Welcome to the Screen Rant Box Office Prediction. Every week we put together an informal list of box office picks for the upcoming weekend to offer readers a rough estimate of how new releases (and returning holdovers) will perform in theaters.
For a recap of last week’s box office totals, read our box office wrap-up from Arrival‘s opening weekend and scroll to the bottom of this post to see how our previous picks measured up.
Full disclosure: Box office predictions are not an exact science. We acknowledge our picks may not always be correct. For the sake of offering a jumping off point for discussion, here are our picks for the weekend of November 18 – 20, 2016.
This weekend, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in more than 4,000 theaters, The Edge of Seventeen plays in over 1,900 locations, Bleed for This debuts in 1,549 theaters, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk expands to more than 1,100 locations.
#1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Our choice for the top spot this week is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the highly-anticipated spinoff/prequel in the Harry Potter series. During the 2000s, the franchise was a massive cash cow for Warner Bros., collectively grossing $7.7 billion at the worldwide box office. It was a genuine phenomenon, and though the tale of the Boy Who Lived has been long over, interest in the property remains very high. The stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a hit, illustrating that the demand for more content in the wizarding world is always there. That bodes well for Fantastic Beasts, especially since the studio is already planning on four sequels. This is one brand where no break is long enough to kill enthusiasm.
Early reviews for Fantastic Beasts have been mostly positive, indicating that it is a fun and magical time at the movies. The word-of-mouth will only add to its appeal, as it may be enough to encourage more casual viewers (and not just die-hard fans) to check it out. The film has been tracking very well during the week, and it’s all but a guarantee that it will open as #1. The only question is how far it will go. Expectations should be adjusted accordingly (this isn’t part of the main storyline, after all), but Fantastic Beasts should be another November hit. Projections have it pegged for $82 million, which would be a tremendous start.
#2 – Doctor Strange
Look for the two-time reigning champ, Doctor Strange (read our review), to fall to second in its third weekend. Marvel’s latest has performed very well thus far, grossing an impressive $159.3 million domestically as of this writing. However, it should take a massive hit in business with the premiere of Fantastic Beasts, another key tentpole in the fall season. Doctor Strange did not receive much in the way of competition in its early going, but that changes now.
#3 – Trolls
Coming in third should be Trolls (read our review), which came in second last week with $34.9 million. The animated film has been doing quite well at the box office, demonstrating strong legs due to the mostly positive word-of-mouth. It’s also had a monopoly on the family demographic, and though Fantastic Beasts appeals to all ages, Trolls is still the only real option available for the juice box crowd. DreamWorks Animation’s latest is poised to have another fruitful weekend, making the best of things before Moana arrives.
#4 – Arrival
Our pick for fourth is Arrival (read our review), which rode its awards buzz and near-universal acclaim to the tune of $24 million last week. The film has received excellent word-of-mouth since it was released, giving sci-fi fans another great intellectual piece to mull over. Though the smaller-scale drama won’t be able to top the more mainstream offerings, it should hold very well in its second week, acting as counter-programming for older moviegoers.
#5 – The Edge of Seventeen
Rounding out the top five should be The Edge of Seventeen, a new teen comedy that stars Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson. The film has scored excellent early reviews, with many pundits praising its witty script and strong performances. For what it’s worth, Steinfeld has starred in box office hits before, namely Pitch Perfect 2 and True Grit. The target audience for the former of those two may be drawn to Edge of Seventeen, which would definitely help its prospects. Similar titles have had a mixed track record commercially, but with the word-of-mouth very positive, there’s a good chance this emerges as something of a sleeper hit. Estimates indicate an opening weekend of $11 million.
Last Week’s Recap
Next Week: Moana, Allied, and more!