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New in Theaters January 1: The Hateful Eight

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By Chris Kavan - 12/31/15 at 06:47 AM CT

Out with the old in with the new (year). Thanks to Star Wars - they overall box office for 2015 has hit $11 billion for the first time, ever. I have a feeling this first weekend in 2016 (and probably most of the month) is going to be ruled by The Force Awakens. A lot of that has to do with the fact that there isn't going to be a lot of action at the box office for a few weeks. Case in point - this weekend sees only one new wide release film - and it's one that is expanding at that. Granted, it's going to be a good one, but not good enough to knock Star Wars off its perch.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT For quite awhile, there was a question of whether Quentin Tarantion would even film The Hateful Eight after a script got leaked. But cooler heads eventually prevailed and the claustrophobic western dealing with a group of characters trapped inside during a Wyoming blizzard is coming to fruition. It has already premiered on 100 specially-formatted screens (the old 70mm roadshow) in a longer cut, and erupted into a very good $56,600 per-screen average. Usually limited release films only open in a handful of theaters (4-8), so for that kind of average on 100 screens is a very good sign. That being said, I am a Tarantino fan, thus sitting through almost three hours of stare-downs and (I'm assuming) plenty of dialogue has me anticipating a good film. We'll see if it can attract a more general audience. The cast includes plenty of Tarantino veterans (Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and ZoŽ Bell) as well as some new faces, with Jennifer Jason Leigh scoring the part of the criminal everyone is after for a hefty bounty, along with Demian Bichir and Bruce Dern. It should be fascinating and I, for one, am glad that the early leak didn't permanently deep six this project. It's expanding to just under 2,000 screens on Wednesday, but I don't think it's going to knock The Force Awakens out of first place. It should come in second place, I would hope.

That's it for the weekend and the year. It's been a huge year - one that may be hard to top, but we'll see how close 2016 can come to topping this record-breaking performance. I'll be back on Sunday with the first box office report of 2016.


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