Thursday, December 12 Update: Please note we’ve slightly revised the Jumanji: The Next Level forecast upward in the chart below.
Wednesday, December 11 Report: Another relatively healthy December weekend appears to be on deck with three new releases entering the market in an effort to get a lead jump on the Christmas and New Year’s corridors — not to mention next week’s highly anticipated release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which looms large over the industry’s end-of-year prospects right now.
This week’s headliner is Jumanji: The Next Level, the follow-up to 2017’s surprise blockbuster, Welcome to the Jungle. There is very little expectation this sequel (the third entry in the franchise, which began in 1995) will be able to match the long-term performance of its direct predecessor, but it’s still positioned to enjoy a lengthy holiday run on the back of four-quadrant appeal.
Pre-release tracking has subsided from slightly more bullish expectations in recent months. This is partly due to the fact that the aforementioned Star Wars release — and the time of year, in general — throw numerous wrenches into forecasting models. While interest is noticeably high for The Next Level in the grand scheme of things, identifiable “intent to see” is much more challenging to gauge with regard to the first few days of release.
Nearly all schools will still be in session for another week, meaning a back-loaded domestic performance should again be expected for this Jumanji. The previous entry proved to be a leggy phenom as it remained in the top ten for 12 consecutive weekends two years ago. Repeating that isn’t likely on the table, but a lot will come down to word of mouth for this and the Star Wars release. Initial critics’ reviews for Level are mostly positive, and catching spillover crowds from Skywalker‘s inevitable holiday sellouts will be another advantage as Jumanji will stand as the next best choice for many patrons.
Of additional note, The Next Level‘s opening weekend forecasts have come down to earth somewhat given marketing’s impact on tracking models. The general impression that this film will be repeating the same formula of the previous movie has softened anticipation among older audiences, but family appeal remains very encouraging.
Meanwhile, Black Christmas is taking advantage of the “Friday the 13th” positioning on the calendar. As another remake, it might not capture the same upfront demand as Krampus did four years ago around this time, but the PG-13 rating should go a long way toward attracting teen audiences with a horror genre pic that faces practically no direct competition right now.
Rounding out the openers, Richard Jewell should get off to a healthy start this weekend as director Clint Eastwood’s latest project — on which we continue to appoint as a “sleeper hit” contender this holiday season. Comparisons to last year’s The Mule aren’t entirely fair given his and Bradley Cooper’s star presences in that film, but current models do compare favorably with Eastwood’s prior directorial effort, The 15:17 to Paris. With several weeks of holiday play and potential award season discussion on the table, legs should develop quickly after opening weekend. We particularly expect strong turnout in the coming weeks from blue collar regions of the country, often overlooked by traditional industry tracking and where this film in particularly will resonate.
Among holdovers, Frozen II and Knives Out will again be the top stories. The former will lose premium and IMAX screens to the Jumanji sequel — while also sharing some crossover target family audience — while the latter will only face modest competition for adult viewers.
Queen & Slim could also prove to generate a strong hold this weekend, provided a strong theater retention, with no direct competition entering the market.
Weekend Ranges & Final Forecasts
- Black Christmas ($9 – 14 million opening / $25 – 35 million domestic total)
- Jumanji: The Next Level ($35 – 50 million opening / $175 – 225 million domestic total)
- Richard Jewell ($9 – 14 million opening / $60 – 80 million domestic total)
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will increase approximately 3 to 8 percent from the same weekend one year ago. That frame was led by debuts from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ($35.4 million), The Mule ($17.5 million), and Mortal Engines ($7.6 million) as part of an overall $101.6 million top ten aggregate.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, December 15||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Jumanji: The Next Level||Sony / Columbia||$42,000,000||$42,000,000||NEW|
|Richard Jewell||Warner Bros.||$10,900,000||$10,900,000||NEW|
|Queen & Slim||Universal||$4,400,000||$34,000,000||-34%|
|Ford v Ferrari||Fox||$4,300,000||$98,100,000||-35%|
|A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood||Sony / Columbia||$3,400,000||$49,000,000||-35%|
|Dark Waters||Focus Features||$2,500,000||$9,400,000||-37%|
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday
The chart above excludes releases and potential expansions from limited and platform films