As we approach the middle of a muted March at the box office, three new releases will hit theaters this weekend in an effort to spur attendance from a variety of audiences. It will be Disney / Pixar’s Onward that’s likely to repeat atop the box office, though, following its $39.1 million debut last weekend.
We’re also continuing to monitor the developing COVID-19 situation as it relates to box office performances (more on that below).
Of the new entrants, Lionsgate’s I Still Believe looks to have the biggest advantage going into the weekend. From the filmmaking team behind 2018’s breakout I Can Only Imagine, which earned $83.5 million domestically on just a $7 million budget, their next faith-based project has mounted a successful grassroots marketing campaign among faith based audiences — including very encouraging social media footprints.
Christian audiences are expected to be the driving force of the film this weekend and going ahead, though early positive reviews and potential appeal to fans of Riverdale via the film’s star (KJ Apa) may help it expand beyond the lower-tier of other faith-based releases.
Of note, I Still Believe will hold IMAX screenings on Wednesday evening before the traditional Thursday night previews. Those IMAX earnings will be rolled into the weekend figure.
Elsewhere, Sony and Universal may be in a close race for second place among the openers and fifth place overall this weekend. The former’s Bloodshot will hope to attract fans of Vin Diesel and the source comic book with an IMAX release and PG-13 rating in its favor for appealing to young males.
Meanwhile, The Hunt arrives from Universal and Blumhouse after its well-publicized delay last year. The controversial film could spark interest among Blumhouse fans and young adults, while its Friday the 13th release might attract some horror fans. However, with The Invisible Man still in play this weekend, that audience is already somewhat spoken for thanks the latter film’s strong reception.
We continue to watch for any potential effects of COVID-19 with its ongoing spread in North America and the World Health Organization’s official declaration of the virus as a pandemic on Wednesday. Up to this point, overseas box office has seen the bulk of the impact in China, Italy, South Korea, and Japan.
However, domestic box office has yet to show any significant or clearly definable trends relating to the virus. Despite Onward coming in on the absolute low end of expectations last weekend, that is the only potential data point thus far and most holdovers behaved generally as expected.
That being said, forecasting models remain more volatile than usual under the current circumstances as the situation develops and changes by the day. At this point in time, theaters remain open nationwide and are not included among the various locations and events currently banned in localized regions.
Opening Weekend Ranges
- Bloodshot ($7 – 12 million)
- The Hunt ($6 – 11 million)
- I Still Believe ($10 – 15 million)
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten will decline approximately 29 to 34 percent from the same weekend one year ago, which was led by Captain Marvel‘s $68 million sophomore frame and openings from Wonder Park ($15.9 million), Five Feet Apart ($13.2 million), No Manches Frida 2 ($3.8 million), and Captive State ($3.1 million). That weekend generated $126.4 million across the top ten.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, March 15||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Onward||Disney / Pixar||$26,000,000||$74,700,000||-34%|
|I Still Believe||Lionsgate||$12,000,000||$12,000,000||NEW|
|Bloodshot||Sony / Columbia||$10,200,000||$10,200,000||NEW|
|The Invisible Man||Universal||$10,000,000||$68,700,000||-34%|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Paramount||$5,900,000||$149,300,000||-23%|
|The Way Back||Warner Bros.||$5,000,000||$16,000,000||-39%|
|The Call of the Wild||20th Century Studios||$4,100,000||$64,000,000||-39%|
|Bad Boys for Life||Sony / Columbia||$2,100,000||$205,300,000||-31%|
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday
The chart above excludes releases and potential expansions from limited and platform films