As this record-pacing September marches on, a strong one-two punch of counter-programmers from Fox and Warner Bros. will hit theaters alongside the latest horror release from fledgling distributor Entertainment Studios this weekend. Will any of them be a match for the phenom that has become IT?
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Fox) should benefit from its predecessor’s goodwill as one of 2015’s buzzed-about action hits, having earned $128.3 million domestically with a strong multiplier from its $36.2 million debut. The studio has thrown another impressive marketing campaign behind this sequel, and with the return of director Matthew Vaughn and key cast members — plus additions in the form of Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, and other surprises — fans have reason to expect another fun go-around. Social media buzz has been demonstrably strong with Twitter and Facebook comping well ahead of John Wick: Chapter 2 and the original Kingsman.
- The LEGO Ninjago Movie (Warner Bros.) marks the third LEGO theatrical release and should appeal to young fans of the Ninjago brand, which is one of the most popular LEGO sellers behind the Star Wars editions. With a similar comedic style that drove LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman Movie to successful runs, parents will have something to look forward to alongside their kids. As the first animated film from a major studio since July — and the last until November’s Coco — this should be poised for a leggy run.
- Friend Request (Entertainment Studios) follows on the heels of 47 Meters Down, which the same studio launched as a successful sleeper summer hit with its $11.2 million debut and $44.2 million domestic tally. The studio is certainly hoping for the explosion of horror films at the box office this year to spill over to this title.
- Unfortunately, initial reviews for The Golden Circle (55 percent) aren’t quite as strong as the original Kingsman‘s, although the latter’s 74 percent wasn’t necessarily indicative of the film’s ultimate commercial success either. The continued dominance of IT going into that film’s third weekend could also be a minor hindrance for the sequel.
- Similarly, Ninjago reviews aren’t nearly as unified in praise as those of the previous two LEGO films. In addition, the Ninjago brand appeals more directly to boys than girls when compared to the previous films, leaving the odds of approaching their opening weekend figures fairly slim.
- Friend Request hasn’t generated nearly the kind of social media activity as that of 47 Meters Down did before release, and certainly not that of 2015’s Unfriended. Combined with the direct competition against It, this title is likely to be overlooked by much of the target audience.
The Weekend Forecast:
|Title||Distributor||Weekend||Domestic Total through Sunday, September 24||% Change|
|Kingsman: The Golden Circle||Fox||$41,500,000||$41,500,000||NEW|
|The LEGO Ninjago Movie||Warner Bros.||$38,000,000||$38,000,000||NEW|
|IT||Warner Bros. (New Line)||$33,000,000||$269,000,000||-45%|
|Home Again||Open Road Films||$3,740,000||$22,590,000||-28%|
|Friend Request||Entertainment Studios||$2,400,000||$2,400,000||NEW|
|The Hitman’s Bodyguard||Lionsgate / Summit||$2,000,000||$72,785,000||-44%|
|Wind River||Weinstein Company||$1,700,000||$30,590,000||-34%|
Note: Forecasts were made prior to official theater counts being announced on Thursday
Shawn Robbins and Alex Edghill contributed to this report