Box Office Prediction! Jan 28th-30th! Another very quiet January weekend!!!…….Seriously…….

Honest to God, there is nothing of note here. Thankfully, I can can still make a mountain of words!

This one should be short and sweet, largely because (like last weekend) there really isn’t much to talk about. We’re still in the January rut with this being the final weekend before we get our first major releases of the year, Moonfall and Jackass Forever! Yes, we did have Scream, but to be fair, I’m not exactly sure that anyone had pegged it as “major” release. To its credit, it exceeded expectations and has so far performed relatively well compared to its budget, but it still hasn’t fully given the box office the spark it needs to come roaring back as 2022 has now fully taken root. Moonfall and Jackass Forever are not necessarily sure bets themselves, but one is a Roland Emmerich disaster feature (the Moon is literally coming to kill us all in that movie) and the other is a new installment of an (at least) fondly remembered franchise, so there is reason to hope.

As for this weekend, however, things are looking to play out much the same way as they did last weekend, so let’s do a quick rundown. Obviously, Spider-Man: No Way Home will be coming in first place. It’s the middle of January, there are no other major blockbusters out, Scream didn’t prove to be any kind of insurmountable competition, and it’s a big-ticket Marvel movie. With a fantastic hold of 30% this past weekend, I would expect no different this weekend. Another 30% hold would have No Way Home grossing $9.8 million at the top of the box office.

Scream will be a slightly bigger question mark as it didn’t perform as well as it could’ve last weekend but still managed to do solid work for a horror film in general. Once again, the complete lack of competition in the market (outside of No Way Home with its established audience) suggests that Scream might be able to hold on strong, but I am having my doubts. Whereas the surprising hype for the surprisingly good fifth-quel ended up generating strong interest in the film over opening weekend, as well as its first overall week at the box office in which allowed it to top No Way Home in weekday grosses, the hype faded quickly (typical for horror films) as spoilers leaked online and most of the audience that was interested showed up earlier in the week. I’m personally predicting the same hold I predicted last weekend, a drop of 55%, as audiences have stabilized and more people could be inclined to check Scream out if they haven’t already since nothing else is really available. That said a drop in the 60s would not be too surprising; though Paramount likely won’t care all that much given the film has already tripled its budget in just two weeks. Still, as an eternal optimist, I’m predicting a 55% drop for a gross of $5.5 million in second place.

Now on to, in my humble opinion, the reigning box office champ of the year so far, Sing 2! Reading back old posts of mine has made me realize that I have quite the soft spot for children’s animated movies. That shouldn’t be too surprising given that one of my all-time favorite films is Paddington (though I would argue that said film, which is absolutely perfect in every way conceivable, and its sequel, which is great in and of itself even though I prefer the first one, are both ‘all-ages’ films that can be appreciated by anyone ages 2-102), but I do realize that I tend to staunchly defend their box office performances, all the way to the bitter end. To this day, I will argue that Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation was absolutely the most successful film of summer 2018 (it overperformed on opening weekend, had fantastic holds all throughout its run, and grossed 8x its budget to become the highest-grossing film in the franchise; enough said) and I left no stone unturned when trying to defend the performance of the Clifford, the Big Red Dog movie this past November (sadly, its was not as successful I felt it deserved to be). Sing 2 is no exception here, it is outperforming expectations to a degree. As the five-years-later sequel to a film that, while quite good, isn’t particularly well remembered by most as part of the Illumination Entertainment canon, Sing 2 was likely to play like a “kids only” sequel that would not be able to recapture the same, notably large audience of the first. To be fair, it is indeed playing like a “kids-only” sequel and it is highly unlikely to get anywhere near the $631 million gross of the original. However, Illumination and Universal made all the right moves in setting the film up for success with Illumination keeping the budget down to $85 million and Universal taking advantage of its “kiddie” nature to push it as the feel-good “kid-friendly” film of the Christmas season. Alongside No Way Home and Scream, Sing 2 isn’t burdened by having to share a more adult-skewing audience with the former two titles and this has resulted in fantastic holds from weekend to weekend; something which is very likely to continue this weekend. At max, I see the film dropping just 30% (though don’t be surprised if that number is lower) for a gross of $4 million in third place. If all goes well (which it absolutely will), it should be drifting past $250 million worldwide this weekend; nearly thrice its budget. Amazing indeed!

Our likely fourth place title is probably going to be last weekend’s surprisingly successful new release, Redeeming Love. That faith-based romantic drama ended up besting my expectation to pop up with a $3.5 million debut despite a near-total lack of advertising on the part of Universal. Given that this movie comes from such a smaller producer, Pinnacle Peak Pictures, that is a genuine win and gives the film some goodwill going into this weekend, especially with its higher than expected audience polling. As to how much it is likely to make, my original comparison for the film was that of 2018’s Forever My Girl starring Jessica Rothe. I originally thought that said that making a comparison to that faith-adjacent film was setting too high a bar for Redeeming Love but apparently they are much more similar in their performance than I’d first anticipated. Forever My Girl debuted to $4.2 million (higher than Redeeming Love but still within striking distance) and had a shockingly great second weekend hold of 16%. Now, I don’t think Redeeming Love is going to see a 16% drop in its second weekend (though it’s not out of the question), but I do think there is a distinct possibility for it to drop between 20-25% this coming weekend. I could absolutely be wrong, but like with Scream and Spider-Man, there is absolutely no competition in the market right now, and like Sing 2, Redeeming Love is targeting a very specific audience: women and fans of faith-based dramas. I would not be surprised to see Redeeming Love take fourth place with a gross somewhere between $2.6-2.8 million.

As for fifth place, expect to see The King’s Man as it continues to post strong holds in spite of its increasingly shrinking grosses. Having started from a very minuscule opening weekend gross of $6 million over Christmas, The King’s Man has still legged out really well for what is essentially a bona fide flop. It’s a testament to the Kingsman brand as a whole that people are still making the effort to see this movie, and I feel they will continue to do so with a 25% drop this weekend and a gross of $1.33 million.

As for the rest of the top ten, we’re going to be seeing a very odd scenario as every other title looks likely to gross less than $1 million this coming weekend. Mind you, several of the holds will be great, but the grosses are honestly just sad to even predict. I see American Underdog coming in sixth with a fabulous 25% hold (maybe even better) but a disappointing $882K. To be fair, American Underdog has performed relatively well overall, but it is sad to see this movie fall under $1 million and contributed (optically) to a terrible perception of the box office right now. The 355 is also likely to have a pretty strong hold compared to other films, especially given its unusually strong holds for the past two weeks (-30% last weekend, which was wild!). However, having started from a place of weakness, The 355‘s potentially spectacular hold will only yield, at best, $880K in seventh place.

In eighth place, we are likely to find West Side Story, once again likely to pull a strong hold of 30%, especially given that its name is plastered across every website and TV commercial possible now that awards season has fully kicked into gear. However, at best, that will yield only $500K at the domestic box office. Licorice Pizza looks to be the only “indie” awards contender to be having any real success at the wide-release box office, and it’s likely to pull in $494K in tenth place (a 25% drop). On a side note, I’ve found that some people are upset that Licorice Pizza is being labeled an “indie film” given that it comes from a major studio (MGM, though “major” is something of an overstatement nowadays). Unfortunately, that label is pretty accurate largely because of the way MGM has treated the film’s release. I will always think that MGM missed an opportunity to turn Licorice Pizza into a mainstream conversation piece by not releasing it wider sooner. After a phenomenal start in just four theaters with a per-theater-average of $86K (the highest of 2021), MGM inexplicably held the film in four theaters for four straight weeks instead of having it go wide on December 3rd (the week after Thanksgiving, notoriously a dead zone for movies because Hollywood refuses to program it) so that it could have that weekend all to itself and get the audience’s attention right before West Side Story and No Way Home hit theaters. Had they done that, Licorice Pizza might have been taking in over $1 million this coming weekend. Alas, when you treat a film like an indie, it tends to play like one too.

As with last week, the specialty market will be dead outside of Oscar contenders, though I personally will be keeping an eye out for the Charli XCX documentary Charli XCX: Alone Together, chronicling the musical artist’s incredible effort to record an album collaboratively with her fans’ through social media during quarantine, as well as The Rifkin Festival, Woody Allen’s latest project since his most recent fall from grace. We’ll see if these two films drum up any buzz but until then, have a great weekend!

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