Looking to bring in viewers for the four-day Valentine’s Day/President’s Day frame, the romantic drama The Photograph debuts in theaters this coming weekend. From director Stella Meghie, the pic features Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Chelsea Peretti, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lil Rel Howery, and Courtney B. Vance.
The Photograph comes from Will Packer Productions, which has had a series of lower budget hits that include thrillers like No Good Deed and comedies such as Girls Trip and Night School. This genre is somewhat new territory to them.
Three years back, Meghie directed Everything, Everything – a younger skewing romantic tale which took in $11.7 million over three days. I believe a strong African-American audience could get this over that given the extra day of grosses.
The Photograph opening weekend prediction: $17.4 million
Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne headline the business themed comedy Like a Boss next weekend as Paramount Pictures hopes many girls will make a trip to view it. Originally slated for release last summer, Boss is directed by Miguel Arteta with a supporting cast including Jennifer Coolidge, Billy Porter, and Salma Hayek.
It’s been over two years since Haddish broke through in a major way with Girls Trip and her lucky streak continued with Night School with Kevin Hart. However, things have slowed down a bit as of late with Nobody’s Fool (which grossed $14 million for its start). Then there was last year’s crime drama flop The Kitchen with Byrne’s Spy costar Melissa McCarthy.
The lack of much comedic competition should help a bit, but buzz seems to fairly muted here. My guess is this makes a bit under what Fool accomplished and struggles to hit teens.
Like a Boss opening weekend prediction: $12.4 million
Borrowing its plot themes from comedies such as Big and 13Goingon30, the Will Packer produced pic Little debuts next weekend. Regina Hall stars as an overworked tech mogul who’s transformed into a teen version of herself. That 13-year-old self is played by Marsai Martin (of TV’s “Black-ish”) and the young actress holds an executive producer credit here (making her the youngest person ever to do so). Tina Gordon directs and Issa Rae, Justin Hartley, and Rachel Dratch costar.
Mr. Packer’s previous studio efforts like GirlsTrip have turned into profitable ventures. Little hopes to bring in a sizable African-American audience and the chances of this over performing are real.
A gross in the mid to high teens is certainly feasible, but I’ll project low teens is where this ends up.
It’s not a remake of the Paul Newman/Bruce Willis dramedy from almost a quarter century ago, but Nobody’s Fool is in theaters next weekend with some other familiar names. The comedy casts Tiffany Haddish as a recently released prisoner with some unique dating issues. Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick, and Whoopi Goldberg costar.
Haddish, of course, broke out on the big screen in a major way last year with her acclaimed supporting role in Girls Trip. Just last month, she had another solid earner alongside Kevin Hart in Night School. This will be the biggest test so far of her newfound star power. It doesn’t hurt that her director is another name audiences know well – Tyler Perry.
In recent years, Perry’s non-Madea features often still manage opening weekends in the mid teens to low 20s. His spring thriller Acrimony took in $17.1 million for its start. His low mark came in 2014 with The Single Moms Club with just $8 million.
My feeling is that Haddish’s involvement should cause this to hit low to mid teens. I do wonder if its numbers could dwindle a bit since many moviegoers just saw her in Night School. For that reason, I’ll go on the lower scale of that range.
Nobody’s Fool opening weekend prediction: $14.5 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.
The October box office gets underway this weekend with a strong likelihood that the month’s record will be broken as the comic book adaptation Venom and Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga Oscar hopeful and musical drama A Star Is Born open. You can peruse my individual detailed prediction posts on them here:
Both are expected to post impressive debuts. The current October record holder is from five years ago when Gravity made $55.7 million out of the gate. Venom is tracking to open between $60-$70 million. I believe it will match expectations and premiere on the lower end of that range, taking the all-time monthly debut with it.
While Venom could always fail to meet projections, I believe the real wild card here is A Star Is Born. Ever since it screened on the film festival circuit, praise and awards buzz has been loud for Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and third remake of a tale that began in the 1930s. My initial estimate last week was $37.6 million and it has now risen to $48.6 million. It’s not out of the question that the projection could continue to rise during the week.
The two newcomers will easily take the top spots. As for holdovers, Smallfoot seems destined to experience a smaller drop than current champ Night School. I expect them to place 3rd and 4th, respectively, with The House with a Clock in Its Walls rounding out the top five.
And with that, my top five take on the big record-breaking weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $62.5 million
2. A Star Is Born
Predicted Gross: $48.6 million
Predicted Gross: $13.6 million
4. Night School
Predicted Gross: $12.7 million
5. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Predicted Gross: $7 million
Box Office Results (September 28-30)
As expected, the Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy NightSchool opened in first place with $27.2 million, a bit under my $31.6 million prediction. While not reaching the heights of some other Hart laughers, it’s still a solid start. I do expect a fairly large drop this weekend.
Warner Bros animated Smallfoot premiered in line with expectations at $23 million. My prediction? $23 million! I foresee a second weekend drop around 35-40 percent.
TheHousewithaClockinItsWalls dropped to third with $12.6 million, falling further than my second weekend estimate of $15.3 million. It’s made $44 million thus far.
ASimpleFavor was fourth with $6.5 million (I said $7 million) for a three-week tally of $43 million.
TheNun rounded out the top five with $5.4 million (I said $5.5 million) for an overall gross of $109 million.
Halloween themed horror pic HellFest yielded unimpressive results in sixth place with $5.1 million, in line with my $5.6 million projection.
Finally, the Pure Flix version of LittleWomen was a total bust this weekend with just $705,000 for 16th place. I was more generous at $1.1 million.
**Blogger’s Note (09/27/18): My estimates for Night School and Smallfoot has risen slightly to $31.6 million and $23 million respectively.
It could be a battle for the #1 spot at the box office as September closes with the Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School and the animated Warner Bros family pic Smallfoot debuting. We also have the Halloween theme park set horror flick Hell Fest opening. You can peruse my detailed individual prediction posts on the trio here:
Before we get to the heavy hitters, the Pure Flix version of Little Women is also out Friday on a low 600 or so screens. I didn’t do a separate post for it and I’m not expecting much out of it. I’ll put its premiere at just $1.1 million.
Kevin Hart has shown his potency at the box office repeatedly with several openings north of $30 million. I don’t have Night School reaching quite that high, but my mid to late 20s estimate is enough to project it will top the lower to mid 20s gross of Smallfoot.
Competition for Smallfoot will include the second weekend of The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which performed on the higher end of expectations out of the gate. It should drop to third place with A Simple Favor in fourth.
The five-spot is where I expect Hell Fest to compete. Horror movies always have the capacity to outdo expectations, but I’m not seeing much fanfare for this one. My mid single digits prediction could put it in range with the fourth weekend of The Nun.
And with that, a top 6 take on the weekend ahead:
1. Night School
Predicted Gross: $31.6 million
Predicted Gross: $23 million
3. The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Predicted Gross: $15.3 million
4. A Simple Favor
Predicted Gross: $7 million
5. Hell Fest
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million
6. The Nun
Predicted Gross: $5.5 million
Box Office Results (September 21-23)
As anticipated, The House with a Clock in Its Walls topped the charts with a solid $26.6 million (ahead of my $23.2 million take). The Jack Black family pic, as mentioned, hit the better end of estimates. Considering its reported $40 million budget, this should be a nice hit for Universal.
A Simple Favor elevated from third place to second place in its sophomore weekend with $10.2 million, in line with my $10.6 million projection. Its total stands at $32 million.
The Nun crossed the $100 million mark placing third with $9.9 million (ahead of my $8.4 million estimate). Only Annabelle of the Conjuring Cinematic Universe didn’t manage to join the century club and The Nun appears poised to be the franchise’s second largest earner behind The Conjuring.
The Predator dipped mightily in weekend #2 to fourth place with a 63% fall and $9.1 million (I said $10 million) for $40 million overall.
Crazy Rich Asians was fifth with $6.3 million (I went with $5.9 million) for $159 million overall.
The newcomers besides Clock all failed to connect with moviegoers. Michael Moore’s doc (despite significant publicity) was a flop. While Fahrenheit 9/11 took in nearly $24 million in its first weekend in the summer of 2004, 11/9 managed a paltry $3 million for 8th place. I predicted $5 million.
Life Itself couldn’t overcome overwhelmingly negative reviews and the drama from “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman was 11th with a putrid $2.1 million. I was a bit higher at $3.8 million.
I didn’t make a prediction on the blog for Assassination Nation (though I said $1.2 million on Fantasy Movie League), but it was another bad opening in 15th place with $1 million.
The Warner Animation Group sets the Legos aside momentarily when Smallfoot debuts next weekend. The 3D computer animated comedic musical (a twist on the Bigfoot story) comes from director Karey Kirkpatrick. He made the well-received Over the Hedge over a decade ago and the not so well-received live-action Eddie Murphy pic Imagine That in 2009. Channing Tatum, James Corden, LeBron James, Zendaya, Common, Danny DeVito, and Gina Rodriguez are among the voices heard here.
As mentioned, the current animation department at Warner Bros has mostly been giving us Lego titles as of late. One exception was 2016’s Storks. It also opened in September and made $21.3 million for its start. That is likely a far better comparison that anything involving those famous blocks.
A low 20s to mid gross should put this in second place next weekend behind the Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School.
**Blogger’s Update (09/27/18): My estimate has risen to $27.6 million to $31.6 million
One of the most dependable comedic actors at the box office teams with one of the hottest newer names when Night School opens next weekend. Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish headline the pic about a group trying to pass their GED exam. Malcolm D. Lee (who just directed Haddish in her breakout Girls Trip) is behind the camera. The supporting cast includes Rob Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Taran Killam, Romany Malco, and Keith David.
Hart has been a model of consistency in recent years when it comes to high earners. In addition to just coming off the massive blockbuster Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, he’s had a handful of $30 million plus openers including Think Like a Man, both Ride Along features, Get Hard, and Central Intelligence. The Think Like a Man sequel almost reached $30 million while About Last Night made $25.6 million for its start. The low-end of the spectrum is The Wedding Ringer with $20.6 million. As for Lee and Haddish’s Trip, it took in $31.2 million.
The collaboration of these talents should yield pleasing results and the likely #1 spot over its made competitor – the animated Smallfoot. I’m a little skeptical this reaches $30 million, though it certainly could. A gross in the mid to high 20s seems more probable.
Night School opening weekend prediction: $31.6 million
Like yesterday’s Year of 2017 honoree Kumail Nanjiani, Tiffany Haddish started 2017 as a stand-up comic not known to a large swath of the American public. Yet as the year draws to its close, Haddish is now quite well-known due to her scene stealing performance in the summer’s comedic sleeper hit.
Alongside Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith, it was Haddish who garnered the most buzz in GirlsTrip, which surprised all prognosticators when it grossed $115 million. It was 2016’s Keanu that gave Haddish her first notable role, but that picture was largely ignored. Yet her raw, profane and outlandish Dina character gave the actress a showcase filled with standout moments.
Critics groups and Hollywood have certainly taken notice. Haddish became the first African American comic to host “Saturday Night Live” this fall. In 2018, she will reunite with Trip director Malcolm D. Lee for NightSchool with Kevin Hart.
Expect to see lots of Haddish in the coming years and 2017 was unquestionably her breakout.