2016 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Results
Truth be told, the 2016 Holiday Movie Pool may be one of those Holiday Seasons that’s fairly forgettable. Over 50 movies were released in the past two months and while five of them made more than $200 million, 45 of them didn’t even make it past $100 million. Sure, sure, many of those releases were smaller films hoping more for Oscar Gold than Box-Office Money, but unless you’re 127 Hours you don’t make any movie with James Franco expecting Oscar Gold.
What should stand out as memorable is the way this final MLK Weekend changed almost everything in the pool. Four of the Top Five films changed positions in just one weekend which is a global shift almost unheard of in any Movie Pool… especially in the final weekend!
Now, let’s take a look at the mostly pretenders this year and then recap one of the most phenomenal last weekend game changing performances of all-time.
The “We Didn’t Make Our Budget Back” Category
- After grossing only $2 million domestic for a $40 million film, I think Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk will be renamed Ang Lee’s Long Walk off a Short Pier.
- I can’t be sure why Allied went so wrong as it grossed only $40 million off a $85 million budget. Was this the public’s way of siding with Angelina Jolie or just a sign we want to see Brad more in World War Z than in World War II? Either way, given George Clooney’s latest non-event films, Jason Bourne’s meh performance in the summer, and now this, look for Ocean’s Fourteen in a theater near you soon.
- Bad Santa 2 cost only $26 million to make and it couldn’t even get that right grossing a mere $17 million. Wait, what?! How the heck does Bad Santa 2 cost $26 million to make?! Were the caterers serving caviar? Did they try to put a CGI beard onto Billy Bob’s face because his real one wasn’t scraggly enough? There’s some coal ending-up in these producers stockings.
- There was a lot of collateral with Collateral Beauty. While it’s $30 million gross was close to its $36 million budget, it’s also got some Razzie momentum in the Worst Performance by Actors Who Used To Be Good category. You’d think there might be a lot of competition in this category, but that’s the advantage when you have so many formally good actors in one movie… They can all stink at the same time!
- Passengers seemed like such a can’t miss. Two likable actors, special effects, go. I mean Gravity pulled this off with only one actor! Its $90 million total is still behind its $110 million budget, so perhaps before we go raving about how many people love these actors, it may be more the characters they play in the Hunger Games/X-men/Jurassic World/Guardians of the Galaxy movies that we love… Wait, I just remembered The Lego Movie and Parks & Rec, forget it… I do love Chris Pratt. I’m so buying a $3 ticket to Passengers when it comes to my discount theater!
- Amazingly, even Billy What’s-His-Name’s Long Walk wasn’t as big a domestic bust as Assassin’s Creed. A $125 million budget for a video game movie?! With only a $50 million domestic gross, this film lost more domestically than many of these other films even cost. Hollywood nevers seems to remember, “What people buy on the Xbox, stays on the Xbox.”
The “We’ll Live To Make Another Movie Again… Whether You Like It or Not” Category
- Almost Christmas cost $15 million to make and grossed $45 million. Oh, so that’s why people make this same movie every single year.
- Office Christmas Party made about $10 million more than it cost as it collected around $55 million in petty cash. Why this film cost $45 million to make when Seth Rogan can pull off a similar type film like Neighbors for $18 mill, I have no idea. Someone has to pay for Jason Bateman’s pedicures, I guess.
- The same could be said about Why Him? $38 million to make a $50 million gross. You wouldn’t think it would take that much money to make James Franco someone you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry.
- Trolls may have seemed like it deserved a better fate than this category, but it didn’t necessarily garner any buzz and $150 million in bad hair was only $25 million more than it cost to make. While no one could resist Justin Timberlake’s song, a lot of families stopped the feeling to go see this flick. (When my 12 year-old picks Storks instead of you at the discount theater, you’ve got problems.)
The “We Made A Profit And People Liked Us” Category
- Hacksaw Ridge quietly brought Mel Gibson success back in the director’s chair and quietly gave Andrew Garfield some acting to do instead of using his superpowers to skateboard in a warehouse in The Amazing Spider-Man. (“So, Andrew, you’re Peter Parker and you just found out you have all these fantastic new abilities. What would be a breathtaking way to highlight that?” “Skateboarding.” Genius)
- Arrival was in the perfect place for my friends and I after Passengers got some critical drubbing: “How about we go see a sci-fi film that likely won’t make us feel like we wasted our money?” Amy Adams and a patient pace delivered a film I felt and thought more about than most other films this year.
- Fences doubled its cost with its gross and should even make more after what people are calling the inevitable Denzel Oscar win. You can never fence Denzel in!
- La La Land may have been more a musical in the sense of “this gives us the liberty to play with our medium a bit” that an actual true musical, but this nostalgic look at Hollywood almost felt like a modern day Singing in the Rain. Was it “real” Hollywood, of course not. That’s never been what most people go to the movies for. This $30 million production has almost grossed $80 million now and may pass Trolls by the time awards season is over. The city of stars is shining for them.
Now, before we get to the final five, just know that every film from #2 through #5 shifted spots from just last weekend to this one… and it took the final Monday MLK Day totals before we could actually determine the final positions of the pool!
And now, because the other day was MLK Day, here are the office Top Five Films of the 2017 Holiday Movie Pool!!!
#5: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - $231.1 million
Just last week this film was in third place and I honestly thought it would pass Doctor Strange. Then WB pulls back Beasts screens this 3-day weekend and that put the kibosh on that dream. While certainly this was a successful start to a franchise muggles weren’t familiar with, much like The Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings, this wasn’t really up to Harry Potter standards. However, I am looking forward to my next Cinemax Preview Weekend to see if someone made a Fantastic Breasts and Where to Find Them film.
#4: Doctor Strange - $231.3 million
With just $200,000 separating it from Fantastic Beasts, Doctor Strange held his ground at least against one film after two others leaped in-front at the last second. Marvel has to be feeling happy about a $200 million-plus hit on a slightly darker film without as much toy/kid fan base to work with. I was just happy I mostly understood what was happening and didn’t need a translator for all the mystical, magical, sorcerer jargon.
#3. Moana - $233.4
Disney’s latest musical stayed afloat long after I thought it may have sprung a leak. At one point I thought it would be lucky to cross $200 million and now it’s passed two other films to jump into the #3 slot. Some Original Music Oscar buzz could maybe even help it get all the way to $250 million, but there’s no way it even beats out its fellow Disney film for Best Animated Feature. Zootopia, you earned your prize!
#2. Sing - $238.2
Don’t call it a comeback, Sing’s been here for weeks. Buried in the success of a film from a galaxy far, far away, Sing has been putting up five weekends of $54 million, $57 million, $20 million, $14 million, and now $19 million. I guess the Sing theater owner Buster Moon was right, people do was to see regular people (or in this case animals) show off their talent more than Mariah Carey on New Year’s Eve. It was the last MLK Weekend that literally moved Sing from #5 to #2 in the movie pool. Maybe Lin Manuel Miranda wrote music for the wrong movie?
#1. A Star Wars Story: Rogue One - $501.9 million
While all the other movies in the Top Five were playing musical chairs this last weekend, this film just kept doing what it’s always been doing: sitting in the top spot. By the time Rey, I mean Jyn, was rescued from the prison truck on the 18th planet mentioned in the movie that no one could keep track of, this film had already locked away and secured it’s position as the #1 film of the season. Stormtroopers wearing water booties was just icing on the cake. Congrats to Disney for succeeding in making a non-trilogy Star Wars story (even if it’s pretty much Episode 3.9) and congrats to all the poolers who knew this day would happen when they made their predictions three months ago!
by Matt Neuenburg on 01/17/2017
Movies Mentioned in this Post: Allied, Almost Christmas, Arrival, Assassin's Creed, Bad Santa 2, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Collateral Beauty, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Moana, Office Christmas Party, Passengers, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sing, Trolls, Why Him?