Blogger’s Note (01/02): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my number down to $10.2 million
2020 begins at multiplexes in the same fashion as other recent years with a horror offering. This time around, it’s a remake of the 2004 supernatural pic The Grudge. And that Sarah Michelle Gellar hit was itself an update of a 2002 Japanese title in which Takashi Shimizu directed both. Nicolas Pesce is behind the camera now with a cast including Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, and Jacki Weaver.
As mentioned, this is the genre that has typically kicked off the cinematic calendar lately. In 2019, Escape Room surprised prognosticators with a debut north of $18 million. Two years ago, Insidious: The Last Key unlocked a gross just under $30 million.
The Grudge is not expected to approach those figures, but horror flicks always have the capacity to surprise. Yet this could also fall victim to the unasked for franchise fatigue that has plagued several titles recently. A decent comp could be 2017’s Rings, which was also a reboot of a Japanese series. It opened to $13 million and that sounds about right here (and perhaps a tad under).
The Grudge opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
The cinematic stylings of director Gore Verbinski returns to screens next weekend when A Cure for Wellness opens. The horror thriller set in the Swiss Alps finds Dane DeHaan as a businessman trapped in a mysterious “wellness” center. Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth costar. Its trailer is filled with striking visuals that have part of Verbinski’s repertoire. The filmmaker had some massive hits with The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean and its first two sequels. However, his previous effort The Lone Ranger was an expensive dud.
While the previews look fascinating, reviews have not been very strong and it stands at just 36% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Its two and a half hour running time (something several critics have noted as a flaw) could also be a detriment, as well as competition for the same audience from John Wick: Chapter 2 and The Great Wall.
Wellness is highly likely to place third among the trio of newcomers debuting over Presidents Day weekend and it could struggle to place in the top five. I’ll say a low double digits premiere is the diagnosis here.
A Cure for Wellness opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
It’s a bustling weekend of sequels and spin-offs as three new high-profile releases debut: animated spin-off The Lego Batman Movie, risque sequel Fifty Shades Darker, and Keanu Reeves action follow-up John Wick: Chapter 2. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
As I see it, the trio of newcomers should have no trouble placing 1st-3rd on the charts. Lego is highly likely to come out on top and I’ve got making a bit less than the $69 million earned by The Lego Movie in 2014.
Prognosticators are pegging Fifty Shades Darker to earn about half of the fantastic $85 million made by Fifty Shades of Grey two years ago. That sounds about right.
The original John Wick from 2014 has turned into a cult hit after a decent box office performance and it looks to expand a bit on the $14 million debut of its predecessor.
The newbies should cause M. Night Shyamalan’s Split to fall to fourth place after three weeks at #1. The 5 spot could be a battle between A Dog’s Purpose, Hidden Figures, and Rings, but I’ll give Figuresthe slight edge.
And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend:
1. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $65.8 million
2. Fifty Shades Darker
Predicted Gross: $44.8 million
3. John Wick: Chapter 2
Predicted Gross: $20.7 million
Predicted Gross: $8.2 million (representing a drop of 43%
5. Hidden Figures
Predicted Gross: $6.9 million (representing a drop of 32%)
Box Office Results (February 3-5)
The Super Bowl weekend is typically a slower one at multiplexes and 2017 was no different. Split managed a three-peat in weekend #3 in the top spot as it grossed $14.4 million. My prediction? $14.4M! Yay! The Shyamalan hit stands at $98 million through the weekend and should pass the century mark today.
Audiences were more interested in Tom Brady’s rings than Rings, which disappointed at second with an unlucky $13 million. I went way higher with $20.3 million. It had been 12 years since the horror franchise was around and ambivalence to it was clearly shown. The pic is likely to experience a large drop in its sophomore frame and plummet right out of the top 5.
A Dog’s Purpose was third with $10.5 million, shy of my $12.5M forecast for a two-week total of $32M.
Hidden Figures was fourth with $10.1 million (in line with $10.7M prognosis) for a $119M overall tally as $150M looks well within its sights.
La La Land rounded out the top five with $7.3 million (I said $8.3M) for a $118M haul as it dances its way to probable Oscar glory.
Finally, the oft delayed teenage sci-fi romance The Space Between Us bombed in ninth place with a measly $3.7 million debut compared to my $6.7M estimate.
The first weekend of February brings new titles to the marketplace to compete with holdovers and a football game on Sunday. They are: long gestating horror sequel Rings and sci-fi teen romance The Space Between Us. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:
As I see it, both The Bye Bye Man and Split exceeded their opening weekend expectations (more on the terrific Split earnings below). It’s been a bountiful 2017 thus far for the horror genre and I believe Rings will debut just north of $20M for a first place showing.
The Space Between Us should struggle to reach the top 5 and my mid single digits forecast for it leaves it on the outside. Current #1 and #2 Split and A Dog’s Purpose should slide down a spot with awards hopefuls Hidden Figures and La La Land rounding out the top five.
And with that, a top 6 predictions for the weekend:
Predicted Gross: $20.3 million
Predicted Gross: $14.4 million (representing a drop of 43%)
3. A Dog’s Purpose
Predicted Gross: $12.5 million (representing a drop of 31%)
4. Hidden Figures
Predicted Gross: $10.7 million (representing a drop of 24%)
5. La La Land
Predicted Gross: $8.3 million (representing a drop of 32%)
6. The Space Between Us
Predicted Gross: $6.7 million
Box Office Results (January 27-29)
If the $40 million opening didn’t convince you, the second weekend of Split solidified director M. Night Shyamalan’s major comeback. The horror thriller took in $25.6 million in its sophomore frame (higher than my $18.5M forecast) to bring its total to $77 million. The century mark is in its sights and it experienced the smallest week 2 decline of any Shyamalan effort since The Sixth Sense.
Despite controversy, A Dog’s Purpose brought in a pleasing $18.2 million for a solid second place showing. This was much more than my $10.3M projection, which I revised down from an original estimate of $17.9M. Should have stuck with my first thought…
Hidden Figures (which won the main SAG prize yesterday) was third with $14 million compared to my $12.8M prediction. The Oscar nominee now stands at $104M.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter posted a franchise low debut in fourth with just $13.6 million, just below my $14.6M estimate. Look for it to fade fast.
La La Land rounded out the top five with $12.2 million, above my $9.9M guesstimate. Like Figures, it also joined the $100M+ club as it’s made $106M.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage was sixth in weekend #2 with $8.6 million, in line with my $8.9M estimate for a weak tally of $33M.
Sing was seventh with $6.4 million (I said $5.6M) to pad its now $257M take.
Finally, Matthew McConaughey posted a career low wide opening with Gold. It only managed a 10th place debut with $3.4 million (I went higher with $5.4M).
Next weekend, the genres of science fiction and teen romance are intertwined when The Space Between Us lifts off in theaters. The film stars Asa Butterfield (who played the title role in 2013’s Ender’s Game) alongside the busy Britt Robertson (currently costarring in A Dog’s Purpose), Gary Oldman, and Carla Gugino.
Just like Rings (the only pic opening wide on the same day), Space has been delayed more than once by its studio. It was originally scheduled to open last July, then August, then December, and finally now. I don’t really see a scenario where this breaks out with its intended audience of genre buffs and females looking for some YA type material.
The film is based on an original idea, so there’s no known source material for moviegoers to base their anticipation on. Marketing for Space has been rather ho-hum as well. I’ll predict it only manages a mid to higher single digits gross and fades quickly.
The Space Between Us opening weekend prediction: $6.7 million
After nearly 12 years, that creepy contortionist Samara and that deadly videotape returns to the silver screen when Rings debuts next weekend. The horror flick reboots a franchise that began in 2002 with the American version of a 1998 Japanese pic. It was a huge success, followed up by a somewhat lackluster 2005 sequel. The question is whether young audiences who flock to the genre and now older moviegoers who were transfixed by the original turn out.
F. Javier Gutierrez takes over directorial reigns in this follow-up set 13 years after part two. The cast includes Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, and Vincent D’Onofrio.
Curiously, Rings has been pushed back on multiple occasions. First scheduled for fall of 2015, then spring 2016, and then October – Paramount finally settled for February 2017. The stateside version of The Ring in 2002 started off with a decent $15 million opening before its solid word-of-mouth carried it to a $129 million overall domestic gross. The sequel debuted much bigger with $35 million, but petered out quickly with a $76 million eventual tally.
I don’t expect Rings to come anywhere near the franchise high of Ring Two. There’s also a football game that Sunday that could deter some viewers away. That said, we’ve seen the horror genre outperform expectations twice already in the new year – when The Bye Bye Man took in nearly $16 million out of the gate and Split made $40 million for its start. This could also mean genre enthusiasts may have had their fill in recent weeks. I believe Rings manages to just top $20 million.
Rings opening weekend prediction: $20.3 million
For my The Space Between Us prediction, click here:
Two high-profile horror flicks coming out this fall seem to have a lot in common. Both will help answer the question as to whether late 90s and early 00s nostalgia scares up business for the both of them.
Both Blair Witch (out September 16) and Rings (October 28) have had interesting journeys to the silver screen. Witch is, of course, a sequel to The Blair Witch Project from 1999. It came out of nowhere that summer and kicked off the found footage craze of the genre that continued for some time. Shot for a tiny $60,000, it grossed $248 million worldwide. This new one comes from director Adam Wingard (who made 2013’s well-regarded You’re Next). For months, it was known as The Woods and the reveal that it was actually related to the famed pic from 17 years ago was unknown until recently.
Rings reinvigorates the dormant franchise of movies that hit it big with 2002’s The Ring, Gore Verbinski’s remake of 1998’s Japanese flick Ringu. It starred Naomi Watts in the role that exposed her to mass audiences and made $249 million globally. Like Blair Witch Project, it ushered in its own sub genre of horror that included The Grudge. Rings has been delayed a couple of times – it was originally scheduled to premiere last November, then pushed to April, and finally to this Halloween.
A similarity that these two series share: an underwhelming second picture in between the original and the reboots coming our way this autumn. 2000’s Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 didn’t strike the kind of chord that its predecessor did, earning weak reviews and just $50 million in sales. 2005’s The Ring Two also suffered mediocre critical response and audience reaction (making $76 million domestically compared to the original’s $129 million). What I recall most about it is some of the worst CG deer in the history of cinema.
The nostalgia train has been rolling along in theaters recently with some smashing successes (Jurassic World) and crushing failures (Independence Day: Resurgence). The horror genre is one that constantly remakes and re-imagines its popular franchises, but Blair Witch and Rings are among the first to test out moviegoers fondness for these series that hit it big less than two decades ago. Stay tuned!