It’s a busy one at the box office this weekend with three new films hitting release, plus we’ve got a boat-load of leftover films vying for spots in the top five at the weekend box office. Well, last week was one of the slowest weekends of the summer so far, and as we get ready to go into the fall movie season, I don’t anticipate a huge return to big opening numbers til we get to It, but that’s almost a month out. So for now, the new releases are Annabelle: Creation, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, and The Glass Castle. Let’s get going.
So the top spot will likely go to newcomer Annabelle: Creation. First off, arguably the most successful horror franchise going right now is The Conjuring (2013-present), and with many spin-off entries coming soon and an inevitable third film in the main franchise, Annabelle has a lot going for her this weekend. First, the slow nature of the past couple of weeks makes it easier for a horror film to top the charts; we saw a similar position for Don’t Breathe (2016) nearly a year ago, and that surpassed all expectations. Miranda Otto is about the only actress in the film of note with all others being less-known, but the name is what is going to carry this film, along with the director: David Sandberg, whose film Lights Out (2016) was also a horror smash from last year. Reviews are also going to help with 68% of critics on Rotten Tomatoes giving it a thumbs up. The advertising has been pretty good, but it’s not been a great summer for horror, especially coming off of last year, but this might be a bright spot. Tracking is estimating an opening of $27 million, but since horror has been a big disappointment and with It on the horizon probably being the most anticipated horror film of the rest of the year, I’ll go with $24 million in first place. 3,400 theaters are playing the film so it’s heading for a per-theater average of $7,059.
Second place looks like it will be a showdown between new release The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature and holdover Dunkirk. I’m gonna stick with the safe bet and say the new animated film gets that second spot. Nutty by Nature features the voice cast of Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Katherine Heigl, Bobby Moynihan, Bobby Cannavale, Isabelle Moner, Jeff Dunham, Gabrielle Iglesias, and Peter Stormare among the noticeable names, and the original film was a huge stunner back in 2014, but I feel since then that nobody’s been talking about it. This is a case where the studio took too long to get that sequel out. Also no reviews don’t help the cause out any, though they’ve been doing a pretty fair job advertising the film to the target audience. The first film cracked $19.4 million its opening weekend, and this second one will undoubtedly open below that, with tracking indicating a $12 million opening, but since family audiences have been pretty selective this summer, and with not too many options left before school starts again, I’ll go ever so slightly higher and put it to open at $12.5 million. Reportedly the film will open in 4,003 theaters, which in this case would mean $3,123 is you per-theater average. I’m gonna go with Dunkirk getting third place, falling another 30% this weekend for a fourth weekend total of $11.9 million, which will easily put it over $150 million here at the domestic box office.
Fourth and fifth place will be a three-way battle between The Dark Tower, Girls Trip, and The Emoji Movie. Hmm, I’m thinking fourth place will most likely go to last week’s winner, The Dark Tower, falling 60% and hitting $7.6 million its second weekend. And fifth place I’m going to give to the biggest R-rated comedy of the summer, Girls Trip, falling another 40% and hitting $6.8 million its fourth weekend, bringing it very close to $100 million here in the States.
And finally I’ll put The Glass Castle outside the top five. The film does have a pretty attractive cast of Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts, and does come from Short Term 12 (2013) director Destin Daniel Cretton, which helped put Brie Larson on the map. Now they’re teaming back up and while the film initially looked like a film that could garner some Oscar attention, reviews aren’t helping with 47% on Rotten Tomatoes. Also it’s only opening in 1,400 theaters, so don’t set expectations too high. Also the marketing campaign has been pretty lackluster; I just saw the trailer for the first time last week, and it opens tomorrow. So with tracking at $3.5 million, I’m getting the feeling of $4 million its opening weekend. That means $2,857 is the per-theater average.
Now we’ll look at how I did predicting last week’s top five. First place indeed went to The Dark Tower, earning $19.1 million. I had it getting $21 million and tracking had it at $28 million, so it’s a disappointment either way. Second place was correct also for Dunkirk. It fell only 35% and hit $17.1 million, a bit higher than my $15.9 million prediction. Next up in the actual box office was that cured Emoji Movie, only off 51%, better than my fifth place prediction of $9.8 million. It earned $12 million at the actual box office. My third place prediction was a total mistake: Detroit with $15 million. Not even close. It only earned $7.1 million in eighth place. This shockingly fits the mold of a few other would-be blockbuster films that had great critical acclaim yet failed to make a huge impact at the box office. A couple other examples include Captain Underpants and War for the Planet of the Apes. So that totally screwed me up. My fourth place prediction was Girls Trip, and that one was right. It earned $11.4 million at the actual box office, but I had it a bit higher at $12.7 million. And in fifth place at the actual box office was, seriously, the biggest surprise, Kidnap, which, even though I saw no advertising for the film, even though tracking was projecting a $4 million opening, and I had it even lower at $3.5 million, it cracked the top five at $10 million. Unbelievable. I don’t know why a film like that can get a huge turnout and more than double both my expectations and the tracking numbers, and something like Detroit can be such a bomb. Oh well, I guess we don’g always get everything in life. So, let’s see how this weekend goes. Hopefully better for me.