It was a light weekend in the Fall Movie League and at the box office. Inferno was the only major release and it underperformed so badly that it came in 2nd place behind Boo! A Madea Halloween. That is quite the fall from grace for a franchise that started off with The Da Vinci Code. That movie was a decade ago, so maybe they’ll finally get the hint that the moment has passed for Dan Brown’s “famous symbologist” Robert Langdon. Inferno only made $14.9 million and received poor reviews, generating a 21% T-meter from 180 reviews. That gives Paula only $3.1 in revenue which is disappointing for being a $10 movie.
Because of the quiet weekend, there were no changes in the standings. That will change starting this weekend, and really, there is pretty much a significant release from now through the end of the year, more or less. Business is about to pick up.
It’s much busier this coming weekend. There are three releases in the form of Doctor Strange, Trolls, and Hacksaw Ridge. Strange is already all but assured to be the #1 movie at the box office and Trolls #2. The only question is what their totals will be. I’ve seen predictions range from $65 to $88 million for Strange. It’s received very favorable reviews so far, sitting at 90% through 115 reviews. It seems to be another Marvel success story from a creative standpoint, the only thing potentially hampering it is how much mass appeal a secondary Marvel character has at the box office. For what it’s worth, Ant-Man was released at the peak of the summer season and its opening weekend was only $57 million.
Coincidentally, it also had an animated, family-friendly film to compete with in the form of Minions. As that was a more established property, it makes sense that it cut into opening weekend earning of Ant-Man a bit more than we can expect Trolls to do. Even though Trolls has a better T-meter (76%) than Minions had (56%), it will likely do less business than Minions. Projections are somewhere in the $30-40 million range.
Hacksaw Ridge is projected to be anywhere from $10 million to the upper teens if the faith-based community comes out for it. Mel Gibson’s previous directorial effort, Apocalypto, opened with a $15 million weekend, which went on to make $50 million. That was a decade and a few highly publicized dirty laundry airings ago. Has enough time passed for people to be open to Mel Gibson in some way? Based on the 43 reviews already out for it, the critics have high praise for it with a 91% T-meter. I desperately need it to find an audience and have some staying power after misjudging The Birth of a Nation and The Girl on the Train. If there’s a recent box office comp I need Hacksaw Ridge to be similar to, perhaps it is 2014’s Fury, a WWII movie released that Fall that made $85 million.
In other news, we’ve had a few rosters moves that need to be mentioned. Paula, who had Rings pushed back from an October release to early 2017 replaced it with Collateral Beauty, a film that was previously on Joe’s roster, but was dropped for Allied. Greg, after seeing the tepid reviews for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (47% reviews), decided to drop it for Fences, an adapted play starring Denzel Washington that comes out Christmas Day. Denzel also directs it. Because Greg had no money left over from the auction, he takes a $5 million penalty for picking up this movie to replace Billy Lynn, whose halftime walk just got a little bit longer.
Frankly, I’m surprised that there is a movie out there that no one has chosen to pick up yet by a director who has not had a non-documentary feature film make less than $70 million since 2000. Hindsight being 20/20, I certainly would have dropped The Birth of a Nation for this film if I had it to do over again. As this is a competition, I’m going to refrain from coming right out and saying what that film is, but any enterprising soul should be able to figure out what movie and director I’m talking about.
1. Joe – $123.8 million
$13 The Magnificent Seven (9/23) – (63% X $91.2 = $57.5)
$5 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (9/30) – (64% X $80 = $51.2)
$8 Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (10/21) – (38% X $39.8 = $15.1)
$12 Arrival (11/11) (100%) (51 reviews)
$5 Allied (11/23)
$9 Office Christmas Party (12/9)
2. Paula – $78.1 million
$7 Storks (9/23) – (64% X $68.3 = $43.7)
$9 The Accountant (10/14) – (51% X $61.3 = $31.3)
$10 Inferno (10/28) – (21% X $14.9 = $3.1)
$27 Doctor Strange (11/4) – (90%) (113 reviews)
$1 Edge of Seventeen (11/18) (92%) (13 reviews)
$0 Collateral Beauty (12/15)
4. Me – $40.2 million
$6 The Birth of a Nation (10/7) (74% X $15.1 = $11.2)
$14 The Girl on the Train (10/7) (44% X $66 = $29)
$9 Hacksaw Ridge (11/4) (91%) (43 reviews)
$8 La La Land (12/2) (96%) (52 reviews)
$1 Patriots Day (12/21)
$19 Passengers (12/21)
5.Tim – $28.1 million
$1 Masterminds (9/30) – (32% X $17.3 = $5.5)
$1 Keeping Up With the Joneses (10/21) – (21% X $10.8 = $2.3)
$1 Ouija: Origin of Evil (10/21) – (82% X $24.7 = $20.3)
$37 Moana (11/25)
$19 Sing (12/21) (88%) (9 reviews)
$1 Why Him (12/21)
6. Greg – -$5 million
$15 Trolls (11/4) – (76%) (51 reviews)
$2 Bad Santa 2 (11/26)
$38 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (12/16)
$1 A Monster Calls (12/23) (83%) (48 reviews)
$0 Fences (12/25) (-$5 million penalty)
$1 Gold (12/30)