Lionsgate would love to see The Blackening post Scary Movie style numbers when it debuts June 16th. That’s probably wishful thinking. The horror parody comes from Tim Story, who directed Barbershop, 2005 and 2007’s Fantastic Four pics, and the two Ride Along action comedies. Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg, X Mayo, Dewayne Perkins (who co-scripted), Antoinette Robertson, Sinqua Walls, Jay Pharoah, and Yvonne Orji are among the cast.
When this screened at the Toronto Film Festival way back in September, early word-of-mouth was pretty encouraging. That said, comedies in general have failed to cash in over the past several years. Over the Memorial Day weekend, both The Machine and About My Father didn’t break out.
The Blackening could surprise if African-American audiences and horror fans turn out. If they do, an opening of over $10 million could be achievable. Given the genre’s struggles, I’ll put it under. Another limiting factor could be the reported smallish screen count of 1800 venues.
The Blackening opening weekend prediction: $7.7 million
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into multiplexes for a highly likely first place debut while The Boogeyman lurks for a start in third position. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:
Spidey is the follow-up to 2018’s Oscar-winning animated adventure Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In addition to plenty of awards, it had an A+ Cinemascore grade and nearly $200 million in domestic sales. Anticipation should be elevated for the sequel (with part 3 coming next year). That’s why some estimates have this as lofty as $100 million. I’m a tad more conservative, but I’ll say it clears $90 million.
The Boogeyman should take advantage of its PG-13 rating, the connection to Stephen King for the source material, and that there’s been a slight lull between horror flicks. Heck – it probably helps that it’s called The Boogeyman. I could see this opening similarly to The Black Phone and Smile. That would mean high teens or low 20s for a solid third place showing.
Memorial Day weekend champ The Little Mermaid should drop to second after a mixed bag of a debut (more on that below). A mid 50s dip (similar to the live-action Aladdin four years ago) would mean a number slightly north of $40 million.
The 4-5 slots should belong to sequel holdovers Fast X and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. It could be a close race between the two as they each may earn a tad over $10 million.
Here’s how I see it looking:
1. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Predicted Gross: $96.4 million
2. The Little Mermaid
Predicted Gross: $40.5 million
3. The Boogeyman
Predicted Gross: $17.7 million
4. Fast X
Predicted Gross: $10.1 million
5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Predicted Gross: $9.6 million
Box Office Results (May 26-29)
As expected, Disney’s The Little Mermaid (updating the 1989 classic) swam to the top of the charts. It did so on the lower end of its expected range. Over the four-day holiday, the total was $118.8 million. That’s below my take of $132.1 million. While nowhere near the starts of Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King from 2017 and 2019, it is on pace with what Aladdin accomplished over Memorial Day four years back.
Fast X slipped to second with $28.5 million and that managed to exceed my $25.4 million estimate. Vin Diesel and company have seen the beginning to the end of their two-decade long franchise earn $113 million thus far.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was third with $26.8 million, on target with my $26 million call. The MCU threequel stands at $306 million.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie took fourth place with $8.2 million (I said $7.6 million) to bring its massive haul to $560 million.
Spots 5-7, as anticipated, went to three newcomers. I didn’t correctly call their placements. The Machine with popular standup and podcaster Bert Kreischer was fifth with $5.8 million, ahead of my $3.7 million forecast. While not spectacular, it’s on the better end of its predicted range.
About My Father, featuring another popular standup Sebastian Maniscalco alongside Robert De Niro, was on the lesser end of the range. The family comedy was sixth with $5.3 million. I said a touch more at $6.2 million.
Finally, Gerard Butler’s action pic Kandahar bombed in seventh with only $2.8 million. I was more generous at $4.2 million.
And that does it for now, folks! Catch my podcast where I discuss all things box office by searching Movies at the Speed of Speculation wherever you like to stream. Until next time…
Blogger’s Note (05/24): I am revising my Kandahar prediction from $7.9 million to $4.2 million
Disney is hoping for a memorable holiday weekend as The Little Mermaid surfaces over the long frame. We have three other newcomers with Gerard Butler’s action thriller Kandahar, the father/son comedy About My Father with standup comic Sebastian Maniscalco and icon Robert De Niro, and the father/son comedy The Machine featuring standup comic Bert Kreischer and icon Mark Hamill. My detailed prediction posts on the quartet of newcomers can be accessed here:
There’s no doubt that Mermaid will bubble up to the #1 spot. The mystery is the number. While I don’t think it reaches the heights of other Mouse Factory live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, I do think it exceed the 2019 Memorial Day take of Aladdin. That said – there’s a wide range of possibility and my estimate is admittedly on the higher end compared to some others.
The real battle might be for the runner-up position. Fast X came in below its predecessor F9 (more on that below). It also received the same so-so B+ Cinemascore grade. A drop to the mid or high 20s could put it slightly behind the fourth weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which held impressively in the second and third outings. I’m going to give Star-Lord and company the slight edge over Vin Diesel and his cinematic family.
Butler has shown the ability to get his action flicks past $10 million and into the teens, but I’m not seeing much buzz for Kandahar. I’ll say it just reaches fourth place over The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
As you can tell from the descriptions, About My Father and The Machine have a lot in common. Both are tests for their leading men Maniscalco and Kreischer in their first headlining roles. Comedies have struggled at multiplexes lately and I believe these will. I think Father has a bit more broad appeal and I’ll give it sixth with The Machine trailing behind.
And with that, here’s how I envision the Friday to Monday Memorial weekend:
1. The Little Mermaid
Predicted Gross: $132.1 million
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Predicted Gross: $26 million
3. Fast X
Predicted Gross: $25.4 million
4. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Predicted Gross: $7.6 million
5. About My Father
Predicted Gross: $6.2 million
Predicted Gross: $4.2 million
7. The Machine
Predicted Gross: $3.7 million
Box Office Results (May 19-21)
Fast X continued the diminishing returns of the franchise though its dip wasn’t too far off from F9. The tenth pic in the 22-year-old series made $67 million (F9 did $70M) and that’s right in line with my $67.8 million prediction. As mentioned, I look for a hefty fall coming up. Luckily for Universal, the overseas grosses are solid (they need to be considering the reported $340 million sticker price).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was second after two weeks on top with $32.4 million, on pace my with $33.5 million take. The three-week total is $266 million and, per above, I think it could stay parked in the runner-up position over the holiday.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie made $9.6 million for third compared to my $8.3 million forecast. The remarkable seven-week earnings are $549 million.
Book Club: The Next Chapter, after a poor debut, tumbled 55% in fourth with $3 million (I said $3.2 million). The rom com sequel has made a mere $13 million in ten days.
Finally, Evil Dead Rise was fifth with $2.4 million. My projection? $2.4 million! The horror pic has amassed $64 million in five weeks.
And that does it for now, folks! Catch my podcast… or Toddcast as I call it… by searching Movies at the Speed of Speculation on your favorite streaming platform. Until next time…
Popular comedian and podcaster Bert Kreischer takes a true tale from his stand-up routine and converts it to film with The Machine. The raucous pic has the lead playing himself with Mark Hamill portraying his dad as they are kidnapped by the Russian Mob. Jessica Gabor, Iva Babić, Jimmy Tatro, and Stephanie Kurtzuba costar. Peter Atencio (in his follow-up to Keanu) directs.
While Kreischer certainly has a following, I’m not convinced a significant number of his fans will make the multiplex trek. Plenty may just wait until it’s available to stream (several comedies in general have struggled in theaters recently). Then there’s About My Father with Sebastian Maniscalco and Robert De Niro which debuts against it and could siphon away those looking for a laugh.
Over the four-day Memorial weekend, I’m not sure it gets to $5 million and I’ll project it won’t.
The Machine opening weekend prediction: $3.7 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
Stand-up Sebastian Maniscalco hopes audiences take a seat for the autobiographical About My Father, a cultural comedy that he stars in and cowrote. Laura Terruso directs with Robert De Niro playing the lead’s father who meets the parents of his son’s would-be fiancee. Costars include Leslie Bibb, Anders Holm, David Rasche, and Kim Cattrall.
Releasing over the long Memorial Day weekend, Father faces competition from another laugher headlined by a popular comedian. That would be The Machine with Bert Kreischer and it’ll interesting to track which comes out on top. Many comedies in recent years have faced tough odds at multiplexes. Both could suffer.
Maniscalco’s filmography is limited and consists of no high profile starring roles until now (he did play a supporting part alongside De Niro in The Irishman). I suspect this could fail to reach double digits over the four-day. A worst case scenario would be around $5 million. I’ll give it a little more credit.
About My Father opening weekend prediction: $6.2 million (Friday to Monday estimate)