug 26, 2016 Weinstein Company $5,000,000 $14,000,000
Mechanic: Resurrection Aug 26, 2016 Lionsgate/Summit $8,000,000 $20,000,000
Ben-Hur Aug 19, 2016 Paramount $19,000,000 $55,000,000
Kubo and the Two Strings Aug 19, 2016 Focus $13,500,000 $52,000,000
War Dogs Aug 19, 2016 Warner Bros. $19,000,000 $58,000,000
Pete’s Dragon Aug 12, 2016 Disney / Buena Vista $33,000,000 $117,000,000
Sausage Party Aug 12, 2016 Sony / Columbia $25,000,000 $60,000,000
Florence Foster Jenkins Aug 12, 2016 Paramount $10,000,000 $45,000,000
Suicide Squad Aug 5, 2016 Warner Bros. $124,000,000 $345,000,000
The Founder Aug 5, 2016 Weinstein Company $8,500,000 $32,000,000
Nine Lives Aug 5, 2016 EuropaCorp $9,000,000 $33,000,000
Jason Bourne Jul 29, 2016 Universal $65,000,000 $195,000,000
Bad Moms Jul 29, 2016 STX Entertainment $21,000,000 $70,000,000
Nerve Jul 27, 2016 Lionsgate $7,500,000 $20,000,000
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