In previous years, a Zac Efron title and an Owen Wilson-Pierce Brosnan combo would have moved the needle at the box office. But these are the dog days of August, and if you think last weekend was slow, you might enjoy the luxury of being the only person in the theater if you head out to a matinee on Friday. That’s when colleges and K-12 will be at their highest capacity this summer to date, with both close to 70% open. To give you an idea of where the marketplace’s mind-set is right now: The biggest ticket seller on Fandango for the weekend is Affirm/TriStar’s faith-based title War Room.
When will business pick up? Some believe it’s the weekend after Labor Day when Universal opens M. Night Shyamalan horror suspense title The Visit, which has been getting great word of mouth out of fan screening. However, September 18 is going to explode with the arrival of 20th Century Fox’s Dylan O’Brien franchise Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (the first film opened to $32.5M last year) and Warner Bros.’ Johnny Depp mob pic Black Mass.
Universal/Legendary’s Straight Outta Compton is expected to fall between 40%-45% this fram in its third session, taking No. 1 with $14.5M-$15.6M. Given the film’s great critical reviews, the anticipation is that an older crowd will continue to flock to the F. Gary Gray film since most of the under 25 demo have seen it. Current domestic take for the N.W.A biopic through yesterday stands at $113.8M.
Warner Bros.’ Efron drama We Are Your Friends, about an aspiring DJ, will open Friday in 2,333 venues. Previews start Thursday at 7 PM. Warners only paid $2M for the movie, so if they end their run at $20M, it’s a worthwhile investment. The studio is hoping for a FSS in the low double digits. Young females are the surefire crowd here, so Friday’s business is apt to be the highest day throughout the weekend. One comp for the film is last year’s female-demo drama If I Stay with Chloe Moretz. While We Are Your Friends isn’t expected to have a FSS as high as that film ($15.67M), the hope is that the Efron title will emulate similar results to the Moretz one on Labor Day Monday. If I Stay made $2.45M on Labor Day Monday last year, up 93% from its first Monday.
Starting tonight, Weinstein Co. has their $5M political action acquisition No Escape starring Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan. Wilson plays an American businessman who relocates to a turbulent Southeast Asian country. Lake Bell also stars. The former James Bond occupied this frame a year ago with the action title The November Man, which also bowed on a Wednesday making $9.6M over five-days and $7.9M in its FSS. That film wound up making three times its FSS with $25M. No Escape in test screenings has played strong to older females and young males, with 70% definite recommend scores. Current estimates see No Escape with $10M-$12M over five days and $7M-$8M over FSS. No Escape will be in 3,007 theaters tomorrow and will raise to 3,300+ by Friday.
Affirm/Tri-Star has War Room opening in more than 1,100 theaters from director Alex Kendrick, who was behind the 2008 Christian cash cow Fireproof ($500K production cost, $33.5M domestic B.O.). War Room tells the story of a family who seeks to fix its problems with the help of an older, wiser woman. At the high end, industry estimates peg War Room at $5M, which would be just under Fireproof‘s $6.8M opening at 839 playdates. There’s also some intel showing that War Room could potentially best Fireproof.
For one week, Universal is re-launching Jurassic World in Imax 3D theaters on Friday. To date, the third-highest-grossing film of all time has made $639.6M at the domestic B.O.