The final weekend of September brings about one new release in the form of Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s Abominable.
This marks the second release from DWA under Universal following How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World earlier this year, which beat most expectations with a $55 million domestic opening. That kind of start isn’t expected for Abominable as an original film with no pre-existing fan base, but encouraging reviews and a considerable lack of animated options for kids and parents since summer may help the pic out-perform the studio’s expected $17 – 20 million opening range.
On the flip side, tempering forecasts is the fact families may find the premise too similar to last September’s Smallfoot. In fact, animated releases around this time of year haven’t broken out in notable ways of late dating back to 2016’s Storks, 2017’s The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and the aforementioned Smallfoot — all of which opened in the $20-24 million range.
That being said, it could be argued that DreamWorks Animation has a stronger upfront pull with families than the Warner Bros. Animation division. Their 2015 and 2017 releases Home and The Boss Baby memorably blew away pre-release tracking. Staying power for Abominable is probably on deck in either case with only October 11’s The Addams Family poised to give the film any direct competition until mid-November’s release of Frozen II.
Meanwhile, holdovers should prove to be quite durable with the majority of films aiming at adult audiences of various demographics.
While the early fall box office has been off to a healthy start this month, this weekend will see some regression in year-to-year comparisons — partly due to the controversial delay of Blumhouse’s The Hunt, which was previously slated to open this weekend as a counter-programmer against Abominable.
Opening Weekend Range
- Abominable ($19 – 24 million)
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will decline approximately 8 – 13 percent from the same frame last year. That weekend was driven by the opening of Night School, Smallfoot, and Hell Fest as part of an overall $92.1 million top ten market.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, September 29||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Downton Abbey||Focus Features||$15,900,000||$60,100,000||-49%|
|It: Chapter Two||Warner Bros. / New Line||$10,000,000||$193,600,000||-41%|
|Rambo: Last Blood||Lionsgate||$8,100,000||$33,000,000||-57%|
Alex Edghill contributed to this report
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.