In case you missed it, the box office proved last weekend that movie theaters are alive and well. Godzilla vs. Kong blasted away all expectations with a $31.6 million three-day weekend and an overall $48.1 million five-day opening, soaring far past pandemic era precedents.
Now, the industry’s attention turns to watching how well it holds up as the heart of spring approaches and Hollywood’s release slate, by pre-Godzilla vs. Kong design, thins out dramatically in April and early May.
The Warner Bros. and Legendary monster epic is on pace to become the highest grossing film in North America since the pandemic initially forced theaters to close in March 2020. Although the studio has not reported official grosses since weekend actuals and daily estimates through Sunday, the film could clear $57.9 million as early as Thursday based on projections.
Surpassing that figure is notable as it would top Tenet‘s last reported total, as well as The Croods: A New Age‘s $56.4 million through this past Tuesday and Wonder Woman 1984‘s $46.1 million through the end of last Sunday.
The film does remain available for free to HBO Max subscribers, meaning we yet again are anticipating a wide range of results for second weekend performance. Among Warner Bros.’ 2021 films released under the day-and-date strategy with theaters, all of them have dropped between 53 and 57 percent during their sophomore frame.
Godzilla vs. Kong could buck that trend due to having opened on a Wednesday and, in theory, siphoned off the immediate fan rush with $16.3 million earned before the weekend even began. That being said, its expansion from 2,409 to 3,064 theaters on Friday made it available in additional markets and played a role in the film’s trendline remaining fairly flat during the weekend (up just under 8 percent from Friday to Saturday).
Regal’s staggered re-opening plan also won’t kick in more fully until April 16 before stretching out through the end of May, and roughly three-quarters of Canada’s exhibition footprint remains closed. In other words, there probably won’t be a significant boost via theatrical re-openings for any films this weekend.
On the more positive side of comparisons, however, Ready Player One eased just 41 percent in its second weekend after opening over Good Friday and Easter back in 2018. It achieved that relatively soft decline despite A Quiet Place opening against its second frame, so there’s plenty of upside to consider here.
Regardless, Godzilla vs. Kong will easily post the best second weekend of any film in nearly 13 months — dating back to when Disney and Pixar’s Onward added $10.6 million in its second frame during the March 13 – 15, 2020 period before theatrical closures hit. During the pandemic itself, Tom & Jerry currently holds the title with $6.6 million in its second weekend — easy pickings for the kajiu hit.
Barring any updated midweek grosses from Warner Bros., the expected range for Godzilla vs. Kong‘s upcoming weekend stands between $13 million and $18 million with the usual caveats of market volatility in mind.
New Releases & Holdover Outlook
Young adult-aimed Voyagers is hitting cinemas as the only wide release this weekend, although we’re awaiting word from Lionsgate as to how many locations it will be in. Preliminary estimates based on Showtimes Dashboard data indicates it could approach 2,000 venues across North America.
Unfortunately, pre-release trends for the film are decidedly modest. The film’s Twitter account has earned less than 500 followers, while Instagram is a bit higher at 5,300-plus. The studio’s official trailer page on YouTube has generated a lukewarm 122,000-plus views — sobering signs for a film aimed at young audiences who typically drive such figures in the social media sphere.
All in all, Voyagers could end up with a wider market presence than last month’s Chaos Walking, but the former won’t have the latter’s IMAX presence or known lead stars to generate interest in a still-recovering market. Moreover, audiences returning to cinemas right now are likely more focused on the Godzilla vs. Kong momentum.
Elsewhere, holdovers across the board could have varying results. Coming off a holiday weekend like Easter isn’t always the gut punch to box office returns that other post-holiday performances turn out to be. The Unholy should be an exception as it, like Godzilla vs. Kong, will only be entering its second weekend of play after a solid start thanks to its appeal among horror fans with a counter-programming Easter release.
This Weekend vs. Last Weekend
Due to the lack of significant new content hitting screens, Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will decline between 40 and 45 percent from last weekend’s pandemic record $43.6 million top ten haul.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, April 11||Location Count||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Godzilla vs. Kong||Warner Bros. Studios||
|Raya and the Last Dragon||Walt Disney Pictures||$1,800,000||$34,900,000||1,941||-12%|
|The Unholy||Sony Pictures / Screen Gems||$1,700,000||$6,000,000||1,850||-46%|
|Tom & Jerry||Warner Bros. Studios||$1,200,000||$41,300,000||~2,200||-11%|
|The Courier||Roadside Attractions||$350,000||$4,800,000||1,007||-22%|
|The Girl Who Believes in Miracles||Atlas Distribution||$240,000||$970,000||~700||-56%|
|The Croods: A New Age||Universal Pictures||$200,000||$56,700,000||1,139||-11%|
All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of weekend estimates from studios 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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