As January comes to a close, exhibition and willing/able moviegoers are still looking for fresh content on the big screen. Warner Bros., as part of their 2021 strategy to release films simultaneously in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, will provide just that with The Little Things starting this Friday.
With a trio of A-list stars fronting the thriller, The Little Things is a strong candidate to bow atop the domestic box office in its first weekend. Still, it’s hard to deny the pic could be heavily impacted on two fronts: the ongoing pandemic and major market closures, plus cannibalized earnings due to streaming availability. It’s likely that not even Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto will be able to change that narrative.
Still, in a market where Liam Neeson has already driven two films to $3 million-plus opening weekends (last October’s Honest Thief and this month’s The Marksman) during the health crisis, there’s some reason to be optimistic about The Little Things and its ability to court regular moviegoers during this time — especially those without HBO subscriptions.
If reviews matter to any extent right now, the film’s 47 percent Rotten Tomatoes score is something to consider. Marketing has been quite minimal, too, with a campaign only ramping up two weeks ago. That’s understandable given the studio’s position of minimizing costs amid the experimental release strategy.
As another counterpoint, The Little Things will open on a football-free weekend in the United States with the gap between last week’s championship games and next weekend’s Super Bowl. Still, The Marksman reached $3.1 million in its first three days two frames back — without a streaming release and with the MLK holiday boosting Sunday.
Ultimately, models remain highly volatile given the lack of comps opening with this film’s exact conditions and the concern that poor reviews could shift some preference toward watching the film at home. As a result, a debut box office weekend anywhere between $1 million and $4 million is possible.
Elsewhere, Sony will re-release Groundhog’s Day in 845 theaters just ahead of next week’s titular holiday. Disney will also capitalize on the new Denzel film and the nearing end of football season with a re-issue of Remember the Titans at 730 locations.
On the indie studio front, Gravitas Ventures will expand Our Friend into 818 locations after its solid $240K debut last weekend, while Bleecker Street will launch Supernova in 330 cinemas.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, January 31||Location Count||% Change from Last Wknd|
|The Little Things||Warner Bros. Studios||$2,500,000||$2,500,000||n/a||NEW|
|The Croods: A New Age||Universal Pictures||$1,600,000||$43,700,000||1,901||-11%|
|The Marksman||Open Road Films / Briarcliff Entertainment||$1,400,000||$8,000,000||2,018||-31%|
|Wonder Woman 1984||Warner Bros. Studios||$1,300,000||$39,600,000||n/a||-17%|
|Monster Hunter||Sony / Columbia||$750,000||$11,150,000||1,515||-9%|
|News of the World||Universal Pictures||$640,000||$10,450,000||1,674||-18%|
|Promising Young Woman||Focus Features||$340,000||$4,450,000||1,056||-14%|
|Our Friend||Gravitas Ventures||$210,000||$520,000||818||-13%|
|The War with Grandpa||101 Studios||$155,000||$19,650,000||525||-3%|
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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