Weekend Forecast: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ to Dominate Final Weekend of January


With a desolate selection of animated family films, Kung Fu Panda 3 is set to easily take frst place at the box office ahead of Coast-Guard thriller The Finest Hours and Wayans-parody Fifty Shades of Black. Also opening in limited release is Jane Got a Gun, which seems set to barely be a blip on the radar.

Kung fu Panda 3 hits theaters 4 years after its predecessor, which was somewhat of a disappointment with a $66M opening over its Memorial Day weekend back in 2011. However, even with its so-so $165M domestic total, the real market is overseas, where it made a whopping $500M, nearly a fifth of which came from China. Given that the Chinese box office has grown tremendously over the past few years, it seems safe to assume that this film could easily top $200M in China alone, and likely well over $500M worldwide.

The Finest Hours is one of the first Coast Guard thrillers in quite a while, and is also the first wide IMAX release since Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unfortunately, mediocre reviews and a lack of major interest will likely keep it from opening much past $15M or so. With an $80M budget and a heavy reliance on an American market, it doesn’t seem likely that this will be able to become profitable. Chris Pine isn’t exactly a big enough star to drive a successful opening, and the marketing hasn’t exactly made it feel like a must-see experience. It seems as though this is set for an opening weekend in the low teens, which wouldn’t exactly be enough to make this a hit.

Finally, Fifty Shades of Black is being released as well, though the fact that as of 9:40PM on Thursday there are zero reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it gives an idea as to what to expect. Wayans found success with the first A Haunted House, but the sequel grossed a fraction of the original. Carrying a budget of just $5M, it should be easy to turn a profit through the home video market.

In semi-limited release, Jane Got a Gun is being released into 1,210 theaters this weekend. It was originally set to be released in September, than was pushed back to January and finally went from a nationwide release to this smaller release shows just how much faith the studio has (as does the 4 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) It wouldn’t be at all surprising if this wound up with under $1M for the weekend (which would be around $800 per theater average) but with a complete lack of marketing and awareness, as well as a massive amount of competition, it doesn’t seem like this will garner any attention.

As far as holdovers, all three wide releases from last week should see above average holds because of the storm, while The Revenant should see another strong weekend. The Revenant is still riding Oscar buzz, but there’s only so high that that can last. There’s 15 wide releases between now and the awards themselves, which will drop its theater count quite a bit. If it can score a Best Picture win, it will likely get a re release, but it still should be able to top $150M by then.

Weekend Predictions

  1. Kung Fu Panda 3 – $43M
  2. The Finest Hours – $11.5M
  3. The Revenant- $11M
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – $10M
  5. Fifty Shades of Black – $7.5M

Jane Got a Gun – $950K

Bar for Success

Kung Fu Panda doesn’t have the summer release date that either of its predecessors did, but with a complete lack of competition it’ll be pretty disappointing if it can’t at least top $40M this weekend. The Finest Hours is fine at $15M, while Fifty Shades of Black is okay at $10M.

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