Industry watchers are hoping the coming weekend will provide some modicum of good news in the midst of one of the most sluggish starts to a box office year in quite some time, thanks largely to a string of under-performances from high profile titles over the last two months. Through February 18, domestic box office was at $1.24 billion — down more than 22 percent from last year and at its lowest point since 2011 ($1.13 billion through the same date).
As movie fans gear up for Oscar weekend, though, Universal will offer up an anticipated sequel — and trilogy-capper — to one of the most beloved animation franchises of all time.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Opening Weekend Range: $40 – 55 million
- Both previous franchise entries were resoundingly successful among critics and audiences, earning $43.7 million and $49.5 million opening weekends in March 2010 and June 2014, respectively. Each film impressively legged out to $217.6 million and $177 million domestically, and the promise of being the end to an acclaimed series of adaptations has bolstered fan interest in this chapter.
- With a 94 percent fresh score across 79 reviews, this third entry once again seems destined to become a crowd-pleaser that should play well into March and early April.
- The under-performance of LEGO Movie 2 has opened a corridor for another high profile animated release to swing in and capture family audiences.
- Traditional industry tracking shows internet and first choice levels ahead of Hotel Transylvania 3 four days from release. Trailer Impact similarly shows 73 percent of surveyed audiences interested in Dragon 3, the same figure as Transylvania 3 during the week of release.
- Historically, trends of a slowing box office have had a splash effect on the immediate calendar — reason enough to be more cautious in expectations for this sequel despite generally strong tracking.
- The Dragon films, thanks to their dramatic and adventurous narratives, are built for staying power more than dominant openings thanks to their significant appeal among adults as well as children.
Fighting With My Family
Opening Weekend Range: $6 – 10 million
- Dwayne Johnson’s presence is a notable benefit in addition to the talent-rich cast and crew behind the film.
- Strong reviews and a healthy platform release last weekend could drive significant upside for the wide expansion.
- With a moderate marketing campaign and the strong pitch to wrestling fans, it remains to be seen if the film can crossover and appeal to mainstream viewers.
Top 10 vs. Last Year
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will earn approximately $110.6 million. That would represent a 38 percent decline from the same weekend last year when Game Night ($17.0 million), Annihilation ($11.1 million), and Every Day ($3.0 million) debuted during Black Panther‘s $111.7 million sophomore frame as part of an overall $177.1 million market top ten.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, February 24||% Change from Last Wknd|
|How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World||Universal||$47,000,000||$49,500,000*||NEW|
|Alita: Battle Angel||Fox||$14,000,000||$62,800,000||-51%|
|The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part||Warner Bros.||$11,700,000||$85,500,000||-44%|
|Isn’t It Romantic||Warner Bros. / New Line||$8,700,000||$35,700,000||-39%|
|Fighting With My Family||MGM||$7,500,000||$7,700,000||+5307%|
|What Men Want||Paramount||$6,300,000||$46,600,000||-41%|
|Happy Death Day 2U||Universal||$5,200,000||$22,000,000||-45%|
|Cold Pursuit||Lionsgate / Summit||$3,400,000||$27,000,000||-43%|
* = includes $2.5 million earned from Fandango’s sneak preview screenings in approximately 1,000 theaters on February 2
Alex Edghill contributed to this report
Forecasts subject to change as location counts are finalized before Friday.
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