Long Range Tracking: ‘Ready Player One’

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This week’s report closes out the first quarter of 2018 with a look at how Easter weekend’s four wide releases are currently tracking. You can find our initial forecasts for Paul, Apostle of ChristTyler Perry’s Acrimonyand God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness in the chart below.

With that said, here’s a preliminary analysis of key factors driving the potential performance of Steven Spielberg and Ernest Cline’s big adaptation:

Ready Player One
Warner Bros. / Amblin Entertainment

PROS:

  • Steven Spielberg taking on Steven Spielberg. He remains arguably the most recognized filmmaker among today’s audiences, and the meta-like homages to his own past work should fuel nostalgic appeal that has dominated various film and television hits in recent years.
  • One of the strength’s of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel is the fact that it culls from a deep library of pop culture references rooted in the Spielberg-dominated 1980s era of film and television. The combination of those multiple fandoms could be a potent advantage for the film at the box office with potential appeal to adults as well as millennials and younger audiences..
  • Opening nearly one month after A Wrinkle In Time, the film has a wide open market to itself with no other apparent blockbusters on the calendar until May’s Avengers: Infinity War. If strong word of mouth backs this widely anticipated adaptation, staying power could be very strong heading into late spring and early summer.

CONS:

  • Initial reactions to the teaser trailer last year were somewhat muted, primarily due to some criticism that the effects didn’t look up to par with what is expected from the beloved source material or an event-level Spielberg film. That being said, the post-production team has had plenty of time to up their game in that department, and more recent clips from the film have begun to alleviate some of that concern.
  • Spielberg’s ventures back into the big-budget movie arena have trended downward at the box office in recent years, unfortunately. While he has continued to garner critical and commercial acclaim with prestige films like LincolnThe PostBridge of Spies, and War Horse, large scale and FX-driven releases like The BFG and Tintin were relative under-performers in North America.

This Week’s Other Notes:

  • Black Panther continues to search for its ceiling as strong buzz out of the premiere and news that it’s become Fandango’s best-selling superhero film of all-time drive expectations even higher. Interest and intent-to-see metrics — combined with very impressive social media activity — continue to suggest the film’s four-day opening could hit or exceed the $150-160 million range. With reviews expected to be strong, at this point, there’s little reason to doubt that the film is primed to become a cultural blockbuster milestone.
  • Early forecasts for Every Day and The Hurricane Heist have been added.

Current 8-Week Tracking:

Release Date Title 3-Day Wide Opening % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
2/9/2018 The 15:17 to Paris $15,000,000 $47,000,000 2,950 Warner Bros.
2/9/2018 Fifty Shades Freed $40,000,000 $98,000,000 -2% 3,700 Universal
2/9/2018 Peter Rabbit $19,000,000 $73,000,000 -6% 3,700 Sony / Columbia
2/16/2018 Black Panther $139,000,000 +5% $400,000,000 +8% 4,000 Disney
2/16/2018 Early Man $5,000,000 $25,000,000 2,200 Lionsgate / Summit
2/16/2018 Samson $3,500,000 $13,000,000 1,000 Pure Flix
2/23/2018 Annihilation $14,000,000 -7% $50,000,000 Paramount
2/23/2018 Every Day $3,000,000 NEW $7,500,000 NEW Orion
2/23/2018 Game Night $16,000,000 -6% $55,000,000 Warner Bros.
3/2/2018 Death Wish $13,500,000 $34,000,000 Annapurna / MGM
3/2/2018 Red Sparrow $26,000,000 $84,000,000 Fox
3/9/2018 Gringo $3,000,000 $7,500,000 STXfilms
3/9/2018 The Hurricane Heist $6,000,000 NEW $15,000,000 NEW Entertainment Studios
3/9/2018 Strangers: Prey at Night $4,000,000 $8,500,000 Aviron
3/9/2018 A Wrinkle In Time $52,000,000 $154,000,000 Disney
3/16/2018 Love, Simon $13,000,000 $40,000,000 Fox
3/16/2018 Tomb Raider $22,000,000 $55,000,000 Warner Bros.
3/16/2018 Untitled A24 Horror n/a n/a A24
3/23/2018 Midnight Sun $6,000,000 $15,000,000 Open Road
3/23/2018 Pacific Rim Uprising $20,000,000 $49,000,000 Universal
3/23/2018 Sherlock Gnomes $12,000,000 $45,000,000 Paramount
3/23/2018 Unsane n/a n/a Bleecker Street
3/28/2018 Paul, Apostle of Christ $13,000,000 NEW $51,000,000 NEW Sony / Columbia
3/29/2018 Ready Player One $54,000,000 NEW $180,000,000 NEW Warner Bros.
3/30/2018 God’s Not Dead: A Light In Darkness $6,000,000 NEW $15,400,000 NEW Pure Flix
3/30/2018 Acrimony $19,000,000 NEW $46,000,000 NEW Lionsgate

Follow Boxoffice on Twitter for future tracking updates.

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