Weekend Box Office Forecast: Jackass Forever and Moonfall Aim to Kickstart a February Turnaround for Exhibition

Photo Credits: Paramount ("jackass forever"); Lionsgate & Robby Baumgartner ("Moonfall"); Sony & Marvel Studios ("Spider-Man: No Way Home")

Thursday Update: Final forecasts, ranges and location counts are now updated below.

Wednesday Report: After a sluggish January anchored by the staying power of Spider-Man: No Way Home, holiday holdovers, and Scream, February’s domestic box office gets a much needed kickstart this weekend with the debut of Jackass Forever and Moonfall.

This calendar weekend has historically been a dumping ground for most major studios with the Super Bowl having always landed on the first Sunday of February. The NFL’s shift to a longer season this past year, however, pushes the big game to the second weekend of the month going forward (although the lesser watched Pro Bowl does take place this Sunday).

To capitalize, Paramount and Lionsgate are both courting male audiences who may be ready for some out-of-home entertainment in between the last few weeks of playoffs and next week’s season capper.

Jackass Forever is widely presumed the front-runner to take the weekend crown at this stage. The low-budget prank franchise has been a reliable cash cow for Paramount since its inception over twenty years ago, with the three core films and 2013’s Bad Grandpa spin-off having earned more than $356 million in North America and $488 million worldwide.

One key question for Johnny Knoxville and his crew’s return to the big screen is one of relevance. It’s been over eight years since Bad Granpda bowed to $32.1 million on opening weekend in October 2013. While that was a decline from the franchise’s peak of $50.4 million with Jackass 3D in 2010, it still marked a strong performance that surprisingly led to a more leggy run than the prior three Jackass movies.

Before those entries, the series was robust in its nascency as a theatrical franchise, opening to $22.8 million with the first film in 2002 and $29 million with the first sequel in 2006. All of these were excellent numbers at the time given how inexpensive the films are, and each exceeded pre-release industry forecasting.

Still, the world has evolved. While YouTube was certainly coming to the forefront of content consumption during the early 2010s, the media sphere has expanded to include platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, providing regular means for prospective young audiences to conveniently find prank videos. In the mean time, Jackass‘s once-young core male audience has aged.

The upsides for Jackass Forever cannot be discounted, though. The comedy’s significant advantages include theatrical exclusivity, pent-up demand, and a proven male audience turnout during the pandemic. Paramount won’t be sending this sequel to its streaming service on the day of release, and the lack of new content to hit movie screens over the past month — coupled with the aforementioned bye week for NFL fans — is driving interest. The film will also have a small PLF footprint.

While the sequel may not reach the box office heights of its most recent predecessors, there’s still a clear path for the film to again beat expectations — especially if younger males turn out alongside the brand’s core older demographic. Pre-sales and social traction have been comparable to those of Free Guy before its opening last August, but models remain very challenging for Jackass Forever as modern comps are few and far between.

Early reviews are very positive for the genre, sitting at 87 percent from 38 Rotten Tomatoes critics as of Wednesday afternoon. Paramount is expecting a mid-teen millions debut.

On the other side of the new release radar, Moonfall is gunning for a similar male audience as Forever this weekend, albeit with likely more appeal to women than the Knoxville sequel. An ensemble cast led by Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson makes for a more mainstream selling point to those not interested in the R-rated prank outing, and a significant presence in PLF — especially in IMAX — will drive up average ticket prices.

Unfortunately, the film has been tracking on the conservative end. Interest and social levels are comparable to 2017’s Geostorm, which bowed to $13.7 million in October of that year. Again, Moonfall could benefit from pent-up demand for new content on the big screen, but our models are bearish on the film’s domestic prospects with no reviews available yet and a more promising slate of films ahead in the coming weeks.

If Moonfall is to exceed current forecasts, walk-up sales will need to be strong throughout the weekend alongside a very casual desire to see a genuinely escapist action film in theaters. Lionsgate projects a weekend around $10 million.

The third opener of the weekend is going in semi-wide release at an estimated 1,005 locations: Blue Fox Entertainment’s The Wolf and the Lion. An indie film targeted toward families, the picture is an under-the-radar release with minimal marketing. Although an absence of fresh family content in recent weeks could spur some ticket sales, we expect modest box office results that may or may not crack the top ten this weekend.

Meanwhile, holdovers will see scattered results this weekend. Male-driven films will obviously be hit hardest by the duet of Jackass Forever and Moonfall, while Spider-Man: No Way Home and Scream will notably lose their remaining PLF screens.

The big story there, of course, is the Marvel Studios epic, which set a comic book movie record with its sixth appearance atop the weekend box office last frame. Through Tuesday, the film stood at $737.845 million domestically.

No Way Home‘s incredible legs since the new year began have fueled it closer and closer to the total lifetime gross of Avatar ($760.5 million), which stands as the third highest in domestic history. Although Spidey will take a hit from the loss of higher priced ticket sales in IMAX, it should have enough momentum to eventually surpass that threshold later this month. Its next source of direct competition after this weekend won’t arrive until Uncharted opens for Presidents’ Day weekend on February 18.

Another factor to mind this weekend, though relatively minor from a box office contribution standpoint, is the awaited (but staggered) reopening of Canadian movie theaters following temporary closures due to the recent Omicron outbreak of COVID-19. Ontario was allowed to reopen on January 31, while Quebec is set for a February 7 restart.

Wide Release Forecast Ranges

Jackass Forever
Opening Weekend Range: $22 – 32 million

Opening Weekend Range: $9 – 14 million

The Wolf and the Lion
Opening Weekend Range: <$1 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Counts

Boxoffice projects between a 70 to 105 percent increase for this weekend’s top ten films from last weekend’s $30.8 million top ten aggregate. 

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, February 6 Location Count 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Jackass Forever Paramount Pictures $26,000,000 $26,000,000 3,604 NEW
Moonfall Lionsgate $11,000,000 $11,000,000 3,446 NEW
Spider-Man: No Way Home Sony Pictures / Columbia & Marvel Studios $7,200,000 $746,700,000 3,600 -35%
Scream (2022) Paramount Pictures $4,000,000 $68,300,000 3,227 -45%
Sing 2 Universal Pictures $3,900,000 $139,300,000 3,258 -16%
The King’s Man Disney / 20th Century Studios $1,200,000 $35,800,000 1,910 -28%
Redeeming Love Universal Pictures $1,100,000 $8,200,000 1,793 -38%
The 355 Universal Pictures $800,000 $14,300,000 1,701 -40%
American Underdog Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company $775,000 $25,900,000 1,470 -33%
The Wolf and the Lion Blue Fox Entertainment $675,000 $675,000 1,005 NEW
Ghostbusters: Afterlife Sony Pictures / Columbia   954  
Licorice Pizza United Artists Releasing   786  
West Side Story (2021) Disney / 20th Century Studios   800  

*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studiosThe above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Photo Credits: Paramount ("jackass forever"); Lionsgate & Robby Baumgartner ("Moonfall"); Sony & Marvel Studios ("Spider-Man: No Way Home")