Free Birds (Nov. 1): The first animated movie from Relativity Media may hold well, though its opening weekend ($15.8 million) was too low to put it in serious consideration for a spot in the Top 12. Ultimately, it should close with around $60 million.
Last Vegas (Nov. 1): With its strong appeal among older audiences, Last Vegas will likely have a long run. Still, coming off a $16.3 million opening, that puts it on pace for a final tally of $60 million or so at best.
About Time (Nov. 1 limited, Nov. 8 nationwide): This time travel romance is from the director of Love Actually, which is the major selling point of Universal's marketing. Unfortunately, it now looks like this is the type of modest British comedy that will find a much bigger audience on home video and TV than it will in theaters.
The Best Man Holiday (Nov. 15): The original Best Man earned $34.1 million in 1999; adjusted for inflation, that's $54 million, which is likely the high point for this Christmas-centric sequel.
Delivery Man (Nov. 22): Vince Vaughn has appeared in a string of box office disappointments over the past few years—The Internship, The Watch and The Dilemma all earned less than $50 million domestically. While Delivery Man's premise may interest some, the movie's performance does hinge largely on Vaughn's brand, and it's hard to imagine it does much than those previous movies.
Black Nativity (Nov. 27): This musical tells the story of the nativity with an entirely black cast, and will likely be a strong option with urban Christian audiences over the holidays. That's a very specific audience, though, and that fact will likely keep the movie from really breaking out.
Homefront (Nov. 27): Jason Statham's solo outings never had a high ceiling, but recent outings like Safe ($17.1 million) and Parker ($17.6 million) have done particularly weak business. Even with James Franco and an overtly patriotic spin, it's unlikely that this cracks $30 million.
Oldboy (Nov. 27): Spike Lee's remake of the cult classic Korean movie is certainly intriguing, though it's likely to be too violent for Thanksgiving audiences. Add in direct competition from Homefront, and it's unlikely this comes anywhere close to the Top 12.
Out of the Furnace (Dec. 6): The first weekend of December is historically one of the slowest of the year, and delivers some of the weakest openings. It doesn't help that Out of the Furnace shares an audience with Oldboy and Homefront, and also that fans of Christian Bale will likely be holding out to see him in American Hustle.
Inside Llewyn Davis (Dec. 6 limited, Dec. 20 expansion): The Coen Bros. are coming off their biggest hit ever (True Grit) and aren't very far removed from their multiple Oscar wins for No Country for Old Men. Even with great reviews, a strong cast and a well-timed folk music soundtrack, it still feels like Inside Llewyn Davis is destined to be one of their lower-grossing outings. It is absolutely going to earn more than A Serious Man ($9.2 million), though it would be surprising if it matched O Brother, Where Art Thou? ($45.5 million).
Walking with Dinosaurs (Dec. 20): This animated movie resembles a nature documentary—if, you know, dinosaurs walked the earth—though it is apparently a narrative feature with voice actors. It should do some solid business among families with younger children, though in a highly-competitive season this is the kind of movie that can get lost in the pack.
Her (Dec. 20 limited, Jan. 10 nationwide): Spike Jonze's vision of romance in the future should intrigue some arthouse audiences, though it's unlikely to reach a broader audience during its theatrical run.
47 Ronin (Dec. 25): As World War Z proved this Summer, general audiences don't really care about troubled productions if the movie looks appealing. And Universal did put together a solid second trailer for 47 Ronin which made it look like a cross between Lord of the Rings and a Kurosawa movie. Still, The Hobbit will likely be the primary choice for fantasy audiences this season, which will keep 47 Ronin from making much of an impact. It won't be a total loser, though, as its foreign potential is quite high ($200 million seems like a safe bet).
Believe (Dec. 25): Justin Bieber's first documentary, 2011's Never Say Never, earned a very impressive $73 million. That had the advantage of 3D ticket pricing, and came out at the height of Bieber's popularity, so it would be shocking if Believe came anywhere close to that total.
Labor Day (Dec. 25 limited, Jan. 31 nationwide): Director Jason Reitman has two strong box office hits under his belt (Juno and Up in the Air), though Young Adult's poor box office suggests his name alone isn't enough to draw crowds. Labor Day should have some appeal among adult audiences, though its ultimate fate is likely dependent on whether or not it gets any serious awards attention.
Lone Survivor (Dec. 27 limited, Jan. 10 nationwide): This true military story, set during the war in Afghanistan, is likely hoping to be this year's Black Hawk Down or Zero Dark Thirty. It doesn't look quite as distinct as either of those, though, and at best it will probably wind up earning about as much as Act of Valor ($70 million).
A handful of other intriguing movies are opening in limited release during the season, including Dallas Buyers Club (Nov. 1), The Book Thief (Nov. 8), Nebraska (Nov. 15), Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Nov. 29) and August: Osage County (Dec. 25). The performance of these movies is largely dependent on how hard the studios push them—which is unclear right now—and whether or not they receive serious awards consideration.
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