Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.
For a recap of last week’s box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from Inferno‘s opening weekend and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.
Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of November 4 – 6, 2016.
This weekend, Doctor Strange plays 3,882 theaters, Trolls plays in 4,060 locations, and Hacksaw Ridge opens in 2,886 theaters.
#1 – Doctor Strange
The easy pick for first place this week is Doctor Strange (read our review), the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just about every film in the franchise to date has been successful both critically and commercial, with Strange being no exception. The movie was the beneficiary of strong word-of-mouth, with many praising its state-of-the-art visuals that demand to be seen on the big screen. It was always going to do well in its opening weekend, but that factor may encourage more casual viewers to check it out, which will raise the numbers. Doctor Strange is already surpassing fellow MCU origin story Ant-Man based off of the Thursday preview screenings, so the combination of an enthusiastic response and fan-favorite Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be a winning one.
With Strange all but a lock for the #1 spot, the only drama left is how high will it go. Earlier this week, projections suggested anywhere between $60-75 million, but some analysts are saying as much as $88 million for the weekend. Marvel was smart about where they positioned their new film on the release calendar. It’s been a while since there was a major studio tentpole that general audiences were excited to see, and Doctor Strange is right smack in the middle of a sweet spot. It’s poised to get off to a great start and have a lucrative run.
#2 – Trolls
Our choice for second is Trolls (read our review), which is the newest movie from DreamWorks Animation. The studio has found a great deal of success over the years, with Kung Fu Panda 3 bringing in a nice haul back in January. Though their box office numbers rarely rival those of Pixar, DreamWorks has built a nice brand for itself and is one of the go-to providers for family entertainment. Some of the marketing materials for Trolls have made sure to mention Shrek, which of course is DreamWorks’ most popular and recognizable property. That association makes for a nice selling point.
Few things can compete with the machine that is Marvel, so Trolls‘ best case scenario is a silver medal finish in its opening weekend. Thankfully, it has enough working in its favor that it should still have a fruitful first three days. For starters, the critical response has (arguably surprisingly) been positive, with many finding a strong, positive message at the film’s heart. There’s also been a dry spell recently for programming in this particular demographic, with Storks never really catching on. Trolls could definitely fill a void with its colorful design and catchy soundtrack. Projections have it pegged for $39.5 million, which is in the neighborhood of Kung Fu Panda 3.
#3 – Hacksaw Ridge
Coming in third should be Hacksaw Ridge (read our review), the war drama from director Mel Gibson starring Andrew Garfield. The film sports an interesting true story (Garfield’s character Desmond Doss was a conscientious objector fighting in World War II) and has received very positive reviews from critics. Several have been compelled by its gripping, emotional narrative and strong performances. Hacksaw Ridge is also seen as a fringe Oscar contender, so that buzz could bring in cinephiles. While it doesn’t have a chance against Doctor Strange or Trolls, the film should prove to be a successful counter-programming option for older moviegoers and history buffs. It’s estimated to make $12.5 million in its first three days.
#4 – Boo! A Madea Halloween
The two-time champ, Boo! A Madea Halloween, should fall to fourth in its third weekend. The holiday-themed comedy was able to score large numbers when people were getting ready for Halloween, but now that attention has turned to Thanksgiving (and Christmas), there won’t be much demand for it anymore. Still, Lionsgate has to be pleased with the way the movie performed.
#5 – Inferno
Rounding out the top five should be Inferno (read our review), which bombed in its opening weekend with just $14.8 million, well below expectations. The interest clearly isn’t there, and it will start to fade out now.
Last Week’s Recap
Next Week: Doctor Strange, Arrival, and more!