Horror fans have been conjured, purged, and (umm) quiet placed already this summer with their scary sequels. Now it’s time to escape with the release of Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. The original $9 million budgeted effort took in a hefty $57 million back in January 2019 and Sony Pictures aspires to keep the gravy train rolling. The studio wished to capitalize on its momentum more quickly as this was originally slated for an April 2020 premiere before its COVID delay.
Taylor Russell and Logan Miller reprise their roles from part 1 as does director Adam Robitel. New cast members include Indya Moore, Holland Roden, Thomas Cocquerel, and Carlito Olivero. Two and a half years ago, Escape Room easily surpassed expectations with an $18.2 million domestic start. It even managed to only fall 51% in its sophomore frame and that’s quite solid for the genre.
Tournament of Champions could risk the weariness of moviegoers who’ve had plenty of fright fest follow-ups to choose from lately. I do think it will still manage low double digits.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions opening weekend prediction: $11.4 million
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Six strangers attempt to survive a deadly series of the title here in the horror pic EscapeRoom, out next Friday. It’s my first box office prediction for a 2019 feature and it comes from Adam Robitel, best known for directing 2018’s sequel Insidious: TheLastKey (which was my first projection for this current year). Cast members include Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Taylor Russell, Tyler Labine, Jay Ellis, and Nik Dodani.
The market could certainly be ready for a fright fest, but whether EscapeRoom hits that spot for genre fans is questionable (especially with Glass coming two weeks later). The aforementioned Insidious entry had the benefit of being part of a successful franchise. It opened to just over $29 million almost one year ago.
I’ll estimate that this achieves less than half of that number with the caveat that horror flicks can manage to outdo expectations in January.
EscapeRoom opening weekend prediction: $13.8 million
The first new wide release of 2018 is out next Friday when Insidious: The Last Key enters theaters. This is the fourth chapter in the franchise that began in 2011. Like Chapter 3, it’s a prequel to the events of the first two. In other words, no Patrick Wilson or Rose Byrne (the stars of the originals). James Wan, director and 1 and 2, produces with Adam Robitel behind the camera. Leigh Whannell, who’s served as writer for all of them, costars along with Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Josh Stewart, and Bruce Davison.
One factor that could assist The Last Key is the absence of horror flicks in the marketplace at the moment. That said, this franchise has been losing its luster. The 2011 original debuted to $13 million but legged out very nicely for its genre with an eventual $54 million gross. The 2013 sequel was the pinnacle with a terrific $40 million opening weekend and $83 million total tally. Chapter 3 in 2015 premiered to $22 million, but ended up as the lowest earner of the series with $52 million.
I don’t see a compelling reason why part 4 will rebound. For comparison sake, I could see this performing similarly to 2014’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which opened in the first weekend of January to just over $18 million. Like this, that was an entry in a franchise whose steam had dissipated. That number seems to be where Key fits best.
Insidious: The Last Key opening weekend prediction: $18.6 million