Way back at the beginning of March I said we had six weeks in a row of high-IP titles. Well, I was wrong. It was just five weeks, then take a break, then we get another one, and that week has come with the release of The Fate of the Furious in wide release. We have Gifted getting bumped into wide release, and the limited release of Spark: A Space Tail. So we have some stuff going on, but how will it all take shape over the weekend box office? Let’s try and find out.
So I think the obvious winner for the weekend will be The Fate of the Furious, and the bigger question is just how much will it make? Will it break the Easter and April record set by Furious 7 (2015), or will it be looked at as a step down in the franchise? Well, I say expect that later. Considering that Furious 7 ballooned to $147.1 million opening weekend a couple of years ago, and that that might have partially benefited from some morbid curiosity surrounding the death of Paul Walker and that being one of his last films, and then this is just the next one with nothing else significant added to this one, I say it won’t open that big, but it should be the second film in the franchise and this year to open to $100 million plus, which would make it the second largest of the series. So you have your Fast and the Furious family back with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, plus the additions of Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, and Helen Mirren, this is a solid cast that brings in a lot of dough, plus the goodwill from the previous entries, there’s no way this thing doesn’t open to at least $75 million, and that’s at the basement estimates from pessimists. Critics are liking it, 65% right now on Rotten Tomatoes, and the marketing has been right where it needs to be to live up to expectations. Tracking has it at $118 million, which could actually be dead on, but I’m thinking the Easter factor brings it to $123 million. 4,304 theaters will play the film this weekend, which means a $28,578 per-theater average.
Second place looks like it will go to The Boss Baby, which has defied the expectations set before it so far, and I’m thinking that since Fate of the Furious isn’t aiming for the kids, the family audiences that haven’t caught the film yet, this is the first choice. I see a 40% drop from last weekend and a third weekend of $15.8 million. Keep in mind, all of these are over the three-day weekend, not including Easter Monday. Third place will go to the now billion-dollar Beauty and the Beast. It’s going into its fifth weekend and will still retain a spot in the top three of the box office. That doesn’t happen very often, especially when this pre-summer season has been so packed. I’m predicting a 45% drop off and a $13 million weekend. Fourth place looks like another holdover: I’m going with style for that one. I mean, the film, Going in Style. I think between that and The Smurfs: The Lost Village, the former has the best word-of-mouth, and a 40% drop leading to $7.1 million its second weekend. And fifth place will go to The Lost Village, down 55% and hitting $5.9 million.
Now for the other two to talk about: Gifted actually has a lot going for it. It averaged $7,791 per theater in 56 theaters and with a cast like Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, and others, a director like Mark Webb involved and some pretty good word of mouth from audiences, maybe not so much from critics, and some decent marketing efforts, in 1,000 theaters I think it’ll enter into the $5 million range, so there’s an outside chance it’ll hit the top five, but I think I’ll play it safe and put it below that. 1,000 is the number I have now, so that’ll mean an even $5,000 per theater for the average. Then there’s Spark: A Space Tail. Well, you have Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Susan Sarandon, and Patrick Stewart in the voice-cast for the animated film, but I haven’t seen one ad, one spot, nothing to advertise the film, only 250 theaters have agreed to screen the film this weekend, and no critic reviews won’t help bringing people who are on the fence into the theater. $2.5 million is the tracked number, which I doubt happens. I’m going with $1 million, meaning $4,000 is your per-theater average.
So with that all done, let’s get into the predictions from last week. First place went to The Boss Baby, as predicted, with $26.3 million. My prediction was $27.6 million, so that wasn’t way too far off. Second place went to Beauty and the Beast, which I thought was a gamble, but as it turns out it was in a fight to retake that number one spot. It landed with $23.6 million its fourth weekend. Very impressive. Most movies this time of year kill to open to numbers like that. I had it a bit lower with $20.4 million. Third place was another correct one with The Smurfs: The Lost Village. It only managed $13.2 million, which was a little over half of what was expected of it according to tracking, at least: $24 million. I only had it at $19 million, so while I was a little more in touch, it still disappointed. Fourth place went to Going in Style, which landed below expectations as well, but just barely: $11.9 million when it was tracking $12 million, which I also picked as my predicted number. And fifth place went to Ghost in the Shell, earning just $7.3 million its second weekend. For a film that cost $110 million just with production, the film will have to rely on foreign markets to make a profit. I had it in fifth with $7.4 million, so that couldn’t have gotten any closer to the actual number. Anyways, so I hope everybody has a fantastic Easter weekend and we’ll see if I can keep up the 5/5 record.