No dragon, dirty sausage or New York heiress with a terrible singing voice will be able to take down Warner Bros’ DC villains pic Suicide Squad, which is expected to rake in $51M-$54M in its second weekend.
That’s a 60%-61% decline from its August-record debut of $133.7M, and while that descent isn’t as steep as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (-69%), insiders point to the young crowd, those under 35, who turned up at 76% last weekend and blessed DC’s latest with an A- CinemaScore for boosting Suicide Squad‘s fortune. That’s the demo preventing Suicide Squad from being a critics’ casualty ala BvS.
On Monday, the David Ayer movie clocked $13.1M, which is the best Monday take for an August release, besting Guardians of the Galaxy‘s $11.7M on Monday, August 4, 2014.
Fandango still shows Suicide Squad as the top advance-ticket seller for the weekend, but there’s a lot of heat coming from Sony/Annapurna’s R-rated animated Sausage Party, produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, which is clicking past their Neighbors 2 ($21.8M) and This Is the End ($20.7M) in its advance-ticket sales cycle. Between Sony and industry estimates, they’re expecting Sausage Party to earn between midteens and $20M. The pic’s estimated production cost is $19M, split 50-50 between the Culver City lot and Annapurna.
We place Sausage Party above Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, which is expected to pull in a three-day debut in the mid-$20M range, because there’s great word-of-mouth surrounding this raunchy, sex-filled food toon. Tracking is really good at missing movies like this. Last year, Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck was projected between $16M-$18M and then opened to $30.1M. However, there’s concern by some when making wild projections for Sausage Party (there’s a possibility it could get as high as $30M). Comps are a challenge with this type of movie. Back in 2004, there was a lot of heat around Paramount’s bawdy puppet film Team America: World Police before it opened, but then it deep-sixed with a $12.1M opening and $32.8M final. But c’mon, it was a 105-minute film with puppets. For others, the R-rated South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut ($11.3M opening, $52M final domestic) seems too dusty a comparison: It came out 17 years ago.
Sausage Party will be in play at about 3,075 venues, with previews starting at 7 PM Thursday. Critics love their links, with Sausage Party landing a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score thus far.
Pete’s Dragon, a reboot of the 1977 Disney classic that mixed live-action with animation, will be booked at 3,702 venues. Of that number, there’s 2,884 3D locations, 150-plus premium large-format screens, 57 D-Box and 16 Dolby Cinema sites. There won’t be any Thursday previews for this $65M production starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford because it’s a family pic and there’s a number of Olympic events. Reviews are very positive, with an 84% RottenTomatoes score. The pic will debut day-and-date in roughly 30% of the overseas market, including UK, Italy, and Russia.
Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, which Paramount acquired out of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, has an industry weekend projection of $5M-$6M at an estimated 1,500 sites. Reviews are at 91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great, because that’s the catalyst for business on this adult period film about a New York society woman who pursues her dream to become an opera singer. She thinks her voice is beautiful, but to the masses, it’s just awful.
CBS in conjunction with Lionsgate has the modern-day Western Hell or High Water opening. Chris Pine and Ben Foster play bankrobbing brothers who are pursued by Texas Rangers including Jeff Bridges. The film was a complete surprise at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and currently boasts 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It would be great if this film could find an audience and stay alive throughout awards season. That’s pretty much the idea as CBS aims to build word-of-mouth in this crowded month from art houses in New York and Los Angeles to commercial theaters in Texas. The pic is written by Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan, directed by David Mackenzie, and it will be in play 32 locations. The hope is for a high $100K-$200K three-day.