Weekend Box Office (April 21 - 23, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND Katherine Heigl had box office juice at one point and now she tests her starpower with the ex-wife thriller Unforgettable. The R-rated pic is aimed at adult women and couples and serves as counter-programming against the testosterone antics of Vin Diesel and The Rock who are currently dominating the marketplace with stunts and explosions.
But Heigl's fading starpower in recent years will prevent a big opening and mixed to negative reviews from critics will sting too. There is no real urgency or interest in this Warner Bros. release right now. The late April release date and 2,300-theater release pattern show that there is little studio faith in this movie's potential. A weekend bow of about $6M might result.
Open Road offers audiences the war drama The Promise starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, but the PG-13 film has attracted mixed reviews. That will dampen overall interest and the star wattage is not enough to spark much excitement either. More takers will find this one on secondary markets. Launching in 2,251 theaters, The Promise could attract around $5M this weekend.
After sitting out last year, Disney gets back into Earth Day mode with its newest nature doc Born in China. The G-rated film about pandas will appeal to families with small kids looking for healthy vegetables in a marketplace full of junk food. These nature films only reach so big of a crowd plus there is plenty of other options for children right now so competition will be a factor. Opening in over 1,500 locations, Born in China may debut to about $4M.
Set to dominate the box office once again, and possibly quadrupling its nearest competitor, is the action sequel The Fate of the Furious which has followed its huge opening weekend with mid-week sales set to reach about $27M. Frontloaded for sure, the sophomore lap may decelerate by around 60% which would be normal for a franchise film of this type.
Buzz is good and competition is very low so it might even erode less. Look for a weekend gross of around $39M which would push the domestic cume to roughly $165M on its way to the $230M range in the end. But overseas markets are just on fire and the global tally will rapidly climb to nearly $900M by Sunday.
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Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
LAST YEAR The top five saw little change as Disney's runaway smash The Jungle Book easily led the field grossing $61.5M in its second weekend making as much as the next 15 films combined. Universal stumbled with its big-budget fairy tale sequel The Huntsman: Winter's War which bowed to $19.4M on its way to just $48M domestic and only $165M worldwide. Holdovers followed with Barbershop: The Next Cut at $10.5M, Zootopia at $6.6M, and The Boss making $6.2M.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: April 20, 2017 at 2:40PM ET
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