This weekend sees the release of a pair of vastly different movies. The black comedy The Menu and the ripped from the headlines She Said. Of course neither of these titles will come close to touching the second weekend of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after its record breaking opening last weekend where it shattered the record for highest grossing November opening weekend.
I was able to see the “Early Access” screening of The Menu this past Tuesday at my local AMC and can say that this was one of the most unique films I have ever seen. It is a dark comedy in the truest sense of the phrase with genuine laugh out loud moments followed by scenes that will leave your mouth on the floor. For me, it was about as close to perfect as you could get, a sentiment echoed by our own Chris Bumbray in his recent review for the film at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is receiving the widest release ever for a Searchlight film (formerly known as Fox Searchlight) at 3100 theaters. My theater was nearly sold out, which bodes well for the box office hopes of this one, and even better: no one pulled out their phone nor did I hear a single voice during the screening, everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen, meaning everyone was fully engaged with what they were seeing. I don’t expect this one to have an insane opening, probably in the $8-$10 million range, but I do hope it has legs because it is by far one of the best movies of the year, one of the best movies of the last few years, in my opinion.
She Said may struggle to find an audience willing to spend over two hours rehashing what we have seen on TV over and over again for the past few years. The best comp would be the recent Oscar winning film Bombshell which covered similar “ripped from the headlines” themes. The film opened wide to just $5.1 million on its way to a lackluster $31.7 million finish. The good news is reviews are pretty strong for She Said with most every review singling out the tremendous acting by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. I must admit, this is my type of movie. Movies about journalism have always been at the top of my radar and the trailer for this one definitely had me intrigued. Will it reach the same heights as something like the amazing Best Picture winning Spotlight? Probably not, but to see a film tackle a subject that only became so known over the past few years and fill in the gaps many of us still have and more importantly, to understand the depths some of these people went to, to have their stories be known, is something I am looking forward to. This time of year tends to be a bit tricky, you want to release your prestige films to keep them fresh in the minds of the awards voting members, but a movie that chronicles horrific sexual abuse at the hands of monsters doesn’t sound like a great family night at the movies! I would be surprised if this one comes close to even $4 million this weekend.
But of course the weekend will belong to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The tricky part comes in predicting just how big of a drop it will have. The film we have been comparing it most to was Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which opened to $187 million yet had one of the biggest second weekend drops in the entire MCU when it lost 67% of its audience while the original Black Panther only shed 44.7% of its first week audience. I think this one will split the difference and have a roughly 60% decline for a weekend around $70 million. As I said last week, this one will struggle to reach the highs of its predecessor, a situation not helped by the ban in China (read more about that in our article here). With a $250 million budget, it may even struggle to enter any sort of profitability for the studio, only time will tell if this one can leg out during the holidays.
Last year, Fathom Events released the Christian based film Christmas With the Chosen: the Messengers to a shocking fourth place weekend bow of $4.2 million (with a $9.2 million, five day total.) This year sees Fathom Events back in the market with The Chosen: Season 3: Episodes 1&2 receiving a theatrical premiere with reports indicating this one is actually outpacing pre-sale figures for Christmas With the Chosen, so it is not out of the realm to see the religious audience show up for this limited release and propel the numbers into the top five.
The remainder of the top ten shouldn’t have too many other surprises (although last weekend the Bollywood release Yashoda did sneak in to that ten spot). Expect Ticket To Paradise, Smile and Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile to continue to overachieve thanks to solid word of mouth while the excellent Banshees of Inisherin should still see some solid numbers as we inch ever closer to the big awards nominations coming in the next few weeks.
Will you be heading to theaters this weekend? If so, let us know what you plan on seeing in the comments section and don’t forget to check back on Saturday when we have a brief update on how the Weekend’s numbers are looking.
TOP 5 PREDICTIONS