Weekend box office predictions are provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.
The domestic box office will look to pick up the pace over Christmas weekend with the arrival of four new major releases. Leading the way this weekend will undoubtedly be Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984. The highly anticipated sequel to 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman reunites director Patty Jenkins with stars Gal Gadot and Chris Pine and also stars Kristen Wiig. Wonder Woman 1984 replaces fellow Warner Bros. film Tenet as the highest profile theatrical release since domestic theatres re-opened back in August. In addition to the built-in anticipation for the film, Wonder Woman 1984 will also be aided this weekend by Christmas Day falling on Friday and by playing on PLF screens (including IMAX screens). At the same time, potential for Wonder Woman 1984 is sure to be held back in part by the film opening day-and-date on HBO Max, as a portion of moviegoers who would have been able to see the film in theatres will no doubt catch the film on HBO Max instead. Critical reviews for Wonder Woman 1984 have been good, but not as impressive as those of Wonder Woman. This past weekend Wonder Woman 1984 debuted with $38.2 million internationally (including an underwhelming $18.7 million in China).
To date, the largest three-day opening weekends since the re-opening of domestic theatres have been the $9.72 million take of The Croods: A New Age and the estimated $9.45 million gross of Tenet. While this weekend’s official location count for Wonder Woman 1984 hasn’t been released as of publishing, the film is expected to have a location count within shouting distance of the 2,205 theatres The Croods: A New Age opened in (Tenet opened wide in 2,810 locations – prior to the re-closing of various domestic theatres). With The Croods: A New Age and Tenet both being midweek openers; it’s extremely likely that Wonder Woman 1984 will deliver the largest three-day opening weekend since the re-opening of theatres (especially with the film opening on Christmas Day). In addition to opening in a similar amount of theatres as The Croods: A New Age, it also appears that Wonder Woman 1984 will be receiving a similar amount of showtimes per location that The Croods: A New Age received during its opening weekend. Given that The Croods: A New Age grossed $14.27 million during its extended five-day frame, it feels reasonable that Wonder Woman 1984 could deliver a similar gross over three days. Look for Wonder Woman 1984 to start out with $13.5 million this weekend (which would likely give the film a per-location average somewhere in the area of $6,100 – $6,400).
Also arriving in theatres this weekend is Universal’s News of the World. The Paul Greengrass directed western stars Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel. News of the World should play well as a Christmas Day release and potential for the film will be further heightened by strong critical reviews and awards season buzz. One factor limiting the potential of News of the World this weekend is that in opening the same weekend as Wonder Woman 1984, News of the World won’t be getting as many showtimes per location this weekend as it likely would have had, if the film opened on a different weekend. With that said, News of the World is likely to have the best holding power of this weekend’s four major releases, especially if the film ends up being an awards season player after all. Last month, Focus’ Let Him Go was targeted at a similar audience and opened with $4.00 million (from 2,454 locations). News of the World isn’t opening as wide as Let Him Go (News of the World is opening in 1,896 locations), but could register a higher per-location average thanks in part to greater anticipation and to opening on Christmas weekend. A per-location average just over $2,055 would give News of the World a promising $3.9 million second place start this weekend.
Last weekend Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age took second place with $2.08 million. That was down 32 percent from the previous frame and represented a very solid hold (especially since the film became available on PVOD last weekend). This weekend The Croods: A New Age is likely to hold up even better, thanks in part to the Christmas weekend frame. The Croods: A New Age is maintaining most of its locations from last weekend, as the film will be playing in 1,726 locations this weekend (a decrease of 170 locations). A slim 16 percent decline would transfer into a third place take of $1.75 million for The Croods: A New Age this weekend (which would inch the film’s total past the $30 million domestic mark).
Focus’ Promising Young Woman will debut in 1,310 locations on Christmas Day. The critically acclaimed Emerald Fennell directed thriller stars Carey Mulligan. Promising Young Woman has the strongest critical reviews of this weekend’s four major releases. Unfortunately for the film, potential for Promising Young Woman will be especially limited by continued theatre closings in major markets (such as New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago). It appears that Promising Young Woman will receive a single screen at most theatres and the film won’t be the most Christmas-friendly choice in the eyes of many moviegoers this weekend. Promising Young Woman could find itself in a close race for fourth place this weekend with Monster Hunter. A start of $1.40 million this weekend would give Promising Young Woman a per-location average of just under $1,070 for the frame.
In their respective second weekends of release, Sony’s Monster Hunter and Lionsgate’s Fatale could take fifth and sixth place this weekend. Last weekend Monster Hunter debuted in first place with a less-than-expected $2.20 million, while Fatale arrived in third with $0.92 million. This weekend Monster Hunter is likely to experience the larger percentage decline of the two films (in part from losing IMAX screens to Wonder Woman 1984), though Fatale will likely experience a larger than usual Christmas weekend decline as well. Monster Hunter could slow 39 percent this weekend for $1.35 million, while Fatale could decrease 29 percent to take in $0.65 million.
The weekend’s other major release is Roadside’s Pinocchio. The latest adaptation of Pinocchio (which was released in Italy in December of last year) was directed by Matteo Garrone and stars Roberto Benigni as Geppetto (Benigni previously played Pinocchio in the 2002 version of Pinocchio – which Benigni also directed). Unlike 2002’s Pinocchio, this version of Pinocchio has gone over quite well with critics. With that said; the domestic audience for Pinocchio is still likely to be rather limited. It had initially been announced that Pinocchio would be going wide on Christmas Day, but it now appears that the film will receive a moderate / semi-wide launch this weekend instead. As is the case with Promising Young Woman, Pinocchio looks to be receiving a single screen at most of its locations this weekend. Look for Pinocchio to open in seventh place with $0.45 million.