Weekend Forecast: 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues', 'American Hustle', 'Saving Mr. Banks', & 'Walking with Dinosaurs'

Featured Stories - on December 18, 2013 by BoxOffice Staff

dec20.pngThe heart of Christmas season arrives this weekend with two new wide releases and two wide expansions.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

PROS:

- The first film is widely regarded as a modern classic, becoming one of the most popular cult comedies since the Austin Powers series in the late '90s.
- Will Ferrell and Paramount have mounted a game-changing viral marketing campaign over the last few months, generating a significant amount of awareness.
- Online tracking metrics are very strong across Twitter, Flixster, and Facebook. 
- Comedy has been a hot seller all year long, as evidenced by Identity Thief, This Is the End, The Heat, We're the Millers, and Bad Grandpa

CONS:

- The first film was a box office success, but only modestly so with an $85 million domestic run.
- The audience for this sequel could easily continue to be male-heavy.
- Competition from American Hustle and holdover The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug could be a factor.

American Hustle

PROS:

- The star-studded ensemble cast.
- Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence are fresh off the uber-successes of their Dark Knight and Hunger Games series, respectively. Not to mention recent Oscar wins.
- Reviews have been stellar, generating a significant number of awards nominations over the past week.
- Director David O. Russell is on a hot streak following The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook.

CONS:

- The competitive market could translate to more back-loading for this film, similar to how The Fighter performed.
- The Abscam story isn't one well-known to today's younger audiences.
- Will Anchorman 2 overshadow it this weekend?

Saving Mr. Banks

PROS:

- The allure of Tom Hanks portraying the iconic Walt Disney.
- Emma Thompson's recent nominations for her role in the film, as well as carryover goodwill from Hanks' turn in Captain Phillips.
- Mary Poppins still boasts a sizable fan base today, particularly through older women.
- The Disney name is a major attraction for families, especially around the holidays.

CONS:

- Awards buzz for this has been overshadowed by American Hustle, among other flicks.
- While Hanks will be a draw here, his role isn't getting as much attention as Thompson's or his nominated Captain Phillips turn. 
- Enticing men of any age will be a challenge given the competition from Anchorman 2, The Hobbit, and American Hustle.
- The somewhat obscure title may also hold back upfront demand/interest.

Walking with Dinosaurs

PROS:

- The film is based on somewhat popular BBC series.
- Families looking for something new and outside the fantasy realm could opt for this.

CONS:

- Fox's marketing has emphasized the presence of voice stars not known to be box office draws, and made comparisons to Avatar--usually indicative of soft interest.
- Families may just easily opt for The Hobbit or Frozen again. 

Check out our forecast for these films and the remainder of the top 11 in the table below.

Title Release Date Distributor Opening Weekend Domestic Total through Sunday, Dec. 22
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Dec 18, 2013 Paramount
$45,000,000 $62,000,000
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Dec 13, 2013 Warner Bros. / New Line
$30,500,000 $126,500,000
American Hustle Dec 13, 2013 Sony / Columbia
$19,000,000 $20,150,000
Frozen (2013) Nov 22, 2013 Disney
$15,800,000 $188,000,000
Saving Mr. Banks Dec 13, 2013 Disney
$12,000,000 $12,650,000
Walking With Dinosaurs Dec 20, 2013 Fox
$8,500,000 $8,500,000
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Nov 22, 2013 Lionsgate
$8,000,000 $370,900,000
Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas Dec 13, 2013 Lionsgate
$7,500,000 $27,200,000
Thor: The Dark World Nov 8, 2013 Disney
$1,600,000 $201,000,000
Dhoom 3 Dec 20, 2013 Yash Raj Films
$1,500,000 $1,500,000
Inside Llewyn Davis Dec 6, 2013 CBS Films
$1,400,000 $2,450,000

Phil Contrino, Daniel Garris, Alex Edghill, and Shawn Robbins contributed to this report.

Tags: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Walking with Dinosaurs

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