Weekend Box Office Forecast (Updated w/ Preview Analysis): The Woman King, Pearl, See How They Run, and Clerks III Hope to Stimulate Early Fall Moviegoing

Photo Credits: Sony / TriStar ("The Woman King')

Friday Update: Sony reports this morning that The Woman King earned $1.7 million from Thursday domestic previews beginning at 3pm across 3,271 locations. The film will reach 3,765 theaters over the weekend.

As comparisons go, that exceeds the $925K earned by Beast last month and approaches the $2.3 million earned by Where the Crawdads Sing (which included earnings from Wednesday early showings). Pre-pandemic, titles like Harriet and Widows earned $600K each from their 7pm previews.

As for weekend trajectories, this result lines up with previous expectations factored into the final forecast range of $16 – 21 million reported below.

Wednesday Report: Autumn box office is in now full swing as the final calendar week of summer brings the debut of Sony’s The Woman King with hopes of starting to alleviate the recent industry slump.

Viola Davis leads the period wartime epic aiming for an adult audience turnout following a severe lack of appealing content on the big screen in recent weeks. The film is sitting in pristine fashion with critics so far thanks to a 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score from 36 reviews as of this writing.

Tracking has been scattered as models try to pinpoint exactly what past comparison titles are most appropriate for The Woman King. The samples range from recent films like Beast and Where the Crawdads Sing to pre-pandemic titles like Harriet, Hustlers, and Widows. More bullish benchmarks could point to fall releases like Ad Astra and Gemini Man thanks to this film’s potentially diverse appeal anchored by its action elements.

Pre-sales are strong in select markets but the broader view is more cautious with this being a non-IP release. In other words, however Thursday’s number turns out, it’s safe to expect a strong internal weekend ratio and long legs ahead.

Sony will distribute The Woman King at more than 3,700 locations this weekend with IMAX and other PLF formats in its arsenal, and the studio expects around a $12 million weekend. Previews begin at 3pm across 3,200-plus theaters on Thursday. Co-financed by eOne, the film’s production costs are estimated at $50 million.

Other studios are taking a shot at those empty auditoriums this weekend with a handful of other wide and limited releases.

A24’s Pearl is tracking similarly to films like Men and X earlier this year with an expected footprint approaching 3,000 theaters (though not yet confirmed by the distributor).

Meanwhile, Searchlight Pictures is sending See How They Run to an estimated 2,200 locations in a bid to make the top ten, and Lionsgate is reporting Clerks III will reach approximately 1,200 theaters beginning with Tuesday’s specialty release via Fathom Events.

Given the nature of past Fathom Events to not have detailed, reported box office, we’ve opted to exclude the Kevin Smith film from forecasts below. With that in mind, however, his fan base could certainly display enough strength to drive the grassroots release into the weekend top ten.

Among other releases this weekend are Neon’s Moonage Daydream David Bowie documentary going at an estimated 170 venues and UP2U Films’ Running the Bases at over 1,000 sites.

Holdovers should see mostly soft decline with only a few exceptions. Last week’s top film, Barbarian, will lose PLF status to Woman King but could otherwise begin to show staying power among horror fans thanks to positive reviews and the approaching Halloween season.

Weekend Ranges

The Woman King
Weekend Range: $16 – 21 million

Pearl
Weekend Range: $2.5 – 4.5 million

See How They Run
Weekend Range: $1 – 2.5 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections

Current projection ranges call for a 17 to 27 percent increase from last weekend’s $33.9 million top ten aggregate.

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, September 18 Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
The Woman King Sony Pictures $18,000,000 $18,000,000 ~3,500 NEW
Barbarian 20th Century Studios (Disney) $5,700,000 $20,100,000 ~2,340 -46%
Pearl A24 $3,600,000 $3,600,000 ~3,000 NEW
Bullet Train Sony Pictures $2,400,000 $96,300,000 ~2,500 -27%
Top Gun: Maverick Paramount Pictures $2,200,000 $709,000,000 ~2,600 -30%
DC League of Super-Pets Warner Bros. Pictures $2,000,000 $87,700,000 ~2,700 -25%
See How They Run Searchlight Pictures (Disney) $1,900,000 $1,900,000 ~2,200 NEW
The Invitation Sony Pictures $1,500,000 $21,200,000 ~2,400 -44%
Minions: The Rise of Gru Universal & Illumination Animation $1,400,000 $364,200,000 ~1,900 -20%
Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva Star Studios $1,300,000 $6,900,000 ~800 -71%

*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.