A very impressive October leads us into what should be one of the biggest Novembers of all time. There probably won’t be anything this month that matches the nearly flawless reviews of Gravity, but two films have more than enough potential to beat it at the box office. Thor: The Dark World and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire headline a potent November, but as always, there’s room for some sleepers. Let’s take a look at what’s heading our way.
My Thoughts: Surprisingly, films centered around a group of older guys getting into hijinks can work out pretty well. Just look at Wild Hogs, which was a huge hit and grossed $168 million. There’s also a little self-deprecating humor here, poking fun at Michael Douglas’s proclivity for younger women. Nonetheless, there’s a limited market for a movie like this, and I’m inclined to think Wild Hogs was an anomaly.
Opening Weekend: $14 million
Total Gross: $44 million
My Thoughts: I have to admit, I don’t know much about Ender’s Game. It certainly looks pretty, but we’ve seen nice-looking big budget extravaganzas fail before. At least there’s the star power of Harrison Ford to help things out. Studios, particularly Summit Entertainment (of Twilight fame) keep trying to find that next big thing and they’re mining every popular book series they can find, especially young adult fiction. Reviews aren’t bad and Ender’s Game looks far more interesting than things like Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instruments, failed attempts at adapting young adult novels. So this should do all right at first, but it’ll get crushed by Thor in its second weekend.
Opening Weekend: $25 million
Total Gross: $81 million
My Thoughts: I’m probably overthinking this, but the premise to this film is actually kind of disturbing. If turkeys have actually been sapient, intelligent creatures all this time, then killing them en masse, particularly around Thanksgiving, is really messed up. But then again, why is it that in both fiction and reality, we tend to weight sapience so highly? Why are creatures that are more intelligent “worth” more? Why do we care more about dolphins and apes than we do insects? Uh….that was a bit of an unintentional philosophical rant, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s been a while since I’ve written one of those.
Anyway…..bright colors! Funny characters! A movie about turkeys released in November, which of course contains Thanksgiving! So, yeah, there’s all that going. I don’t think it looks particularly interesting, but then again I’m a 24 year old guy. The kiddie crowd hasn’t reason to come out to theatres since Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, so I expect quite a few to drag their parents to see this.
Opening Weekend: $31 million
Total Gross: $108 million
Thor: The Dark World
My Thoughts: Ah, now we’re finally getting to the good stuff. Back in 2011, I know people were a bit skeptical if the character of Thor could carry his own film, but I always thought he was a cool character, and Chris Hemsworth really brings him to life on the big screen. Add to that the surprising popularity of Tom Hiddleston and his portrayal of Loki, along with a surefire bump from The Avengers (just look at the increase Iron Man 3 experienced), and we’ve got a recipe for success.
Iron Man 3 debuted 36% higher than Iron Man 2. If Thor were to undergo similar growth, it would increase from $65 million to $88 million, which seems like a good number to work from. You also have to factor that since Thor is working with smaller numbers, it’s possible its percentage increase could be bigger. And given that it has a weekend all to itself, $100 million isn’t out of the question, but I think The Mighty Thor will fall just a bit short. It does have a second weekend basically all to itself too, but then Catching Fire will sweep in to take over during its third weekend.
Opening Weekend: $95 million
Total Gross: $280 million
The Best Man Holiday
My Thoughts: I find it interesting that there are three explicit Christmas films coming out this holiday season, and all three are aimed squarely black audiences. I figure it’s nothing more than a coincidence, but it’s an interesting observation. Anyway, there are no recognizable stars here, nor a familiar brand name so potential is pretty limited. I don’t expect much here, as Thor will easily hold on for its second weekend on top.
Opening Weekend: $10 million
Total Gross: $34 million
My Thoughts: Vince Vaughn has a rough patch lately, and I don’t think that this is the project that will turn it around. Sure, there will probably still be some raunchy humor in here, but the film seems more earnest and less comedic than what general audiences want to see from Vaughn. The premise is actually fairly clever (check the trailer out), but a bit strange and I think Vaughn’s best years are behind him.
Opening Weekend: $13 million
Total Gross: $39 million
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
My Thoughts: Here we are, the movie of the holiday season this year. This is the only film that has any chance of usurping Iron Man 3 for the title of biggest film of the year. And I really hope it does, because, wow, Iron Man 3 was disappointing. Then again, Catching Fire could be disappointing too, but I sure hope not. But the trailers look good so far, so I have high hopes for its quality.
As for its box office potential, let’s take a little reality check here. The Hunger Games was absolutely massive, opening to $152 million and grossing $408 million. However, I get the vibe that the first book in the series is widely regarded as the best, and there’s also the fact that the film had almost an entire spring to itself. Competition for Catching Fire will be much stiffer. Then again, Jennifer Lawrence’s star has only risen lately, especially because of her Oscar win (that should’ve gone to Jessica Chastain, but that’s irrelevant).
Anyway, Twilight and Harry Potter movies have proven that November can have openings as big as those in the summer months. So the sky’s the limit for Catching Fire, but as I am wont to do, I’ll lowball my predictions a bit.
Opening Weekend: $140 million
Total Gross: $360 million
My Thoughts: So apparently, acting out the Nativity story with all black actors is a thing. One that’s had many iterations over many years. I’d had no idea. Anyway, this film has that familiarity going for it and is now the first film adaptation of the concept. The cast here is pretty well known, so it should do noticeably better than The Best Man Holiday.
Opening Weekend: $15 million
Total Gross: $51 million
My Thoughts: You really can’t go wrong with Jason Statham. Sure, his films are repetitive. Yeah, he’s not a great actor. But, seriously, he is awesome. However, Statham films generally don’t do well at the box office, but relative to their budgets, they must make money because Statham seems to have one or two movies come out every year. Anyway, Homefront looks like pretty much yet another excuse for Statham to kick ass. And, you know, I’m on board. I think a decent number of Americans will be too.
Opening Weekend: $11 million
Total Gross: $31 million
My Predictions: The remake of a popular South Korean film which was itself an adaptation of a manga, Oldboy stars a chiseled Josh Brolin. Having never seen the original nor read the manga (the movie is of many waiting in my Netflix queue), I’m not privy to the plot details, but it seems interesting enough. Some ass-kicking to go along with a dash of mystery. Brolin’s a good actor and has the acting chops to carry the movie. However, it’s not like the property has a huge fanbase outside of some devoted fans. Potential is limited, but it could do solid numbers.
Opening Weekend: $16 million
Total Gross: $54 million
My Predictions: Frozen is surely hoping to avoid become the next Rise of the Guardians. I think its color palette, characters and subject matter are all more appealing to kids and that will be critically important. Kristen Bell stars as the main character in this loose adaptation of the fairy tale The Snow Queen. This will be the first family movie since Free Birds and it will have a couple weekends to itself too. It should do quite well over Thanksgiving and might hang on long enough to get some nice Christmas-time boosts.
Opening Weekend: $36 million
Total Gross: $115 million