Justice League is the 800-pound gorilla landing at the box office this week with first-week expectations north of $100M. Meanwhile, based on a New York Times Best Seller, Wonder stars Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts and promises a heartwarming drama. The final new release is The Star, a Sony animated feature with a lot of big names behind the voices but middling prospects.
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.
We are expecting a big week at the box office with the Justice League driving a significant part of that. Contributing factor is the early Thanksgiving this year and the expectation that moviegoers will spend some of their time off at the movies. Justice League will face some competition from Thor: Ragnarok which is entering its third week of release. The coast is pretty clear for Wonder which singularly occupies the “really good movie-movie” space this week and may draw an audience looking for such a film. The same could be true for The Star which has an opening as the only animated family title playing before Pixar’s Coco drops this Wednesday.
The FLIQ.AI models sure feel strongly about Justice League, scoring it very similar to Thor from three weeks ago. It is, in fact, expecting Justice League to do slightly better due to the anticipated uptick in the overall movie-going audience. This is an aggressive prediction given the early reviews for Justice League are certainly worse than Thor’s. However, in terms of audience engagement numbers from trailers, wikipedia and search activity, Justice League is performing better than Thor did coming up on its release, so I can understand what FLIQ is seeing here. You can see this reflected in the trailer activity for JL, which we covered in a post yesterday – it’s actually profiling close to Star Wars in this sense, which is encouraging.
The Wonder prediction of $18M would be a good opening week for the $20M budget title. The early reviews are positive and it is tracking quite well for a movie of its size in our audience measures. The Star, on the other hand, is tracking poorly in terms of interest and early reviews. If it fails to attracts viewers this weekend before Coco arrives on Wednesday, it could be on its way to a total flop.
Every week we will compare the FLIQ forecast to others made by BoxOfficeMojo and Pro.BoxOffice. 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.
Looking at the forecasts by BoxOfficeMojo (Brad Brevet) and BoxOffice Pro (Shawn Robbins) we see that FLIQ is aggressive on Justice League and tracking very closely to their forecasts for Wonder and The Star. My take is that FLIQ is once again over-optimistic about a massive superhero movie, is a little low on Wonder and a little high on The Star. Again this is taking into account that FLIQ and I are predicting the whole first week, and the two websites are predicting the opening weekend only. Note that in the next couple of weeks we will be updating our forecast to produce weekend numbers so we can compare apples to apples here, and we’ll also be doing a deep dive on the aggressive bets FLIQ is making on these superhero titles, how to understand these predictions and improve them.
Check out the detailed forecasts from the pros below. Tons of great insights here as always:
Not helping matters, reviews for Justice League are only marginally better than those for Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, as it currently holds a Metacritic score of 47. There has also been a bit of controversy surrounding the suppression of the film’s RottenTomatoes score, but just as previous films didn’t perform entirely well with critics, their opening weekends appear critic-proof and that should be the case again here. How it plays beyond opening weekend is another matter.
Wonder marks the latest adaptation of a novel popular with young adults. The story’s theme of inclusion is a powerful one that could also help attract parents and kids alike, in addition to Julia Roberts’ appeal among adult female audiences. The film’s Twitter activity has handily outpaced that of the recent Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul and The Glass Castle. Presales reports have also been very strong, further bolstering the potential makings of a sleeper hit.
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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