Weekend Box Office Forecast: The Bad Guys, Sonic 2 Look to Remain in Charge as Memory Opens on Slow Frame Before Summer Start

Photo Credits: Universal & Illumination ("The Bad Guys"); Paramount ("Sonic the Hedgehog 2"); Briarcliff Entertainment ("Memory")

After a welcome over-performance last weekend, Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys will likely keep its box office crown for another frame before summer moviegoing ramps up in May.

The animated pic went above expectations with a $23.95 million debut last weekend, reaffirming the continued return of family audiences to movie theaters as the pandemic wanes in North America. Some of the most encouraging statistics to come out of the film’s start include a weekend audience share driven primarily by women (55 percent) and mothers (62 percent), two moviegoer segments oft cited as the strongest holdouts in theatrical recovery.

With no fresh competition on the horizon, Bad Guys has a clear path as the primary animated attraction going into early summer with Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear not courting a similar audience until early June.

By extension, families and video games should also continue to support Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in its fourth frame. Though the film has proven slightly more front-loaded than once expected given the family turnout, it’s also been hit by a loss of premium screens and Bad Guys‘ own direct competition. Either way, the sequel remains a significant hit for Paramount and the market at large.

While Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will probably remain in the top three, The Northman and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent will have their staying power tested after debuts that drew from somewhat-to-very niche appeal.

Meanwhile, the lone wide opener of the frame will be Briarcliff and Open Road’s Memory, another Liam Neeson thriller — this time from director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) — that could pull from the actor’s steady base of loyal male fans over a certain age.

Otherwise, though, the film is tracking softly on a weekend that’s notoriously known to produce soft opening performances and light drops for holdovers ahead of major summer kick-off events in late April and early May.

The allusion there, of course, is to next week’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This coming frame represents another “calm before the storm” scenario as the next major chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to track incredibly well, second only to Spider-Man: No Way Home among all pandemic era releases.

Pending early audience and critic reception, Multiverse is poised to pick up the torch and run with the lead-up success generated by a variety of content in late March and April.

Weekend Forecast & Location Counts

Boxoffice projects a 33 to 38 percent decrease for this weekend’s top ten films from last weekend’s $90.2 million top ten aggregate. 

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, May 1 Location Count Projection (as of Wednesday) % Change from Last Wknd
The Bad Guys Universal Pictures / DreamWorks Animation $14,000,000 $43,000,000 ~4,008 -42%
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Paramount Pictures $11,200,000 $161,100,000 ~3,800 -28%
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Warner Bros. Pictures $8,500,000 $80,000,000 ~4,000 -39%
The Northman Focus Features $6,000,000 $22,400,000 ~3,234 -51%
Everything Everywhere All at Once A24 $3,900,000 $33,600,000 ~2,300 -10%
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Lionsgate $3,700,000 $13,100,000 ~3,036 -48%
Memory Briarcliff Entertainment / Open Road Films $3,500,000 $3,500,000 2,555 NEW
The Lost City Paramount Pictures $3,000,000 $90,000,000 ~2,600 -10%
Father Stu Sony Pictures / Columbia $1,800,000 $17,000,000 ~2,600 -22%
Ambulance Universal Pictures $1,300,000 $21,200,000 ~1,500 -28%

*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: Universal & Illumination ("The Bad Guys"); Paramount ("Sonic the Hedgehog 2"); Briarcliff Entertainment ("Memory")