As the tumbleweed rolls through this barren Box Office weekend, you may be forgiven for asking why just 1 film is opening wide on Friday (and none 7 days later). The post-Thanksgiving weekend is one of historical dryness – this time last year saw 0 films open in over 600 cinemas, although it did welcome the release of award-fodder ‘The Disaster Artist’ and ‘The Shape of Water’ in a few theatres each.
Why? The mid-December onslaught, which in 2018 includes ‘Aquaman’, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, ‘Bumblebee’, and ‘Mary Poppins Returns amongst many others, leaves studios in a difficult scheduling position, where they’re forced to contend with both the Thanksgiving’s leftovers, as well as the upcoming competition.
Leaving this release date alone is almost always preferred – the 2-week theatrical guarantee means that most big films have a fortnight in the cinemas before their screen counts drop. Of course, this would swallow up most releases in the upcoming weekend, leaving Sony’s low-budget horror ‘The Possession of Hannah Grace’ as the only new film to torment cinemagoers from around 2,000 theatres. The film follows the story of an ‘exorcism gone wrong’, and stars Shay Mitchell (‘Pretty Little Liars’), Shana Katic (‘Castle’), and Grey Damon (‘Aquarius’).
Much like 2016s ‘Incarnate’, which opened to $2.5m on its way to a $4.8m domestic finish, ‘The Possession of Hannah Grace’ won’t seriously trouble many in the top ten, and its forecasted $2.6m gross may even be too optimistic, as the strong Thanksgiving weekend holdovers will leave this supernatural thriller needing more than just some holy water.
‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, last weekend’s winner, will remain on top, pulling in a solid $30m to bring its domestic total close to $120m. Although its ahead of both ‘Coco’ and ‘Moana’ at the same point in their runs, ‘Ralph 2’ will be lucky to finish close to the latter’s $248.8m total – sequel-itis can be unforgiving. The front-loaded nature of franchises can be seen with ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, which will struggle to reach a $200m domestic total (while ‘FB1’ hit $234m). The ‘Harry Potter’ spinoff should earn around $15m this weekend for 4th place.
The same can’t be said for ‘Creed II’ however, who after less than 2 weeks of release is just $40m off ‘Creed’s entire domestic gross. The film stands currently bells in as the 10th biggest boxing film in U.S. history, and an $18m this weekend gross will see it leapfrog predecessor ‘Rocky Balboa’ into 9th spot. The fighter student has become the master trainer, it seems, but Michael B. Jordan and co. won’t be stopping here, as its sights are fittingly set on ‘Rocky IV’s record $127.9m total. Whether or not it’ll deliver that knock-out gross, we’ll see.
The DiCaprio-produced ‘Robin Hood’ gets an honourable mention here too, as it grasps to remain in the top ten. A film likely to litter many a ‘Box Office Bombs of 2018’ list (including ours), its $3.9m weekend should see it pass the $20m mark domestically but not much else, with a likely finish of $30m in store.
In a more uneventful Box Office weekend, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ has the opportunity to extend its stronghold, while ‘Creed II’ has eyes on the title belt. Will the latter make it, and will ‘Ralph 2’ best that of ‘Coco’ and ‘Moana’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.