March’s penultimate weekend should again be a fairly quiet one compared to this time last year when a string of blockbusters and overperformers were dominating the market.
Still, this weekend boasts a handful of new releases that will look to attract a variety of audiences ahead of Easter next week. Chief among them will be Universal’s Pacific Rim: Uprising, a sequel with heavy marketing in recent months that hopes to benefit from star John Boyega’s increased profile in the wake of his popular turns as Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Though filmmaker Guillermo del Toro did not return to direct this sequel, fans of his original 2013 film are key to the film’s relatively healthy social media and traditional tracking leading up to release.
While reaching its predecessor’s $37.3 million opening weekend is unlikely, Uprising will benefit from IMAX and other premium screen formats in a market that has been dominated by Black Panther for the past five weeks — an incredible streak that’s likely to end this weekend. Social media conversations and traditional interest metrics point to a wide range between the upper teen millions and low $30 millions, but in the grand scheme of things, the Pacific Rim sequel needs only to top the $20-25 million range this weekend to line up with expectations as it’s primarily a film made for overseas territories (namely China) after the original film earned 75 percent of its $411 million global box office total internationally (China accounted for $112 million of that).
Meanwhile, Sherlock Gnomes will appeal to parents with young kids as the first major release aiming directly for that audience since Early Man and the successful Peter Rabbit last month. Animated titles have a history of exceeding expectations this time of year (The Boss Baby famously doing so in 2017), although the lack of built-in brand appeal like DreamWorks or Disney/Pixar should back up the pre-release tracking metrics which are comparable to that of Paddington 2 and Smurfs: The Lost Village.
Paul, Apostle of Christ was once a sleeper hit candidate among faith-based crowds and could still churn out a healthy debut this weekend despite I Can Only Imagine stealing much of the thunder among that audience last weekend. Midnight Sun and Unsane round out the openers with even more modest expectations. All three titles could end up as relative successes, though, given their low-range production budgets.
Top 10 Comparisons
Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten films will accumulate around $86 million. That would mark a 55 percent decline from the same frame last year when Power Rangers debuted to a big $40 million weekend behind the strong $90.4 million second frame of Beauty and the Beast, part of an overall $192.7 million top ten market at the time.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, March 25||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Pacific Rim: Uprising||Universal||$25,000,000||$25,000,000||NEW|
|Black Panther||Disney / Marvel||$15,700,000||$629,700,000||-41%|
|Tomb Raider||Warner Bros.||$10,300,000||$41,600,000||-56%|
|I Can Only Imagine||Roadside Attractions||$9,600,000||$33,700,000||-44%|
|Paul, Apostle of Christ||Sony / Columbia||$7,500,000||$7,500,000||NEW|
|A Wrinkle In Time||Disney||$7,400,000||$73,000,000||-55%|
|Midnight Sun||Open Road Films||$4,400,000||$4,400,000||NEW|
|Game Night||Warner Bros. / New Line||$3,800,000||$60,400,000||-32%|