October was another winner over 2022, thanks mostly to “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” (AMC) and early stellar results for “Five Nights at Freddy’s” (Universal). That makes 10 of 11 months that improved compared to last year, with May only slightly down.

That could continue in November, but it might be close. The weight is on three franchise titles: “The Marvels” (Disney) on November 10, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Lionsgate) and “Trolls Band Together” (Universal), both November 17. Those three, plus “Wish” (Disney) on November 22, have the best chances of surpassing $100 million in domestic gross, with “The Marvels” and “Hunger Games” the most likely during the month.

October’s improvement over last year will be around 20 percent. That’s off from the 26 percent improvement year to date, but still better than comparable Novembers.

Before the late announcement of “The Eras Tour,” a better October seemed absurd. The month appeared barren with only “The Exorcist: Believer” (Universal) and “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Paramount) expected to get much attention (along with “Freddy’s”).

The month should end up close to $560 million, compared to $469 million last year. It’s a nice improvement, but actual attendance leaves it trailing all other pre-COVID Octobers for a half century or more.

To beat November 2022, this month must surpass $628 million. As an achievement, that would be damning with faint praise: Adjusting to current ticket prices, every November from 1988-2019 grossed $1 billion or more.

A range of $650-700 million looks realistic at first glance, but everything will depend on how audiences feel about franchises. Today there’s no guarantee that “The Marvels” will open over $100 million, much less dominate the month.

Tracking has been weak so far, with projections around $70 million-80 million opening domestic weekend. The film has a reported budget of $220 million, before marketing. And it faces second-week competition from “Hunger Games” and more after.

“Hunger Games” is a prequel, which could mitigate the franchise fatigue factor. It has been eight years since the last of the young-adult novel adaptations (which opened to $102 million, around $125 million adjusted). This could be closer to $50 million, but it has the benefit of Thanksgiving at the end of its opening week. In today’s terms, it’s economical with a budget around $100 million.

The “Trolls” sequel opens the same day, the first of two animated films for Thanksgiving. It’s the third in the franchise, although the 2020 “Trolls World Tour” was killed off by COVID closures. The 2016 original grossed $154 million domestic and $193 million overseas (again, lower ticket prices). This one might represent a considerable drop: In initial foreign openings, the sequel grossed $36 million. Still, early projections are for a $35 million or higher domestic opening and holding well through the holidays.


Since “Frozen II” in 2019, no Walt Disney Animation Studio release has grossed over $100 million domestic, dulling the sheen on a high-profile unit. “Wish,” with a reported budget around $200 million, is as apropos a title as they come.

With a creative team that include “Frozen” franchise principals, “Wish” is the story of a 17-year-old girl who senses evil rising on her mythical island home. Disney animated titles that open at Thanksgiving are meant to soar and play through Christmas. This could be the November release that could reach $200 million or more, but that is no longer guaranteed.

Three other studio wide releases debut this month. Sony has the faith-based “A Journey to Bethlehem” on November 10 and Eli Roth’s Black Friday horror entry “Thanksgiving” on November 17, then Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” for Apple on November 22. Searchlight has Taika Waititi’s “Next Goal Wins” also on November 17. Of these, “Napoleon” is considered likeliest to top $50 million.

Rosamund Pike in "Saltburn"
Rosamund Pike in “Saltburn”

This being awards season, add to the month’s take are expansions of “The Holdovers” (Focus) and “Priscilla” (A24) as well as initial dates for “Saltburn” (MGM) and “Maestro” (Netflix).

Add to that a possible $80 million in additional gross for “Freddy’s” and wrapping up “The Eras Tour,” the projection stands at $650 million or better. With a release schedule depleted by strike delays, the end of the year will need all the help it can get.

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