It was already going to be an odd weekend when accounting for Valentine’s Day releases, but now we have President’s day to contend with? Talk about a wacky release schedule. Of course, outside of the new Valentine’s Day releases, Happy Death Day 2U, Alita: Battle Angel, and Isn’t it Romantic, the focus will be on the holdovers to see if any of them can rebound after such a bad weekend prior as well as potentially take advantage of the weekend Valentine’s Day crowd. In limited release, we will also see the debut of Fighting With My Family, the Dwayne Johnson-produced WWE biopic that is getting a surprising amount of buzz.
More than likely to come in first place is that of The Lego Movie 2. The film had a major stumble last weekend when it debuted far below expectations, grossing only $34.1 million in its opening weekend and making for the second lowest debut of the franchise. It has been suggested that weather may have been the cause (specifically the polar vortex that is passing through), and while that is certainly feasible, I don’t believe that would’ve knocked out The Lego Movie 2‘s box office as severely given the amount of money it could have made from the rest of the country. If that is truly the case, then we’ll likely see a fantastic hold this weekend (and boy, does the film need it). As of now, I do predict that the film will have a solid hold this coming weekend of around 40%. A drop like this would result in a gross of $20.4 million for the film. However, if Warner really wants to see the film rebound, they are going to need it to hold even better, likely in the low 30%s. With a budget of around $100 million, as well as a marketing budget that costs potentially even more, the film’s break-even point is at least $300 million. Currently, The Lego Movie 2 is only up to a gross of $57 million worldwide, and domestically, it is trailing behind the original Lego Movie by nearly $40 million at this same point in the release cycle. I wouldn’t call the film DOA just yet, but this weekend could make or break the film.
Second through fourth place is where we are likely to find our newest offerings. I go into detail in my last post (see here) about how I think the films will perform but the gist of it is that I feel that Happy Death Day 2U has the strongest chance for success. I am expecting the film to come in second place this weekend with an $18 million gross in the 3-Day frame and a roughly $25 million gross in the 6-Day frame given that it opened on Wednesday. However, Alita: Battle Angel looks to be quickly coming up the rear and could potentially snag second place from Happy Death Day 2U. I am personally skeptical about Alita placing second in the 3-Day frame (although it is coming awfully close, also aiming at a 3-day gross of $18 million), but an estimated Valentine’s Day gross of $8 million suggests to me that Alita will potentially outgross Happy Death Day 2U in the long weekend frame with a gross in the upper $30 millions. In my original Valentine’s Day post, I had pegged it at a 5-Day gross of $22 million, but newer information has caused me to adjust my predictions.
In fourth place, Isn’t it Romantic is likely to gross $16 million in the 3-Day frame and $20 million in the 6-Day (it opened with Happy Death Day 2U on Wednesday), though I am expecting it to potentially overperform in the 6-Day frame given the likelihood of the film getting a tremendous shot in the arm from Valentine’s Day moviegoers. Speaking of shots in the arm, I suspect that this is what Paramount is looking for with What Men Want, which is likely to round out the top five. Currently, I am predicting a drop of 50% for the feature, which is in line with Taraji P. Henson’s other fare like Acrimony, which dropped 51% in its second weekend, and (ironically given the title) Think Like a Man, which dropped 48%. A drop of around 50% would result in a gross of $9.1 million. However, I am beginning to suspect that Paramount may have placed the film here so that it could take advantage of the lead-in to Valentine’s Day weekend. I have mentioned that while the reviews for the film were not fantastic, they were much better than expected of this kind of film. Combined with (officially) an “A-” Cinemascore, word-of-mouth on the movie could potentially turn it into a great Valentine’s Day weekend ticket given the subject matter and the film’s romantic elements, thereby giving it a stronger hold and a bigger weekend gross. I, personally, still think that opening the film for Superbowl Weekend would’ve been a much better idea, but at least Paramount is trying to think ahead.
Outside of the top five, Cold Pursuit looks to drop by at least 50%, as is typical for a Liam Neeson actioner of this scale; both The Commuter and Run All Night fell 51% and 54%, respectively. Of course, there is the elephant in the room, Neeson’s perceived racist comments which could have a negative impact on the film’s already lackluster performance. Combined with a “B-” Cinemascore, we could be looking at a performance more along the line’s of Neeson’s A Walk Among the Tombstones, a film that, interestingly enough, also received better than expected reviews and a “B-” Cinemascore like Cold Pursuit. A Walk Among the Tombstones ended up dropping 67% in its second weekend, so don’t be surprised of Cold Pursuit drops anywhere in the 60%s. For now, I predict a 50% drop to $5.5 million.
In sixth place, The Upside is looking at another strong hold of 20% for a gross of $4.9 million. This would push The Upside past $90 million domestic and $100 million worldwide. Seventh place is likely to go to Glass which is looking to post a 45% drop to a gross of $3.4 million, thereby officially pushing it past $100 million domestically. Green Book continues to prove itself the strongest niche Oscar contender at the box office with its recent surpassing of $100 million at the worldwide box office and is looking to drop 20% for a gross of $2.7 million in ninth place. Finally, The Prodigy will make its last stop in the top ten with a 55% drop to $2.6 million in tenth place.
In the specialty market, we have a pretty interesting release that I was not expected at all, that being Fighting With My Family, a biopic of famed WWE fighter Saraya Jade-Bevis, or as she is better known as, “Paige”. The film is produced by Dwayne Johnson (who also stars in the film as himself), directed by Stephen Merchant, and stars Lady Macbeth breakout star, Florence Pugh as “Paige”. The trailer for the film was released back in November and very much had the feel of at least a mid-budget event picture, so it is quite surprising for me to learn that it not only debuted at Sundance last month but also is only being released in four theaters this weekend. I can’t say its an Oscar play given the timing of the release, but I am interested to see how this “bigger feeling” picture fares alongside indie releases. With Dwayne Johnson in tow, I expect a pretty high per-theater-average. The reviews are strong (91% on Rotten Tomatoes), saying that, while formulaic, the story is genuinely interesting and the cast (which also includes Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey, Nick Frost, and Vince Vaughn) gives it there all. If it opens well in limited release, expected a lot of buzz for it going wide in the next few weeks.