Weekend Box Office Predictions: March 5 – 7, 2021

Weekend box office predictions are provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.

After the successful launch of Warner’s Tom & Jerry last weekend, the domestic marketplace will look to build further momentum this weekend with three new wide releases entering the marketplace and the long-awaited re-opening of movie theatres in New York City (as well as San Francisco). Leading the way this weekend is Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. The computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios was directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada and features the vocal talent of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina. Raya and the Last Dragon will open day-and-date this weekend, theatrically and via streaming as a premiere access title on Disney+; making it the first Disney film to open under this distribution model (back in September Mulan debuted as a premiere access Disney+ title, but didn’t screen in domestic theatres). Critical reviews for Raya and the Last Dragon have been exceptional and the film will have Thursday night previews beginning at 6PM. Raya and the Last Dragon will also get a bit of a boost from playing on IMAX screens, which it will be sharing with Chaos Walking this weekend.

With far stronger critical reviews, the advantage of opening in New York City theatres and higher pre-release anticipation, at first glance it would seem likely that Raya and the Last Dragon would be able to build upon the $14.11 million estimated debut of Tom & Jerry last weekend. However, due to certain theatre chains not playing Raya and the Last Dragon this weekend (including Cinemark and Harkins), this weekend’s location count of 2,045 for Raya and the Last Dragon will be 430 fewer locations than the 2,475 locations Tom & Jerry opened in last weekend. At the same time to help make up for this, on the average Raya and the Last Dragon looks to be getting more showtimes per-location than Tom & Jerry did last weekend. In addition, Raya and the Last Dragon will have to contend with direct competition from Tom & Jerry this weekend and indirect competition from fellow new releases Chaos Walking and Boogie (whereas Tom & Jerry launched in a wide open marketplace) and it also remains to be seen if Raya and the Last Dragon will benefit from private theatrical screenings for small groups to the degree that Warner’s Tom & Jerry and Wonder Woman 1984 have.

With all of that in mind, BoxOfficeReport is expecting Raya and the Last Dragon to debut a bit lower than Tom & Jerry last weekend. A $12.0 million start for Raya and the Last Dragon this weekend would still represent the third largest opening weekend since the re-opening of domestic theatres this past August and give the film a per-location average of $5,868 (which would be just ahead of the $5,701 per-location average for Tom & Jerry last weekend). Beyond this weekend, expect Raya and the Last Dragon to have terrific holding power, especially with no other new animated films currently scheduled to enter the marketplace until Sony’s animated / live-action hybrid Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway does so on May 14 and additional theatres continuing to re-open in the weeks ahead (including in California).

On the heels of last weekend’s mentioned $14.11 million start, Warner’s Tom & Jerry will look to take second place this weekend. While critical reviews for Tom & Jerry have been poor, that didn’t matter last weekend and on top of that the film looks to be going over far better with audiences after receiving a healthy A- rating on CinemaScore. Obviously Tom & Jerry will be taking a hit this weekend from the arrival of Raya and the Last Dragon in the marketplace (a factor which likely helped push last weekend’s stronger than expected start). Furthermore, so far Warner Bros. releases that have opened day-and-date theatrically and on HBO Max have all experienced sharp second weekend declines in the range of 57 – 67 percent. While Tom & Jerry should have a sharp decline this weekend, it likely won’t be quite that sharp, especially with the film getting a boost from opening in New York City this weekend (where Tom & Jerry also takes place) and with Raya and the Last Dragon not playing in all major theatre chains. Tom & Jerry could decline 51 percent this weekend to take in $6.9 million, before stabilizing next weekend.

Lionsgate’s Chaos Walking also arrives in theatres this weekend. The sci-fi film is adapted from the Chaos Walking young adult series. Chaos Walking was directed by Doug Liman and stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland. Unfortunately, critical reviews for Chaos Walking have been poor. The biggest draw for Chaos Walking is the teaming up of Ridley and Holland and relatively speaking, the film could get boosts this weekend from being the highest profile non-family film in the marketplace and from not being available on streaming this weekend. Like Raya and the Last DragonChaos Walking will have Thursday night previews beginning at 6PM and as mentioned, Chaos Walking will be sharing IMAX screens with Raya and the Last Dragon this weekend. Chaos Walking will be playing in 1,980 locations this weekend. While it will be opening in 191 fewer locations than The Little Things opened in last month, Chaos Walking could open just ahead of the estimated $4.70 million start of The Little Things, in part from Chaos Walking looking to be getting a higher opening weekend showtimes per location average than that of The Little Things (as well as an added boost from opening in New York City). A solid per-location average of $2,626 would transfer into a third place debut of $5.2 million for Chaos Walking this weekend.

Focus will be releasing Boogie in 1,252 locations this weekend. The sport s drama was directed by Eddie Huang and stars Taylor Takahashi, Taylour Paige and the late rap artist Bashar ‘Pop Smoke’ Jackson. Critical reviews for Boogie have been solid and the film will have Thursday night previews beginning at 7PM. While Boogie won’t be getting as many screens and showtimes as this weekend’s other two new wide releases, the film could still get off to a relatively good start this weekend with its location count in mind, especially with the film being able to open in New York City (Boogie takes place in Queens). Boogie could debut in fourth place this weekend with $1.90 million, which would give the film a respectable per-location average of $1,518 for the frame and would be just under the recent estimated $2.01 million three-day start of Judas and the Black Messiah (which opened in 1,888 locations).

After taking second place with $1.25 million last weekend, Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age is likely to round out this weekend’s top five. Even with the help of New York City theatres re-opening this weekend, most holdovers in wide release are still likely to experience larger percentage declines this weekend than last weekend as a result of significant location and showtime losses throughout the rest of the domestic marketplace from the addition of three new wide releases. The Croods: A New Age will be playing in 1,604 locations this weekend, which is 308 fewer locations than last weekend. The Croods: A New Age could take in $0.80 million this weekend. That would be a 36 percent decline from last weekend’s performance (when the film fell 27 percent).

Warner’s The Little Things and Open Road and Briarcliff’s The Marksman should claim sixth and seventh place this weekend. Last weekend The Little Things was down 20 percent to gross an estimated $0.93 million, while The Marksman decreased a slim 10 percent to take in $0.70 million. This weekend The Little Things could slow 44 percent to gross $0.52 million, while The Marksman could decline 33 percent to register $0.47 million.

Rounding the last three spots of this weekend’s top ten, Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 could decline a sizable 46 percent to take in $0.38 million, fellow Warner Bros. release Judas and the Black Messiah could decrease a solid 34 percent to gross $0.33 million and Sony’s Monster Hunter could ease a very solid 30 percent to register $0.32 million. Judas and the Black Messiah should get a bit more help than most other holdovers in the top ten from the re-opening of New York City theatres and could also get a small boost from Daniel Kaluuya’s Golden Globe win for Best Supporting Actor this past Sunday.

While Disney and Searchlight’s Nomadland should also benefit from its two Golden Globe wins and opening in New York City, at the same time the acclaimed Chloé Zhao directed film also looks to be losing a significant amount of its screens and showtimes throughout other areas of the domestic marketplace this weekend. Holdovers not currently in wide release that could receive boosts from the re-opening of New York City theatres this weekend include Focus’ Promising Young Woman, STXfilms The Mauritanian and Warner’s Tenet (though whether or not grosses for Tenet are provided this weekend remains to be seen).

Read full predictions at BoxOfficeReport.com

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