Long Range Tracking: ‘The Grinch,’ ‘The Girl In the Spider’s Web,’ & ‘Overlord’

Our long range report this week continues an early look at the packed November slate, focusing on the month’s second frame of planned wide releases.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Opening Weekend Range: $70 – 100 million

Marking the first tentpole animation since midsummer (and the first animated option overall since September’s Smallfoot) is a strong advantage in itself, but the brand name is the big driver for this re-imagining of the classic story. Benedict Cumberbatch’s global popularity and increasingly hefty box office résumé lend credit to how much appeal his vocal presence behind the beloved title character could drive additional interest among parents/adults.

Some older viewers may not be eager for another take on the classic Christmas tale, but it’s been 18 years since the live action version starring Jim Carrey became an instant box office smash and a staple of holiday family movies since. That film’s $55.1 million / $260 million domestic opening / total translate to a $95 million / $446 million line based on 2018 ticket prices. While the 2000 film’s biggest novelty– other than Carrey himself — was representing the first live action, big-screen take on the character since the original 1966 TV animation, this updated effort could benefit from an entirely new generation of families that weren’t around for, or were too young to remember, the Carrey film in theaters.

A cautionary tale with these kinds of nostalgic comparisons, though, can be found in 2015’s The Peanuts Movie. Although it earned a respectable $44 million debut weekend, that animated revival ultimately didn’t capture the attention of today’s younger audiences on the level once expected before its release. Grinch‘s obvious and more direct holiday tie-in should translate to longer staying power (Peanuts topped out with a low-for-animation 2.95x multiplier at $130.2 million domestically by the end of its run).

Early forecasts are wide-ranging at this point due to mixed reactions from older demographics and social media search string limitations, but the volume of discussion itself is encouraging.

We expect Universal’s strong marketing arm to give the film a huge push as the holiday season approaches. Should strong word of mouth follow like it has for most of Illumination’s releases, this Grinch will enjoy a leggy run throughout November and December. Ultimately, though, reviews might be key to determining whether the film is a “mere” multi-hundred million dollar success or a bona fide holiday event.

Of note, the film needs only to surpass The Incredibles‘ $70.5 million debut as the all-time highest November animated opening. Adjusted for inflation, that Pixar title’s debut would be around $105 million today. If Grinch‘s final marketing phase in late October/early November fires on all cylinders, that type of figure is certainly within reach.

The Girl In the Spider’s Web
Opening Weekend Range: $11 – 21 million

Early models for this sequel to 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are relatively modest so far. Social media engagement and trailer reactions suggest this will experience notable diminished returns from that film’s $102 million domestic total, likely due to the seven-year gap between films and the fact that fan enthusiasm isn’t as high since this adaptation isn’t one of original author Stieg Larsson’s own. There’s also considerable competition in play during November, with Bohemian Rhapsody and Widows — among other candidates — competing for the target adult audience.

Opening Weekend Range: $10 – 20 million

Genre fans will probably be the driving force behind Bad Robot’s first R-rated film. While J.J. Abrams’ producing role could further entice some viewers, early social media trends are indicative of mid-range success following a packed month of October aiming for similar audiences.

8-Week Tracking

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Opening % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
9/21/2018 Assassination Nation n/a n/a n/a Neon
9/21/2018 Fahrenheit 11/9 $5,000,000 n/a n/a Briarcliff
9/21/2018 The House with a Clock In Its Walls $22,000,000 -8% $72,000,000 -8% 3,300 Universal
9/21/2018 Life Itself n/a n/a n/a Amazon Studios
9/28/2018 Hell Fest $8,000,000 -16% $18,500,000 -16% 2,400 Lionsgate / CBS Films
9/28/2018 Little Women (2018) n/a n/a n/a Pinnacle Peak
9/28/2018 Night School (2018) $25,000,000 14% $78,000,000 13% 2,600 Universal
9/28/2018 Smallfoot $22,000,000 $76,500,000 3,800 Warner Bros.
10/5/2018 A Star Is Born $44,000,000 $150,000,000 Warner Bros.
10/5/2018 Venom (2018) $65,000,000 $135,000,000 Sony / Columbia
10/12/2018 Bad Times at the El Royale $13,000,000 $40,000,000 Fox
10/12/2018 First Man $22,000,000 $105,000,000 Universal
10/12/2018 Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween $14,000,000 $45,000,000 Sony / Columbia
10/19/2018 Halloween (2018) $60,000,000 $142,000,000 Universal
10/19/2018 The Hate U Give (Wide) n/a n/a Fox
10/19/2018 Serenity (2018) n/a n/a Aviron
10/26/2018 Hunter Killer $14,000,000 $41,000,000 Lionsgate / Summit
10/26/2018 Indivisible n/a n/a Pure Flix
10/26/2018 Johnny English Strikes Again $4,000,000 $8,750,000 Universal
11/2/2018 Bohemian Rhapsody $35,000,000 $125,000,000 Fox
11/2/2018 Tyler Perry’s Nobody’s Fool $15,000,000 $40,000,000 Paramount
11/2/2018 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms $20,000,000 $79,000,000 Disney
11/2/2018 The List n/a n/a Paramount
11/2/2018 Suspiria (Wide) n/a n/a Amazon Studios
11/9/2018 The Girl in the Spider’s Web $15,000,000 NEW $45,000,000 NEW Sony / Columbia
11/9/2018 Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch $79,000,000 NEW $305,000,000 NEW Universal
11/9/2018 Overlord $14,000,000 NEW $42,000,000 NEW Paramount

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Shawn Robbins


  1. Avatar
    Alessio Pasquali September 14, 2018

    No way Overlord opens to those numbers alone. I think it’ll be higher, especially with IMAX involved.

    • Avatar
      Brad September 14, 2018

      Overlord looks like this year’s A Cure for Wellness and will not do well. $10 million.

      • Avatar
        Jacen September 14, 2018

        Ouch. ACFW might have done well if it had been . . . restructured, shortened by 20-30 minutes, and starred someone other than Poor Man’s Leo DiCaprio. Don’t know about Overlord. I had been interested when it was rumored to be Cloverfield 3, then 4. But now it’s neither. Maybe it could still be good.

        • Avatar
          Alessio Pasquali September 14, 2018

          I think it’s gonna be good.

          • Avatar
            Jacen September 15, 2018

            Regardless, here’s hoping that whoever created the “Groverfield” spoof trailer does a “Groverlord” spoof as well. I like the idea of the Allies fighting Nazi Grover zombies during D-Day.

    • Avatar
      Mujan September 14, 2018

      last movie they made, cloverfield paradox aka god particle, made me rethink availability of bad robot’s self criticism and common sense… it falls into that category of movies that might have been better left shelved somewhere behind a duck tape filled cabinet TTVOMJ

  2. Avatar
    Thomas Stidman September 15, 2018

    I think your overselling The Grinch. Trailers don’t look that entertaining and a lot of young people consider the special to still be great. I think this will do Peanuts numbers for it’s run and the opening weekend. Maybe, it does $55 million with the holiday tie in. If it came out 12/7, it would do better I think.

    • Avatar
      Russell September 20, 2018

      I think the $305m domestic total is too high. I think it’ll open between $65-75m and end up with $250-270m domestic and probably more than $1B worldwide.

  3. Avatar
    Billgins September 18, 2018

    Hey Guys –

    The List was the original name of Nobody’s Fool – you should remove it from your chart

  4. Avatar
    Grinch will be a hit September 19, 2018

    The Grinch will definitely do better than Peanuts. It’s a much better property, IMO, particularly if we’re thinking about the original Dr Seuss book or the 60’s TV special, not the Jim Carrey adaptation. Furthermore, Illumination’s previous Seuss adaptation, The Lorax, opened with $70 million. Illumination has also overperformed expectations with Despicable Me and Secret Life of Pets, so I’m expecting something similar with The Grinch. $90-100 million is totally possible for OW, with a pretty decent multiplier to boot.


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