Blogger’s Update (12/20): I am revising my prediction from $14.5 million to $11.5 million
Sony Pictures is hoping audiences wanna run to Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody when its drops December 23rd. The biopic of the legendary late singer stars Naomi Ackie as the title character with Stanley Tucci, Ashton Sanders, Tamara Tunie, Nafessa Williams, and Clarke Peters among the supporting cast. Kasi Lemmons (who last made the 2019 biopic Harriet) directs. Anthony McCarten wrote the screenplay. He’s no stranger to the genre having scripted The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Just last week, the film’s name was expanded to add “Whitney Houston” in front of one of her signature tunes. Perhaps Sony was nervous that awareness wasn’t high enough for the project. The marketing campaign doesn’t seem quite as robust as it could be. Its review embargo has yet to lift and Somebody skipped the autumn festival circuit. McCarten’s aforementioned works resulted in Oscar wins for stars Eddie Redmayne (Theory), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), and Rami Malek (Rhapsody). Ackie has yet to show up anywhere in the Academy’s precursors.
Even with the somewhat muted buzz, I still believe African-American and especially female viewers should turn out. This might result in a low teens beginning for the three-day gross.
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody opening weekend prediction: $11.5 million (REVISED)
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