The DisneyNature brand marches into theaters next week with the release of Penguins. It continues the franchise’s environmentally conscious documentaries timed for release just prior to Earth Day. As the title suggests, this Antarctic set coming of age tale focuses on a young penguin finding his way in the frozen tundra. Ed Helms narrates with Alastair Fothergill (who co-directed 2014’s Bears) and Jeff Wilson sharing filming duties.
Over the past decade, opening weekend grosses for DisneyNature has been quite consistent. The aforementioned Bears took in $4.7 million. The following year’s MonkeyKingdom made $4.5 million. In 2017, BorninChina earned $4.7 million. That’s well under the studio’s high mark in 2012 achieved by Chimpanzee at $10.6 million.
Penguins is the first in the series since 2010’s Oceans to premiere on a Wednesday. Based on recent performances, that could mean it makes less than $4 million over the traditional weekend since it gets a two-day jump-start. I’ll predict that happens.
Penguins opening weekend prediction: $3.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
For my TheCurseofLaLlorona prediction, click here:
It’s the final weekend before the summer onslaught of high-profile wannabe blockbuster hits screens. Our final April weekend brings the Emma Watson/Tom Hanks thriller The Circle and rom com How to Be a Latin Lover. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:
As I see it, The Circle should be in for a second place showing behind the third weekend of The Fate of the Furious, which should manage to stay on top before Marvel’s Guardians slays all competitors when May hits.
As for Latin Lover, it certainly has the chance to over perform and could potentially nab the #3 spot. However, my estimate has it rounding out the top five with holdovers The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast above it.
There is another debut this weekend and that’s Sleight, the BlumHouse Tilt horror pic. I don’t have a theater count for it yet. Right now, I’ll predict $2.4 million though I could choose to revise once more information is available.
And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:
1. The Fate of the Furious
Predicted Gross: $20.2 million (representing a drop of 47%)
2. The Circle
Predicted Gross: $16.3 million
3. The Boss Baby
Predicted Gross: $8.6 million (representing a drop of 32%)
4. Beauty and the Beast
Predicted Gross: $6.5 million (representing a drop of 35%)
5. How to Be a Latin Lover
Predicted Gross: $6.3 million
Box Office Results (April 21-23)
In a weekend where six new titles rolled out wide (or semi-wide), there some surprises here and there. One item that wasn’t surprising: The Fate of the Furious easily remained #1 with $38.4 million, a bit under my $43.2M projection. The eighth pic in the franchise has taken in $163M in ten days.
The Boss Baby held in second with $12.7 million (above my $9.2M estimate) for $136M overall. Beauty and the Beast remained third with $9.6 million (above my $7.8M forecast) to bring its total to $470M. That puts it at #10 for all-time domestic earners and climbing.
Other holdovers held up better than my predictions. Going in Style was fourth with $4.9 million (I said $3.5M). It’s made $31M. Smurfs: The Lost Village was fifth at $4.8 million (I said $3.6M) and it’s earned $33M.
Yes, that means none of the newcomers cracked the top five. Disney’s nature doc Born in China was sixth with $4.7 million, in line with my $5.2M estimate. In seventh was the Katherine Heigl/Rosario Dawson thriller Unforgettable. It also made $4.7 million and that’s way below my generous $12.9M projection. I mistakenly felt a decent female audience might turn out for it. Not so.
Then there’s Gifted. I had it outside the top ten, but it expanded its theater count and posted $4.5 million for eighth. Its total is $10M.
The Promise opened in ninth with $4 million (I said $3.2M). The Christian Bale/Oscar Isaac Armenian genocide drama looks to be a big money loser for its studio.
The Lost City of Z was 10th as it expanded its theater count with $2.1 million (below my $3.7M prediction). Found footage horror flick Phoenix Forgotten opened dismally in 11th with $1.8 million, not matching my take of $3.4M.
Finally, Brie Larson action comedy Free Fire was DOA in 17th place with just $994k (I said $2.3M).
It is one busy post Easter weekend at the box office as six films roll out in wide or semi release. They are: romantic thriller Unforgettable with Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, DisneyNature production Born in China, Armenian Genocide drama The Promise with Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, found footage horror pic Phoenix Forgotten, British action-comedy Free Fire, and period piece adventure The Lost City of Z with Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
Before we get to the newbies, one thing seems for certain: The Fate of the Furious will easily repeat at #1 after its near $100M opening over Easter (more on that below). I foresee a drop in the mid 50s for it.
I see Unforgettable having little troubleplacing highest among the debuts for a decent second place showing. Then it’s family holdovers The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast in third and fourth with Born in China rounding out the top five.
And here’s where it gets really interesting! I’m not expecting much out of Phoenix Forgotten or The Promise and have them opening in range with where Smurfs: The Lost Village and Going in Style should be at in their third weekends. I also believe The Lost City of Z will do fairly well on only 500 screens and actually have it in sixth. Bottom line: for the numbers 6-10, I have them separated by only half a million bucks.
Notice I didn’t mention Free Fire. That’s because I actually have it outside the top ten at $2.3M (which would probably put it 11th). That said, I’ve yet to screen a theater count for it and that could change the dynamic.
So… lots to chew on this weekend and here’s a projected top ten:
1. The Fate of the Furious
Predicted Gross: $43.2 million (representing a drop of 56%)
Predicted Gross: $12.9 million
3. The Boss Baby
Predicted Gross: $9.2 million (representing a drop of 43%)
4. Beauty and the Beast
Predicted Gross: $7.8 million (representing a drop of 43%)
5. Born in China
Predicted Gross: $5.2 million
6. The Lost City of Z
Predicted Gross: $3.7 million
7. Smurfs: The Lost Village
Predicted Gross: $3.6 million (representing a drop of 47%)
8. Going in Style
Predicted Gross: $3.5 million (representing a drop of 45%)
9. Phoenix Forgotten
Predicted Gross: $3.4 million
10. The Promise
Predicted Gross: $3.2 million
Box Office Results (April 14-16)
The Fate of the Furious did manage to score the second highest April opening ever and the second highest debut of the franchise, though it did come in quite a bit under my expectations. Fate made $98.7 million, just topping the $97.3M achieved by Fast & Furious 6 (and well under the series pinnacle of $147.1M that Furious 7 did). While well below my $122.7 million projection, it’s still a solid opening that should leave the Fast brand in good order.
The Boss Baby dropped to second with $16 million (I said $15M) for a $116M tally with Beauty and the Beast in third at $13.7 million (I said $14.6M) for a $454M overall haul.
Smurfs: The Lost Village continued its ho-hum run in fourth with $6.7 million (I said $7.8M) in its sophomore frame for just a $24M total. Going in Style, also in weekend #2, rounded out the top five with $6.2 million (I went with $7.2M) for $23M overall.
Finally, Gifted expanded in theater count and was sixth with $3 million, under my $4.6M forecast.
The DisneyNature division of the Mouse Factory brings us the documentary Born in China next weekend. This is the seventh feature that the studio has timed to Earth Day focusing on nature and animals. Pandas and monkeys are the general subject in this case.
Narrated by John Krasinski, the Chinese version has already been released. The grosses of the six previous pictures have performed as follows:
Earth (2009) – $8.8 million debut
Oceans (2010) – $6 million
African Cats (2011) – $6 million
Chimpanzee (2012) – $10.6 million
Bears (2014) – $4.7 million
Monkey Kingdom (2015) – $4.5 million
As you can see, the opening weekends for the last pics have been the lowest of the bunch thus far. I suspect Born in China may fall in the same ballpark and I’ll put it just past $5M (people love pandas!).
Born in China opening weekend prediction: $5.2 million