As we head into the second-to-last weekend of September, we have our first real showdown of the Fall movie season: The LEGO Ninjago Movie and Kingsman: The Golden Circle are going to be in a very tight race, with Friend Request also in the mix. We’ve also got a semi-moderate release for Stronger, which is likely to premiere outside the top five, but it’s one we’ll also have predictions for. But for now, let’s get going.
Now, I’ve seen many other sites predicting one film, other sites the other as far as who will get out on top. And just before starting this week’s blog, I switched. Kingsman: The Golden Circle will win the weekend box office. We’ve got a talented cast, including Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Elton John, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, and Channing Tatum, a talented director, Matthew Vaughn, and it’s coming off the first film a couple of years ago that acclaimed quite a box office total. The advertising has been very good, but the reviews are split right down the middle with 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. That might keep some away, but given It‘s recent records, people are going to the movies at a time where regularly be staying home. I’m going a little below the tracking number of $46 million, and saying it gets to $42 million, which would be about $6 million more than the first film. 4,003 theaters will play it, so we’re looking at a per-theater average of $10,492.
So second place will go to The LEGO Ninjago Movie, which I originally thought would be the week’s champ, but still without the number one spot, it’s gonna light it up for family audiences, who have very much been deprived in the last couple of months. The voice cast is a gold one: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Michael Pena, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, and Jackie Chan. With the previous two films with the LEGO brand doing well both earlier this year and three years ago, but I’m not feeling the same thunder they got. Marketing has been okay, nothing special, and critics are again very split on this one with 47% on Rotten Tomatoes at this point. So I’m predicting a series low opening for this one, but that’s nothing to cry about, it’s still in good shape to be close to one of the five best openings of any film in September. Tracking has $41 million on the approach, and I’ll go a little lower and say $38 million. With 4,047 theaters in play, the per-theater average will be $9,390.
Third place will go to that record-setting horror film It, which I see falling another 50% this weekend for a third weekend total of $30 million. Remember, this would be a near-record opening weekend, let alone a third weekend. Fourth place will go to last week’s second place winner, American Assassin, which I see falling 45% and making another $8.1 million. And in fifth place, I’m going with the new horror film Friend Request, which I’m putting into the top five on a bit of a gamble, but due to lack of competition, I’m thinking it’ll squeak in. No recognizable stars in this one, marketing has been very light, but still with horror being so hot lately, I’m thinking there will be enough of a crowd for it to make $3.2 million. There is no tracking available for the film and critics don’t really enjoy it with 29% of Rotten Tomato’s best giving it a positive review. 2,569 theaters will play it, so $1,246 is the expected per-theater average.
One last one to mention is Stronger, the Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany drama about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Also in the film are Miranda Richardson and Clancy Brown, a couple other recognizable names, and while the advertising has been strong, the reviews are even stronger with 96% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes giving it the thumbs up. While only 574 theaters are going to play the film, we’re still looking at $2.5 million on the board. That will be outside the top five, but it would be close if my fifth place prediction holds true. The per-theater average is looking at $4,355.
Now we’ll take a look at last week’s top five and how well I did predicting them. It was easily the winner last weekend with $60.1 million, a massive second weekend and would have been the biggest weekend of all time save the opening weekend of It for the month of September. I had it a bit lower and more front-loaded with $43.1 million, so it really did well. Second place, as mentioned before, went to American Assassin with $14.8 million, which was a bit above tracking and above my $13 million prediction. Third place went to last week’s newcomer mother!, which earned an F cinemascore, sure, but also $7.5 million, not a spectacular opening, and below my $10 million guess from last week. Fourth place went to Home Again, making another $5.1 million, slightly above my $4.7 million prediction, and for fifth place, another one for The Hitman’s Bodyguard making $3.5 million, which was higher than my $2.6 million prediction. So that’ll be it for this week’s predictions. Last week was 5/5, and we’ll see if I can live up to it again this week.