Illumination-Universal’s ‘The Grinch’ To Steal $50M+ Opening – Early B.O. Forecast

The Grinch

Illumination and Universal’s animated feature The Grinch landed on tracking this morning, and it’s safe to say the movie co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier with a cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch is headed to a $50 million-range opening. Given the Dr. Seuss and Illumination brand, it would not be shocking if that projection continues to mushroom.

Universal’s 2000 live-action release of the Seuss Yuletide tale How The Grinch Stole Christmas from Ron Howard opened to $55M on November 17 that year, legging out to $260M, which made it the highest-grossing title at the domestic box office that year.

“It looks like a true four-quadrant,” a rival distributor beamed this morning about The Grinch. Unaided awareness on tracking is strong at an overall 19%, with men under 25 at 18%, men over at 16%, females over 25 at 22% and females under 25 at 21%. As we always footnote with theses projections, they can climb or decline leading up to opening day, which for The Grinch is November 9.

Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween is poised to explode this weekend at the box office for Universal. There are wild estimates out there that the Jamie Lee Curtis horror film could even do potentially — yes — $100M over three days, but saner projections are now at $70M. Everyone is excited because theatrical pre-sales for Halloween are outstripping It in certain multiplexes. Point is, The Grinch will continue Universal’s rich streak this autumn after No. 1 wins for The House With The Clock In Its Walls ($26.6M) and Night School ($27.2M). Stay tuned.

The Girl In The Spider's Web
Columbia Pictures

Also opening November 9 is Sony/MGM’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web which came on low at $11M-$12M. In regards to tracking, adult demo pics like Bohemian Rhapsody could be squashing Spider Web‘s projections; Sony has cut some really cool trailers to this rebooted franchise/sequel starring Claire Foy and featuring a 007 sensibility. Sony is hoping adults come out in the long haul, which was the case for the first David Fincher-directed pic The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that starred Rooney Mara as rebel vigilante Lisbeth Salander, a role which landed her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. That movie opened to $12.7M over its FSS and benefited from the holiday play period with $102M stateside, and $230M worldwide. Production cost on the R-rated Spider Web is half of Dragon Tattoo, $43M to $90M. Pic is showing a definite interest of 34% for guys, 36% for women.

Paramount has Bad Robot’s World War II zombie movie Overlord debuting on that weekend, and it is tracking in the high single-digit range, possibly $10M+ with the best interest among men over 25 in total awareness and definite interest with guys under 25 not too far behind.

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