Nothing major to report from last night’s Thursday preview screenings, which were led by New Line’s Going in Style, which brought in $600,000 from previews that began at 5PM. Sony’s Smurfs: The Lost Village also held 5PM preview screenings in 2,731 theaters where it brought in $375,000. Comparisons for both performances are tough to come by as the films used in our weekend preview either didn’t hold Thursday previews or we don’t have the results in our database.
We will be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates. You can read our weekend preview below.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: We’ve already seen some strong performances at the box office this year all of which have contributed to the yearly domestic box office topping $3 billion in ticket sales faster than it ever has before. Last weekend, The Boss Baby became the fifth release of 2017 to top $50 million at the weekend box office and while this weekend won’t see similar returns for the week’s new wide releases, it’s the relative calm before the storm as Universal’s The Fate of the Furious debuts next weekend, sure to become the year’s second $100+ million opener. As for this weekend, the top twelve may struggle to reach $120 million collectively as both Smurfs: The Lost Village and Going in Style are looking at relatively soft openings while Pure Flix’s The Case for Christ should find a spot in the lower half of the weekend top ten.
At the top of the box office it’s looking like another close one between Fox and DreamWorks Animation’s The Boss Baby and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the latter of which is entering its fourth weekend in release after recently crossing $400 million domestically and has now made over $910 million worldwide. Both films are likely to lose a little bit of their audience to the release of Smurfs: The Lost Village as the three family features must find a way to share a common audience, but we’re expecting both to drop no more than 46% this weekend. As for the forecast, we’re looking for Boss Baby to repeat at number one by a narrow margin, bringing in just over $27 million for the three-day with Beauty and the Beast estimated to bring in around $25.4 million.
As for Smurfs: The Lost Village, as opposed it its predecessors, this is a fully animated Smurfs feature. The 2011 live-action/animated hybrid debuted to $35.6 million and eventually grossed $142.6 million domestically while the sequel could only open with $17.5 million in 2013 before finishing its domestic run with $71 million. Those first two films, however, saw three-quarters of their worldwide grosses come from international markets, which is clearly the play once again with The Lost Village as it has already debuted overseas, opening in 38 markets with over $15 million last weekend. This third feature also saved on production costs, carrying a budget around $60 million, well below that of the previous two films, both of which carried budgets over $100 million.
Looking at this weekend’s domestic opening, The Lost Village is likely to perform as expected, a bit below the $17.5 million opening for The Smurfs 2, bringing in around $16 million or so from 3,610 theaters. Should this forecast hold, an overall domestic performance below $50 million could be likely.
Fourth place should go to Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell, which debuted with a very soft, $18.6 million last weekend. The film has since found itself a topic of conversation over the course of the week, and it’s the kind of conversation that’s unlikely to help its carryover prospects. Look for this one to drop over 50% this weekend as we’re forecasting an $8.6 million sophomore session.
Rounding out the top five is the week’s second new wide release, New Line’s comedy remake Going in Style starring Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. The film is debuting in 3,061 theaters and industry expectation is for an $8 million opening for the film, which is reported to carry a $25 million budget. Attempting to find titles for comparison isn’t easy, though IMDb page view data shows it tracking well behind titles such as Last Vegas and playing closest to The Big Wedding, which opened with $7.6 million back in April 2013.
The week’s third new wide release finds Pure Flix’s faith-based feature The Case for Christ debuting in approximately 1,175 theaters this weekend as well as holding a special, Fathom event this evening on approximately 450 screens, which should help with its “weekend” haul. Industry expectations carry a rather wide range, anticipating an opening anywhere from $3-6 million, but to narrow that down a bit, IMDb page view data shows the film’s performance pacing closely to the studio’s 2015 release Woodlawn, which opened with $4 million from 1,553 theaters. Granted, the difference in theater counts is worth taking into account, but the title alone should help in getting more of the targeted audience into theaters and the Fathom premiere should definitely help with the weekend’s prospects. Overall, we’re forecasting an opening around $4.3 million, which could find it finishing around eighth place for the weekend.
Just outside the top ten, Focus is adding 265 theaters to their release of The Zookeeper’s Wife, which finished in the tenth slot last weekend with $3.2 million from 541 theaters. This weekend we’re expecting the film to hardly budge if not improve slightly, bringing in around $3.1 million.
Elsewhere, FUNimation will finally bring the overseas box office juggernaut Your Name to 303 North American theaters this weekend. The film has already brought in over $328 million internationally, of which over 65% came from Japan where it holds court as the country’s second largest domestic release ever behind Spirited Away, grossing over $214 million since hitting theaters last August.
Additional limited releases included Fox Searchlight’s Gifted, which will open in 56 theaters; Well Go’s Mine debuting in 26 locations; STX will release Their Finest in four theaters; Neon will release Anne Hathaway‘s Colossal into four theaters; and IFC is opening Graduation at two locations.
This weekend’s forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.
- The Boss Baby (3,829 theaters) – $27.0 M
- Beauty and the Beast (3,969 theaters) – $25.4 M
- Smurfs: The Lost Village (3,610 theaters) – $16.0 M
- Ghost in the Shell (3,440 theaters) – $8.6 M
- Going in Style (3,061 theaters) – $7.2 M
- Power Rangers (2,978 theaters) – $6.8 M
- Kong: Skull Island (2,753 theaters) – $5.1 M
- The Case for Christ (1,175 theaters) – $4.3 M
- Get Out (1,794 theaters) – $4.3 M
- Logan (1,949 theaters) – $4.0 M