Joaquin Phoenix’s Drama Will Destroy Early Box-Office Predictions

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Domestically, the film is looking to debut with a soft $24 million. That’s similar to the three-day opening “Killers of the Flower Moon” posted in October. To date, Martin Scorsese’s latest has grossed over $60 million domestically. The hope is “Napoleon” can cross that thanks to decent word of mouth and interest over the holiday season.

A solid scenario is the film becoming a fixture during the busy month of December, which is packed with blockbusters. In an ideal world, “Napoleon” would somewhat replicate the box office trajectory of “The Martian,” Scott’s last major hit. With an early October release, that crowd-pleaser debuted at $54 million stateside and boasted stellar legs, dropping only 32% in its sophomore weekend. It ended up grossing over $220 million domestically. If “Napoleon” can hold well and become a must-watch for general audiences, an $80 to $90 million domestic haul isn’t too out of reach.  

In that scenario, the historical epic would play like James Mangold’s Oscar-nominated “Ford v Ferrari,” which debuted with $31 million in mid-November and legged its way to $117 million domestically. Word of mouth can always drive films, even if they’re divisive. It’ll also be interesting to see if international audiences, especially those in Europe, embrace the film. Notably, “Napoleon” is getting a release in China, so a big splash there could help make it a box office winner. 

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