It’s near the middle of the month, and on a much celebrated day, Friday the 13th, we have a new horror movie, Happy Death Day, a new action/thriller, The Foreigner, and a drama, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women, with the moderate release of Marshall all hitting theaters, so there’s a lot to talk about this weekend, but many are speculating a close battle between Happy Death Day and Blade Runner 2049. Here’s how I think it’s gonna go down.
Thanks to it being a Friday the 13th, plus with It still going strong over one month in release, Happy Death Day couldn’t have asked for a better time to open. While we don’t exactly have a big draw cast, what’s going to draw in audiences beyond the horror fans is the production company: Blumhouse. With both Split (2017) and Get Out (2017) being 2nd and 3rd to It as the biggest horror movies of the year, Blumhouse has become a dependable company to rely on for horror films. The trailers have been intriguing, the Groundhog’s Day (1993) meets slasher idea, and with most audiences having already seen It, some multiple times, and if they’re ready to see something else scary, this will be the prime ticket. Also critics are liking it okay with 66% of Rotten Tomatoes’ critics giving it the recommendation. Tracking is aiming for $20 million, but I’m going higher with $24 million. 3,149 theaters are playing it, so we’re going with a per-theater average of $7,621.
So that does leave 2nd place to Blade Runner 2049, which while hardcore fans and critics have loved, it’s kind of DOA as far as box office goes. I’m thinking a 55% drop weekend one to weekend two, $14.7 million being the total. Third place then goes to The Foreigner, which actually puts together a good mono y mono: Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. You’ve also got Martin Campbell on board, a dependable action director, but I’m not getting the sense that there’s a lot of excitement about it. 57% of critics like it on Rotten Tomatoes, so it’s kind of split there, and tracking is only projecting a $10 million opening. I’m gonna go ever so slightly slower and say $9.5 million. 2,515 theaters are gonna screen it, so $3,777 is the per-theater average.
Fourth and fifth place is going to be, by my estimates, even closer than most have been putting the 1 vs. 2 matchup for this weekend, and I have it going down like this: It drops another 40% this weekend for $5.9 million, and The Mountain Between Us falls 45% and gets $5.8 million its second weekend. Yeah, much, much closer than my 1 vs. 2 projections. We’ll see how that one goes.
Okay, so that leaves two more to discuss: and of the two, Professor Marston & the Wonder Women will do better. It’s got a good cast in Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, and Oliver Platt in the film, and it’s also gonna benefit from a similar title, Wonder Woman (2017) which came out and blasted the roof off the box office this summer. Still, only 1,229 theaters are playing it, and the marketing has been nearly all viral, which is where the money was gonna come from anyways, and 90% of Rotten Tomatoes’ critics like it, so that could help. No tracking available on this one, but I’m thinking $2.5 million tops for this one, for a per-theater average of $2,034.
And as for Marshall, well, it’s arguably got the biggest cast of any new movie this week: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Sterling K. Brown, and Keesha Sharp. Okay, no contest, this is the best cast of the week, and arguably the best subject matter to cover: Thurgood Marshall. Also the marketing has been good for their awards-friendly audiences, and Rotten Tomatoes has it at 84% fresh, so that’s all good. However, the release pattern matches that of Stronger from late September, which has flunked at the box office, and unfortunately I think the audience is arguably bigger for that film than this one. 821 theaters are playing it, so we’re only looking at a small number anyways, and tracking has it coming in ridiculously high at $6 million, which I can pretty much promise you won’t happen, and I’m thinking $2 million is about all it will manage. That does mean a per-theater average of $2,436, though, and hopefully it expands wider in the coming weeks and maybe catches some thunder, cause it looks good.
All right, now to my favorite part: seeing how I did last week predicting the top five of the box office. Okay, Blade Runner 2049 was the winner, but it just couldn’t live up to expectations. I had it at $48 million, with some going as high as $65 million, but it fell way, way short, only managing $32.7 million. Oof, especially considering a production budget of $150 million, maybe even higher. Second place, surprisingly for me, went to The Mountain Between Us with $10.5 million. I had it down in fifth place with $6.5 million. Okay, Kate Winslet and Idris Elba had more starpower than I thought. Third place went to It making another $9.9 million. I had it in second with $10.1 mil, so I was close. Fourth place went to My Little Pony: The Movie, another shocker, with $8.8 million. Wow! Turns out the audience is still alive and kicking. $5 million outside the top five was my prediction. And to add salt to the wound, my third place prediction of American Made was at number six and my fourth place, Kingsman: The Golden Circle was in fifth with $8.6 million, higher than my $7.6 million prediction. And finally I had a $2 million prediction for the moderate expansion of Victoria & Abdul, which came in 8th place and crushed with $4.1 million. This movie is really getting its audiences. Good for them. Okay, so 1/5 is all I got this time. Ouch. Let’s hope this goes better this weekend.