The tide has been turning for domestic moviegoing’s rebound, but the beginning of May is entering a short quiet period as vaccines continue to be implemented and the traditional summer movie season aims to begin later in the month. This weekend, United Artists Releasing will debut Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man as the latest indie studio to prop up the market before high-profile summer movies arrive.
Following the delay of Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow from a May 7 release to July 9, the early May calendar opened up for indie distributors to take advantage and push new content into theaters. One example is Wrath, opening in an estimated 2,875 domestic cinemas this weekend, alongside Sony and Stage 6 Films’ Here Today in semi-wide release.
Led by Jason Statham, Wrath of Man marks the latest adult male-oriented thriller to hit screens during the pandemic. The most recent example of such a strategy was Universal’s Nobody when it debuted $6.8 million back in March. That was before a number of key markets had re-opened theaters and expanded seating capacity, while also coming before the momentum generated by Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, and Demon Slayer‘s healthy box office performances.
As an indie release, the marketing reach of Wrath hasn’t been as widespread as that of Nobody — yet, the former has more than 18 million views from its official MGM trailer page on YouTube. The Bob Odenkirk-led pic stands at 12 million views even after six weeks of release (including PVOD availability since April 16). Rounding out the social spectrum, Wrath‘s Twitter and Facebook footprints leave something to be desired, and Instagram claims over 10,000 followers.
Given the short turnaround from the late March announcement that revealed a commitment to May 7, plus the sheer realities of pandemic recovery itself, there aren’t many relevant comparisons to work with beyond Nobody. The next best bet would be Open Road Films’ The Marksman, which opened to a $3.1 million three-day weekend back in early January — a much different time in exhibition’s pandemic timeline at this point, four months on.
Entering the weekend, projections for the film stand anywhere between $5 million and $10 million for the domestic debut as Ritchie’s core fan base will be integral to a healthy turnout. The filmmaker’s most recent effort, The Gentlemen, opened to $10.65 million weekend in late January 2020 shortly before the pandemic struck. Wrath of Man has already opened in select territories around the world, including Australia where it nabbed $1.7 million in its debut — not very far off from Gentlemen‘s $2.4 million start there last year.
Also debuting this weekend in semi-wide release is the aforementioned Here Today, led by Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish. The film will screen at an estimated XX locations, more than the sub-studio’s Long Weekend, which bowed to $245K from 821 venues in mid-March. Marketing has been understandably quiet for this counter-programmer aimed at adults over 35, but a start between $500K and $1 million could be achievable given the star presence. Sony and Stage 6 had not confirmed a location count at the time of this report, but we’re projecting close to 1,200.
Elsewhere, look for Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer to continue shedding some business as they lose premium screens to Wrath of Man. Late April’s surprise duo slid 73 and 70 percent, respectively, in their sophomore frame last week due to shared natures as fan-driven franchise players. The Funimation release does look to gain on its location count, though, according to Showtimes Dashboard.
Last week’s new entry, Separation, will climb from 1,751 locations to 1,911 in hopes of staving off a 50 percent decline from its $1.8 million opening weekend.
Meanwhile, Universal will expand the 10th anniversary re-release of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to 448 locations. Since the film was originally scheduled only as a one-week event in Dolby Cinemas last weekend, when it earned a strong $730K from 152 locations, we’re holding off on forecasts for this unplanned and un-marketed extension in traditional theaters.
Disney will also expand Raya and the Last Dragon from 1,810 to 2,315 locations as Cinemark and Regal begin playing the film for the first time.
This Weekend vs. Last Weekend.
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten will decline between 5 percent and 15 percent from the $22.6 million haul earned by last week’s top ten.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, May 9||Location Count||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Wrath of Man||United Artists Releasing||$7,750,000||$7,750,000||2,875||NEW|
|Mortal Kombat (2021)||Warner Bros. Studios||$3,200,000||$38,500,000||~2,900||-48%|
|Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – the Movie: Mugen Train||Funimation||$2,900,000||$39,300,000||~2,050||-55%|
|Godzilla vs. Kong||Warner Bros. Studios||$2,000,000||$93,000,000||~2,400||-29%|
|Raya and the Last Dragon||Walt Disney Pictures||$1,300,000||$43,300,000||2,315||-6%|
|Separation||Open Road Films||$1,000,000||$3,300,000||1,911||-44%|
|Here Today||Sony Pictures / Stage 6 Films||$825,000||$825,000||1,200||NEW|
|The Unholy||Sony Pictures / Screen Gems||$775,000||$14,200,000||1,390||-27%|
|Tom & Jerry||Warner Bros. Studios||$475,000||$44,800,000||~1,625||-11%|
All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of Friday estimates from studios and/or alternative sources.
Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studios.
Forecasts above do not necessarily represent the top ten, but rather films with the widest theatrical footprint based on studio confirmations entering the weekend.
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