The movies are where we as a people go to share an experience. It’s why we hate texting at movie theaters and yakking during the picture: It breaks the shared experience of laughing together, cringing together and otherwise feeling close to some total strangers. And apparently we really needed that this weekend, because the movies saw a huge boost at the box office.
Before the weekend, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival was expected to make $16 million and instead racked up $24 million, while the comedy Almost Christmas pulled in an equally unexpected $15.7 million. That wasn’t enough to knock Doctor Strange — which collected$43 million for a $153 million total — or Trolls — which made$35 million for $94 million total — out of the top spots, but it was more than expected for a movie based on a cerebral science fiction short story or a comedy about arguing with your family.
Analysts are chalking up the bumps to two things: Veteran’s Day falling on a Friday, and Trump’s victory. Referring to the latter, box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian called it “group therapy.” One way or the other, something got people into theaters: The overall weekend was up 50% over last year, and Friday was up 80%.
Looking down the rest of the chart, everything held surprisingly well, but it may not be enough for some movies. Hacksaw Ridge, for example, only dropped 29%, but it’s still only made $32 million in the US against a reported $45 million budget. Ben Affleck will probably get a second outing as the Nerd Assassin, though, since The Accountant only dropped 22% and will probably wrap up with $90 million or so in the US.
Next weekend sees the boxer biopic Bleed For This, teen drama The Edge Of Seventeen, and Warner Bros. bidding to revive Harry Potter with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Somehow we think the wizards will take this one, but we’ll see next Sunday.