Box Office Oracle — 11/29/2019-12/01/2019

Welcome to the Box Office Oracle–where new movies are pitted against each other for box office supremacy and only one can claim victory. Each week, I will be doing a quick box office prediction for all wide new releases. Sorry, obscure indie films I’ve never heard of, but you aren’t going to be discussed here unless you become big.

This is also something I’m going to keep as free of “controversy” if I can. This means that if, I don’t know, Jon Voight is voicing an evil government agent talking bear in a DreamWorks movie, I’m not going to make a bunch of Trump jokes. If a Tom Cruise actioner comes out, I’m not going to make a bunch of Scientology cracks. You get the idea. I want for this to be kept fun and simple.

So, without any further discussion, let’s get into this weekend’s two big new releases, Knives Out & Queen & Slim.

Knives Out

Prior to a few weeks ago, Knives Out struck me as something of a wild card. While it had things like an impressive cast and intriguing murder mystery going in its favor, I found the marketing campaign to be overly smug with jokes which didn’t quite land. What I wasn’t counting on was Lionsgate being rather uncharacteristically shrewd with how they handled this one, having not one, but two nights of preview screenings. That expresses confidence in what the studio is selling, and going by Wednesday’s box office numbers, it appears to have paid off.

The story seems to be something in the vein of Murder on the Orient Express only a lot cheekier, with Daniel Craig as a detective (with a very…confusing accent) trying to figure out who murdered Christopher Plummer. The fact that we’ve been hearing that this is a big crowd-pleaser could end up working wonders for it, but at the same time, Thanksgiving weekend is one of the hardest to predict when it comes to tracking, in part because shopping takes priority over the cinema for many. Still, I’m guessing this will end up with a comfy $18 million for the Friday-Sunday period, which would be very good.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Reviews have been great. Plus, I’ll watch Daniel Craig in pretty much anything.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: Yes, it’s a pet peeve on my part, but I kind of hate the “A Rian Johnson Whodunit” tagline, mainly because Johnson doesn’t count as a “name” director in my book.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $18 million opening; $75 million finish.

Queen & Slim 

Hey, you know when’s a terrible time to release a violent crime thriller? A fucking holiday weekend!

I’m not even sure how much there is I can say about this one. Telling the tale of a young couple who turn to crime after they kill a cop while in a terrible situation, the movie is selling itself as “a black Bonnie and Clyde,” and normally I’d say that was a stupid way to describe it, except that’s what the trailer itself does. The good news is it’s faring fine with critics, but seems to have virtually nothing to speak of when it comes to audience awareness, especially when it comes to its release date. Still, Black Friday is going to give it a slight boost, but it’s going to disappoint all the same with $8 million.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: The previews are solid, promising a gritty thrill ride which would probably do quite well if it were opening in March instead.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: Again, the release date is terrible for a film of this genre.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $8 million opening; $32 million finish.

Other fun stuff…

* Needless to say, neither of the newcomers are going to dethrone Frozen II, which is absolutely going to dominate the holiday weekend and possibly score the record for best Thanksgiving ever (taking the title away from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire).

* Happy Thanksgiving, all!