Weekend Box Office Forecast: Can The Invitation Keep a 15-Month Streak of $10M+ Earners Alive?

Photo by Marcell Piti, copyright ©2021 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.

If there’s an interesting narrative at the box office to follow in the coming days, it may be the streak of weekends that have seen at least one film earn over $10 million.

That figure stands at 65 for the moment — dating back to the weekend A Quiet Place Part II opened in May 2021 and provided a huge sigh of industry relief during the early days of major market theatrical re-openings. Now, unfortunately, the only film likely to have a shot at eight digits during the coming frame is Sony’s newcomer, The Invitation.

Whether or not it can get there is a flip of the coin based on available metrics, with models pointing slightly more to the “nay” side.

As a PG-13 horror film, it’s opening in the same corridor that Ready or Not enjoyed back in 2019 ahead of its sleeper success. The main appeal will be toward young females thanks to star Nathalie Emmanuel.

Tracking and pre-sales span a small array of comparisons, including Ready or Not itself, as well as last year’s Don’t Breathe 2 which opened in a still-pandemic-stifled late summer market as consumer confidence remained mixed during the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Now, the hindrance upon the market is simply a lack of appealing films rather than audience hesitance. That could be an advantage for The Invitation. Unfortunately, no reviews have been published as of yet — so confidence isn’t high. The film also lacks any significant PLF treatment.

Sony expects a debut between $6 million and $7 million with a weekend including previews that start at 4pm Thursday in over 2,600 locations. By Friday, the film will reach 3,000-plus theaters. The picture is modestly budgeted at $10 million, so the ceiling for financial success isn’t super high under those terms.

Meanwhile, a block of other films will open with hopes of just cracking the top ten this weekend.

The most wide of entries is UAR’s Three Thousand of Years Longing from filmmaker George Miller, opening at an estimated 2,500 locations as of Wednesday projections. The film notably has a footprint in PLF venues like Dolby, but is tracking on par with the likes of Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho as a primarily fan- and arthouse-driven pic without significant mainstream interest.

Elsewhere, Bleecker Street will release Breaking at roughly 900 venues while Disney is re-launching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at approximately 150 IMAX locations. If either has a shot to reach $1 million for the weekend, let alone get anywhere near the top ten, it’ll be the Lucasfilm franchise prequel that’s essentially a big advertisement for the studio’s Andor streaming series coming to Disney+ next month.

Meanwhile, Liger will open in more than 1,300 estimated locations and could be a performer to watch for this weekend. We’re not currently offering forecasts on that film despite a semi-wide release.

As holdovers go, the hope and expectation is that chase weekends will continue to get stronger for most titles. Last weekend’s surprise debut by Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is likely to be followed by a sharp drop as is typical of anime and that franchise in particular.

Exhibitors and studios are working to mix showtimes between films like Top Gun: Maverick and other summer titles — as well as other re-releases — on their biggest and best screens to entice hungry moviegoers until stronger content is available again.

For at least a short term, that’s as good as it’s going to get.

Weekend Ranges

The Invitation
Weekend Range: $7 – 12 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for a 22 to 27 percent decline from last weekend’s $69.3 million top ten aggregate.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, August 28 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) % Change from Last Wknd
The Invitation Sony / Screen Gems $9,000,000 $9,000,000 ~3,000 NEW
Beast Universal Pictures $6,400,000 $22,200,000 ~3,743 -45%
Bullet Train Sony Pictures $5,700,000 $78,400,000 ~3,300 -29%
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $5,500,000 $692,400,000 ~2,800 -7%
DC League of Super-Pets Warner Bros. Pictures $5,000,000 $75,400,000 ~3,100 -12%
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Sony & Crunchyroll $4,800,000 $31,600,000 ~2,900 -77%
Thor: Love and Thunder Disney & Marvel Studios $3,400,000 $337,500,000 ~2,500 -16%
Minions: The Rise of Gru Universal & Illumination Animation $3,300,000 $355,800,000 ~2,500 -11%
Three Thousand Years of Longing United Artists Releasing & MGM $3,000,000 $3,000,000 ~2,500 NEW
Where the Crawdads Sing Sony 3000 Pictures $2,600,000 $82,300,000 ~2,200 -19%

*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 by Marcell Piti, copyright ©2021 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.