The early portion of holiday box office season marches on this weekend with three new wide releases, the leader of which will easily be Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch as it’s expected to debut north of $60 million.
Universal and Illumination’s new take on the classic Christmas tale has been trending strongly ahead of release with Twitter trends more than doubling the week-of-release mentions of the studio’s own Despicable Me 3 and Fox’s Peanuts Movie. The latter could be a significant sign toward breakout potential since that film also opened in November, but faced off with a tentpole opener (Spectre) on the same weekend. Despite middling reviews thus far, measured sentiment across those mentions for The Grinch has been increasingly positive this week.
As noted with previous reports, though, Grinch‘s nature as a film positioned for strong legs over the next two months could result in less upfront demand than recent animated blockbusters. The film’s traditional industry tracking metrics actually are not far off the pace of fellow Illumination releases Sing and The Secret Life of Pets, while also registering significantly higher than Disney’s Zootopia. For a more grounded expectation, though, our Trailer Impact surveys indicate interest levels slightly ahead of Hotel Transylvania 3.
The added difficulty in forecasting a film of this sort centers on the fact younger audiences are among the most difficult to accurately represent in social media and surveyed tracking.
While a debut in the $50 million-plus realm (which is Universal’s expectation) would be a great start for the film due to the holiday runway, we think the brand name, Benedict Cumberbatch’s growing stardom in recent years, and the lack of a four-quadrant animated option since summer are factors that could swing Grinch‘s debut into more bullish territory. Stronger than typical family business on Sunday due to Monday’s observed Veteran’s Day holiday could give the film a chance at cracking The Incredibles‘ $70.5 million debut in 2004, which still stands as the biggest three-day animation opening of all-time in the month of November.
Also debuting this weekend are Paramount’s Overlord and Sony’s The Girl In the Spider’s Web. The former of the two has been trending similarly to Bad Times at the El Royale, while the latter is noticeably behind the pace of Red Sparrow and similar to Annihilation. With Girl‘s mixed tracking signals, there could be a close finish between that pic and Bad Robot’s well-reviewed thriller aiming to attract genre fans.
Meanwhile, Bohemian Rhapsody could score a solid hold thanks to positive word of mouth after its excellent $51.1 million opening last weekend. A loss of IMAX and PLF screens to The Grinch will likely result in more revenue drop-off than is typical for an adult-driven hit, but the film otherwise will remain the leader in the market for the older audience.
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice forecasts this weekend’s top ten films will earn around $148 million. That would represent a 7 percent increase from the same weekend last year, which saw Daddy’s Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express post solid debuts in the wake of Thor: Ragnarok‘s big second frame as part of an overall $137.9 million top ten haul.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, November 11||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch||Universal||$69,000,000||$69,000,000||NEW|
|The Nutcracker and the Four Realms||Disney||$10,000,000||$36,900,000||-51%|
|The Girl In the Spider’s Web||Sony / Columbia||$8,300,000||$8,300,000||NEW|
Note: A previous version of this report cited a 2,400 estimated location count for The Girl In the Spider’s Web. Sony’s final count as of Thursday is 2,929, although our box office forecast remains unchanged from the initial publication.
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