As summer box office continues to ramp up during the late-pandemic stages in North America, Lionsgate is betting on its sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard to deliver a supportive debut over Father’s Day weekend.
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson return alongside Salma Hayek, Morgan Freeman, and Antonio Banderas as the action-comedy franchise’s ensemble expands. The original film, led by Reynolds and Jackson, was something of a sleeper hit in August 2017 when it bowed to $21.4 million on opening weekend and legged out to $75.5 million domestically. Globally, the film hauled in almost $177 million — all on a modest $30 million production budget.
This sequel is yet another movie that had been scheduled for release in 2020 and since delayed due to theatrical closures during the pandemic. Moviegoing is on the rebound now, though, and the adrenaline-fueled laugher is courting male audiences with the holiday scheduling. The film has a runway into its traditional three-day weekend having played to sneak previews last Friday and Saturday before its Tuesday night opening this week.
In all, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard earned $3.925 million through the end of Wednesday — approximately $1.31 million of which came from 2,940 domestic locations on Wednesday proper, according to multiple sources. All of these figures are included in Wednesday’s studio number, and will likely be part of the overall five-day number when final reporting arrives next week. The film expands to 3,331 locations on Friday.
As always, modeling during the pandemic is volatile — last weekend’s under-performances being a fresh reminder of that fact. Still, with a target audience predominately of males over 25, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has an open market to itself with most holdovers catering to different tastes.
Social media footprints haven’t been quite as strong as the first film’s, which is to be expected for these types of genre sequels. Diminished returns were long projected before the pandemic recovery period was a factor, something that must still be factored in as seating capacities remain in place, around 7 percent of the grossing market remains closed, and consumers return at different and selective paces. A fair comparable to the Hitman series has long been the two RED films, which earned total runs of $90.4 million and $53.3 million domestically in 2010 and 2013.
Nevertheless, marketing has been in full swing for several weeks as Lionsgate is committing this film to theaters exclusively upon its debut, something that’s slowly but surely becoming more common again.
Recent male-driven films like Nobody and Wrath of Man performed relatively well under the circumstances, bowing to $6.8 million and $8.3 million, respectively. Expectations for the Bodyguard sequel are higher given the ensemble star presence and evolved state of theatrical re-openings and elevated box office performances since those two films (even Wrath, which only debuted last month).
The remaining factor, of course, is the looming debut of Universal’s F9 just one week from now. It’s possible that sequel’s proximity could factor into consumer decision-making this weekend, tying into the other immediate question of how strong walk-up business will be throughout the weekend. Traditionally, it’s been quite strong — especially on Father’s Day itself. 2019’s Men In Black: International and Shaft increased 5 and 9 percent, respectively, on the holiday Sunday of their opening weekend.
As holdovers go, A Quiet Place Part II may again relinquish the crown after unexpectedly taking it back in its third frame. The strongly received sequel, and highest grossing film of the pandemic era, should only be moderately impacted by the lone mainstream release this weekend — so if things pan out on the conservative end for Hitman, another weekend victory for Quiet isn’t entirely out of the question.
One significant subject of the frame ahead will be In the Heights as it attempts to stabilize following a disappointing debut last weekend, caused by a myriad of factors that overshadowed otherwise positive expectations and pre-release tracking. It’s target audience won’t cross over with Bodyguard too strongly, but the film will be coming off a front-loaded Friday opening and also lose some premium screens to the Lionsgate sequel.
Meanwhile, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway will also hope to stabilize with Father’s Day in the mix as it remains the freshest and most high profile family offering in the market for now. Notably, Pixar’s Luca will receive its streaming-only debut on Disney+ this weekend, so it will be intriguing to see if that impacts Peter and other family holdovers by any significant amount. Any effect is projected to be minimal based on historical comparisons of streaming debuts in tandem with major theatrical releases as many have often co-existed.
On the moderate and limited release fronts, Focus Features will head into limited release with Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brothers documentary at more than 500 theaters, while Sony Pictures Classics will expand 12 Mighty Orphans from 132 venues to more than 1,000 locations. Final counts had not reported by the two studios at the time of this report’s publishing.
This Weekend vs. Last Weekend
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will decrease between 9 and 19 percent from last weekend’s $55.7 million top ten aggregate.
Opening Weekend Ranges
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard: $8 – 11 million (3-day) / $12 – 17 million (5-Day)
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, June 20||Location Count||% Change from Last Wknd|
|The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard||Lionsgate||$9,700,000||$15,000,000||3,331||NEW|
|A Quiet Place Part II||Paramount Pictures||$9,200,000||$124,900,000||3,392||-23%|
|The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It||Warner Bros. Pictures||$6,700,000||$55,900,000||~3,000||-35%|
|Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway||Sony Pictures / Columbia||$6,300,000||$20,800,000||-37%|
|In the Heights||Warner Bros. Pictures||$6,100,000||$22,400,000||~3,456||-47%|
|Cruella||Walt Disney Pictures||$4,800,000||$64,500,000||3,110||-29%|
|Spirit Untamed||Universal Pictures||$1,500,000||$13,700,000||2,967||-42%|
|12 Mighty Orphans||Sony Pictures Classics||$750,000||$1,100,000||~1,000||+198%|
|The Sparks Brothers||Focus Features||$650,000||$650,000||534||NEW|
|Wrath of Man||United Artists Releasing||$425,000*||$26,800,000||707||-37%|
All forecasts subject to change before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or alternative sources.
*revised upon studio confirmation of weekend location count
Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studios.
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