Weekend Forecast: ‘Arrival,’ ‘Almost Christmas’ & ‘Shut In’

If there was one thing proven by the complete failure of all pollsters to predict the Donald Trump victory, it’s that even the so-called “experts” can sometimes be completely wrong. But that won’t stop us here at Boxoffice Pro from offering our weekly Wednesday weekend forecast box office predictions anyway.

Three new wide releases come out this Friday: Paramount releases their science-fiction drama thriller Arrival, Universal has their holiday comedy Almost Christmas, and EuropaCorp debuts their horror thriller Shut In. But will any of them be able to overtake last weekend’s leader Doctor Strange, which started with an impressive $85 million opening, for the top spot?

Arrival (Paramount)


  • The science-fiction drama about how humanity responds to an alien landing is less like Independence Day or Transformers and more like Interstellar, a well-acted and at-times intellectual screenplay with a November release. And Interstellar opened to $47.5 million en route to $188.0 million total.
  • Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, all three leads have shown their box office chops in 2016. Adams’ most recent film was March’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with $330.3 million, Renner’s was May’s Captain America: Civil War with $408.0 million, and Whitaker’s next is December’s guaranteed blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While nobody is suggesting that Arrival will earn as much as any of those three films, it demonstrates that these actors can all attract audiences.
  • Adams in particular is gaining Oscar buzz for her role, with Gold Derby currently placing her as the fifth most likely Best Actress winner, and the film overall projected as the ninth most likely Best Picture winner (when there are usually 10 nominees). A rumored Best Picture nod could help, as the sci-fi genre almost never attracts the honor — the last film to do so was Inception in 2010.


  • Of the three new films this weekend, Arrival seems the most likely to have its audience taken away by the likely strong second-weekend hold of last weekend’s leader Doctor Strange.
  • Director Denis Villeneuve has previously only helmed dark dramas, never a sci-fi aiming for a mass audience. His Sicario earned $46.8 million last year and his Prisoners made $61.0 million in 2013. Both did decently well for those genres, but those sums could be considered disappointments for Arrival.
  • Alien invasion films haven’t always done well in the past three years. January’s The Fifth Wave made only $34.9 million, Earth to Echo earned $38.9 million, Ender’s Game notched $61.7 million, and arguably even this summer’s Independence Day: Resurgence was still largely deemed a disappointment despite its $103.1 million gross, considering its high expectations and the huge success of its predecessor.

Almost Christmas (Universal)



  • The holiday movie with a largely African-American cast has been attracting surprising buzz online, especially on Facebook where it has been attracting more “likes” than expected. (Although still far less than for Doctor Strange or Arrival.)
  • Fellow Christmas movies aimed at an African-American audience in the past few years have included Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas which earned $52.5 million and The Best Man Holiday which made $70.5 million. Both sums were good considering their low-to-mid-range budgets, and would definitely be considered successful amounts for Almost Christmas as well.


  • To be fair, those two films also had the added advantages of the Madea series and a sequel factor as a follow-up to The Best Man, neither of which this movie has. So it may be hard for Almost to match either of those sums.
  • Although it’s the 2016 season’s first Christmas movie, it won’t be the last, as both Office Christmas Party and Bad Santa 2 will be coming out shortly thereafter. Office in particular has potential to really cut into Almost‘s earnings. In fact, by coming out so early on November 11, Almost seems likely to have disappeared from many — if not most — theaters by around December 15-25, when Office and Bad could still be holding strong.

Shut In (EuropaCorp)


  • The thriller is about a widowed woman  caring for her paralyzed son during a winter snowstorm, when she begins to suspect that somebody unwanted may be residing inside their house. That kind of horror/thriller premise of “unwanted guests” has performed surprisingly well this year as the plot of Don’t Breathe.
  • Naomi Watts plays the lead star. She’s always been more loved by awards voters than audiences, having never been much of a huge box office draw for an A-lister. Still, Watts is a bigger name than these kinds of horror movies usually star — other hit horror/thriller films this year like Don’t Breathe and Lights Out didn’t have any star power at all.


  • The distributor is the relatively newly-launched EuropaCorp, which has yet to achieve a true hit. Their two other wide releases to date have been August’s Nine Lives which earned $19.7 million and last year’s The Transporter Refueled with $16.0 million. Shut In, if anything, may do even worse than those two titles.

Boxoffice Pro forecasts that the top 10 films this weekend will earn $122.74 million total. That would be 31.0 percent higher than the $93.63 million earned by the top 10 films on this same weekend last year, when Spectre led the box office for a second straight weekend with $33.68 million. It would also be 32.0 percent behind the $180.66 million earned by the top 10 films last weekend.

Check out the official Boxoffice Pro weekend forecast in the table below. Shawn Robbins, Jesse Rifkin, and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.

Title Distributor Weekend Cumulative total through Sun. 11/13/16
Doctor Strange Disney $38,000,000 $148,000,000
Trolls Fox $26,000,000 $87,900,000
Almost Christmas Universal $16,500,000 $16,500,000
Arrival Paramount $16,000,000 $16,000,000
Hacksaw Ridge Lionsgate $9,110,000 $30,410,000
The Accountant Warner Bros. $3,990,000 $76,910,000
Boo! A Madea Halloween Lionsgate $3,870,000 $70,970,000
Shut In EuropaCorp $3,500,000 $3,500,000
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Paramount $3,000,000 $54,240,000
Inferno Sony / Columbia $2,770,000 $31,060,000