Weekend Forecast: ‘Black Panther’ Set to Crush More Records in Round Two

After an unbelievable $242M four day opening, Black Panther looks poised to take one of the highest second weekends on record. Meanwhile, Paramount and Warner Brothers hope to capture adults audiences with a pair of R rated genre titles, Annihilation and Game Night, and Orion Pictures attempts to find success for its teen drama Every Day.

Black Panther is hard to overestimate at this point. When breaking down the opening weekend, the film held incredibly well for any kind of blockbuster, down just 13% on Saturday and (debatably a more impressive feat) dropped only 9% on Sunday. That kind of lasting power suggests a very strong hold this weekend, perhaps even under 50%. The last mega-hit comic book film to be released on this same weekend was Deadpool, which dropped 57% in its second weekend. Considering that film more heavily targeted the R rated fanboy crowd, while Panther benefits from better word of mouth and the status of a genuine cultural phenomenon.

Paramount hopes to end their string of R-rated flops this weekend with Annihilation, a $55M ($40M after taxes) sci-fi drama based on the novel of the same name.  The road to release has been somewhat difficult, however; poor test screenings resulted in producers wanting to change the film to make it more accessible, though director Alex Garland ultimately had final say. This resulted in the rights to the film outside of the United States, China, and Canada being sold to Netflix, where the film will premiere 17 days following its theatrical release. Annihilation is only being released into 2,012 theaters – a very low theater count for anything with a major budget from a major studio. The review consensus seems to be that this is more cerebral and inaccessible than the marketing may suggest, which implies it might fail to connect with mainstream audiences. Tracking is currently between $10-$12M.

Also opening is Warner Brothers’ Game Night, an R rated dark comedy starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams. Critical reactions have been surprisingly positive to the film which currently harbors an 86% Rotten Tomatoes score, which could help this break out a bit; the marketing has been fairly aggressive in the last few months, the concept is amusing and different, and there hasn’t been a successful R rated comedy since A Bad Moms Christmas, which came out 3 1/2 months ago. Tracking is a wide range, $13-$21M, and I’m willing to bet it goes on the higher end of that.

Also opening is Orion Pictures’ first wide release in quite some time, Every Day. The teen drama is targeting 1,650 locations, despite a total lack of advertising and mixed reviews. About a month ago, Forever my Girl managed to open above expectations with around $4.2M from 500 fewer theaters, suggesting this could open on the higher end of its $2-$4M tracking.

Predictions

  1. Black Panther – $102M
  2. Game Night – $17.5M
  3. Peter Rabbit – $11M
  4. Annihilation – $9.1M
  5. Fifty Shades Freed – $6.7M
  6. Jumanji – $5.5M
  7. Every Day – $3.6M
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Weekend Report: ‘Black Panther’ Annihilates Box Office

Following months of hype, fantastic reviews and a lack of competition, Black Panther crushed all reasonable expectations in its path, launching with one of the highest opening weekends of all time.

Playing in 4,020 theaters, Black Panther scored an unbelievable $192M over the three day weekend, for a per theater average of over $47K. Should that number hold, it would make it the fourth highest per theater average of any wide release in history.

When breaking down the weekend, it seemed on Friday as though Panther may have been a bit front loaded, with roughly a third of its opening day coming from Thursday night previews (numbers that mirrored Captain America: Civil War almost identically). The difference here was that Black Panther held significantly better throughout the weekend. Not to mention, it still has President’s Day, which will likely bring the total over $220M.

Rarely do we see a breakout performance of this kind, and typically it’s one in which the circumstances surrounding the film serve as a kind of ‘perfect storm’; the reviews have been stellar (currently at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes) the competition has been lackluster (Fifty Shades FreedWinchester, and Maze Runner were the biggest new releases of the past three weeks) and online buzz was through the roof.

Still, that doesn’t explain an opening higher than Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a four day that may be higher than the total domestic gross of Justice League. Really, the only logical explanation is that it tapped into a different audience than most superhero films; it was the first Marvel release to not have a male majority, instead carrying a 50/50 split on opening day. Additionally, 37% of the audience was African-American, obviously higher than usual for a major blockbuster.

While there was concern that overseas audiences may not have interest due to the largely PoC cast, those fears can officially be put to rest; Panther launched with a whopping $169M overseas, with its current total at $361M, which will be over $400M by Tuesday.

The real question here is just how far Black Panther can go; it didn’t show signs of being terribly front loaded over the weekend, and as a result a total of over $500M domestic is definitely possible, albeit not locked down yet; the likelihood of a billion is much more within reach after this opening, especially without much competition in the coming weeks.

Believe it or not, there were actually other films playing this weekend; Peter Rabbit took second with a strong $17M, which should be raised to over $20M over the four day weekend. Fifty Shades Freed was down 56%, a somewhat surprising hold, though the real performance was on Valentines Day, which resulted in over $10M, helping raise the total to $76M. This is actually the best second weekend drop for a Fifty Shades film, which is somewhat confounding given the massive competition and built in fanbase. Regardless, it will likely finish between $90-$100M.

Jumanji and The Greatest Showman were down around 20% each, with the former headed to over $400M, and the latter topping La La Land after 9 weekends in release. The 15:17 to Paris had a solid 39% hold, raising its total to $25M after two weekends.

Two other films opened this weekend, though neither managed to approach their expectations; Lionsgate’s Early Man flopped with just $3.1M from 2,494 theaters. Typically, in the case of British animations such as this, the foreign market does well enough that the domestic release doesn’t matter all that much; this was not the case with Early Man. Aardman’s latest has clocked in just around $11M against a production budget of $50M.

Pure Flix unsuccessfully attempted counter programming with their Biblical action film Samson, which posted around half of what was expected; just $1.9M from over 1,200 theaters.

Next weekend will see the release of two R rated genre films, Paramount’s cerebral            sci-fi Annihilation, as well as Warner Brother’s action comedy Game Night.

Weekend Forecast: Sky is the Limit for ‘Black Panther’

Following months of hype, critical acclaim and a massive marketing campaign, Black Panther seems to have a very strong chance of breaking the Presidents Day weekend record, set by Deadpool two years ago. Meanwhile, Lionsgate and PureFlix will hope to counterprogram with Early Man and Samson.

There’s no doubt about it – Black Panther is going to be huge this weekend. Presales have been through the roof, the highest for any comic book film and the highest for any Q1 release up until this point. While some will point out that reserved seating has bolstered advanced ticketing in recent years, the numbers tell a different story; $6.94M in pre-sales alone (as of 3 days ago, meaning the real number is undoubtedly over $7M by now). That’s roughly triple the numbers of Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

So what exactly is the range for Black Panther? Well, the four day opening does throw things off a bit in comparisons, but Deadpool managed to top $150M back in 2016, without the benefit of 3D. With a PG-13 rating and better reviews, that number seems like a cakewalk. While some are predicting a 4 day of over $200M, I’m hesitant to go that far – mostly because the same was said for Captain America: Civil War in the days leading up to release, and that ended up opening to “only” $179M. A four day between $160-$180M seems like the most likely scenario, but I won’t be at all surprised if it goes higher.

Also opening is Lionsgate’s animated family feature Early Man. The studio is going for a more modest 2,494 theater release, and it seems as though it may struggle to hit $10M. Aardman hasn’t fared well in U.S releases as of late, with Shaun the Sheep making only $19M domestic, and The Pirates! hitting just $35M despite a budget of $55M. Reviews were strong, as expected, but the marketing has been lackluster, and attempting to capture family audiences who are already seeing Black Panther is going to be difficult.

Finally, PureFlix will open their new Biblical film Samson into 1,249 theaters. The distributor has a shoddy track record of wide releases, none of which ever made more than $21M. The PG-13 rating will prevent it from reaching younger family audiences, and the lack of marketing will likely keep it breaking out this weekend.

Predictions (Four-day)

  1. Black Panther – $190M
  2. Peter Rabbit – $21M
  3. Fifty Shades Freed – $16.2M
  4. Jumanji – $8M
  5. Early Man – $6.7M
  6. The 15:17 to Paris – $8M

Samson – $4.5M

Weekend Report: ‘Fifty Shades’ Franchise Finishes Strong

The third and final installment in Universal’s Fifty Shades trilogy hit theaters this weekend, where it opened with a solid debut that was right along expectations. Meanwhile, Sony’s Peter Rabbit opened a notch above predictions, while The 15:17 to Paris failed to impress.

Fifty Shades Freed opened to a solid yet unspectacular $38.6M this weekend. On Friday, it seemed as though $40M was all but guaranteed after the erotic drama made nearly $14.5M on its opening day. That makes this quite front loaded, with nearly 48% of its total coming from that opening day (of which $5.6M came from Thursday night screenings) indicating that the film will not hold too well. The original Fifty Shades was hugely front loaded due to Valentines Day falling on Saturday, while Darker had a more average performance, dipping around 26% on Saturday. This means that Freed was very front loaded, though it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. With Black Panther on the horizon, however, don’t expect this to hold well. A domestic total under $100M is a guarantee.

In second, Sony’s family comedy Peter Rabbit opened to a rock solid $25M. The closest comparison to this would likely be Hop, which did $37M in its opening back in 2011. However, that had the benefit of opening closer to Easter, and as a result was a bit more front loaded than average for an animated film. Peter Rabbit should be able to hold stronger than that and could potentially near the $100M mark, though a total in the $80-$90M range seems more likely.

Warner Brothers’ The 15:17 to Paris failed to deliver this weekend, with just $12.6M, or a bit more than Sully did on opening day back in 2016.  There’s a few reasons as to why this film underwhlemexe; first and foremost, the event was not nearly as heavily publicized or marketable as the ones featured in Sully or American Sniper, and the tactic of using the action heroes involved with the story didn’t capture interest the way the studio clearly hoped it would. Finally, audiences just had another patriotic action drama in the form of 12 Strong several weeks ago. Combine that with an awful 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it became a very hard sell. The real surprise, however, was the B- Cinemascore it received from those who did show up. Typically, more patriotic films centered around the military tend to score at least an A-, making this a surprise. Paris may be able to squeak past $30M, but likely not much further.

In fourth was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which eased 10% to $9.8M, raising its total to $365M domestic, and $881M worldwide. That means it officially topped the worldwide gross of Spider-Man: Homecoming to move into fourth for 2017.

The Greatest Showman rounded out the top 5 once again with $6.4M, for a new total of $146M domestic and over $314M worldwide. By next weekend it will have topped the domestic gross of La La Land, though it likely won’t approach that films worldwide total of $446M.

Winchester held surprisingly strong in its second weekend, down just 46% despite three new wide releases. With a total of $17M after ten days of release, this will likely end up between $25-$30M total.

Among the Oscar contendors, The Shape of Water is only a day or two away from topping $50M domestic, while Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri crossed the century mark worldwide. Darkest Hour and I, Tonya were up to $51M and $25M respectively, Lady Bird topped $45M, while The Post was up to $72M.

In a bit of a surprise, Insidious: The Last Key will become the highest grossing film in the franchise either today or tomorrow. The worldwide gross is just around $100K shy of the total for Insidious: Chapter 2, with this fourth installment currently at a total of $161.8M, against a production budget of just $10M.

Weekend Forecast: ‘Fifty Shades’ to Spice up Lifeless Box Office

Following several quiet weekends at the movies, Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed hopes to send off the trilogy with solid numbers, while Peter Rabbit and The 15:17 to Paris attempt to counter-program by appealing to drastically different audiences.

Fifty Shades Freed is the final film in the franchise, and has pushed this angle quite a bit in the advertising campaign (including the somewhat cringe-inducing tagline of ‘Don’t Miss the Climax) as well as several action sequences that seemed rather out of place in the trailers. Critics have universally rejected the film with just 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, but both of the previous Shades films managed to turn a strong profit with similar reception, mostly thanks to strong overseas results. Assuming nothing goes drastically wrong, Freed will become the first film to open with over $30M since Jumanji back in December.

Sony is opening their hybrid live action-animated Peter Rabbit this weekend, and seems to be targeting an opening in the high-teens range. With a budget of $50M and a surprisingly strong 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, this could shape up as somewhat of a sleeper hit, although the decision to release this in February as opposed to closer to Easter does seem a bit questionable.

Finally, Warner Brothers will target older demographics with Clint Eastwood’s $30M action drama The 15:17 to Paris, based on true events and marketed with the aspect of casting the real heroes of the event as themselves in the film. Shockingly, the film has received very negative reviews – currently sitting at just 23% on Rotten Tomatoes, or the lowest score for an Eastwood directed film since 1990’s The Rookie. This means that Peter Rabbit has a score nearly triple that of The 15:17 to Paris, which is likely the result of the Cloverfield Paradox ripping a hole in spacetime. Adult dramas are hit by negative reviews harder than basically any other drama, meaning the film will struggle to get past $15M for the weekend, even with Eastwood’s built in fanbase.

Among the holdovers, Winchester will likely see a very steep drop off with three new wide releases and terrible word of mouth. Jumanji and The Greatest Showman should continue holding strong, while Maze Runner: The Death Cure will likely continue its steady decline.

Predictions

  1. Fifty Shades Freed – $37.5M
  2. Peter Rabbit – $17.5M
  3. The 15:17 to Paris – $13M
  4. Jumanji – $8.2M
  5. The Greatest Showman – $6.5M

Weekend Report: ‘Jumanji’ Reclaims First as ‘Winchester’ Unspectacular

On a predictably quiet first weekend of February, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle managed to reclaim first in its seventh weekend of release. In second, Maze Runner: The Death Cure fell harder than expected, while Winchester opened on par with modest expectations.

Winchester was the sole new release over the Super Bowl weekend, and actually managed to take first on Friday, but slipped to third for the weekend with an estimated $9.25M. That’s okay for the Lionsgate release which was produced for just $3.5M, but unfortunately had a P&A spend of a reported $17M. With a number of high profile titles on the horizon, don’t expect this one to stick around long. A total below $20M seems very likely.

Back in first place, Jumanji continued its incredible run with $11M in its seventh weekend. That raises the films total to a whopping $352M, meaning it could still potentially top the $400M mark if all goes well, making it the second Sony film to hit that mark, only behind the original Spider-Man.

In second, Maze Runner: The Death Cure fell a bit harder than expected, down 58% to $10.2M. That’s not very surprising considering the built in fanbase was likely more excited to see the film after such a long wait, as well as the “final chapter” gimmick making it seem like somewhat of an event film. Still, a drop like this combined with competition from Fifty Shades Freed and Black Panther does not bode well for a long run. Expect a total of between $55-$60M domestically.

Fox continues to do everything in their power to keep The Greatest Showman in theaters, and it appears those efforts are paying off; after a sing-along version a few weeks ago, the film was bolstered this weekend by a limited IMAX release. On top of that, the studio also took the March 6th release date for the Blu-ray off the calendar, as the film should still be in theaters at that point. For this weekend, however, the musical was down 18% to $7.8M, raising its total to $137M. If it can hit $176M, it would become one of the few wide releases ever to hit a 20x multiplier after its opening weekend.

In fifth, Entertainment Studios’ Hostiles was down a respectable 45% to $5.5M, raising the total to $21M after two weekends in wide release. While I had previously reported the budget as $50M, it has since been updated to $39M, making it a decent win for the fledgling indie studio.

The Shape of WaterThree Billboards and I, Tonya all added several hundred theaters this weekend and saw respectable results. Water was the widest of the three, making its way into 2,341 theaters, where it collected $4.3M, raising its total to $44.5M. Three Billboards entered 1,726 theaters and took in around $3M, a solid total for a film that has been in and out of wide release since Thanksgiving. I, Tonya saw $2.5M from just over 1,500 theaters, another decent result. Both of Fox Searchlight titles should wind up with around $50-$60M, while I, Tonya could approach $35M if Neon continues its smart release strategy.

One of the Oscar contendors for Best Foreign Language film, A Fantastic Woman, was released in 5 theaters and saw a very strong $54K average. Oscar nominated foreign films rarely tend to do more than a few million in their theatrical runs, and there’s little reason to expect differently for Woman.

Weekend Forecast: ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Maze Runner’ Fight for First as ‘Winchester’ Opens

On what is sure to be one of the slower weekends of the year, first place will go to one of two holdovers, while the only new wide release is a low budget horror film, unlikely to crack $10M.

The first holdover is Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which seems set for a hard second weekend drop following a decent start of $24M. The first Maze Runner dipped just 46% in its second weekend, while The Scorch Trials fell 53%. The long delay and “final chapter” element imply that the opening weekend would have bigger fan anticipation, and thus a drop of closer to 60% seems likely. A 57% drop would put it at around $10.6M, which seems likely.

Jumanji may be able to reclaim first this weekend, joining a rare club of titles which held first for several weekends, lost it, and then took it back. Not to mention, taking first place in a seventh weekend is nothing short of a miracle.

The sole new release of the weekend is Lionsgate’s Winchester, the quote-unquote “based on a true story” supernatural thriller, starring Helen Mirren and produced for a surprisingly low $3.5M. The historical premise seems like an interesting idea for a scary movie, but the advertising has sold little more than generic ghostly jumpscares and startling noises. With no reviews as of 11PM EST on Thursday night, don’t expect much from this one. Look for an opening in the high single digits.

The Greatest Showman will receive an IMAX release this weekend, which should help keep the film in the top 5 yet again.

Once again, a slew of Academy nominees will be expanding. The Shape of Water will increase its total to 2,341, while Three Billboards is going into 1,726. Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour are both receiving expansions, and will go into roughly 1,100 and 1,400 theaters respectively. One mild surprise was Coco, which will be re-entering over 1,000 theaters, bringing its total to over 1,600. Normally when a studio does something like this it’s to top some milestone (such as $100M or $200M), but Coco already hit the $200M mark about two weeks ago, making this a bit of a headscratcher.

Predictions

  1. Jumanji – $12.5M
  2. Maze Runner – $11.0M
  3. Winchester – $8.5M
  4. The Greatest Showman – $7.7M
  5. The Post – $5.8M
  6. Hostiles – $5.5M