When J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls debuted in September at the Toronto Film Festival, it did so to solid buzz and even some awards chatter. Much of that talk seems to have dissipated from nearly four months ago and the pic may struggle to find an audience when it opens wide next weekend.
Based on an acclaimed 2011 novel by Patrick Ness, Calls mixes science fiction elements with tearjerker family drama in this tale of a monstrous creature helping a young boy deal with his grief. Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson (voicing the title character) star.
As mentioned, most reviews have been encouraging (it’s at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes). Yet I wonder what segment of the movie going public will turn out for this. The film was originally scheduled for an October stateside debut before being pushed back. Sci-fi genre fans have had plenty to feast on lately and Underworld: Blood Wars opens against it. A female crowd that might get drawn in by the family drama angle could be put off with the mystical elements. The early January release date doesn’t inspire much hope that Focus Features has tremendous confidence in it.
Festival word-of-mouth aside, I’ll predict A Monster Calls struggles to reach a mid single digits reception. At least director Bayona can take comfort that his next feature, 2018’s Jurassic World sequel, will likely gross at least 50 times what this might in its opening weekend.
A Monster Calls opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million
For my Underworld: Blood Wars prediction, click here:
For my Hidden Figures prediction, click here: