Opening at 1,789 theaters, Beyond the Lights should take fourth place this weekend with around $10 million.
The movie stars up-and-comer Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a pop star struggling with the pressures of fame, while Nate Parker stars as a cop who she becomes involved with romantically. The movie has received very positive reviews—as of Thursday afternoon, it was at 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes—and will likely appeal mostly to older women.
This is the third movie from director Gina Prince-Bythewood, who previously directed Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees. Those movies opened to $8.1 million and $10.5 million, respectively; a debut in that range seems likely for Beyond the Lights.
Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas opens at 410 locations this weekend. As the title suggests, the movie attempts to save the Christmas holiday from our consumerist society; the trailer ends with the line "together, let's put Christ back in Christmas." That's a message that will likely resonate with Cameron's predominantly-Christian fan base.
In 2008, Cameron's Fireproof averaged $8,148 per-theater; if Saving Christmas matches that, it will reach $3.3 million this weekend. A more reasonable expectation would be somewhere in the $2 million range, which would give it a shot at cracking the Top 12.
Rosewater, Jon Stewart's writing and directing debut, opens in 371 theaters this weekend. Stewart is best-known for anchoring Comedy Central's The Daily Show for the past 15 years; during that time, he's developed a massive fanbase, most of whom should be aware of Rosewater (he took a much-publicized break from the show in order to shoot the movie last year).
In an effort to connect with those fans, Thursday night screenings of Rosewater will feature a simulcast Q&A with Stewart and fellow Comedy Central all-star Stephen Colbert. That's a strong way to kick things off, and virtually guarantees at least $1 million worth of ticket sales for the three-day weekend (which will include those late Thursday grosses).
Almost a year after it was originally scheduled to open, Foxcatcher will finally be released in six theaters this weekend. The movie is headlined by the all-star trio of Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, and has been receiving very positive reviews (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). A per-theater average north of $50,000 seems like a foregone conclusion this weekend.
Opening at four locations, The Homesman stars Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones (who also wrote and directed the movie). The Western has received generally positive reviews (76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and should appeal to the older moviegoers who frequent these New York/Los Angeles theaters. It could be held back a bit by the tough competition, though: it's hard to see many people opting for this over Foxcatcher and The Theory of Everything.
Birdman expands nationwide to 857 theaters after earning over $8.9 million in limited release. Based on its recent performance, a weekend in the $2-to-$3 million range seems likely.
After earning over $1.5 million in limited release, Whiplash expands to 419 locations this weekend. The movie has received rave reviews and great word-of-mouth, but it's still going to be tough to find a broad audience for a drama about a drummer and his antagonistic teacher. Look for this to earn under $1 million this weekend.
Forecast (November 14-16)
1. Big Hero 6 - $33 million (-41%)
2. Dumb and Dumber To - $29 million
3. Interstellar - $27.5 million (-42%)
4. Beyond the Lights - $11 million
Bar for Success
Anchorman 2 opened to $26.2 million last year, and that was after burning off demand with a Wednesday debut (not to mention the fact that it was opening in December, which notoriously suppresses opening weekend). At an absolute minimum, Dumb and Dumber To ought to be matching that figure. Meanwhile, Beyond the Lights is in great shape if it hits $10 million this weekend.
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