Box office preview: David Harbour’s ‘Violent Night’ and anime ‘Quintuplets’ take on ‘Wakanda Forever’

After three weeks at #1, it’s unlikely that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” will have much of a problem going four weeks in a row, with only two new lower-key wide releases this week. Read on for Gold Derby’s box office preview.

The widest new release is Universal’s action-comedy “Violent Night,” starring David Harbour from “Stranger Things” as a different take on Santa Claus, this one looking to protect a family from mercenary home invaders. 

Although Harbour has become best known for his role as Police Chief Jim Hopper on the Netflix series, he has made a few forays into genre film releases, most notably 2019’s “Hellboy” and Marvel’s 2021 release “Black Widow.” “Hellboy” was seen as a massive bomb, only grossing $21.9 million domestically after a $12 million opening, and that was as good a test as any for Harbour as a leading man. 

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“Violent Night” lines up with other Universal releases, including 2015’s “Krampus,” another holiday-themed genre movie that opened with $16.3 million and made $42.7 million with a similar December release. More recently, Universal’s action movie “Nobody,” starring another TV star, Bob Odenkirk from “Better Call Saul,” opened with $6.8 million on its way to $27.2 million domestic. That opened in late March 2021 and was one of the first movies in theaters once they reopened in New York and L.A., so that might not be a fair comparison.

In “Violent Night,” Harbour is joined by John Leguizamo (fresh off of “The Menu”), Beverly D’Angelo (“National Lampoon’s Vacation”), Cam Gigandet, Alexis Louder, and more for this genre film directed by Tommy Wirkola (“Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.”) Presumably, “Violent Night” can do better than “Nobody,” although it might struggle to open anywhere close to “Krampus,” and probably will be more in the $10 to 12 million range in which “Hellboy” opened.

Crunchyroll offers some counter-programming in the form of the anime feature “The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie,” based on a popular cartoon and manga series. Unlike the recent “One Piece Film: Red,” which opened with $9.3 million earlier this month, this is the first feature based on the property, so it might not have quite the built-in fanbase of that or the “Dragon Ball Super” movies.

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Crunchyroll is releasing the movie into 910 theaters, but with no Thursday previews, and seemingly just one screening per night per theater. That limited release might keep it from making it into the top five, though it’s very likely that “Quintuplets” will be duking it out with “The Menu” and “Devotion” for those fourth and fifth place slots with somewhere in the $3 million range for the weekend.

There are quite a few movies in limited this weekend, as well. Jim Parsons and Ben Claridge star in “Spoiler Alert,” a romantic drama based on Michael Ausiello’s memoir about the love story he had with his husband, who died tragically from cancer. Directed by Michael Showalter, “Spoiler Alert” isn’t quite as comedic as Showalter’s “The Big Sick” or last year’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” in which Jessica Chastain won an Oscar. Still, Focus Features are going wide with it next weekend as the only new wide release that week. You can check back next week to see if that ends up being a wise decision.

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Tilda Swinton plays a dual role in Joanna Hogg’s “The Eternal Daughter,” which will open in New York City following its festival run that included Venice, Toronto, and the New York Film Festival. This release, also A24, will probably stick with the arthouses, similar to Hogg’s “The Souvenir” and its sequel.

Apple is giving Will Smith‘s “Emancipation” a one-week limited theatrical release before it debuts on Apple TV+ on Friday, Dec. 9. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day,” “The Equalizer”), the movie stars Smith as a runaway slave trying to escape his captors, including a ruthless Ben Foster, to get back to his wife and family.

Furthermore, IFC Films is releasing “Four Samosas,” Ravi Kapoor’s indie heist film involving a South Asian-American rapper who plans a heist on a grocery story along with three equally inexperienced friends to disrupt an ex-girlfriend’s engagement.

Check back on Sunday to see how the above movies fared and how you did in Gold Derby’s box office prediction game.

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