Long Range Forecast: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ & ‘Ferdinand’

This week’s Long Range Forecast welcomes the addition of the year’s most anticipated film, as well as the latest animated project from Blue Sky Studios. Our initial analyses and forecasts:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Disney / Lucasfilm

PROS:

  • It’s Star Wars. The family component remains as strong as ever now that multiple generations of fans have embraced the new saga centered around Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, and Finn. With Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker at the forefront of things this time around, and the late Carrie Fisher in her final role as General Leia, older fans will be eager to see their stories continue as well.
  • The film’s trailers have again excited die hard and casual fans alike. Twitter activity is comparable to that of The Force Awakens shortly after its October 2015 trailer release, while also coming in significantly ahead of last year’s Rogue One at the same point in the pre-release window.
  • Writer/director Rian Johnson is a highly respected and successful young filmmaker with creative credentials including LooperBrick, and several highly acclaimed episodes of Breaking Bad. His involvement and direct input into this chapter’s creative direction have inspired a strong sense of encouragement among fans about what to expect from the franchise’s continuation.
  • As evidenced by last year’s Rogue One, the enduring appeal and cultural impact of Star Wars continues to transcend other franchises as even its spin-off films without established, familiar characters perform at a level most series never reach at their peak. With another return to the core saga films this year, Last Jedi should again reach heights achieved by very few films — pending positive word of mouth and reviews, of course.

CONS:

  • It’s Star Wars. No, that’s not a bad thing, but it does mean expectations will be astronomically high. Regardless of general sentiment, there will always be some sect of the audience not as thrilled with the final product as others. The phenomenal run by The Force Awakens to become the highest grossing domestic film of all-time will inevitably result in comparisons to Last Jedi‘s box office performance. It’s an apples-to-oranges benchmark, though, given that this is clearly known to be the middle chapter of a trilogy. Presumably, this will provide the fewest “standalone movie” characteristics of the new episodes — ala The Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones, middle chapters that became the “lowest” box office performers of the previous trilogies. As such, any suggestion that this film would have under-performed in the event that it falls well short of TFA‘s records and/or lifetime gross should be wholly ignored.

Ferdinand
Fox / Blue Sky

PROS:

  • Blue Sky Animation and director Carlos Saldanha have a strong track record with the past successes of the Ice Age and Rio franchises. Of the eleven films released under the studio’s banner, ten of them have gone on to earn $100 million or more domestically.
  • The strong ensemble voice cast led by John Cena’s titular character lends itself to parental appeal, a key to success when it comes to animated breakouts — particularly around the holiday season.
  • As the only other major studio animated offering through the holidays besides Disney/Pixar’s Coco, family crowds will likely gravitate toward this over Christmas and New Year’s.

CONS:

  • The character — based on a little known 20th century animated property — doesn’t have the built-in awareness among kids to turn this into a huge debut out of the gate.
  • Likewise, opening weekend competition is stiff (to say the least) as plenty of family audiences will be turning out for Star WarsJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will similarly be aiming for family audiences when it debuts closer to Christmas.
  • While healthy in general, social media activity currently lags behind that of last year’s Sing — particularly on Facebook.

This Week’s Changes & Other Notes

  • Jigsaw buzz has stagnated somewhat in recent days. As we continue expecting the Netflix release of Stranger Things Season 2 to keep many horror fans home over opening weekend, we’ve our lowered expectations for the franchise reboot.
  • Suburbicon has yet to build traction across social media. The film’s mixed reviews heading into a crowded November also remain a concern.
  • Daddy’s Home 2 remains a candidate to perform fairly well, but the recent history of comedic sequels again plays into our reasoning for lowered forecasts.
  • Murder on the Orient Express is building steam (no pun intended) ahead of its debut as marketing begins to peak. Social media trends are very encouraging. This is definitely an adult-friendly counter-programmer to keep an eye on.

The 8-Week Forecast:

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Opening % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total % Chg from Last Week Location Count Distributor
10/27/2017 Jigsaw $12,000,000 -20% $25,800,000 -20% 2,700 Lionsgate
10/27/2017 Suburbicon $8,500,000 -15% $27,000,000 -16% 2,000 Paramount
10/27/2017 Thank You for Your Service $5,000,000 $17,500,000 2,000 Universal
11/1/2017 A Bad Moms Christmas $22,000,000 $85,000,000 3,200 STXfilms
11/3/2017 Thor: Ragnarok $105,000,000 $269,000,000 4,000 Disney / Marvel Studios
11/10/2017 Daddy’s Home 2 $27,000,000 -10% $85,500,000 -10% Paramount
11/10/2017 Murder on the Orient Express $25,000,000 6% $94,000,000 6% Fox
11/17/2017 Justice League $150,000,000 $330,000,000 Warner Bros.
11/17/2017 The Star $13,000,000 $60,000,000 Sony / Columbia
11/17/2017 Wonder $16,000,000 $65,000,000 Lionsgate
11/22/2017 Chappaquiddick n/a n/a Entertainment Studios
11/22/2017 Coco $60,000,000 $270,000,000 Disney / Pixar
11/22/2017 The Man Who Invented Christmas n/a n/a Bleecker Street
11/22/2017 Polaroid $2,500,000 $7,000,000 TWC / Dimension
11/24/2017 Darkest Hour n/a n/a Focus Features
12/1/2017 (no films scheduled currently)
12/8/2017 The Disaster Artist n/a n/a A24
12/8/2017 Just Getting Started $8,000,000 $36,000,000 Broad Green Pictures
12/15/2017 Ferdinand $20,000,000 NEW $150,000,000 NEW Fox
12/15/2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi $215,000,000 NEW $742,000,000 NEW Disney / Lucasfilm
Shawn Robbins

27 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Taylor October 20, 2017

    I hope DADDY’S HOME bombs with a mid-teens debut and a finish of less than $50 million.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      harrisonjryan88 October 20, 2017

      Why? (do you hope)

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    MimikyuILoveYou October 20, 2017

    An additional pro for Star Wars: Porgs!

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Matt D. October 20, 2017

    Hope Daddy’s Home 2 does well, the trailers have been very funny so far. Hoping maybe $30 M OW and finish around $95-100 M. Like the SW:TLJ prediction. I’d lower the Ferdinand expectations to what Alvin and the Chipmunks made when it opened against SW:TFA which is like $18 M OW and finish around $90 M. I think Jumanji will take most of the competition from Ferdinand.

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    DangerS October 20, 2017

    I think Last Jedi will open anywhere between $230-260M, with a domestic total of $800-900M.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Brodie Marschall October 20, 2017

      Yeah, me too. If it beats Force Awakens’s opening weekend considering all the hype it’s getting, it’ll be the fourth movie to hit $2 billion after its predecessor, Titanic and Avatar. This is definitely gonna lead to more movies reaching $2 billion in the future.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      randy October 22, 2017

      I just don’t see it opening better than TFA and making 900 mil, but you never know.

      The middle chapter argument is a valid one, and TFA is one of those rare things like Avatar.

      Not that an opening of 220 mil and 750 mil domestic wouldn’t be incredible, just not TFA.

      Reply
  5. Avatar
    Joe Daniels October 20, 2017

    Justice League will open with $175M; and go onto gross $525 – 550 million.
    Star Wars will open with $210m and will finish with $700 – 711 million

    Reply
    • Avatar
      callum October 20, 2017

      Rogue one made $532,177,324 domestically and people think Star wars will only do like 170 million more? that is way to low.

      Also for Thor and JL those estimates are quite off.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        randy October 22, 2017

        800 mil seems like the top off for me, I would be shocked if this touched the total of TFA.

        It depends on the WOM too, this might not be a crowd pleaser like TFA and play a little darker.

        Rogue One making 532 mil domestic was a shock, but 750-800 mil for Lat Jedi would be mind blowing.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Junior October 20, 2017

      Justice League OW $160-$165
      Total $350-$375
      Star Wars OW $225-$235
      Total $825-$850

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Brode Marschall October 20, 2017

        Yeah, and if it opens at $900, we’re glad we got to see it reach $1B in 2-3 days. By the way it’s holding at almost $750, it’s looking like it will hit $2 billion just like the Force Awakens, Titanic and Avatar did. This is definitely gonna lead to more $2 billion movies in the future.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      John October 20, 2017

      Justice League is not coming close to $500 million unless it is an absolute masterpiece

      Reply
      • Avatar
        callum traynor October 21, 2017

        does not need to be a masterpiece to hit 500 million just needs a decent hold and multiplier.

        Reply
      • Avatar
        randyhndrsn October 22, 2017

        Its gonna have a hard time reaching the domestic total of Wonder Woman, let alone 500.

        Age of Ultron didn’t even make 500 mil, and it had way more hype.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      DangerS October 21, 2017

      Ragnarok: $110M+ / $300M+
      Justice League: $190M / $450M
      Last Jedi: $230M+ / $800M+

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Revan October 21, 2017

        Thor Ragnarok: Domestic Total: $335 Million/Worldwide Total: $1,050 Billion
        Justice League: Domestic Total: $570 Million/Worldwide Total: $1,400 Billion
        Coco: Domestic Total: $275 Million/Worldwide Total: $525 Million
        Star Wars the Last Jedi: Domestic Total/$820 Million/Worldwide Total: $2,250 Billion
        Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle: Domestic Total/$100 Million/Worldwide Total: $290 Million

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Jeremy October 21, 2017

      LOL ,you really think that JL will pass 400M domestic with a opening of ~60M in the second week and with one month till the debut of TLJ?

      Reply
  6. Avatar
    Cyrus October 20, 2017

    The character of Ferdinand originates from a children’s book, “The Story of Ferdinand”, which predates any animated adaptions of it. I know children today don’t read books, but the character itself has managed to last nearly a century. For such a niche property, that’s quite a feat.

    My only fear is that the largest con against this film is the bullfighting aspect. I can see it raising red flags for parents who let “The Book of Life” flop into oblivion because (uh, spoilers?) it dealt with that, as well. And based off the trailers, I don’t have any hope Blue Sky Animation will treat the subject with the sensitivity required.

    Oh yeah, and Pooh vs. Deathly Hallows II still feels comparable. I know Inside Out (with Jurassic Park) and Sing (with Rogue One) proved animated films can live in box office harmony along an action juggernaut. But with a modest film like Ferdinand, it feels as savage as when that humble plush bear was left with a nearly empty honeypot, post-combat against Harry Potter.

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Reece October 20, 2017

    Why is there no prediction for Disaster Artist?

    Reply
    • Avatar
      John October 20, 2017

      We arent sure when it will go wide.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      John October 20, 2017

      We don’t know when it will go wide.

      Reply
  8. Avatar
    Tom S October 21, 2017

    I think there’s a good chance that Last Jedi does only $175 million at opening. Last Jedi has hype, but it’s mostly in geek/genre film communities. The millenial fan will not see the film in Cinemas. It seems like people are more willing to see even big films on Netflix or Streaming services. Very few showings in my Top 20 market are sold out yet. This will greatly hurt Last Jedi’s box office chances.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Matt D. October 22, 2017

      I doubt the latest Star War film will open less than Beauty and the Beast and Avengers: Age of Ultron did opening weekend. The film had Fandango’s website crash like TFA and Rogue One did. It also is the second (I think) most talked about movie on social media and is the 5th most viewed trailer within 24 hours. The best it could open with is at least $215 M and lowest could be t least $190 M like Age of Ultron did in May 2015. But I would more likely argee that the film will open over $200 M with $215 M.

      Reply
  9. Avatar
    Louis October 22, 2017

    It seems everyone is forgetting the Carrie Fisher/Leia factor. The curiousity will propel this to an easy 2 and a 1/4 opening and $800 mill domestic.

    The good will (hunting) from WONDER WOMAN will leave JL with a $175 mil opening. Dependent on how good the movie is depends on its longevity

    THOR will see at least a $140 opening
    .it will be a blockbuster end to a lackluster year.

    Reply
  10. Avatar
    Richard Cavellero October 23, 2017

    I think The Last Jedi will open with around 175. There was a definite excitement when the first came out. I think it’s dies down a bit, now that we’ve had one a year. It should finish with 750 ish. You can definitely see the results as tickets are still available for opening night.

    Reply
  11. Avatar
    Lucas October 25, 2017

    JL will not beat BvS nor will it do $1bn

    Reply

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