Box Office Preview: Will It Be a Major ‘Arrival’ This Weekend?

"Arrival" (2016) - Box Office Preview

‘Arrival’ Unlikely to Top Marvel / ‘Trolls’ Repeat

With Doctor Strange and Trolls continuing to pack a one-two punch at the box office, it’s unlikely for any newcomers to claim the top spot. Leading the trifecta this weekend with the best shot is sci-fi thriller, Arrival.

It seems like fall is turning into a sci-fi bonanza over the last few years. With Gravity breaking the October record in 2013 and a slew of Oscars. Then Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar cleaning up shop one year later with a more cerebral journey through time and space. And finally, Ridley Scott’s crowd-pleaser, The Martian following suit in 2015. Arrival enters this wild ride of sci-fi at the right time.

Arrival isn’t exactly those three films, rather more of a Close Encounters of the Third Kind meets Contact. Amy Adams stars as Louise, a linguist, recruited by the government to make first contact with aliens. The main question in the marketing campaign has been why are they here? Is it peaceful? Is it aggressive? We don’t know. And for those who go into Arrival spoiler-free are in for some shocking answers. If you’ve seen the film, check out what Nick Casaletto theorizes about the film’s ending.

Even with overwhelming positive reviews, there’s no concrete prediction of how Arrival will play this weekend. It’s safe to say that Doctor Strange and Trolls locked up the top two spots. If it plays like Interstellar, Gravity or The Martian, it could end up between $47-55 million. That might not be the case as all three film played up the 3D. The Martian was the only one not benefiting from IMAX surcharges. If it plays like director Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario or Prisoners, then it’s between $12-20 million. The latter seems more likely as Arrival is also a slow burn film like Prisoners. It’s not flashy like Gravity or The Martian either. Even with a $20 million opening, word of mouth will push Arrival even further.

"Almost Christmas" (2016) - Box Office Preview

While the aliens are arriving this weekend, there’s better time than now to break out a holiday film. Almost Christmas stars Danny Glover as a widowed father who tries to bring his dysfunctional family together. From director, David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim), the film stars Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, John Michael Higgins and Mo’Nique. Critics have been mixed so far, though Scott Menzel and Ashley Menzel both praise the film. The former called the film, “the best Christmas film in almost a decade.”

In a crowded frame, it’ll be interesting how Almost Christmas will perform this weekend. November has had its fair share of Christmas hits. Look at Elf, The Grinch, Home Alone 2 for starters. That doesn’t even include anything animated. Despite runs starting before Thanksgiving, these films still opened large with holiday legs. Almost Christmas might not be the next holiday classic. Still, don’t underestimate the long-term haul. Expect a modest $13 million debut by Sunday.

Last up for the new releases in latest thriller, Shut In. In a year when The Witch, Don’t Breathe and Lights Out were praised, Shut In may have come at wrong time. In this home invasion film, Naomi Watts stars as a psychologist isolated in her home with her child. The only problem is someone might be there with them. Things don’t look good for Shut In. The film was not screened Thursday night for previews and stands at a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. There’s no chance it enters the top charts. Expect $3 million max this weekend.

Box Office Projections

1. Doctor Strange (Buena Vista) – $38.4 million (1)

2. Trolls (Fox) – $28.5 million (2)

3. Arrival (Paramount) – $20.1 million (NR)

4. Almost Christmas (Universal) – $13.3 million (1)

5. Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate) – $8.9 million (2)


Check back on Sunday for this weekend’s box office estimates. 

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