Weekend Box Office Forecast: Honest Thief Looks to Headline Mid-October Frame with Multiple Wide Releases

Photo Credits: Open Road ("Honest Thief"); Disney / Touchstone Pictures ("The Nightmare Before Christmas"); 101 Studios ("The War with Grandpa"); Warner Bros. ("Tenet"); Freestyle Releasing ("2 Hearts")

Updated background on Love & Monsters below, plus a corrected typo regarding the release of Jungleland (planned for November 6).

Following last week’s encouraging $3.6 million debut by The War with Grandpa, the domestic market gets another film led by a veteran actor — as well as a few other nationwide releases — to provide exhibitors and audiences with new content as we hit the midway point of October.

Starring Liam Neeson, Open Road is releasing Honest Thief as the latest film committed to theaters during the ongoing pandemic. As the marketplace continues to rebuild at a slow pace, still awaiting the reopening of New York and Los Angeles, the film faces minimal competition and should appeal to similar audiences as Unhinged did toward the end of summer. A debut between $3 million and $5 million looks likely, although Thief hasn’t had quite the same marketing footprint as the aforementioned Russell Crowe thriller.

Next on deck is the fourth Disney re-issue in as many weeks, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The now-classic 1993 Halloween pic hopes to follow in the footsteps of The Empire Strikes Back, Hocus Pocus, and Coco as the studio’s void-fillers during this slow time in theatrical recovery. The middle of those three comparisons could be particularly relevant for Nightmare, which has a considerable fan base and timely holiday release heading into the weekend.

Freestyle Releasing is also joining in this weekend with 2 Hearts, a romantic drama that has been compared to titles like Five Feet Apart and other young female-leaning genre films. Opening at 1,683 locations, the film may be a candidate to slightly over-perform with its target audience as one of a handful of films that could potentially cross $1 million this weekend.

Last among the major openers, Sony and Stage 6 will push The Kid Detective in an estimated 866 venues (semi-wide, technically speaking). The strategy for the TIFF screener is comparable to the same studio’s sub-1,000 location releases of The Last Shift and Yellow Rose during the two preceding weekends.

Among holdovers, The War with Grandpa looks like the favorite to grab second place behind the Neeson thriller this weekend. As mentioned, Grandpa beat expectations with a debut on the optimistic end of forecasts last weekend as it snapped Tenet‘s five-week streak in the top spot. As a family-leaning title, we expect Grandpa‘s holding power to go on display in the weekends ahead.

Speaking of Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s film may end up in a close race for third place — depending how strong the Nightmare re-issue and/or 2 Hearts come on this weekend. The sci-fi epic continues to post strong legs amid its otherwise muted domestic performance, dropping just 22 percent in its sixth frame last weekend.

A slightly sharper (but overall, still healthy) drop could be in store for Tenet this weekend as the film begins losing premium screen showtimes to Honest Thief. Nolan’s pandemic release is also poised to cross the $50 million domestic threshold by Sunday, easily the highest cume earned a movie released thus far since March’s initial shutdown.

Meanwhile, Paramount is launching Love & Monsters and in theaters alongside a premium video on-demand release this weekend. It is omitted from forecasts as it won’t be screened by all major exhibition chains and isn’t expected to generate significant revenue due to a lack of location counts reported by the studio.

While strong holds are expected across the board (for the most part), coming off slightly-inflated Sunday performances last weekend (due to Columbus Day on Monday) could be a factor for certain films.

Confirmed Estimates of Domestic Location Counts (Subject to Updates)

  • Honest Thief (2,425)
  • The War with Grandpa (2,260)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Re-Issue) (2,194)
  • 2 Hearts (1,683)
  • Hocus Pocus (Re-Issue) (1,640)
  • The New Mutants (1,293)
  • The Kid Detective (866)
  • Coco (Re-Issue) (775)
  • Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (Re-Issue) (480)
  • Infidel (471)
  • Kajillionaire (91)
  • The Wolf of Snow Hollow (89)
  • Save Yourselves! (80)
  • Halloween (1978) (Re-Issue) (70)
  • Words on Bathroom Walls (66)
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music (42)
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield (64)
  • Shithouse (28)
  • Twiceborn (6)

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, October 18 % Change from Last Wknd
Honest Thief Open Road $3,000,000 $3,000,000 NEW
The War with Grandpa 101 Studios $2,300,000 $7,100,000 -36%
Tenet Warner Bros. $1,500,000 $50,500,000 -29%
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (Re-Issue) Disney / Touchstone Pictures $1,500,000 $1,500,000 NEW
2 Hearts Freestyle Releasing $1,000,000 $1,000,000 NEW
Hocus Pocus (Re-Issue) Disney $700,000 $4,200,000 -40%
The New Mutants Disney / 20th Century Studios $425,000 $22,700,000 -39%
Unhinged Solstice Studios $420,000 $20,100,000 -38%
Coco (Re-Issue) Disney / Pixar $335,000 $1,130,000 -44%
The Kid Detective Sony / Stage 6 $120,000 $120,000 NEW

All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of weekend estimates from studios or alternative sources.

For press inquiries, please contact Shawn Robbins

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Photo Credits: Open Road ("Honest Thief"); Disney / Touchstone Pictures ("The Nightmare Before Christmas"); 101 Studios ("The War with Grandpa"); Warner Bros. ("Tenet"); Freestyle Releasing ("2 Hearts")