Long Range Forecast: ‘Doctor Strange,’ ‘Trolls’ & ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

The weekend before Election Day, featuring a candidate that couldn’t be dreamed up in the most audacious film, November kicks off with three new wide releases. Disney adds another superhero to the Marvel universe with Doctor Strange, Fox/Dreamworks adapt yet another children’s toy for the big screen with Trolls, and Lionsgate brings their war drama Hacksaw Ridge.

Doctor Strange (Disney)

PROS:

  • The newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe joins what is one of the most financially successful movie franchises of all time and certainly of the past decade.
  • Although Doctor Strange is one of the lesser-known Marvel characters — certainly less famous than, say, a Captain America or Incredible Hulk — look at the two most recent “origin story” films for lesser-known Marvel characters. Ant-Man opened with $57.2 million last July for $180.2 million total, and Guardians of the Galaxy opened with $94.3 million in August 2014 for $333.1 million total. While this seems unlikely to reach Guardians which was a bona fide pop culture phenomenon, a gross akin to the successful Ant-Man is definitely within reach.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch portrays the title character in his first starring role since his Oscar-nominated performance in 2014’s The Imitation Game. (His role in last year’s Black Mass was a supporting one.) Rachel McAdams also appears in her first wide release since her Oscar-nominated role in last year’s Spotlight. Along with Chiwetel Ejiofor, the cast list is impressive.
  • With no other superhero movies released for several months before or after, Doctor Strange has the genre entirely to itself during its entire theatrical run, preventing any direct competition. Compare to that the crowded marketplace this spring summer, where five superhero movies came out in five months.

CONS:

  • The aforementioned lack of familiarity with the Doctor Strange character outside the comic book fandom could hurt the film. (Although that same factor didn’t seem to hurt such lesser-known characters as Ant-Man or Deadpool.)

Trolls (Fox / Dreamworks)

PROS:

  • The animated movie follows in the tradition of other famous toy-to-screen adaptations including The LEGO Movie, the G.I. Joe series (The Rise of Cobra and Retaliation), and the Transformers franchise.
  • The all-star voice cast includes Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, and James Corden. Don’t be surprised to see a “Carpool Karaoke” segment with Corden, Timberlake, and possibly Kendrick before the movie’s release — almost every installment of the segment has attained at least 10 million views on YouTube.
  • Timberlake’s song “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the soundtrack reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, where it spent 15 weeks in the top 10. (But do hit songs from movies create high box office? A recent analysis from Boxoffice Pro determined that the answer is murky.)
  • With more than a month since the release of Storks in late September and three weeks until Moana comes out, Trolls will have a solid space in which it is the only real animated option for families.

CONS:

  • Buzz has been comparatively quiet online compared to other big animated films this year like Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, and Zootopia.
  • Many have remarked that the characters seem annoying or irritating in trailers and television spots, although then again some of the most successful animated films have featured “annoying “characters.

Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate)

PROS:

  • The film received an astounding 10-minute standing ovation when screened this week at the Venice Film Festival. If that positive reception extends to the general public, this could be a must-see film.
  • Andrew Garfield plays Desmond T. Doss in the true story of the conscientious objector who refused to fire a gun in World War II but nonetheless saved the lives of dozens of soldiers. The tale is inspiring and Andrew Garfield has had box office success with all three of his wide releases this decade: The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and The Social Network.

CONS:

  • Mel Gibson is the director, marking his first time behind the screen since 2006’s Apocalypto. Gibson has been persona non grata in Hollywood for a decade since his drunken anti-Semitic outbursts in 2006, then again with racist comments he made in 2010. He’s attempted something of a comeback in the past few years, but his 2003 action film Machete Kills bombed with $8.0 million and his side role in The Expendables 3 came in what was easily the lowest-grossing film in that franchise. While he’s not in front of the camera here, his very association with the film could turn off many viewers.
  • Coming right before Election Day, this is the only one of the three wide releases that could be considered “political” in its themes. That could hurt the movie, as American audiences might be getting enough of that on their television screens and news feeds as it is.

Check out the Boxoffice Pro official long range forecasts in the table below.

 

Title Release Date Distributor Opening Weekend Cumulative
Doctor Strange Nov 4, 2016 Disney $88,000,000 $255,000,000
Trolls Nov 4, 2016 Fox / Dreamworks $28,000,000 $92,000,000
Hacksaw Ridge Nov 4, 2016 Lionsgate $11,000,000 $37,000,000
Inferno Oct 28, 2016 Sony $36,000,000 $100,000,000
Rings Oct 28, 2016 Paramount $16,000,000 $34,000,000
Ouija: Origin of Evil Oct 21, 2016 Universal $12,000,000 $29,000,000
Keeping Up with the Joneses Oct 21, 2016 Fox $11,000,000 $32,000,000
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Oct 21, 2016 Paramount $22,000,000 $62,000,000
I’m Not Ashamed Oct 21, 2016 Pure Flix $4,500,000 $17,000,000
Boo! A Madea Halloween Oct 21, 2016 Lionsgate $10,000,000 $26,000,000
The Accountant Oct 14, 2016 Warner Bros. $17,000,000 $60,000,000
Kevin Hart: What Now? Oct 14, 2016 Universal $11,500,000 $25,000,000
Max Steel Oct 14, 2016 Open Road Films $7,000,000 $24,000,000
The Girl on the Train Oct 7, 2016 Universal $24,000,000 $80,000,000
The Birth of a Nation Oct 7, 2016 Fox Searchlight $19,000,000 $78,000,000
Friend Request Oct 7, 2016 Freestyle Releasing $3,500,000 $8,000,000
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Oct 7, 2016 Lionsgate $5,500,000 $16,500,000
Deepwater Horizon Sep 30, 2016 Lionsgate $21,000,000 $71,000,000
Masterminds Sep 30, 2016 Relativity Media $10,000,000 $28,000,000
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Sep 30, 2016 Fox $27,000,000 $90,000,000
The Magnificent Seven Sep 23, 2016 Sony $49,000,000 $150,000,000
Storks Sep 23, 2016 Warner Bros. $25,000,000 $87,000,000
Bridget Jones’s Baby Sep 16, 2016 Universal $13,500,000 $44,000,000
Snowden Sep 16, 2016 Open Road Films $4,500,000 $10,000,000
Blair Witch Sep 16, 2016 Lionsgate $21,000,000 $49,000,000
Hillsong – Let Hope Rise Sep 16, 2016 Pure Flix $3,750,000 $12,000,000
Boxoffice Staff

19 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Nikki Lee September 09, 2016

    Why so many huge changes this week? Did you guys switch up your formula or something?

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Alessio Pasquali September 09, 2016

    Well, at least ur $88M OW prediction for Doctor Strange is better than Deadline’s $55M OW prediction. I do believe if we get one more trailer this month and the hype raises, we could see potentially a $100M OW. But, we’ll have to see what happens next, first.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Magdalena September 09, 2016

      I prefer to put my expectations low. It is going to depend on how good it is. It is going to be released in October in many places and there are early screenings in the US. If it gets good reviews and people like it is going to be alright.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Orlando September 16, 2016

      @Alessio Pasquali – Is a $55 million opening weekend really what they’re predicting, well I can tell you now that Deadline is high on coke if they think $55 million is all “Doctor Strange” will open up with. I could definitely see “Doctor Strange” opening anywhere between $80-$110 million it’s opening weekend. I think it’s going to be huge and could even potentially oipen to higher number than what Boxoffice.com is predicting. While I don’t see “Doctor Strange” making quite as much as GOTG domestically, I could see it making more money overseas. I can see 250-300 million domestic and 700-850 million worldwide in the end. This film is going to be a monster at the box office, I can just feel it. Plus Marvel’s brand is so damn strong right now, even if you’re not a fan of them, there’s just no denying that fact.

      Reply
  3. Avatar
    Don't Mind Me Now September 09, 2016

    Those are certainly some optimistic predictions. While Benedict Cumberbatch is undoubtedly a star (The Imitation Game didn’t get over $90 million stateside on Oscar power alone, and Star Trek Beyond’s failure suggests that a lot of people came to Into Darkness because of him rather than the main cast), Doctor Strange seems a bit more “generic superhero story” in its marketing than Ant-Man or Guardians of the Galaxy, lacking the audience-grabbing comedy beats of those trailers. When Inception presented its “sideways/anti-gravity worlds”, it was fresh and exciting, but now everyone watching it in the Doctor Strange trailers is just thinking about Inception. The distaste for Tilda Swinton’s whitewashed role isn’t negligible either. And with building hype for the return of the Wizarding World in Fantastic Beasts, Doctor Strange’s magic angle could feel redundant. All told, if the movie can’t catch mass attention with a spicy new trailer in the next few weeks, it’s in real jeopardy of underperforming Ant-Man’s $180 million gross, which is bad considering the film looks like it has a lot of pricey effects shots that suggest it has a bigger budget than Ant-Man.

    Trolls is also in trouble. People took to “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, but without really associating it with the movie. Aesthetically, the movie looks like The Smurfs (the cartoon, not the NPH movies) crossed with the schmaltzy Happy Little Elves cartoon from The Simpsons. In other words, a movie for kids instead of a movie for the family. Of course, Dreamworks’ last film to favor kids over the entire family was Home, which was a huge hit. But in this case, the fact that Trolls is based on a toy brand could actually HURT the movie instead of helping it, since most of today’s parents would rather not revisit the days of when Trolls were popular. Add the fact that Moana and Sing will be looming large on the horizon, and many parents may choose to save their money for those films. Basically, Trolls has a strong chance at performing worse than Turbo did.

    Hacksaw Ridge will also be fighting the specter of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and a so-far limited marketing campaign. A lot of conservative audiences (which are key for WWII movies) have been decrying the film’s premise of a heroic conscientious objector, since the taboo on insulting military heroes was publicly eliminated two months ago by a certain orange candidate. If Hacksaw Ridge can’t broaden its reach beyond the standard base for war films, it’s in trouble – the key to doing this will be maintaining its positive press while staying out of Billy Lynn’s shadow. Still, it may be worth considering moving the movie to a date separated from Doctor Strange and Billy Lynn.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Facts Only September 09, 2016

      Based on how few dislikes the Doctor Strange trailers have everything you said was opinionated waste

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Don't Mind Me Now September 13, 2016

        Yes, I’m so obviously biased by the fact that I like Marvel and intend to see this film in theaters opening week.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Christie September 10, 2016

      “A lot of conservative audiences (which are key for WWII movies) have been decrying the film’s premise of a heroic conscientious objector, since the taboo on insulting military heroes” – woah, Hacksaw Ridge does NOT insult military heroes, quite the opposite in fact. The film has been screened for a lot of military veterans with Mel in attendance and everyone is loving the film. And conservative (and liberal!) audiences have also been praising this film non stop on social media, Desmond Doss was not a true conscientious objector, he believed the war was justified and enlisted in the army, he wanted to serve his country, he just refused to kill due to his religious beliefs. I think this site is really underestimating this film’s box office potential, it opens a week before Veterans Day, it’s a VERY patriotic film opening just days before the election, the faith based crowd is totally behind it (Mel has done grassroots screenings with Christian leaders just like he did with Passion of The Christ), the critics reviews are overwhelmingly positive, war buffs and action fans will be excited b/c the battle sequences have been praised and compared to Saving Private Ryan, some say they’re even better…and you have this film opening lower than Ben Hur numbers?

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Don't Mind Me Now September 13, 2016

        I wasn’t trying to suggest the movie insults military heroes. I was saying I’ve seen a lot of conservatives (granted, a lot of that was probably over-inflated alt-right bullsh*t) bashing the movie’s (true) premise, and feel justified in doing so because bashing military heroes isn’t as taboo as it was several months ago among that group.

        I think the film is in a bit of a perilous position caught between a rock (Doctor Strange) and a hard place (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk). It MUST get some stronger marketing strategies in place or audiences won’t know what they’re missing and it could indeed suffer for it. Just because it’s supposedly as good as SPR doesn’t mean it will do SPR numbers. Good movies tank all the time.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      Fred September 16, 2016

      @Don’t Mind Me Now – While I agree with you that “Doctor Strange” definitely lacks the hilarious humor found in GOTG and “Ant-Man”, but it’s supposed to because it’s not that kind of movie. But you’ve lost your damn mind if you think Doc Strange will have any problem beating Ant-Man’s 180 million domestic gross, i’m willing to bet you everything I own Doc Strange will beat that number buddy. Obviously you have been sleeping under a rock and have not kept up to speed on the strength of the MCU. “Civil War” grossed over 400 million domestic and 1.15 billion worldwide, this film won’t make those kind of numbers but it do will do very well at the box office, mark my words. You’re entitled to your opinion but your dead wrong on “Doctor Strange” and you’ll find that out fast starting in late October.

      Reply
  4. Avatar
    Joe Daniels September 10, 2016

    Do not expect DOCTOR STRANGE to open with $88 million. The anticipation for this film is relatively low. I’m predicting $50 – 57 million; very similar to Ant Man numbers.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Angelo September 11, 2016

      I disagree. The anticipation is high…the cast for this film is unparalled. This movie is likely to be the best reviewed comic book movie of all time. It will be regarded in the same way as The Dark Knight. As we approach it’s November release the anticipation will increase.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Tim Miller September 12, 2016

      Joe,

      I have to disagree with you it has the largest social media universe of those before Fantastic Beast hits the screen. I think it has more appeal than ant-man, and should do well, so higher than Ant-Man sounds rights.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Fred September 16, 2016

      And you’ll obviously be very wrong, the anticipation for this film is very high from what I’ve seen. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if it opened to more than 88 million. Hell man “Suicide Squad” opened to over 133 million and it was bashed to hell by critics. If “Doctor Strange” has strong reviews and good buzz expect an 88 million opening weekend to be an after thought.

      Reply
  5. Avatar
    who knows September 11, 2016

    I pretty sure Doctor strange is not going to do these numbers. I think there is a good chance it may really underperform and could ending up being marvels lowest box office numbers to date and just ends up below the hulk movie numbers and could play very similar to the Green lantern, Prometheus or maybe even the watchmen if it really drops off after the opening weekend. I think 55 million for opening weekend and will drop off fast. Total 125-130.

    Reply
  6. Avatar
    Red_Kal September 12, 2016

    There is no way Doctor Strange opens that big. There is no buzz going on right now, at least among non-fans. You say a gross akin to Ant-Man is likely and then you give an estimate that’s $70 million higher than Ant-Man? Explain that to me.

    Also, Suicide Squad is a box office phenomenon too, right? If you’re going to say Guardians was a phenomenon then comparatively Suicide Squad is as well, considering it opened much higher and Suicide Squad will end up in the same $320-$330 million range total.

    Reply
  7. Avatar
    Clark Bent September 12, 2016

    See the DC Muppet’s are here already! DC can’t even break a $1b with the two biggest comic book characters ever….the DCEU is a disaster so far

    Reply
  8. Avatar
    MovieBossNYC September 14, 2016

    Predictions for October 14 are off in my opinion. Max Steel is likely to do double or triple what is estimated. Hart will be 3rd, Accountant 2nd. Youtube, Fandango, are showing almost 12m views on MaxSteel trailer 30 days out and rising at 750k-1m per day. That is not a $25m gross movie – that is a $50m-$100m gross movie.

    Reply
  9. Avatar
    Ryan October 26, 2016

    Your predictions are way off.

    Doctor Strange 65 million tops. Trolls will be lucky if it gets 20 million. Hacksaw Ridge will be a surprise hit with at least 30 million opening weekend.

    Reply

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