There are two wide releases this week, 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Mr. Peabody and Sherman is opening in nearly 4,000 theaters and is earning better reviews, but 300: Rise of an Empire will likely open faster at the box office. The three holdovers in the top five, Non-Stop, Son of God, and The LEGO Movie, should also do well earning more than $10 million each over the weekend, so overall the box office should be strong. Unfortunately, this weekend last year, Oz the Great and Powerful earned just shy of $80 million over the weekend. There's no way either new release will match that. In fact, it is likely both new releases combined won't match that. 2014's winning streak will end, but not to panic, it still has a large lead and while March doesn't look great, April should be better.
300: Rise of an Empire is the second film in the 300 franchise. The first film won over moviegoers and critics, for the most part. (On the other hand, historians were known to go into seizures from watching the movie.) Rise of an Empire's reviews started out strong, but have fallen considerably. At the moment, it has 46% positive reviews, which isn't bad for a popcorn flick, but if it falls too much further, then even that lower expectation level won't be met. On the other hand, there are some who think this film will come close to $50 million at the box office. I'm not that bullish, but a start of just over $40 million will give it hope to reach $100 million overall.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman takes a five-minute cartoon short series and tries to expand it into a feature-length film. That's a risk, but the reviews seem to suggest it works out. (Wisely, the writers have the characters bouncing around to different time periods, so they don't have to stretch any one time period too long.) How well it will pay off at the box office is yet to be seen. On the high end, the film could top $10,000 on the per theater chart, which would give it an opening weekend of $40 million. This isn't out of the question, but unlikely. On the low end, it could fail to reach $25 million over the weekend. Earning more than $30 million is more likely, let's say $32 million.
Non-Stop opened with $28.88 million last weekend, but this weekend it has to deal with direct competition, which will hurt it at the box office. A 50% drop-off isn't out of the question, which would leave it with $14 million over the weekend for a total of $51 million after two. Since it cost $50 million to make, the studio should be really happy with this start.
The LEGO Movie also has to deal with direct competition, but kids movies tend to have better legs, so it shouldn't completely collapse. Additionally, its reviews are the year's best so far. I'm expecting $13 million over the weekend for a running tally of $227 million. It is on pace to reach $250 million, but it will likely fall out of the top ten before then.
Son of God should round out the top five. It isn't dealing with direct competition, but it has awful reviews and its internal multiplier wasn't strong last weekend, so it could have a Fanboy effect like fall. Look for $12 million over the weekend for a total of $44 million after two. This is great for a film that is just a re-cut of a TV mini-series.
One last note, Frozen is expected to earn about $3 million over the weekend placing as high as sixth along the way. The film is on Video on Demand, but it is still expected to earn multimillion box office this weekend. That's impressive.
Date posted: 2014-03-06