Blogger’s Update (10/18): Reports have come out that this is only getting 500 screens next weekend. Therefore I am revising my estimate down from $2.7 million to just $1.3 million.
Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling spy is back on-screen next weekend when Johnny English Strikes Again hits theaters. This is the third entry in a franchise that began 15 years ago and saw a 2011 follow-up experience dwindling returns compared to the original. David Kerr directs with a supporting cast that includes Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Jake Lacy, and Emma Thompson.
In the summer of 2003, Johnny English opened to $9.1 and a $28 million overall domestic gross. Eight years later, Johnny English Reborn managed just $3.8 million out of the gate and $8.3 million overall. The sequel’s total stateside earnings is under the opening gross of its predecessor. It is worth noting that these English sagas perform far better overseas, where each made $160 million overall.
I expect the lackluster returns to continue here for part 3, while it should continue more robust earnings in other parts of the globe. I’ll say Strikes Again strikes out here and doesn’t even match the unimpressive numbers of Reborn.
Johnny English Strikes Again opening weekend prediction: $1.3 million
Gerard Butler headlines the action thriller Hunter Killer next weekend alongside Gary Oldman, Common, Linda Cardellini, and Toby Stephens. The submarine set pic comes out in the Halloween frame – which is typically a slow one at the box office. It will, at best, come in second to sophomore weekend for Halloween.
While there doesn’t seem to be much buzz for it, Butler has seen his recent efforts make a little more than anticipated. This includes Den of Thieves from earlier this year, which took in over $15 million. Even last year’s costly flop Geostorm still managed to make nearly $14 million.
I don’t see that kind of performance here, but I do think Killer could top double digits. On the other hand, it could debut on pace with something like Operation Finale from August. That action thriller didn’t even make $8 million over the long Labor Day frame.
This could be a bit high, but I’ve learned to spot Butler a couple million lately. I’ll say a gross between $10-$11 million is the likely scenario.
Hunter Killer opening weekend prediction: $10.6 million
For my Johnny English Strikes Again prediction, click here:
Halloween looks to dominate the box office and slash all competition with a potentially record-setting opening. In order to do so, it would need to top the $80 million earned just days ago by Venom when it smashed the all-time October opening of all time. You can peruse my detailed prediction post in it here:
As you can see, I’ve got earning just north of $75 million. That puts it short of Venom, but easily at #2 as far as all-time debuts for the month (it only needs top the $55 million that Gravity took in five years ago). That shouldn’t be a problem at all.
While this weekend’s #1 pic is not in question, the holdover battle should be interesting as well. The Michael Myers appearance will likely made Venom lose at least half its audience and that could cause it to drop to third place after two weeks in first place. That means A Star Is Born should hold steady in second.
First Man had a rather lackluster debut (more on that below) and it hopes to experience a smallish decline in the low to mid 30s. If so, it should rank fourth with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween not far behind.
The Hate U Give expands to approximately 2300 theaters after it’s performed well in limited fashion. I’ll put its gross at $6.7 million and that would leave it outside the top 5.
Here’s the top 5 predictions for the scary weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $75.4 million
2. A Star Is Born
Predicted Gross: $19.2 million
Predicted Gross: $16.9 million
4. First Man
Predicted Gross: $10 million
5. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Predicted Gross: $9.4 million
Box Office Results (October 12-14)
Venom and AStarIsBorn continued to rule the charts while all newcomers came in with rather lackluster returns. Marvel’s Venom repeated in first with $35 million in its second weekend, managing to top my $31.2 million estimate. The comic book based hit has amassed $142 million thus far.
AStarIsBorn, as expected, held up well in its sophomore frame with $28.4 million (right in line with my $28.3 million projection). It’s about to join the century club after two weeks with $94 million currently.
The biggest surprise of the weekend was FirstMan, which failed to achieve liftoff in third with a disappointing $16 million, well below my $23.5 million take. Damien Chazelle’s Oscar hopeful with Ryan Gosling will hope for smallish declines, but this is unquestionably a letdown.
Goosebumps2: HauntedHalloween couldn’t match its predecessor’s mid 20s start. It debuted in fourth with a mediocre $15.8 million compared to my $17.3 million prediction.
Smallfoot rounded out the top five with $9 million (I said $8.9 million) to bring its tally to $57 million.
Finally, BadTimesattheElRoyale failed to generate many check-ins as it opened in seventh place with $7.1 million, a tad under my $8 million estimate.
Blogger’s Note (10/12/18): A week before its premiere, I’m revising my estimate up from $67.2 million to $75.4 million
Next weekend, the latest Halloween entry arrives in theaters and this one does so with a twist. While this is the 11th installment in the 40-year-old franchise, it ignores everything that happened in parts 2-10 and serves as a direct sequel to the 1978 John Carpenter classic. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode with Nick Castle (the original Michael Myers) donning the mask once again. David Gordon Green, known for pics as varied as Pineapple Express and last year’s Boston Marathon drama Stronger, directs and is co-writer along with comedic actor Danny McBride. Blumhouse Productions is behind this and they have proven themselves as masters of making low-budget horror flicks hugely profitable ventures (the price tag is only a reported $10 million). Costars include Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, and Will Patton.
This is actually Curtis’s fifth time playing her iconic character when including Halloween II, 1998’s Halloween: H20, and Halloween: Resurrection. Just pay no mind to anything that happened to her in those follow-ups. The release date timed for the actual holiday and the return of the series best known player has created some serious buzz. So did its screening at the Toronto Film Festival where it premiered to solid reviews (Rotten Tomatoes is currently at 85%).
Add all that up and Halloween appears primed to scare up big business. The current record holder for biggest horror debut of all time belongs to last year’s It at $123 million and that mark seems unattainable. However, this seems poised to top 2018’s The Nun, which premiered with $53 million. I believe a mid 70s gross is where Laurie and Michael will stake their claim, which would give it the second highest October debut behind Venom.
Halloween opening weekend prediction: $75.4 million
A trio of newcomers open this weekend and face the considerable challenge of dislodging Venom and AStarIsBorn from the top two spots. They are Damien Chazelle’s man on the moon tale FirstMan starring Ryan Gosling, family friendly sequel Goosebumps2: HauntedHalloween, and Drew Goddard’s pulpy thriller BadTimesattheElRoyale. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
My mid 20s estimate for FirstMan will likely put it in third place, unless the second helping of Goosebumps manages to exceed expectations. If not, that newbie should place fourth with mid to high teens.
I’m not expecting much from theElRoyale, despite mostly positive reviews. I believe it may only manage sixth place behind the third weekend of Smallfoot.
As for #1, that could get interesting. Venom easily scored the best October debut of all time (more on that below) while AStarIsBorn met expectations. The second weekend drop for them could be quite different. While Venom could dip 60% or more, Star could see a fall in the smaller range of 30-35%. Assuming FirstMan doesn’t surpass projections, this could set up a close battle for first place among the returnees.
And with that, a top 6 take on the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $31.2 million
Predicted Gross: $28.3 million
Predicted Gross: $23.5 million
4. Goosebumps2: HauntedHalloween
Predicted Gross: $17.3 million
Predicted Gross: $8.9 million
Predicted Gross: $8 million
Despite overwhelmingly negative reviews, comic book pic Venom with Tom Hardy obliterated the October opening record with $80.2 million. That gross exceeds the previous holder (Gravity) by nearly $25 million. It easily blew away my $62.5 million prediction. Even though a healthy drop seems probable this weekend, Sony has to be over the moon with this performance in a feature that is expected to start a franchise.
Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga’s Oscar contender AStarIsBorn got off to a rousing beginning in second with $42.9 million. While this is a bit under my $48.6 million estimate, it’s already made back its budget and looks to leg out solidly over the next several weeks. Counting its Tuesday and Wednesday special previews, it’s made $44.2 million.
Smallfoot was third in weekend #2 with $14.4 million. I was close at $13.6 million. The animated feature has grossed $42 million overall.
NightSchool fell from first to fourth with $12.5 million (I said $12.7 million) for a two-week total of $46 million.
TheHousewithaClockinItsWalls rounded out the top five with $7.3 million, on pace with my $7 million forecast. It’s earned $55 million thus far.
Director Drew Goddard follows up his cult hit The Cabin in the Woods next weekend with the thriller Bad Times at the El Royale. Set at a novelty hotel in the late 1960s that occupies space in California and Nevada, the cast includes Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Nick Offerman, Cailee Spaeny, and Chris Hemsworth.
Early reviews for Royale have been mostly positive and it currently occupies a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Box office estimates I’ve seen have a wide range from low double digits to high ones.
While this is a project that cinephiles are excited for, I question whether this can break out with a mainstream audience. For starters, there’s competition in the form of the second weekend of Venom and A Star Is Born and the debut of First Man. Trailers and TV spots are a little murky as to what this is actually about. While there’s plenty of famous faces in the cast, I’m not sure any of them will help much in filling seats (even Thor himself).
Taking all that into account, I believe El Royale will premiere on the low-end of expectations and may even struggle to reach double digits.
Bad Times at the El Royale opening weekend prediction: $8 million
R.L. Stine’s bestselling series of books gets its sequel next weekend as Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween scares its way into multiplexes. This is the follow-up to the 2015 original that managed a $23.6 million opening and $80 million overall gross. Ari Sandel takes over directorial duties with a cast including Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Ken Jeong, and Chris Parnell. Jack Black does reprise his role as Stine, though it’s unclear whether it’s more of a cameo this time around.
The release date close to the holiday it’s named after should help and there’s also little in the way of direct family competition as The House with a Clock in Its Walls (starring Black) is winding down. Venom will be in its second weekend of release, however.
I’ll predict this doesn’t quite manage to match the earnings of its predecessor and it may come in with about 25% less. That would give the second helping of Goosebumps a debut in the high teens.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween opening weekend prediction: $17.3 million