A Blizzard of New Releases are Hitting Theaters Over Christmas Weekend
by Brad Brevet
December 19, 2017
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'sPhantom 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 ($6
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Also if you watch Jeremy jahns or struckman they both a raving about it in their reviews. Probably a surprise to many.