After a welcome surprise from Uncharted last week, the domestic box office enters a “calm before the storm” corridor with a post-holiday frame that precedes the highly anticipated launch of The Batman next week.
Before we get to the Caped Crusader’s return, though, the business of February must be closed out. As noted, Uncharted exceeded even the most optimistic of forecasts during its Presidents’ Day frame start with $44 million over the three-day portion. That’s the fourth highest debut in history for a video game adaptation behind Sonic the Hedgehog, Detective Pikachu, and 2001’s Tomb Raider: Lara Croft.
Thanks to star Tom Holland, Sony capitalized on the aura of Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s massive success — in tandem with co-star Mark Wahlberg, a strong video game fan base, and better-than-hoped walk-up business at ticket kiosks. Reception is far more positive than that of critics, too, so far with a 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes audience score, indicating the sophomore weekend drop could be padded despite coming off an inflated weekend. The lack of significant competition entering the market also will play a positive role for Sony’s latest theatrically exclusive hit.
Notably, Uncharted will lose a small chunk of its premium screen footprint this weekend — specifically to The Godfather (50 Years), opening an estimated 156 Dolby Cinema auditoriums from Paramount Pictures.
Also over-performing last weekend was United Artists Releasing’s Dog, courting a predominately over-35 female audience with lead Channing Tatum and a crowd-pleasing story driving healthy results. Staying power should be strong for the non-IP comedy/drama, and the strength of its audience turnout is an encouraging signal for what has been the most cautious returning moviegoer demographic throughout the waning stages of the pandemic.
While major studios are sitting this weekend out, allowing the aforementioned titles breathing room before The Batman, two counter-programmers will offer theaters and audiences new content nonetheless.
Open Road Films claims the only wide release of the weekend with Studio 666 from the brains of Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. As a specialty horror release with a modest marketing footprint, some front-loading is to be expected by the band’s followers. Early reviews are solid for the genre at 76 percent from critics.
Comparisons are limited, but social tracking and pre-sales are comparable to those of Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. That pic opened to $4.2 million last October, but the bar for success is quite different for Studio 666 as a movie pitched more from a grassroots standpoint than a mainstream push.
The film is set to open in approximately 2,306 theaters, per distributor Open Road. Previews begin Thursday evening at 5pm.
Bowing in limited release this weekend is also UAR and Joe Wright’s Cyrano, beginning its oft-delayed and staggered rollout. Advertising and social imprints are more prominent for this opener despite a lower venue footprint than Studio 666, the former thanks largely to strong reviews and a presence on this year’s award circuit.
Wright has a strong resume of box office successes including Darkest Hour, Atonement, Anna Karenina, and Pride and Prejudice, cultivating a fan base that should help drive the early stages of Cyrano‘s distribution. The filmmaker recently interviewed with Boxoffice Pro to discuss his latest project.
Interest markers and social activity for the genre are on the positive side, trending slightly ahead of recent limited openers and expansions such as Licorice Pizza, Belfast, Spencer, and The French Dispatch. However, caution is warranted given Cyrano‘s target adult female audience, meaning turnout remains challenging to forecast under current market conditions.
Still, the film is exclusively in theaters and the tiered release plan mirrors that of pre-pandemic strategies designed to build word of mouth in multiple geographic regions before embracing a wider footprint. Cyrano was targeted for 750 locations as of last week, but Showtimes Dashboard projections indicate a slightly wider showing that could exceed 900 domestic theaters by the time final bookings are made. Previews will be held on Thursday evening.
Key Forecast Ranges
Second Weekend Range: $7.5 – 11.5 million
Second Weekend Range: $20 – 25 million
Opening Weekend Range: $2 – 5 million
Opening Weekend Range: $2 – 5 million
Weekend Forecast & Location Counts
Boxoffice projects between a 35 to 40 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, February 27||Location Count||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Uncharted||Sony Pictures / Columbia||$23,500,000||$85,100,000||~4,275||-47%|
|Dog||United Artists Releasing||$8,800,000||$29,600,000||~3,677||-41%|
|Spider-Man: No Way Home||Sony Pictures / Columbia & Marvel Studios||$6,100,000||$780,100,000||~2,900||-18%|
|Death on the Nile||Disney / 20th Century Studios||$4,200,000||$32,500,000||~3,100||-36%|
|Jackass Forever||Paramount Pictures||$3,200,000||$52,200,000||~3,000||-38%|
|Cyrano||United Artists Releasing||$2,800,000||$2,800,000||~900||NEW|
|Studio 666||Open Road Films||$2,700,000||$2,700,000||2,306||NEW|
|Sing 2||Universal Pictures||$2,100,000||$151,000,000||~2,300||-26%|
|Marry Me||Universal Pictures||$1,900,000||$20,500,000||~3,000||-49%|
|Scream (2022)||Paramount Pictures||$1,300,000||$79,100,000||~1,600||-34%|
*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 studios. The 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.