Three new wide releases enter the Box Office sphere this weekend, with Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong biopic, ‘First Man’, blasting off ahead of ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ and ‘Goosebumps 2’ to top the chart. Standing in its way are the sophomore weekends of ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star Is Born’, both contributing to a record October start 7 days ago. Top spot might be one leap too giant for ‘First Man’ however, as both ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star is Born’ find themselves in one of the closest Box Office weekend battles in recent memory.
‘Venom’, having already grossed $102.8m domestically and $230m worldwide, should break the $300m global barrier this weekend – heavily funded by a $31m 3-day gross in the U.S. It’s a second weekend drop around 61%, similar to that of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’, ‘Spider-Man 3’, and even last summer’s much-loved ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’.
Steep weekend drops are expected when it comes to hotly anticipated superhero blockbusters, with the film’s audience having bought tickets by the Friday release date. It’s a completely different story for Warner Bros.’ ‘A Star is Born’ however, a film depending more on word-of-mouth reviews. The critically-acclaimed romantic musical is nearing a $30m gross in its second weekend to put the pressure on Sony’s superhero flick after just a week in its release. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut is to reach $100m worldwide by Sunday, a fantastic return from a $36m production cost.
The first of our new releases, ‘First Man’, marks director Damien Chazelle’s third major Hollywood film (and second with Gosling), and like the rest (‘Whiplash’, ‘La La Land’), brings with it a superb critical reception. Boasting 89% on the Tomatometer and a Metascore of 85, ‘First Man’ will also be Chazelle’s first to open wide straight out the gate, and not have a limited release.
Will this harm its chances of financial success? Hard to say, as while limited-to-wide openings lead to mixed Box Office results, a dramatic biopic like this is usually the type to be released that way. Regardless, we’re being as ambitious as the 1969 moon landing with this one, forecasting a strong $27m start to put it just behind the Tom Hanks biopic ‘Sully’ ($35m), but far away from ‘Gravity’s $55.8m, which keeps the prestigious crown of October’s biggest astronaut-themed movie. Unlike ‘Gravity’, it boasts a medium-sized budget at around $70m. The film stars Gosling as Neil Armstrong, as well as Claire Foy as his wide Janet Shearon, and Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin.
‘First Man’ isn’t the only film set in 1969. Drew Goddard’s ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’, released by Fox, is an end-of-the-60s thriller boasting an all-star cast. Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, and Nick Offerman (amongst others) feature as strangers in a hotel on the Nevada-California border. It’s opening is a little strange to predict – could it be the next ‘Hotel Artemis’ ($3.2m opening) or ‘Atomic Blonde’ ($18.3m)? Its promo has definitely alluded to both, but our optimism knows no bounds, meaning we’re looking at the latter here, for a $17.5m opening.
Such a gross would put it right above the final new release ‘Goosebumps 2’, which has the unfortunate pleasure of not only looking identical to recent comedy-horror ‘The House With a Clock In Its Walls’, but also starring ‘The House’s Jack Black as one of the main characters. Coupled with the recent child-friendly competition in the form of ‘Smallfoot’, we can’t see this film matching the heights of its predecessor, which grossed $23.6m 3 years ago. Therefore, a $16m 3-day weekend is in store for the film that cost just $35m to produce.
In one of the closest Box Office races we can remember, who do you see prevailing? Will ‘Venom’ keep top spot like we’re expecting? Will ‘A Star is Born’ hold strong against the rest? Or will new release ‘First Man’