Weekend Forecast: ‘The Light Between Oceans’ & ‘Morgan’

The long Labor Day weekend is upon us yet again with two new wide releases vying for relevancy amongst a crowded slate of holdovers and expanding releases. Disney will unveil their drama The Light Between Oceans based on the novel of the same name from M. L. Stedman while Fox will release their sci-fi thriller Morgan toplined by Kate Mara.

The Labor Day long weekend has traditionally been the worst of the holidays at the box office in terms of revenue with only three films all time ever breaking $20 million over the four days. Based on the early signs here neither of these two new releases will have the steam to even challenge the $10 million mark.

The Light Between Two Oceans

PROS:

– Early projected award buzz is strong,  including potential Best Actress and Best Actor nods for Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender. Vikander won Best Supporting Actress last year for The Danish Girl and Fassbender received a Best Actor nomination for Steve Jobs. Both are at the top of their game in the business with Fassbender being a focal point in the summer blockbuster X-Men: Apocalypse and also has the upcoming December tentpole Assassins Creed. On the other hand Vikander’s career has been skyrocketing in recent years, especially after her aforementioned Oscar win last year and this Summer’s Jason Bourne greatly increasing her notoriety with North American audiences.

– To add to the film’s intrigue and romantic appeal Fassbender and Vikander have also been dating since filming wrapped at the end of 2014 and have been a staple of tabloid and gossip sites since, which only adds to its drawing power and awareness amongst its target audience.

– The novel by M.L. Stedman, from which the film is adapted, made the New York Times bestsellers list and has resided there for 63 weeks so far.

CONS:

– The subject matter will likely strike audiences as depressing: a couple who adopts a lost baby girl following the wife’s miscarriage and a stillborn, only to inadvertently ruin the lives of the adopted child’s birth parents as a result. Its subject matter will likely make it a one-quadrant film with older women making up the lion’s share of its ticket sales which should greatly limit its potential.

– The film has sat on a shelf for almost two years which is usually (though not always) a red flag for how it is going to be received by critics and audiences alike. Early reviews on Rotten Tomatoes have been mixed with a grade of 55% fresh at present.

Morgan

PROS:

– The blending of genres — part science fiction, part thriller, part horror — could appeal to several different audiences and demographics.

– Prior to filming, the screenplay had made the 2014 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays. If word of mouth remains good, the film could have a solid hold.

CONS:

– Contrary to its co-opener this week lead star Kate Mara is hardly a box office draw, having never top-lined a $10 million opener in her career to date.

– Buzz has been especially weak for the film given the genre and subject matter which should appeal to a wide cross section of people. It has failed to even reach 25,000 Facebook likes so far, half of the total for The Light Between Oceans.

Top 10 Forecast

BoxOffice Pro forecasts this weekend’s top ten films will generate $72.2 million. That would mark an 20% increase from last year’s $60 million when War Room had a very strong sophomore hold to take the weekly crown away from Straight Outta Compton which was denied a fourth straight lead.

Check out our complete weekend forecast below.

Title Distributor Weekend Domestic Total through
Monday, September 5
Don’t Breathe Sony / Screen Gems $16,200,000 $52,500,000
Suicide Squad Warner Bros. $8,570,000 $296,000,000
Kubo and the Two Strings Focus Features $7,450,000 $35,400,000
Morgan Fox $6,900,000 $6,900,000
Pete’s Dragon (2016) Buena Vista $6,700,000 $64,350,000
The Light Between Oceans Buena Vista $5,900,000 $5,900,000
Bad Moms STX Entertainment $5,690,000 $103,290,000
Sausage Party Sony / Columbia $5,420,000 $89,060,000
War Dogs Warner Bros. $4,920,000 $35,450,000
Hell Or Highwater  CBS Films $4,500,000 $14,500,000