After two weekends atop the domestic box office with The Little Things, Warner Bros. Studios is set to drop the third film under its experimental hybrid release plan over the coming double-holiday weekend with Judas and the Black Messiah.
Pre-release trends indicate the film could ascend to a first place debut. Much like the aforementioned Little Things and Wonder Woman 1984 back in December, the studio is launching Judas day-and-date in theaters and streaming for free to subscribers of HBO Max.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You), the film is primely timed during Black History Month as the first wide theatrical release courting African-Americans during the pandemic. Award season buzz — including a pair of Golden Globe nods — and a stellar 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score indicate the film should have legs.
Of the many assets backing the film’s potential, its nature as an urban-leaning attraction may skew other benefits in the middle of the pandemic with many major markets such as Los Angeles and New York remaining closed on the theatrical front. Still, social media buzz has been steadily improving as marketing reach has expanded in recent weeks, and it is targeting an historically under-served audience.
According to The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard, Judas leads all films in the domestic market with 14 percent of the total tracked universe of booked screenings at cinemas over the four-day holiday weekend. Warner Bros. has not reported an estimated location count, but internal data suggests it will play in at least 1,800 cinemas this weekend — including premium screens like Dolby Cinema.
Also bowing in nationwide release (as much as that descriptor can apply right now) is Focus Features’ Land, directed by and starring Robin Wright. Universal, the parent of Focus, estimates a 1,231 location count this while Showtimes Dashboard currently shows it accounting for 8 percent of all screenings — ranking fourth across all films.
While an over-performance is possible for Land, current pre-release trends indicate it will likely open just outside the top five films for the weekend.
On the holdover front, The Little Things will lose premium screens to the aforementioned Judas, somewhat impacting its leg power for the moment despite otherwise looking to rebound from a depressed Super Bowl weekend that kept an already limited base of adult male patrons away from theaters last Sunday.
Meanwhile, The Croods: A New Age should benefit in a noticeable way from the combined Valentine’s and Presidents Day frame (Sunday and Monday, respectively). Already boasting incredible staying power and providing evidence that families are comfortable returning to theaters where safe and convenient, the animated sequel could actually improve slightly from its gross last weekend and earn a 12th consecutive appearance in the top three.
Elsewhere, most titles should post very slight drops with some increases in the mix as well.
Rounding out the limited release front: STXfilms will push The Mauritanian into an estimated 245 locations, Disney will re-issue Fox’s Hidden Figures in 502 theaters, Bleecker Street will open The World to Come at 277 cinemas, and MGM / United Artists Releasing will open Breaking News in Yuba County at an undisclosed number of locations alongside a simultaneous streaming release.
Somewhat notably, Lionsgate will release Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar straight to streaming this weekend. Formerly planned as a theatrical release that had considerable potential from a box office perspective (thanks largely to stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo), the comedy could be a factor in moviegoer decisions over the holiday frame — although it doesn’t crossover with many of the prime players in the market.
|3-Day Weekend Forecast
|Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, February 14
|% Change from Last Wknd
|Judas and the Black Messiah
|Warner Bros. Studios
|The Little Things
|Warner Bros. Studios
|The Croods: A New Age
|Open Road Films / Briarcliff Entertainment
|Wonder Woman 1984
|Warner Bros. Studios
|Sony / Columbia
|News of the World
|Promising Young Woman
|The War with Grandpa
|Hidden Figures (2021 Re-Issue)
|Disney / 20th Century Studios
|Breaking News In Yuba County
|MGM / United Artists Releasing
|The World to Come
All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of weekend estimates from studios or alternative sources.
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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