Box Office Preview! April 29th-May 1st! A Sleepy Weekend meant for Holdovers Before Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Arrives in Theaters!!

The Bad Guys looks to repeat its #1 spot from last weekend while Everything, Everywhere All at Once makes a last stand before Marvel comes to try and crash its party! Liam Neeson also debuts Memory, which will likely be a flash in the pan.

Hilariously, after a momentous and eventful weekend that saw me publish my 100th blogpost alongside the release of THREE movies in theaters, we now are entering a rather uneventful weekend with just one new release that (spoiler alert) is highly unlikely to make waves. Yes, Liam Neeson, bless his heart, has another new film coming out in the span of just three months, Memory. No disrespect to Mr. Neeson whatsoever, he has a fanbase and he’s always working and that is more than many actors can say for themselves. That said, that fanbase has been increasingly inclined to wait for his films to hit the ancillary market and watch them then which has resulted in many of his most recent films doing very meager business in theaters. That sets the stage for the holdovers this weekend to get very lucky as they have more room to hold on and pull in some high grosses!

I’ve said it in multiple posts over the last few months but it merits repeating: THE FAMILY AUDIENCE IS STRONG!! With the pandemic beginning to wind down and many restrictions being lifted, more and more families are headed out to the theaters and the result is an abundance of money for family-targeted/kid-friendly fare. Sing 2 did amazing business all the way from December to March and with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness not hitting theaters for another week, The Bad Guys and Sonic 2 have plenty of room to flex their box office muscles. With regard to which of them is likely to hit first, I am firmly expecting The Bad Guys to remain on top. You’ll recall that, with The Bad Guys having taken in about $24 million last weekend, the film opened on par with the likes of two other DreamWorks animated pictures, Abominable and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Neither of those films were hits (in fact you could argue that Abominable was an outright flop in the US, though overseas numbers were admittedly better), but each did have solid legs with at least about a x3 multiplier from opening weekend to total domestic gross so I’m convinced that The Bad Guys will at least hold with -40% (in line with these other two entries) for a gross of $14.34 million. Given the lack of competition and the more “kiddie” nature of the property (it is based on a children’s book series after all), I do think that there is a chance that The Bad Guys could hold by -35% for a gross of $15.5 million, but I am not bold enough to make that prediction so $14.34 will be just fine. Meanwhile, Sonic 2, now entering its fourth weekend, looks to have stabilized its audience and seems to be aiming at a -45% for a gross of $8.6 million in second place. The lack of competition may allow it to go a bit higher, but Sonic 2 looks to be dropping more steeply than expected so I’m staking my claim on that -45%. Still strong though.

Not as strong (not nearly) are our likely third and fourth entries in the top ten, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and The Northman, which each look to be dented further after underwhelming openings. To be fair, The Northman did arrive on the high end of expectations with an opening of $12.3 million last weekend, no doubt boosted heavily by IMAX screenings. I’m expecting them to do some heavy lifting again this weekend as The Northman makes a final stand before becoming available to rent soon, however, for as strong an IMAX prospect as it is and all its great reviews, I’m still inclined to think a steeper drop is coming. Optimistically, given those reviews, I am predicting around a -50% drop for a gross of $6.14 million, which would be a solid showing for the film given that it’s not as commercial as other offerings this weekend (even Memory has better commercial viability). That said, one thing The Northman does not have to worry about this weekend is Secrets of Dumbledore giving it some competition as that film had already shown itself to be a weak prospect. After last weekend’s devastatingly large drop of -67%, I’m predicting it to follow the Morbius path and drop around -55% this weekend (at best) for a gross of $6.3 million. Expect Secrets of Dumbledore in third place and The Northman in fourth.

In happier news, fifth place is likely to go to the reigning box office champ, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. Intriguingly enough, this is really one of the last weekends that Everything, Everywhere is going to have all to itself as the following weekend will see the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a bigger, flashier, and more expensive film that also happens to be part of the biggest film franchise on the planet. How these two films end up interacting with each other, given that they both deal with multiverses and alternate timelines, will be so incredible to watch, but will likely pose a major threat to Everything, Everywhere‘s potentially huge final domestic tally. Optimistically, I can picture a scenario where both films play as two sides of the same coin, with Doctor Strange being the more broadly appealing film while Everything, Everywhere carves out a space for itself as the more “adult” and sophisticated alternative, thus allowing them to co-exist and flourish on separate but parallel tracks. My fear, however, is that what will instead happen is that Everything, Everywhere gets all the air sucked out of it as audiences head for the bright, shiny, new multiverse movie and sink its grosses, thus preventing it from reaching the $40 million mark domestically. Mind you, that will not at all take away from what the film has accomplished already, but it would be a sour note on which to end its run. That’s why this coming weekend is so important as with no competition, Everything, Everywhere has an extra chance to pull out another amazing hold a really boost its grosses before the Marvel storm hits. Comparing the film to Lady Bird, whose trajectory Everything, Everywhere looks to be following the closest, a -25% hold this weekend is in order and a $4.06 million gross is likely; though don’t be surprised if it holds even better. My hope is that it can hit $35 million by Sunday. Fingers crossed!

In sixth place, we’re likely to find Liam Neeson’s Memory, which is an adaptation of a Belgian film, Memory of a Killer (itself an adaptation of a book), and follows Neeson’s assassin character as he goes on a manhunt to kill the people who hired him before he is caught by the FBI, all while his memory begins to slip away. The production itself has some pretty high-profile players with Monica Bellucci and Guy Pearce co-starring and the film being directed by Casino Royale and GoldenEye director Martin Campbell. That said, clearly, critics simply view this as another Neeson actioner in a time where we’ve had five, including this one, over the past two years in rapid succession, thus their opinions have soured. The film has poor reviews with a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 4.7/10 (thoroughly mixed). With that, we’ve little reason not to believe that Memory will likely open on par with the recent likes of Neeson’s Honest Thief (which I thought was actually pretty good), The Marksman, and Blacklight, which is to say about $3.5 million. I’d be shocked if this number was bigger or smaller as these films are remarkably consistent in their performance.

As for the rest of the top ten, we’ve got mostly usual suspects. Seventh place will likely be home to The Lost City, holding around -35% for a gross of $2.81 million. Eighth place will likely go to newbie The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent which I firmly expect to drop hard with at least -60%. More specifically, I see a -65% drop in its second weekend given how niche the appeal is of this film and how likely it is that people are waiting for it to become rentable or drop on streaming (Lionsgate actually announced yesterday that they’d signed a deal with Roku to have their films become available to stream on their platform for their respective Pay-2 SVOD windows after spending a few months on Starz, so if you have a Roku, Massive Talent will likely be free for you to stream by the end of the year). A drop of -65% would have it grossing $2.49 million. Expect Father Stu in ninth with a hold of around -35% and a gross of $2.14 million while Morbius will likely take its likely final bow as part of the top ten with an expected drop of -60% for a gross of $1.03 million.

As for the specialty market, there are few notable titles. We have a (timely?) film called Firebird, a gay romance that takes place in the Soviet Air Force during the Cold War, as well as The Sound of Violet, a film about an autistic man searching for a wife who meets and falls love with a girl named Violet, not realizing that she is a prostitute (Twitter would eat that film alive if anyone actually knew it was coming out). The title that really jumped out at me, however, is Black Site, a low-budget thriller starring Michelle Monaghan, Jason Clarke, and Jai Courtney that follows a group of soldiers who must fight to survive in a high-security prison for terrorists when one particularly dangerous inmate gets freed and wreaks havoc. The trailer and promotional material look dirt cheap, the kind of material that gives direct-to-video a bad name, but what strikes me about this movie is that I’d read about it before. No ordinary straight-to-home media release, Black Site is the project to come out of Asbury Park, a production venture formed between RedBox and prolific producer Thunder Road (which produces the John Wick franchise) to produce low-cost genre entertainment appealing to a wide audience. Films coming out of the joint venture are clearly meant to do most of their business through RedBox but will also be sold internationally by premiere sales outfit Rocket Science, which adds an air of surprising credibility to these films. Overall, this joint-venture is meant to produce the kinds of stripped-back, thrilling, non-IP based genre films that we rarely see anymore and I’m surprised and delighted to see that Black Site will be getting a theatrical release through RedBox’s frequent partner, Vertical Entertainment. I don’t expect anything in the way of box office numbers, but I might actually try to seek this film out this weekend as I’ve been looking forward to it since its first announcement (I like the cast). We’ll see if it does any business in theaters.

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