It is Christmastime at the box office and multiplexes are offering three new debuts: Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, animated action comedy Spies in Disguise with Will Smith and Tom Holland, and the nationwide expansion of Adam Sandler’s critically heralded crime thriller Uncut Gems. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on all three here:
The holiday falling on a Wednesday makes things quite interesting. For the newbies, you can generally assume the Wednesday and Thursday combined numbers (they all open on Christmas) will roughly equal the Friday to Sunday earnings. I have Women and Spies each in the low teens for the traditional weekend and that means high 20s for the five-day rollouts. I wouldn’t be shocked to see either of them take in a bit more. As for Gems, I believe it could struggle a bit in its wide berth even though it’s posted impressive grosses in limited fashion. My $5.7 million Friday to Sunday projection and $11 million Wednesday to Sunday estimate puts it outside the top five. The other premieres are slated for the four and five spots.
That’s because the current top three may just stay the same. The question isn’t whether Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker stays #1 (it will), but how much it falls in the sophomore frame. Predecessor The Last Jedi plummeted a steep 67% two years ago, but the days of the week for this holiday makes a difference. I’ll project it loses less than half its audience and manages to be in the low 90s range.
Other holdovers around this time of year see increases and I expect that to be the case with family flicks Jumanji: The Next Level and Frozen II. And with that, my Yuletide take on what I expect:
1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Predicted Gross: $92 million
2. Jumanji: The Next Level
Predicted Gross: $37.5 million
3. Frozen II
Predicted Gross: $18 million
4. Little Women
Predicted Gross: $14.8 million (Friday to Sunday); $28.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
5. Spies in Disguise
Predicted Gross: $13.6 million (Friday to Sunday); $27.4 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Box Office Results (December 20-22)
Rare is the picture that can take in more than $175 million out of the gate and be considered somewhat of a letdown. Such is the case with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Suffering a very mixed reaction from critics and even audiences, the ninth official episode in the massive franchise made $177.3 million. That’s under my forecast of $191.4 million and 19% less than what The Last Jedi achieved in 2017. It’s $80 million lower than the haul of The Force Awakens four years ago. As mentioned above, I do anticipate its hold to be sturdier than Jedi. For the weekends that follow, it may not be so lucky.
Jumanji: The Next Level dropped to second with $26.5 million, right on target with my $26.8 million prediction. The sequel crossed the century mark after ten days with $102 million. Expect an uptick as family crowds continue to turn out.
Frozen II was third with $12.9 million (I said $11 million) as the Disney sequel has amassed a hot $387 million.
Use whatever bad pun you wish as Cats had an embarrassing opening in fourth. Reviled by critics and with a rank Cinemascore C+ grade, the musical earned just $6.6 million. That’s well under my $14.5 million projection. This is truly an example where word-of-mouth made a difference.
Knives Out was fifth and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It earned $6.5 million and is up to $89 million.
Finally, the Fox News expose opened wide and came in below estimates with $5.1 million (I was higher at $6.9 million). Despite some Oscar chatter, this didn’t break out. It will hope for meager declines as the awards season continues.
And that does it for now, folks! Wishing you a Happy Holidays and until next time…