While tomorrow will see the fan fueled debut of Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep from Lionsgate, this weekend the No. 1 and 2 spots are expected to be 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four and Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. Fantastic Four is expected to gross between $40M and $50M for the three-day weekend and MIRN may end up dropping around 50% or more to grab in the mid-$20M range. MIRN will still be holding onto its IMAX screens which will give it a nice boost.
The next installment of the Fantastic Four superhero franchise is tracking better than Ant-Man right now across all demos except older females and older males, so we will see how the tracking translates to ticket sales. Ant-Man opened to $57.2M. FF debuts Thursday night in previews starting at 8 PM on about 2,300 to 2,400 screens before rolling out wide on roughly 3,950 screens.
Shaun the Sheep from Lionsgate should expect a front-loaded Wednesday in its 2,202 runs and maybe even Thursday as Aardman has a loyal fan base. It could end up with a nice five-day opening number. For the three-day weekend, look for the mid-single digits and some are thinking it could be in around $8M for the 5-day in 2,313 locales. The critics love this film and we expect this sheep to have some legs.
STX Entertainment is bringing its first film to market with the Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton thriller from Blumhouse, The Gift. Made on a very small budget (we hear $5M with STX’s financial portion at $2.5M), this good little thriller is getting kudos from critics and has a solid marketing campaign behind it. It bows on Thursday at 8 PM before going wide to 2,470 theaters. It looks to be in the range of anywhere between $7M and $10M. Welcome to the game, STX. We’ve been waiting for you.
And finally we have Ricki and the Flash on only 1,600 screens. The Meryl Streep as hippie chick rocker is appealing to a — what else — female audience. This one is kind of the wild card of the weekend and could open in single digits. Sony expects this one, which has been screening well, to have some long legs. It opens Thursday night at 7 PM.