For the third time in four frames, it will be a 4-day weekend at the box office, following the unusual 4-day weekends for Christmas and New Year’s. Five new films open wide, starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, and Jamie Foxx. But will any of them reign supreme? Or will the holiday commemorating an African American leader in the 1960s see a repeat on top for the 1960s African American-led Hidden Figures?
The best chance to dethrone it comes from Lionsgate’s drama about the Boston Marathon bombing Patriots Day. Also contending are STX Entertainment’s horror The Bye Bye Man, Warner Bros.’ period crime drama Live By Night, and Open Road Films’ cop thriller Sleepless. Paramount’s action comedy Monster Trucks, meanwhile, could potentially become one of the most money-losing titles in American cinema history.
[Note: even though we’re just posting 4-day weekend forecasts, it’s possible that different films could end up winning the 3-day versus 4-day weekends. Namely, Patriots Day might win the 3-day while Hidden Figures may win the 4-day which includes Martin Luther King Day Monday itself.]
Patriots Day (Lionsgate)
- Boxoffice Pro’s long range forecast in November originally had Patriots Day finishing second among this weekend’s five main releases, behind Live By Night. But based on both films’ limited releases, we now believe Patriots Day will win out. It earned a solid $23,044 per-screen average for Christmas weekend and $21,117 for New Year’s, followed by $14,972 this past weekend, while playing in seven theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston. Those numbers are slightly less than the limited release for Hidden Figures, before it took first place for this past weekend with $22.8 million.
- Mark Wahlberg re-teams up with director Peter Berg for a story about the real-life 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the perpetrators. Their two previous pairings were September’s Deepwater Horizon which earned $61.4 million at the box office, and 2013’s Lone Survivor which made $125.0 million. Both starred Wahlberg as real-life heroes of survival films.
- Two other dramas combining tragedy and sports have already been released this season, to very poor box office results. November’s Bleed For This made $5.0 million and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk underwhelmed with $1.7 million. And even if Patriots Day performs decently, it seems almost impossible to imagine a Lone Survivor level cumulative take.
Monster Trucks (Paramount)
- Now that Rogue One is beginning its box office descent, this is the best option for families since Rogue came out. And some people are a fan of its Sharknado style vibe.
- The film’s production budget totals in excess of $100 million, with the Hollywood Reporter reporting that Paramount plans to take a jaw-dropping $115 million write-down due to the film’s expected low performance at the box office. This science-fiction comedy is not about monster trucks, but about monsters who live inside trucks. The film is aiming for a Sharknado style vibe, but those films are usually relegated as straight-to-TV or straight-to-DVD. The Independent called it “a Paramount movie with a $100 million budget that actually exists.”
The Bye Bye Man (STX Entertainment)
- Based partially on the supernatural book The Bridge to Body Island by Robert Damon Schneck, the film’s creepy undertone and vibe could appeal to fans of horror and thrillers alike. And with a reported $6 million budget, low even for the famously low-budget horror genre, it will take very little for this title to turn a profit. Plus the horror release Amityville: The Awakening, which was originally scheduled for last weekend, was delayed to June, leaving Bye free of horror competition during its debut.
- With Patriots Day slated to open well, alongside Hidden Figures and Rogue One still earning money, it’s hard to imagine this title coming in any higher than fourth place at a maximum — and possibly as low as eighth or ninth. Plus horror competitor Split, which is tracking much better in pre-release, comes out next weekend.
Live By Night (Warner Bros.)
- This 1920s-set gangster crime drama stars Ben Affleck in the lead role, who had a good 2016 at the box office with March’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice earning $330.3 million and October’s The Accountant proving a sleeper hit with $86.2 million and counting. The novel by Dennis Lehane, upon which the film was based, won the Edgar Award for best novel of the year. Lehane’s novels adapted into films include 2010’s Shutter Island which earned $128.0 million.
- Compared to the aforementioned Patriots Day or Hidden Figures, Live By Night has only taken in about half the per-screen average so far during its limited release. Playing in four theaters, the film earned $8,334 and $12,471 per-screen on Christmas and New Year’s weekends, followed by $6,731 this past weekend. This doesn’t bode particularly well for its wide release prospects.
Sleepless (Open Road Films)
- This crime thriller stars Jamie Foxx, who’s had several $100+ million hits at the box office in the past five years, especially ones where he’s playing a tough guy role involving violence: 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with $202.8 million, 2012’s Django Unchained with $162.8 million, and 2011’s Horrible Bosses with $117.5 million. Opening on Martin Luther King Day weekend, the largely African American cast could appeal to audiences in that same demographic, with similar MLK weekend hits including 2016’s Ride Along 2 with $41.0 million, 2014’s Ride Along with $48.6 million,2009’s Notorious with $23.3 million, 2007’s Stomp the Yard with $25.8 million, and 2005’s Coach Carter with $29.1 million.
- Unfortunately, pre-release tracking and social media buzz indicate that Sleepless is highly unlikely to reach similar sums. If anything, the African American cast on MLK weekend is much more likely to benefit last weekend’s leader Hidden Figures with a mild decline and a strong hold.
Boxoffice Pro projects the top 10 films this weekend will earn a cumulative $132.5 million over the 4-day weekend. That’s 24 percent below the $175.3 million earned by the top 10 on the 4-day Martin Luther King Day weekend of last year. That’s also 10 percent above the $120.5 million earned by the top 10 films last weekend, although it’s an apples to oranges comparison since last weekend was only a 3-day.
Check out the Boxoffice Pro official 4-day Weekend Forecast in the table below:
|Title||Distributor||4-Day Weekend||Domestic Total through Monday 1/16/17||% change from last weekend (3-day)|
|Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||Disney||$16,500,000||$501,810,000||-25.22%|
|La La Land||Lionsgate / Summit||$12,160,000||$71,420,000||20.01%|
|The Bye Bye Man||STX Entertainment||$9,500,000||$9,500,000||New|
|Live By Night||Warner Bros.||$9,000,000||$9,180,000||33329.91%|
|Sleepless||Open Road Films||$7,500,000||$7,500,000||New|
|Underworld: Blood Wars||Sony / Screen Gems||$6,840,000||$25,420,000||-50.03%|
Shawn Robbins, Jesse Rifkin, and Alex Edghill contributed to this report.