Weekend Box Office Forecast: Can Uncharted and Dog Provide a Presidents’ Day Bump for the Domestic Market?

Photo Credits: Sony / Columbia ("Uncharted"); MGM ("Dog")

Presidents’ Day weekend box office is on course for much needed gains after a challenging start to the year that’s seen only three films debut north of $10 million since the holiday season ended.

Sony’s Uncharted is easily up to that task with its combination of stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg on top of the source video game’s own fan base. Holland himself is drawing interest from young audiences as he’s hot off the phenomenal success of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which just surpassed Avatar as the third highest-grossing film in North American history. Holland’s pull should be particularly strong with young female moviegoers, while Wahlberg should be a strength for adult males.

Unfortunately, critics are souring on Hollywood’s latest video game adaptation as the film stands at 39 percent from 75 counted Rotten Tomatoes reviews. Even before their reactions began spreading across the social media sphere, tracking for Uncharted stalled several weeks back. Studio marketing has pitched the film as the next big action movie demanding to be seen in theaters, but social sentiment has been divided.

Ultimately, Uncharted will need to win over casual audiences looking for a popcorn movie over the holiday weekend. Recent forecasting models, as of last February 11, saw moderate high-end potential declines from $40 million to $35 million over the three-day frame. Pre-sales are respectable in various domestic markets, but momentum isn’t picking up enough pace so far to counter the reduction in expectations. Walk-up business could be key to upside potential, but time will tell.

The overall universe of tracking, trailer views, and social imprints are comparable to those of 2018’s Tomb Raider reboot and Pacific Rim: Uprising, while trailing the more encouraging trends of Rampage and the first two Kingsman films (the 2015 edition of which also bowed on Presidents’ Day weekend in 2015).

Of note, prior to Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu, the only other video game adaptation to ever open north of $40 million in one domestic frame was 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. Sony reports this week a studio expectation of $27 million over three days and $30 million over four days. Our ranges and pinpoint forecasts are below.

Counter-programming the action audience this weekend is Dog, led by Channing Tatum in a play that could carry appeal with a somewhat diverse demographic. Family moviegoers and female audiences would normally be likely to form the backbone of this film’s core audience, but both of those demographics remain the slowest to return during the prolonged box office recovery era.

Still, Dog has the holiday frame in its favor which should see a number of parents turn out as kids have Monday off from school. The recent relative success of Sing 2 and Encanto showed that audience is slowly but surely coming back, and the drought of new family-friendly movies since could create some pent-up demand.

Nevertheless, models are leaning conservative for Dog even with some upside still in consideration. Reviews aren’t yet published, and despite a healthy marketing imprint by distributor UAR and generally positive social sentiment, concerns over the pandemic-cautious audience and a general glut of “dog movies” in recent years suggest the film’s performance will be more about legs in the weeks ahead.

Dog also held sneak previews on Valentine’s Day, but we have not received confirmation of how the studio will report those figures with regard to weekend box office.

Lastly, LD Entertainment will also release The Cursed in semi-wide release this weekend with an estimated 1,750 locations based on Showtimes Dashboard projections as of Wednesday. Due to minimal marketing and limited comparison metrics for the low-profile release, though, we do not currently forecast it will open among the top ten.

As holdovers go, many titles should benefit from the extended holiday weekend. Coming off a typically deflated Super Bowl Sunday will further pad some week-to-week drops, although the loss of premium screens for Death on the Nile could result in noticeable impact for its own initial hold.

Wide Release Forecast Ranges

3-Day Opening Weekend Range: $6 – 11 million
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $7.5 – 14 million

3-Day Opening Weekend Range: $25 – 35 million
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $30 – 40 million

Weekend Forecast & Location Counts

Boxoffice projects between a 40 to 55 percent increase for this weekend’s top ten films from last weekend’s $50.4 million top ten aggregate. 

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast 4-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, February 20 Projected Domestic Total through Monday, February 21 Location Count 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd
Uncharted Sony Pictures / Columbia $30,700,000 $35,400,000 $30,700,000 $35,400,000 4,275 NEW
Dog United Artists Releasing $9,000,000 $11,500,000 $9,000,000 $11,500,000 3,677 NEW
Death on the Nile Disney / 20th Century Studios $7,200,000 $8,400,000 $25,800,000 $27,000,000 3,280 -44%
Spider-Man: No Way Home Sony Pictures / Columbia & Marvel Studios $6,300,000 $7,800,000 $769,100,000 $770,600,000 2,956 -16%
Jackass Forever Paramount Pictures $5,400,000 $6,300,000 $46,700,000 $47,700,000 3,071 -33%
Marry Me Universal Pictures $4,900,000 $5,700,000 $17,500,000 $18,300,000 3,643 -38%
Sing 2 Universal Pictures $2,900,000 $4,000,000 $147,400,000 $148,500,000 2,467 -6%
Blacklight Briarcliff Entertainment $2,200,000 $2,600,000 $7,400,000 $7,800,000 2,772 -37%
Scream (2022) Paramount Pictures $2,100,000 $2,500,000 $77,100,000 $77,500,000 1,907 -29%
Moonfall Lionsgate $1,500,000 $1,700,000 $18,200,000 $18,400,000 ~2,100 -49%

*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 Credits: Sony / Columbia ("Uncharted"); MGM ("Dog")
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