Preceding the upcoming end-of-year blockbuster blitz we have the final “lull” weekend of 2017, which features two new small-budget entrants being released to a national audience. Just Getting Stated is a classic buddy-cop, odd couple, “I’m getting too old for this shit” formulation with Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones in the featured roles. The Disaster Artist is a James Franco project with a ton of buzz in limited release; it is a movie based on a book written about a movie which is objectively terrible – very meta.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series where each week we look at the new movies being released and the predictions made by FLIQ. Questions and suggestions welcome at @FliqAI.
This will be a slow week at the box office, the last slow one of the year. As mentioned above, the two new releases are small and of the holdovers, the two biggest ones are Coco and Justice League which are into their 3rd and 4th weeks of release respectively, and slowing down. The Disaster Artist, at a $10M budget, is only expanding to 840 theaters, so barely a wide release, but the early critics’ reviews and buzz have been excellent. Just Getting Started, with a $22M budget, is basically the opposite, receiving terrible reviews and picking up – literally – less than 10% of the interest that The Disaster Artist is generating (looking at search activity).
Structurally The Disaster Artist should do worse than Just Getting Started, with half the budget and being released in one-third of the theater locations it’s at a severe disadvantage from that standpoint. It’s also a weird film that’s difficult to find a proxy for to understand how audiences will react to it. That said what we’re seeing in the actual audience tracking information is substantially higher enthusiasm for The Disaster Artist which is bridging the gap between the two titles. This is very much what FLIQ is picking up on. If the actual earnings follow the predictions above it would be a very good opening weekend for DA and a very mediocre one for JGS.
It’s worth noting here that in the last couple weeks we’ve substantially augmented the FLIQ models with additional audience tracking info, specifically drilling into google search activity and intent to purchase and it seems like this is reflected in these latest predictions. More details on these models refinements are pending in a future post.
Every week we will compare the FLIQ forecast to others made by BoxOfficeMojo, Pro.BoxOffice and BoxOfficeProphets.com. We will also be making a weekly prediction setting up a fun Men vs Machine experiment. As we go forward, it will be interesting to reflect on and understand which types of predictions are better, where and how. A couple of programming notes this week: (1) FLIQ are now forecasting weekends, so the predictions below are directly comparable, and (2) adding the excellent BoxOfficeProphets to our roundup.
Looking at the forecasts by BoxOffice Pro (Shawn Robbins) and BoxOfficeProphets (Reagen Sulewski) we see that FLIQs enthusiasm for The Disaster Artist is shared by the other forecasters. On the Just Getting Started front, it seems like if anything FLIQ may not be pessimistic enough. My take is that FLIQ thinking correctly about both of these titles likely but not going far enough. I do also think that the other forecasters are a little too optimistic about The Disaster Artist as it is getting a lot of hype specifically within the industry, not sure how this translates to a mass audience, and just structurally this should be a pretty slow weekend (under $100 million total).
Note no forecast for this weekend from Box Office Mojo. Check out the detailed forecasts from the other guys below, tons of great insights here as always:
This film in particular [Just Gettin Started] looks to be a rather limp example of the genre and has both been held back from critics and given little ad support. Appealing basically only to the 50 and over set, this is looking rather forgotten and should slide in with about $6 million this weekend.
Expanding to a national release, The Disaster Artist is the story of … well, it’s hard to explain.
The Disaster Artist expands to approximately 800 locations following its excellent $1.2 million debut in just 19 theaters last weekend, although that theater count remains an unconfirmed estimate at the time of publishing. Award buzz combined with the considerable fan base of James Franco, Seth Rogen, et al should contribute to a strong semi-wide expansion. Social media buzz is impressive with nearly 100,000 Facebook fans and robust daily Twitter activity, both of which are rivaling those of fully wide releases that typically open in the $20 million+ range from 3,000 or more theaters. Direct comps are few and far between since this film is expected to continue expanding and play well through the holidays into the new year, but traditional tracking pegs it around $4 million to $6 million. Our more bullish models suggest this weekend could top $10 million if everything fires on all cylinders.
As always, questions and thoughts are welcome. We’ll see you back here next week when we take a look at Pixar’s Coco and dive into some of the analysis mentioned above.
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