As we enter Week 6 of the Fantasy Movie League, I decided I would have a little added fun and start doing my own round of box office projections for the 15 films available for selection in our league, in addition to doing my usual weekly league previews and wrap-ups. I’ve been having a lot of fun the past few weeks with the game – being active in the forums, looking at comps and just in general doing a #GoodResearch – so I decided I might as well throw my hat in the ring with the big boys over at Pro Box Office, Deadline, Variety, Entertainment Weekly and, of course, our man Brad Brevet at Box Office Mojo. So here we go…
While this week brings a handful of new wide and limited releases, it looks like the box office will be dominated by holdovers this weekend as Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” continues its momentum from last weekend, “Hotel Transylvania 2” holds strong with the kiddie crowd and “Sicario” and “The Intern” figure to round out the weekend Top 5, with “Pan” the only newcomer likely to figure into the competition in any meaningful way.
After raking in $54.3M last weekend and just barely missing out on the October opening weekend record set by “Gravity” two years ago, “The Martian” aims for a meager drop somewhere in the neighborhood of 25% and 30%, though anything less (or more) wouldn’t come as a surprise. “Gravity” – a film “The Martian” has been compared to endlessly since it began screening on the festival circuit – pulled of a stellar 22.6% drop two years ago during its second weekend, a feat that is even more impressive given it faced off against “Captain Phillips”, which wrangled up $25.7M that weekend as it kicked off its campaign for a Best Picture nomination. “The Martian” earned an “A” CinemaScore last weekend, just a notch better than the “A-“ grade that “Gravity” earned during its opening weekend, so the film should have good legs heading into weekend number two. However, at more than 140 minutes long “The Martian” won’t play quite as often as the breezy “Gravity” (90 min), leading me to nudge its drop a bit closer to the 40% drop “Interstellar” saw last November.
“Hotel Transylvania 2” will almost certainly continue to chug along this weekend, and seeing as it outpaced its predecessor each of the last two weekends I expect it will do so again this weekend. The new owner of the September opening weekend record, “Hotel Transylvania 2” dipped just 31.5% in its second frame. “Pan” could potentially steal a bit of the Drac Pack’s audience, but I’m betting against that outcome, forecasting a 34% drop in weekend number three for a haul of just below $22M. I should note here that the first “Hotel Transylvania” scored back-to-back 36% drops when it hit theaters in 2012, so a similar drop seems reasonable even with “Pan” entering the marketplace.
Speaking of “Pan”, it goes wide in more than 3,500 theaters this weekend, but poor reviews and bad timing could keep Joe Wright’s big-budget debut from breaking into the upper teens this weekend. Projections for the film from the major outlets range from $15M to $22M, and I’m guessing it winds up on the lower end at $16M, barely making a dent in the $150M budget Warner Bros. commissioned for its return to Neverland. However, movies aimed at the younger crowd are far more difficult to predict than most, so while I’m sheepish on “Pan” I wouldn’t be surprised if it wound up a bit higher.
“Sicario” and “The Intern” look poised to round out the Top 5 this weekend, as both played well last weekend and should see very healthy holds over the Friday-to-Sunday frame. “Sicario” scored a $12.1M and an “A-“ CinemaScore last weekend while “The Intern” fell just over 34% last weekend to $11.7M. These two films aren’t exactly easy to predict, as movies like “Sicario” don’t stick to any sort of pattern when it comes to weekend-to-weekend drops and “The Intern” is the first time we’ve seen a Nancy Meyers flick released outside the end-of-year holiday season since “The Parent Trap” in 1998.
Falling outside the Top 5 of my predictions in its wide expansion is “The Walk”, a movie that stalled last weekend in its IMAX and premium large format (PLF) debut last weekend. Earning just $1.6M in approximately 450 theaters, Robert Zemeckis’ latest film will be lucky to break into the double digit millions this weekend, though I predict it will perform far worse than that. While it’s true Zemeckis hasn’t seen a sub-$10M opening since 1984, “The Walk” isn’t a late-year kids’ movie and it isn’t led by a notable box office draw; ultimately, it’s difficult to determine what crowd the film is even targeting. Armed with solid reviews, “The Walk” has the potential to surprise, but I’m betting against it in the form of a $5.85M wide opening weekend prediction. Sorry, Bob, it’s nothing personal.
“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” has consistently performed below its predecessor, and after a 45.3% drop last weekend I expect a similar result here, as I have the young-adult sequel dropping 44.9% to $4.3M over the Friday-to-Sunday frame. Following suit are “Black Mass” and “Everest”, two films many expected to perform far better than they have. That isn’t to say they’ve been complete disappointments – “Black Mass” notched $22.6M in its first weekend and “Everest” stunned with $7.2M in its IMAX/PLF debut over that same period – but the former has fallen right around 50% each of the last two weekends and the latter suffered a steep 57.4% after handing over its IMAX and PLF screens to “The Walk” and “The Martian” last weekend. Look for each to drop in the 50% to 60% range this weekend, with “Black Mass” coming in around $2.9M and “Everest” settling around $2.5M for the three-day.
At number ten I’m predicting a bit of a shocker, for some, as I have the Pantelion-Lionsgate release “Ladrones” projected at $2.3M in its 375-theater debut. That may seem a strange gamble, but the Spanish-language action comedy comes from a solid pedigree of similar releases, including “Cantinflas” and “Pulling Strings”, which walked away from their opening weekends with hauls of $2.6M and $2.5M, respectively. Pantelion has done well with a handful of these Latino audience-targeted releases in recent years – including “Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos” ($3.4M) last month – and I’m hoping “Ladrones” follows suit. Realistically the film could wind up anywhere between $1M and $3M for the weekend, so I’m going to go just beyond the midway point with a $2.3M prediction. I’m probably wrong, but I might as well make at least one interesting call here, right?
Then we come to the bottom of the board, as “The Visit” looks likely to fall more than 50% in a crowded marketplace to $1.9M and “War Room” continues its impressive gradual glide, falling 36.2% to $1.8M for the weekend. Broad Green’s “99 Homes” expands this weekend from 19 theaters to 689, but while I want to see it I don’t really have much faith in it; the film could certainly wind up higher but I’m pegging it at $1.3M. Rounding out the last couple spots are “The Perfect Guy” and “The Green Inferno”, two films I expect to see fall steeply as the former loses one-third of its screens from last weekend and the latter loses about two-thirds of its screens. “The Perfect Guy” should come in right around $0.95M while I expect “The Green Inferno” to make a paltry $0.22M.
As for what this means for the league, I expect “The Martian” to take this weekend’s Best Performer crown, while “Sicario”, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials”, “Ladrones” and even “Everest” could ultimately make a play for that distinction if “The Martian” falls off more than expected. Check out my full weekend forecast below (including cost in FB$ and exact theater counts) for the 15 options in the Fantasy Movie League, and be sure to get those screens filled before the deadline. Happy picking!
1. The Martian | FB$501 | 3,854 theaters | $38,000,000 (-30.0%)
2. Hotel Transylvania 2 | FB$384 | 3,768 theaters | $21,900,000 (-34.0%)
3. Pan | FB$307 | 3,515 theaters | $16,000,000 (NEW)
4. Sicario | FB$113 | 2,620 theaters | $8,200,000 (-32.5%)
5. The Intern | FB$131 | 3,224 theaters | $7,700,000 (-34.0%)
6. The Walk | FB$169 | 2,509 theaters | $5,850,000 (EXPANSION)
7. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials | FB$68 | 2,838 theaters | $4,300,000 (-44.9%)
8. Black Mass | FB$54 | 2,057 theaters | $2,900,000 (-50.4%)
9. Everest | FB$41 | 2,116 theaters | $2,500,000 (-55.6%)
10. Ladrones | FB$33 | 375 theaters | $2,300,000 (NEW)
11. The Visit | FB$42 | 1,750 theaters | $1,900,000 (-52.0%)
12. War Room | FB$36 | 1,395 theaters | $1,800,000 (-36.2%)
13. 99 Homes | FB$40 | 689 theaters | $1,300,000 (EXPANSION)
14. The Perfect Guy | FB$22 | 887 theaters | $950,000 (-60.6%)
15. The Green Inferno | FB$11 | 515 theaters | $220,000 (-83.2%)