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A Blizzard of New Releases are Hitting Theaters Over Christmas Weekend

by Brad Brevet
 

 
December 19, 2017

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $68 million, Disney and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi remained at #1 for the second weekend in a row, doubling its closest competitor. The film, however, did drop 68% from its opening weekend, but that's not as much as a surprise as it may outwardly seem, particularly due to the lack of business over the weekend, especially on Christmas Eve, for all titles. The film is expected to top $100 million by end of day tomorrow, which is expected to be huge for most all films in release.

In second is Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with an estimated $34 million for the three-day with the film expected to gross nearly $65 million by the end of the day Monday after opening on Wednesday. While this is well ahead of Sony's conservative expectations, you'll notice this is well within Mojo's expectations as laid out in our weekend preview below.

Universal's Pitch Perfect 3 finished third for the three-day with an estimated $20.4 million and is expected to finish around $27 million for the four-day, holiday weekend.

Fox's The Greatest Showman debuted alongside Jumanji on Wednesday and will take fourth for the weekend with an estimated $8.6 million, which is expected to climb to $13.6 million for the three-day for a six-day cume topping $18 million.

Outside the top five, Paramount's Downsizing hasn't had much of an impact with audiences, pulling in just $4.6 million for the three day and expected to finish just over $6 million for its four-day opening.

WB's Father Figures is the last of the weekend's new wide releases and it delivered an estimated $3.2 million for the three day and should add another million or so on Christmas for a $4+ million four-day opening.

Additionally, two films expanded wide over the weekend beginning with Focus' Darkest Hour, which brought in an estimated $4.1 million and expected to reach nearly $6 million for the four-day. Fox Searchlight's The Shape of Water was the weekend's other wide expansion and it brought in an estimated $3 million for the three-day and is expected to reach $4.3 million by the end of the day tomorrow.

You can check out the weekend estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a further update, looking at the four-day holiday weekend.

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Star Wars: The Last Jedi will top the weekend once again, though it's currently looking at a steep, 65% drop or higher with current expectations for a three-day weekend in the range of $68-70 million and a four-day weekend right around $100 million.

Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle brought in an estimated $12.5 million on Friday which brings its cume to $29.1 million after three days as it is now looking at a six-day haul right around $60 million.

Universal's Pitch Perfect 3 debuted in theaters yesterday with an estimated $10.6 million and is expected to bring in around $25 million for the three-day and $35 million for the four-day. The film received an "A-" CinemaScore.

Fox's The Greatest Showman placed fourth on Friday with an estimated $3.1 million putting its three-day cume at $7.7 million as current expectations for a six day haul around $19 million.

Paramount's Downsizing brought in an estimated $2 million on Friday with the studio anticipating $5 million for the three-day and $7 million for the four-day. The film received a rather disappointing "C" CinemaScore.

This weekend's two major expansions performed well with Focus' Darkest Hour bringing in an estimated $1.4 million on Friday, currently looking at a $4.3 million three-day and $6+ million four-day. Fox Searchlight's The Shape of Water brought in an estimated $1.16 million on Friday and is looking at a $3.5 million three-day and a four-day performance right around $5 million.

Finally, WB's release of Father FIgures brought in just $1.36 million on Friday and is looking at a three-day right around $3.5 million and a four-day right around $5 million. The film received a "B-" CinemaScore.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Pitch Perfect 3 grossed $2.1 million from preview screenings beginning at 7PM last night from ~2,600 theaters. This is less than half the $4.6 million Pitch Perfect 2 brought in before debuting with $69.2 million back in 2015.

Paramount's Downsizing played in ~1,900 locations last night and brought in $425,000. One of our comps heading into the weekend was 2016's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which brought in $300k from preview showings in ~1,700 theaters before its $7.45 million three-day opening.

Additionally, Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has now been in theaters for two days and so far grossed $16.6 million. The studio is currently expecting a $30 million five day opening and $45 million six day debut, which includes Christmas Day. Opening day audiences gave the film an "A-" CinemaScore.

Thus far Fox's The Greatest Showman has brought in ~$4.6 million since its Wednesday debut and received an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

We'll continue to update this article throughout the holiday weekend. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEK PREVIEW: Less than two weeks remain in 2017 and in a year that saw the worst summer season in over ten years, 2017 has found strength elsewhere. Thanks to strong results in the spring and fall months and a holiday season that is currently pacing 11.1% ahead of last year*, 2017 should become the third in a row to deliver over $11 billion in domestic grosses.

One obvious factor in the late charge is the near-record opening for Star Wars: The Last Jedi last weekend and, while Last Jedi hopes to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, this coming weekend features no fewer than six new wide releases hitting theaters between now and Christmas Day. Additionally, several limited releases begin to plant their flags including Steven Spielberg's The Post, Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game and Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread along the wide expansion of The Shape of Water and Darkest Hour. Question is, with this many new releases taking up more than 19,000 theaters in the span of just six days have we reached a tipping point?

Before we get too deep into this weekend's preview, due to the nature of the releases over the coming days we won't be offering our traditionally structured forecast at the bottom of this week's forecast. Instead we'll be discussing what to look out for over the holiday frame, which ranges from three to six days depending on how you look at it, starting tomorrow with the Wednesday release of Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Fox's The Greatest Showman.

Jumanji, starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas, is looking to be one of the biggest releases of the holiday season. The film debuts in 3,765 locations tomorrow and Mojo's comps suggest a $64-78 million six-day opening is a possibility, well ahead of Sony's expectation for a $45 million six-day bow, which is more in line with current tracking. And while Sony reports the film will not be holding Tuesday night previews, Jumanji has already brought in nearly $2 million from advanced screenings on Friday, December 8 in ~1,200 locations. The screenings were made available to Amazon Prime members only and the success of those showings suggests incredible interest. The biggest determining factor as to how the film will perform is based largely on competition.

Not only is Jumanji hoping to deliver in the face of The Last Jedi, but Universal will be opening Pitch Perfect 3 on Friday in ~3,400 theaters. We bring Pitch Perfect into the conversation now because a mixture of audience crossover between the three films could spread evenly among them all, or audiences could gravitate toward one film over the others. The question is a matter of what option it will be.

At a glance, the overall family-targeted nature of Jumanji has incredible crossover appeal while Pitch Perfect 3 has sights set firmly on the young female audience. That in mind, Pitch 3 is tracking toward a $28-36 million four day with Universal currently anticipating a $20 million three-day. Looking at IMDb page view data Jumanji has shown significant growth since late November, currently out-pacing Kong: Skull Island ($61m opening) leading up to release as well as Goosebumps ($23.6m opening), Tomorrowland ($33m opening) and Night at the Museum 3 ($17.1m opening). Meanwhile, Pitch Perfect 3 is where you'd expect, pacing behind Pitch Perfect 2 leading up to release, but there was never any real expectation this would match the second film's $69.2 million opening. All told, we're leaning toward the high end of expectations for both releases.

Alongside Jumanji, Fox raises the curtain on The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman, opening in 3,005 theaters. The studio is hoping the film reaches the $20 million in its first six days of release while tracking services have it a couple notches higher, anticipating a debut in the range of $22-25 million. In looking for comparisons, 2014's Annie opened with $15.8 million in its first three-days, Into the Woods was a Christmas Day opener in 2014 and it brought in $46.1 million in its first four days; and 2012's Les Miserables also opened on Christmas and brought in $66.7 million in its first six days. All of which is to say an apples-to-apples comparison is tough to make, but based on IMDb page view data the film is pacing well behind Into the Woods, and closer to films such as Annie and 2014's Jersey Boys ($13.3m opening) suggesting a $22+ million debut is a solid bet.

Another one of Friday's openers is Paramount's release of Alexander Payne's Downsizing starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Kristen Wiig. The film opens in ~2,600 theaters an d has enjoyed solid reviews since premiering at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals earlier this fall. The studio is looking for a $10-12 million opening over the first four days of release while industry tracking is showing similar figures. Those numbers are further supporting when looking at IMDb page view data which shows Downsizing pacing ahead of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ($7.4m three-day) at the same point in the release cycle.

Father Figures is the last of this week's new wide releases between now and Friday. The R-rated WB comedy will debut in ~2,800 locations with a rather wide range in terms of expectations as tracking suggests an opening anywhere from $7-14 million for the four-day. IMDb page view data shows it pacing behind the likes of The Night Before, Keeping Up with the Joneses and last year's R-rated comedy offering Why Him?, all of which points us to the lower end of expectations for the weekend.

Otherwise, look for The Last Jedi to lead the weekend once again. Previous $200+ million openers have dipped anywhere from 40-50% in their second weekend with Star Wars: The Force Awakens dipping just 39.8% in 2015. Given the conflicting response to The Last Jedi since release and the large amount of competition it will be interesting to see if it can drop around 54% or better and deliver a $100+ million sophomore session as it looks to push over $400 million domestically after just ten days in release.

Expanding titles will also be looking to make their mark over the weekend as both Fox Searchlight's The Shape of Water and Focus's Darkest Hour expand into 700+ locations.

Limited releases hitting theaters this week include Steven Spielberg's The Post, which will open in nine locations in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC before expanding nationwide on January 12; Entertainment Studios will release Hostiles starring Christian Bale, Wes Studi and Rosamund Pike into three theaters; and Yash Raj will debut Tiger Zinda Hai into 300+ locations, all starting on Friday.

This leads us to Christmas Day, which should be a strong day for all titles in release and will also see three more releases introduced to theaters. The widest release of the lot will be Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, which will open in ~2,000 locations. Additionally, STX will release Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game starring Jessica Chastain into 250+ locations leading to a nationwide expansion on January 5. Lastly, Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread will open in four locations on Christmas Day.

This post will be updated as preview results come in, and look for a complete recap next week once actuals are posted on the site.

* Data as of December 18

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