It’s easy for the studios to blame sluggish weekend ticket sales on Super Bowl Sunday when it falls in late January or early February, but the truth is if they don’t book any titles over the weekend, it’s a lost opportunity.
True, Sunday does slows down with family titles being dinged the least, but moviegoers have been shown to make time for the movies on Friday and Saturday — especially older males, who three years ago shelled out $30.6 million to watch American Sniper in its sixth weekend over the Super Bowl period, and even Liam Neeson’s Taken nine years ago with $24.7M.
With the major studios beginning their P&A spend on such summer movies as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Mission: Impossible – Fall Out on Sunday during the Big Game, they’ve opted to sit on the sidelines this weekend.
Instead, CBS Films will fire off its PG-13 period horror title Winchester starring Helen Mirren as rifle heiress Sarah Winchester, who constructed a multi-room house in Northern California to ward off the ghosts who have a score to settle with her family. Winchester will play in roughly 2,300 theaters with an eye on pulling in $6M-$8M from the 13-30 femme horror fan demo and Mirren followers over the age of 35. Some tracking services think Winchester has a shot to get to $10M. Winchester was acquired by CBS Films as it went into production for $3.5 million, and it’s the latest release (Hell or High Water, American Assassin) to be distributed in partnership with Lionsgate.
In any case, 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner: Death Cure should take No. 1 again with $12M-$13M, while Sony’s almighty Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle looks to take second place with $9M-$10M. Through five days, Death Cure counts $27.4M.
By Sunday, Jumanji will stand around $352M. While that’s still Sony’s third best-ever at the domestic B.O. after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man ($403.7M) and Spider-Man 2 ($373.6M), Jumanji is on the verge of becoming Dwayne Johnson’s highest-grossing film of all time, kicking his Furious 7 record to the side ($353M).
Also breaking wide this weekend days before the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang is NEON/30WEST’s three-time-Oscar nominee I, Tonya, which twirls from 960 to approximately 1,500 locations. Through yesterday in its ninth week, the Margot Robbie-Allison Janney film has grossed $19.5M.
Analysts have Entertainment Studios’ Western Hostiles declining an estimated 55% for $4.5M in its second wide weekend of release.