September 30-October 2 Box Office Predictions

Horror pic Smile and Bros, the first gay rom com from a major studio, look to lead the end of September/early October box office. Both are getting solid notices with respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of 79% and 95%. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:

Smile Box Office Prediction

Bros Box Office Prediction

Smile has had a shrewd marketing campaign with a creepy teaser trailer that played in front Top Gun: Maverick all summer (so a lot of moviegoers saw it). My mid to high teens projection should put it in first place.

That’s unless Bros with Billy Eichner exceeds forecasts. However, my low teens estimate would give it runner-up status. I would not be surprised if it legs out well in subsequent weekends (I suspect word-of-mouth will be strong). **Speaking of forecasts, as of this writing, it remains to be seen if Hurricane Ian could negatively impact the weekend ahead.

With a B- Cinemascore, current champ Don’t Worry Darling could be headed towards a hefty sophomore drop after its solid premiere (more on that below). A mid to high 50s fall is possible. It should hold the 3 spot though The Woman King could give it a run for its money.

King and the Avatar re-release should fill out the rest of the top five and here’s how I envision it panning out:

1. Smile

Predicted Gross: $18.7 million

2. Bros

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

3. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $8 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million

5. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million

Box Office Results (September 23-25)

Don’t Worry Darling, the much publicized thriller from Olivia Wilde and starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, started out strong and diminished throughout the weekend. Taking in $19.3 million, it just outdid my $18.9 million projection. It looked like $20 million plus was likely with a $3 million Thursday night start until it dwindled. With a reported $35 million budget, it’s a pleasing debut regardless.

The Woman King fell to second with $11 million, under my $13.2 million take. The acclaimed historical epic with Viola Davis has made $36 million in its first ten days.

Three months ahead of its long in development sequel, James Cameron’s Avatar was re-released and earned $10.5 million for third (surging beyond my $8.5 million projection). The fourth highest grossing domestic earner of all time is now at $771 million with that extra coin.

Barbarian continued its meager declines with a fourth place showing of $4.8 million. I was right on target with $4.9 million as the critically appreciated horror flick has made $28 million.

See How They Run was fifth in its sophomore outing and I incorrectly had it outside of the quintet. With $1.9 million, the weak two-week tally is $6 million.

Pearl was sixth as it also made $1.9 million. My guess? $1.9 million! Like Run, $6 million is its the total.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Smile Box Office Prediction

Paramount Pictures is hoping that horror fans are ready to Smile on September 30th. The supernatural fright fest marks the directorial debut of Parker Finn with a cast including Sosie Bacon (daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick), Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn, and Rob Morgan.

This is a genre that’s been well served in September with Barbarian and Pearl (and The Invitation in late August). The trend will continue with Halloweens Ends in mid-October. There could be a bit of fatigue, but Smile may have a feather in its cap. The mysterious and creepy teaser spot played all summer long in front of a little film called Top Gun: Maverick… the one that’s made over $700 million domestically.

A premiere in the $20 million range is certainly possible. However, I’ll say high teens is where this lands.

Smile opening weekend prediction: $18.7 million

For my Bros prediction, click here:

Bros Box Office Prediction

September 23-25 Box Office Predictions

Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles will test the “all publicity is good publicity” theory when it opens this weekend. We also have the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 phenomenon Avatar ahead of the December debut of sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Avatar Box Office Prediction

Darling, with my projected high teens start, should manage a first place showing. Yet it may need to worry a little about the sophomore hold of The Woman King (more on its opening below). I still think the former should edge the latter fairly easily.

Avatar is a little tricky to project (the reported 1800 screen count is lower than I would’ve thought). $10 million could be a reach and my estimate is in higher single digits. Either way, it’s looking at 3rd place.

As for the rest of the top 5, it should be filled with horror holdovers Barbarian and Pearl. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million

2. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $12.4 million

3. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million

4. Barbarian

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

5. Pearl

Predicted Gross: $1.9 million

Box Office Results (September 16-18)

Viola Davis and company were crowned box office champions as The Woman King made $19 million. That’s better than my $14.7 million prediction as the historical action tale opened on the north end of its anticipated range. There’s better news still as it’s only the second 2022 release to nab an A+ Cinemascore grade (the other is Top Gun: Maverick). That should mean minimal drops in coming weekends and I only have it falling about 15% in weekend #2.

Barbarian held up well in its follow-up frame (especially for a horror pic) with $6.5 million (I was lower at $5 million). The critically heralded scary movie has made $21 million in ten days.

The fright fest competition may have hurt Pearl, which opened in third with $3.1 million (in line with my $3.4 million take). That’s more than a million under what its spring predecessor did out of the gate.

Audiences weren’t into solving the mystery of See How They Run as the Saoirse Ronan/Sam Rockwell caper posted a fourth place debut with $3 million (I was close with $3.2 million).

Finally, Bullet Train rounded out the top five with $2.5 million. This is on track with my $2.3 million estimate and the total is $96 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

September 16-18 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Update (09/14): Two changes to discuss as I’ve revised my See How They Run estimate down from $4.8M to $3.2M and my Pearl estimate up from $2.4M to $3.4M. That changes the dynamic of the top five from what I discussed below.

The Viola Davis led historical action epic The Woman King, Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell in the comedic murder mystery See How They Run, and Ti West’s horror prequel Pearl are the new offerings coming our way this weekend. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

The Woman King Box Office Prediction

See How They Run Box Office Prediction

Pearl Box Office Prediction

The Woman King should have no trouble debuting in first place as it’s the only pic that should top double digits. Reviews are solid and this could manage a gross close to $20 million, but I’m hedging and projecting a low teens start.

I’m not anticipating much of the other newcomers. Run has been flying under the radar. Assuming Barbarian has a typically hefty horror sophomore dip (more on its opening below), the crime caper should still manage a second place showing thought it could be awfully close.

As for Pearl, its predecessor made $4.3 million in its March premiere. I’m thinking the prequel won’t match that. However, even if it snatches $2-3 million, that should be enough to make top five.

Here’s how I see this rather ho-hum mid-September frame playing out:

1. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $14.7 million

2. Barbarian

Predicted Gross: $5 million

3. Pearl

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

4. See How They Run

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

5. Bullet Train

Predicted Gross: $2.3 million

Box Office Results (September 9-11)

Critics enjoyed Barbarian more than audiences though the scary movie landed on the higher end of its range. It opened in first with $10.5 million and that’s ahead of my $7.1 million prediction. The C+ Cinemascore grade doesn’t approach that 92% RT score. Note that its opening weekend matches it reported budget. This’ll be a profitable little venture for 20th Century Studios.

The Indian adventure Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva had a second place opening with $4.5 million, managing to top my $3.2 million estimate. I would expect the debut to be front loaded and for it to drop out of the top five this weekend.

Bullet Train was third with $3.3 million (I said $3.4 million) as it inches closer to nine figures with $92 million.

Top Gun: Maverick (after rising back to first place over Labor Day) was fourth with $3.1 million, under my $4.2 million take. The gargantuan gross is $705 million.

The Invitation rounded out the top five and I incorrectly didn’t have it there. With $2.6 million, it’s up to $18 million after three weeks.

DC League of Super-Pets was sixth with $2.6 million (I went with $3 million) to bring its tally to $85 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Pearl Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (09/14): I’m revising my estimate up from $2.4 million to $3.4 million.

Shot in secret during the filming of this spring’s horror pic X, Ti West’s prequel Pearl is in theaters Friday. Mia Goth returns in the villainous title role with a supporting cast including David Corenswat, Tandi Wright, and Matthew Sunderland. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival days ago to pleasing reviews (87% on Rotten Tomatoes). That’s just slightly under the meter of its predecessor which nabbed 94%.

While had the critics on its side, its box office performance was so-so. The $4.3 million opening culminated in an overall domestic gross of just under $12 million. While that might seem low, it’s a tidy profit for A24 considering the reported $1 million budget.

I’m sure Pearl wasn’t pricey either, but I suspect this won’t even reach figures. I’ll say between $2-3 million sounds about right.

Pearl opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million

For my The Woman King prediction, click here:

The Woman King Box Office Prediction

For my See How They Run prediction, click here:

See How They Run Box Office Prediction

Barbarian Box Office Prediction

The fall movie season kicks off in horrific fashion with Barbarian, Zach Cregger’s directorial debut which premiered at Comic-Con in July to solid buzz. Whether its festival reaction translates to positive box office numbers is questionable.

Georgina Campbell, Bill Skargard (who’s had huge success in the genre with It and its sequel), and Justin Long star in a pic whose plot is being kept rather secretive. Early word-of-mouth suggests horror fans might be best served by entering this one cold.

September is not looking overly encouraging for blockbuster possibilities. It is, however, filled with scary flicks. Barbarian starts the trend with Pearl out a week later and Smile arriving at month’s end. Barbarian needs that chatter from its screenings to seep into the mainstream and I’m not sure it has. One comp could be Malignant, which premiered on the same post Labor Day weekend last year. It made just over $5 million though it was simultaneously streaming on HBO Max.

This should benefit a little from being theatrical only. I’ll say Barbarian will be lucky to make close to double digits, but may to settle for $6-8 million.

Barbarian opening weekend prediction: $7.1 million