Weekend box office predictions are provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.
Weekend Box Office Predictions:
This weekend sees Disney’s release of 20th Century’s West Side Story. The Steven Spielberg directed musical represents the second adaptation of the West Side Story stage musical (the classic 1961 film being the first). West Side Story (2021) stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler and also features Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez and Rita Moreno. Critical reviews for the film have been extremely strong and the film is also widely considered to be a major awards season contender. The film’s strong critical buzz, built-in fanbase and fans of Spielberg should all help West Side Story at the box office this holiday season. But at the same time, it’s no secret that in general more serious fare aimed at adult audiences has tended to struggle at the box office since the re-opening of domestic theatres. A perfect example of this was much buzzed about fellow musical In the Heights, which opened with just $11.50 million back in June. One added advantage West Side Story will have over In the Heights is that West Side Story is opening exclusively in theaters this weekend (in 2,820 locations), whereas In the Heights opened day-and-date theatrically and via streaming on HBO Max. West Side Story will be playing on IMAX screens this weekend and will have Thursday preview shows beginning at 5PM. BoxOfficeReport is predicting that West Side Story will debut in first place this weekend with $13.8 million.
Disney will also look to claim second place this weekend with the third weekend performance of Encanto. Last weekend Encanto declined a sizable, but understandable 52 percent to remain in first place with $13.15 million. Encanto has been holding up very nicely during the midweek this week; the film’s Wednesday performance was down a slim 15 percent from last weekend, but at the same time the film looks to be taking a significant average showtimes per location hit this weekend. West Side Story will likely also provide some new indirect competition for Encanto this weekend. Expect Encanto to decline a very solid 32 percent to take in $9.0 million this weekend.
After declining a sharp 57 percent last weekend to take second with $10.36 million, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife will look to re-stabilize this weekend. In addition to continuing to benefit from very strong word of mouth, Ghostbusters: Afterlife should receive added boosts this weekend from recovering from losing its IMAX screens last weekend and from this weekend providing moviegoers an opportunity to catch the film (or catch it again) before fellow Sony release Spider-Man: No Way Home enters the marketplace next weekend. A 32 percent decline this weekend would transfer into a third place take of $7.0 million for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Last weekend United Artists Releasing and MGM’s House of Gucci decreased 51.5 percent to remain in third with $7.00 million. House of Gucci should stabilize some this weekend, especially with the film holding onto most of its locations and showtimes, but that stabilization is likely to be limited somewhat by the new direct competition from West Side Story. Look for House of Gucci to decline a solid 40 percent to claim fourth with $4.2 million.
As for some of this weekend’s other holdovers, Eternals could decline just 29 percent to take fifth with $2.9 million, Fathom Events and Angel Studios’ Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers could decrease a sizable 51 percent to claim sixth with $2.1 million and Sony’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City could decline a solid 37 percent to land in seventh with $1.7 million.
This weekend also sees the semi-wide release of STXfilms’ National Champions. The Ric Roman Waugh directed sports drama stars Stephan James and J. K. Simmons. On the average, critical reviews for the film (while still fairly limited in number) have been good, but not great. While the film’s college football theme should be able to generate a certain amount of interest, the film’s already modest potential will be further limited by this weekend’s semi-wide location count of just 1,197. National Champions will have Thursday preview shows beginning at 7PM. BoxOfficeReport is predicting an eighth place debut of $1.3 million for National Champions.