Blogger’s Note (12/19): Just hours before its premiere, I am revising my Skywalker estimate from $206.4M to $191.4M.
Hollywood looks for the force to be strong at the box office this weekend as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker rolls into the galaxy. We also have the cinematic version of the famed Broadway musical Cats and the nationwide expansion of the Fox News harassment story Bombshell. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:
The big question with Skywalker is whether it can match the $220 million earned out of the gate by predecessor The Last Jedi in 2017. Most signs are pointing to no and some prognosticators have it earning under $200 million. I’m giving this franchise the benefit of the doubt and putting it just over that.
Cats is a question mark. Much of the buzz about the Tom Hooper adaptation has been negative. That said, there’s high familiarity with the source material and having Taylor Swift in the cast can’t hurt, right? I’m projecting a low teens beginning and we shall see where the buzz takes it from there over the holidays.
Bombshell is coming off a better than expected performance with SAG Award nominations and an impressive limited release rollout. Yet it’s not uncommon for these Oscar bait titles to start slowly and perform well over subsequent weekends. I expect that should be the case here.
As for holdovers, Jumanji: The Next Level exceeded guesstimates (including my own) and proved that this franchise is still vibrant. With the Star Wars competition, a drop of 50% is likely. Look for a sturdy rebound over Christmas. Frozen II should fall in the mid 40s and stay in double digits.
And with that, my take on the top five:
1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Predicted Gross: $191.4 million
2. Jumanji: The Next Level
Predicted Gross: $26.8 million
Predicted Gross: $14.5 million
4. Frozen II
Predicted Gross $11 million
Predicted Gross: $6.9 million
Box Office Results (December 13-15)
It was a lucky weekend for Jumanji: The Next Level as the video game centric family adventure made $59.2 million, easily exceeding my $48.7 million prediction. As mentioned, that puts the Sony series on the absolute highest end of estimates and we can certainly expect a third pairing of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and company.
Frozen II dropped to second after three weeks on top with $19 million, right in line with my $18.9 million forecast. The Disney sequel is up to $366 million.
Knives Out was third with $9.1 million, on target with my $8.8 million projection. Total is $78 million after three weeks.
The weekend’s other newbies had very unlucky frames. Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell was a massive flop. Earning just $4.6 million (way under my $11 million take), it marks a troubling low for director Clint Eastwood. The “A” Cinemascore grade could cushion drops in coming weekends, but with a $45 million budget, there’s no way to salvage this.
Black Christmas was a giant lump of coal with just $4.2 million. I was considerably higher at $12.1 million. Horror fans simply didn’t turn out. The saving grace is a reported $5 million budget. The small number of moviegoers who did see it gave it a dismal D+ Cinemascore.
And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…