The month of March has surged in recent years to become one of the biggest months at the box office, rivaling even the summer and holiday movie seasons. The first weekend of March 2017 will try to start off with a bang in hopes of rivaling the billion-dollar March of 2016, when Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Zootopia were huge. Leading the way this time will be Fox’s superhero action sequel Logan. Also opening on the first weekend of the month are the Lionsgate drama The Shack, the Weinstein Company animated Leap! and the Open Road Films teen drama Before I Fall.
- Hugh Jackman stars as Wolverine in the third solo film starring the most famous character from the X-Men franchise. Both previous installments were hits, as 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine started with an $85.0 million opening en route to $179.8 million total, while 2013’s The Wolverine began with $53.1 million on its way to $132.5 million total.
- The trailer has been gaining strong buzz for its highly unusual strategy of showing almost entirely emotional shots alongside the tragic song “Hurt” by Johnny Cash, with very few action or special effects shots — a virtually unheard-of strategy for a superhero film.
- Although the MPAA has not yet rated the film, rumors abound that it will receive an R rating, unlike the PG-13 earned by the previous two Wolverine films and all X-Men installments. Conventional wisdom is that this would hurt the film’s grosses, although that paradigm may have shifted since last year’s R-rated superhero Deadpool earned $363.0 million.
- Although both the first two films were indeed hits, the second installment did represent a 26.3 percent downturn in domestic earnings from the first installment. Will the third installment be able to reverse that trend? After all, unlike both previous installments and almost much every other superhero movie, the main character’s name is not in the title here — perhaps some people won’t realize it’s a new Wolverine movie? (Then again, The Dark Knight became one of the most financially successful films of all time in 2008 despite not having the word “Batman” in the title.)
The Shack (Lionsgate)
- The Christian-themed film is about a father who meets the human manifestations of the Holy Trinity after his young daughter is murdered. It’s based on the novel by William P. Young that has more than 10 million copies in print. If the film can sell 10 million tickets, it would be a big success for a production with its budget.
- That being said, it almost certainly won’t sell 10 million tickets. Sam Worthington hasn’t really established himself as a bona fide leading man at the box office, despite a promising start several years ago with Avatar and Terminator: Salvation. Christian films have had a rough go at the box office in the past year or two, with the exception of last year’s Miracles From Heaven with $61.7 million — recent wide release titles such as God’s Not Dead 2, The Young Messiah, and Risen ranged from average to poor at the box office.
Leap! (Weinstein Company)
- The story of an orphaned girl in 1800s France who longs to become a ballerina sounds like Hugo, the story of an orphaned boy in 1800s France who longs to become an inventor, and that film was a sleeper hit in 2011 with $73.8 million. It’s also the only animated movie coming out for four weeks until The Boss Baby on March 31, and the last major animated movie prior will have been The LEGO Batman Movie three weeks before. (The previous week’s Rock Dog currently forecasted by Boxoffice Pro to only earn a paltry $8 million total and shouldn’t be much of a factor.)
- Two weeks later will see the release of the live action Beauty and the Beast, the story of a girl — well, young woman — without a mother who dreams of a better life in 1700s France. With that story being far more famous due to the classic nature of the animated original, it should take a large chunk of the audience away from Leap! if that audience hasn’t already fallen away of its own accord.
Before I Fall (Open Road Films)
- The teen-aimed drama about a high school senior who keeps reliving the day of her death by car crash over and over again looks like a more dramatic, angsty, and eerie version of Groundhog Day.
- The release comes from Open Road Films, a studio whose best performing titles in 2016 were Mother’s Day with $32.4 million and Snowden with $21.5 million. It’s hard to imagine this title reaching even those numbers. And the novel on which it’s based hasn’t sold nearly as much as the aforementioned The Shack.
Check out the official Boxoffice Pro long range forecast in the table below.
|Title||Wide Release Date||Distributor||Opening Weekend||Cumulative|
|Logan||Fri, Mar 3||Fox||$81,000,000||$205,000,000|
|The Shack||Fri, Mar 3||Lionsgate||$9,500,000||$34,000,000|
|Leap!||Fri, Mar 3||Weinstein Company||$6,500,000||$20,000,000|
|Before I Fall||Fri, Mar 3||Focus Features||$7,000,000||$18,000,000|
|Rock Dog||Fri, Feb 24||Lionsgate||$3,000,000||$8,000,000|
|Get Out||Fri, Feb 24||Universal||$20,000,000||$56,000,000|
|The Great Wall||Fri, Feb 17||Universal||$34,000,000*||$68,000,000|
|Fist Fight||Fri, Feb 17||Warner Bros.||$25,000,000*||$63,000,000|
|A Cure For Wellness||Fri, Feb 17||Fox||$13,500,000*||$35,000,000|
|Patient Zero||Fri, Feb 17||Sony / Columbia||$8,500,000*||$19,000,000|
|Fifty Shades Darker||Fri, Feb 10||Universal||$41,000,000||$83,000,000|
|The LEGO Batman Movie||Fri, Feb 10||Warner Bros.||$56,000,000||$210,000,000|
|John Wick: Chapter Two||Fri, Feb 10||Lionsgate||$20,000,000||$45,000,000|
|Rings||Fri, Feb 3||Paramount||$14,000,000||$29,000,000|
|The Space Between Us||Fri, Feb 3||STX Entertainment||$7,000,000||$20,000,000|
|Resident Evil: The Final Chapter||Fri, Jan 27||Sony / Screen Gems||$20,000,000||$43,000,000|
|A Dog’s Purpose||Fri, Jan 27||Universal||$16,000,000||$65,000,000|
|Bastards||Fri, Jan 27||Warner Bros.||$7,500,000||$29,000,000|
|Gold||Fri, Jan 27||Weinstein Company||$7,000,000||$22,000,000|
|xXx: The Return of Xander Gage||Fri, Jan 20||Paramount||$32,000,000||$72,000,000|
|Split||Fri, Jan 20||Universal||$21,000,000||$55,000,000|
|The Founder||Fri, Jan 20||Weinstein||$7,500,000||$24,000,000|
|The Resurrection of Gavin Stone||Fri, Jan 20||High Top Releasing||$1,400,000||$3,000,000|
|Live By Night||Fri, Jan 13||Warner Bros.||$14,500,000*||$34,000,000|
|Patriots Day||Fri, Jan 13||Lionsgate||$23,500,000*||$78,000,000|
|Sleepless||Fri, Jan 13||Open Road Films||$11,500,000*||$24,000,000|
|Monster Trucks||Fri, Jan 13||Paramount||$12,000,000*||$22,000,000|
|The Bye Bye Man||Fri, Jan 13||STX Entertainment||$9,000,000*||$15,500,000|
*= 4-day weekend, Friday-Monday, referring to Martin Luther King Day in January or Presidents Day in February.
Shawn Robbins and Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report.
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