Weekend Forecast: Can Ford v Ferrari, Charlie’s Angels, or The Good Liar Help Relieve Box Office Doldrums?

There’s no getting around the need for a weekend with better box office news than we’ve had recently. Month-to-date, this November is down 23 percent from the same period one year ago, marking a four-year low and the third lowest November start since 2011. Coming off last week’s first full November frame in 20 years not to see at least one film earn $20 million, the industry is eager to begin looking forward as a more promising holiday slate looms on the horizon.

It begins this weekend, hopefully, with the release of Ford v Ferrari. Star power from Matt Damon and Christian Bale should be a major strength behind this original film from James Mangold. The director, like his leading men, is no stranger to adult-driven success at the box office with films like Logan, Walk the Line, and 3:10 to Yuma under his belt.

Excitement from car enthusiasts and a yearning for crowd-pleasing, fun, and smart cinema could help send Ford v Ferrari past expectations. The film’s premium large format footprint is significant with 350 IMAX screens, 650 branded PLF screens, and 330 D-Box/4D/ScreenX locations. Still, distributor Disney (whom inherited the movie from Fox) is remaining cautious in the current box office climate, expecting a debut in the high teen millions this weekend.

Our more bullish models, however, are relying on the aforementioned strengths of this being the kind of well-marketed, strongly reviewed, non-franchise film audiences are craving. That’s especially true in middle America and regions away from major cities, where a blue collar, classic American underdog story could find (and often has found) significant appeal.

With the usual caveats about tracking these days, we see reason to lean more toward bullish models for this film in particular as it’s compared well with titles like Murder on the Orient Express, Baby Driver, and Sully in pre-release observations.

On the flip side, Charlie’s Angels has trended quite modestly in recent weeks with no improvement in sight. The reboot is struggling to attract its target audience in pre-release tracking despite the strong female presence on display in marketing. Barring any major surprises, the franchise revival is likely to become the latest victim of IP overload in a year that’s seen its fair share of it. This is the third adaptation based on a television series that preceded it, and it also follows the failed (but unrelated) 2011 series reboot.

The bright side for Angels could be the star names of Kristen Stewart, director Elizabeth Banks, and the rising talent of Naomi Scott (Aladdin). The holiday corridor may also be conducive to some staying power if positive word of mouth can spread. Still, with Frozen II on the horizon next week, and the big Disney+ streaming service launch this week, the audience that might normally show up in bigger numbers for this kind of film has a variety of options keeping them busy. Social media metrics have reflected that with the film generating only modest impact in recent months.

Meanwhile, The Good Liar will hope to attract adult moviegoers of a certain age with veteran stars Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen on screen together for the first time. Mixed reviews and last week’s over-performance from Midway (plus Ford v Ferrari‘s older male appeal) may hold it back from our more optimistic forecasts in recent weeks. Again, though, it’s a film that should be relying more on audience appeal and staying power beyond opening weekend.

In general, family-driven titles should experience relatively soft drops this weekend with no direct competition coming up, while adult male-driven titles are likely to be hit hardest.

Opening Weekend Ranges

  • Ford v Ferrari ($25 – 35 million)
  • Charlie’s Angels ($10 – 17 million)
  • The Good Liar ($4 – 9 million)

Top 10 v. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will decline approximately 38 – 43 percent from the same weekend last year. That weekend was led by the $62.2 million debut of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald with strong holdover business from The Grinch ($38.6 million second frame) and Bohemian Rhapsody ($16.0 million third frame) driving a $161.4 million top ten aggregate.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, November 17 % Change from Last Wknd
Ford v Ferrari Fox $32,000,000 $32,000,000 NEW
Charlie’s Angels (2019) Sony / Columbia $13,200,000 $13,200,000 NEW
Midway Lionsgate $8,500,000 $34,100,000 -53%
Playing with Fire Paramount $7,200,000 $24,300,000 -43%
Doctor Sleep Warner Bros. $6,500,000 $25,100,000 -54%
The Good Liar Warner Bros. $6,300,000 $6,300,000 NEW
Last Christmas Universal $6,200,000 $22,200,000 -46%
Joker Warner Bros. $6,000,000 $323,300,000 -35%
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Disney $5,300,000 $106,200,000 -37%
Terminator: Dark Fate Paramount $5,000,000 $57,500,000 -54%

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday

The chart above excludes releases and potential expansions from limited and platform films

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