Weekend Box Office Forecast (Updated): Sonic the Hedgehog Tracking for Possible Breakout; Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island & The Photograph Aim to Leverage Double-Holiday Frame

Thursday Update: We’ve slightly revised final forecasts in the table below.


Wednesday: Year-to-date box office remains up more than 3 percent from the same point last year, but several misfires since the end of January have slowed some of that momentum. Hollywood is hoping for a boost with two strong moviegoing holidays on deck this weekend: Valentine’s Day on Friday, followed by Presidents Day on Monday.

Leading the charge will be Sonic the Hedgehog as it aims to reel in both families with young kids and fans from the older portion of the millennial generation. Paramount encountered sharp criticism for the lead character’s design upon the first trailer’s release last year, but wisely reacted and course-corrected with an appearance more in line with what fans remember from the classic video games.

As a result, what once had been a film generating mixed-to-poor sentiment across social media has done a complete one-eighty. The studio and filmmakers’ response, in fact, seems to be a significant driver in increasing buzz. Jim Carrey’s presence and promotional tour has done some work toward attracting that aforementioned adult audience, many of which whose kids don’t care about character design buzz and are just excited to see a movie over the long weekend.

More to that point, the market is ripe for a family-driven film. Only Dolittle has provided such a product since the holiday season ended — and that title, while performing fairly well in terms of attendance alone, didn’t reach the breakout expectations incurred by its lofty budget. The Star Wars, Jumanji, and Frozen sequels have picked up some of the slack during the intervening time.

Fresh tracking metrics indicate a surge for Sonic as we near release, although reviews won’t be available until early Thursday morning. At this stage, however, the film is approaching trends comparable to Detective Pikachu. Based on our latest models, the pic has a fair shot at climbing past Ghost Rider ($52 million four-day) to crack the top five Presidents Day weekends of all time.

Also debuting in time for the Valentine’s boost, Sony and Universal will drop Fantasy Island and The Photograph, respectively. The former of the two could attract teen crowds with its PG-13 rating and Blumhouse branding, while the latter should be a healthy date night option for adults. Disney will distribute Searchlight Pictures’ Downhill in semi-wide release at an estimated 1,500 locations, with our latest tracking indicating it might debut just outside the top ten — though with some potential upside if walk-up business is higher than expected on Friday.

Meanwhile, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey will hope to generate a strong hold in its second frame after opening below expectations last weekend. It will have to contend with the loss of some premium screens to Sonic, though.

Last, but certainly not least, Parasite will reportedly expand to an estimated 2,000 locations following its Best Picture win at the Oscars on Sunday. Once confirmed by the studio, that kind of wide push could help it enter the top ten this weekend.

One element to note for openers and most titles this weekend is that Friday pre-sales and general business will abnormally front-loaded (particularly for new releases) due to Valentine’s Day.

Opening Weekend Ranges

  • Downhill ($2 – 5 million three-day / $2 – 6 million four-day)
  • Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island ($12 – 17 million three-day / $13 – 18 million four-day)
  • The Photograph ($13 – 18 million three-day / $14 – 19 million four-day)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog ($45 – 55 million three-day / $55 – 66 million four-day)

Top 10 vs Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will increase approximately 19 to 24 percent from the same three-day frame one year ago. That weekend was also part of Presidents Day weekend, though Valentine’s fell on Thursday — skewing direct comparisons. Over the three-day weekend, Alita: Battle AngelIsn’t It Romantic, and Happy Death Day 2U bowed as part of a $105.2 million top ten aggregate.

3-Day Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, February 16 % Change from Last Wknd
Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount $48,500,000 $48,500,000 NEW
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey Warner Bros. $16,600,000 $56,900,000 -50%
The Photograph Universal $16,200,000 $16,200,000 NEW
Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island Sony / Columbia $12,900,000 $12,900,000 NEW
Bad Boys for Life Sony / Columbia $10,900,000 $180,100,000 -9%
1917 Universal $8,000,000 $143,800,000 -13%
Jumanji: The Next Level Sony / Columbia $5,000,000 $305,100,000 -10%
Dolittle Universal $4,200,000 $70,000,000 -36%
Parasite Neon $3,900,000 $41,400,000 149%
The Gentlemen STX $3,200,000 $31,700,000 -24%

Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday

The chart above excludes releases and potential expansions from limited and platform films

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