In the United States, famed British band Queen had two #1 hits with “Another One Bites The Dust” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Next weekend, a biopic of its legendary lead singer Freddie Mercury is likely to top box office charts when Bohemian Rhapsody debuts. Named after one of their signature tunes (used memorably in 1992’s Wayne’s World), Rami Malek stars as Mercury. The supporting cast includes Lucy Boynton, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazzello, and Wayne Campbell himself – Mike Myers. The film shares credit for its directors, as original filmmaker Bryan Singer was replaced well into the shooting schedule with Dexter Fletcher. That move attracted plenty of publicity.
With its well-received and rocking trailers, Rhapsody appears poised to knock off Michael Myers from #1 when it opens. It certainly has breakout potential due to familiarity with the band, but it could also leg out well if it achieves positive audience word-of-mouth. Reviews will be out shortly, but early buzz suggests the picture is a bit of a mixed bag while Malek’s portrayal of Mercury could generate Oscar attention.
I’ll say this starts its cinematic journey in the high 20s range.
Bohemian Rhapsody opening weekend prediction: $28 million
Jamie Lee Curtis and her long running nemesis Michael Myers should have no trouble topping the box office charts once again as a trio of newcomers enter the marketplace. They are the Gerard Butler action thriller Hunter Killer, Pure Flix drama Indivisible, and Rowan Atkinson comedy sequel Johnny English Strikes Again. You can peruse my individual prediction posts on them here:
Let’s deal with the low hanging fruit first. I don’t expect Indivisible or English to come anywhere near the top 5 with respective estimates of $1.7 million and $1.3 million.
We also have Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s expanding into wide release after a four screen engagement this past weekend. A theater count will be key here, but if it gets 1000 screens I’ll say it hits around $3.6 million (this could rise or fall depending on volume).
Hunter Killer is a trickier proposition. It doesn’t seem to be generating much buzz, but recent Butler pics such as Geostorm and Den of Thieves have both managed to go slightly above projections. It’s tempting to say Killer won’t do double digits, but I’m putting it just over that for what would be a fourth place showing (though it could go higher).
Speaking of killers, Michael Myers and his Halloween sequel slashed its way to the second largest October opening of all time (behind Venom) and second highest horror premiere ever (behind It). I’ll say it dips around 53% for the weekend.
A Star Is Born and Venom seem poised to keep their 2-3 positions with Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween rounding out the top five.
And with that, the top 5 estimates for the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $35.4 million
2. A Star Is Born
Predicted Gross: $13.1 million
Predicted Gross: $10.4 million
4. Hunter Killer
Predicted Gross: $10.2 million
5. Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Predicted Gross: $6.5 million
Box Office Results (October 19-21)
As mentioned, Halloween achieved near record-setting status this weekend with a fantastic $76.2 million start, right in line with my $75.4 million prediction. It easily soared above the previous franchise record with $50 million to spare. That mark was held by Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake at $26 million.
A Star Is Born kept the runner-up spot for the third weekend with $19 million (I said $19.2 million) to bring its earnings to $126 million.
After two weeks on top, Venom dipped to third place with $18 million (I was a tad lower at $16.9 million) for a three-week tally of $171 million.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was fourth with $9.7 million (I said $9.4 million) for a two-week gross of $28 million.
First Man continued its disappointing returns in fifth with $8.3 million – under my $10 million take. In two weeks, it’s earned an unimpressive $29 million.
Critically acclaimed The Hate U Give expanded wide with a solid $7.6 million for sixth place, getting past my $6.7 million estimate.
Blogger’s Note (10/22/18): Hours after publication of this post, a theater count of approximately 830 screens was revealed. That means a revision down from $1.7 million to just $1 million
The latest Pure Flix drama Indivisible hits theaters this weekend and the faith-based pic is likely to follow in the footsteps of the studio’s most recent output. It’s the true story of an Army chaplain stationed in Iraq. David G. Evans directs with a cast including Justin Bruening, Sarah Drew, Jason Winston George, Madeline Carroll, and Michael O’Neill. I’m not sure how much of a coincidence it is, but many of the actors here have appeared on the long-running ABC hit “Grey’s Anatomy”.
We don’t have a theater count yet on Indivisible and that will be a determining factor in my prediction. However, looking at recent Pure Flix material, 1300-1600 screens is probable. That would fall in line with four of their releases in the past year: Same Kind of Different as Me, Samson, God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, and last month’s Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Between those four pictures, their opening weekend grosses ranged between a consistent $1.9-$2.6 million. If this were to debut with less screens that, my forecast will be revised down.
I see no major reason to alter the formula much here. I’ll go on the lower end of that small spectrum since it’s not a sequel like God’s Not Dead and Unbroken.
Indivisible opening weekend prediction: $1 million
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: $10.2 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