Takes viewers on an epic journey into the wilds of China where few people have ever ventured. Following the stories of three animal families, the film transports audiences to some of the most extreme environments on Earth to witness some of the most intimate moments ever captured in a nature film. A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A two-year-old golden monkey who feels displaced by his new baby sister joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard—an elusive animal rarely caught on camera—faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet. Featuring stunning, never-before-seen imagery, the film navigates China’s vast terrain—from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest—on the wings of red-crowned cranes, seamlessly tying the extraordinary tales together.
It’s one of those weeks that are deceptively busy. The biggest new release of the week is Wonder Woman, but it is only coming out on Video on Demand. The biggest overall release is the The Lion King franchise on separateBlu-rayreleases, but it’s at least a double-dip on Blu-ray. I think a triple-dip on Blu-ray. If it weren’t for these circumstances, they would be clear Pick of the Week contenders. Without those two movies, the next best is... My Cousin Rachel on Blu-ray. Its reviews are not quite Pick of the Week level, but it is the best of what we've got.
As expected, The Fate of the Furious dominated the weekend box office chart. It held up a little better than expected with $38.41 million over the weekend; however, this was still over 60% lower than its opening weekend and the overall weekend fell over $60 million or 36% from last weekend for a total of $107 million. A lot of the blame can be pushed onto the new releases, as none of them earned a spot in the top five. Born in China was the best of the new releases earning sixth place with $4.79 million. Year-over-year, 2017 was 16% lower than 2016, but fortunately, 2017 still has an impressive $200 million lead over 2016 at $3.53 billion to $3.33 billion.
A decline of 61% compared to its opening weekend still leaves The Fate of the Furious the big winner at the box office this weekend, with the five new wide releases combined making less than half the $38.7 million it will earn on its second weekend, according to Universal’s weekend estimate. The film’s domestic gross will end the weekend at about $163.6 million. As of last night, it has reached $636.3 million internationally, and it should end the weekend with $752.4 million overseas, for a global total of $916 million as of Sunday. $327.4 million of that will have come from China, where Fate is clocking up another $67 million this weekend.
Late April is one of the traditional dumping grounds and this week is truly living down to that reputation. There are five new releases that have at least a shot at the top ten, but none of them have a shot at becoming midlevel hits. Unforgettable is the widest new release of the week and will likely be the biggest hit, but it very likely won’t be the best. Free Fire and Born in China are in a close battle for the bestreviews for the week. Meanwhile, The Promise and Phoenix Forgotten are just hoping to avoid opening below the Mendoza Line. I think earning a theater average above $2,000 is overly optimistic for either film. There’s a lot of competition, but nearly all of it is terrible, so The Fate of the Furious will have no trouble repeating in first place. Furthermore, both The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast will likely remain in the top five, meaning there’s not a lot of room for the other films. This weekend last year, The Jungle Book earned just over $60 million over the weekend, while The Huntsman: Winter’s War opened with close to $20 million. There’s no way 2017 will be able to match this one-two punch.
April is a mess. When I starting writing the April preview I identified nine films that I was not 100% sure were going to open truly wide. While writing the preview, one was pulled from the schedule and since then, two were downgraded to semi-wide or lower. Next weekend, Born in China is opening semi-wide, The Promise is right on the razor’s edge between semi-wide and truly wide, while we still don’t have an estimate for Free Fire. This leaves Unforgettable as the only confirmed truly wide release of the week. Because of this, it is the only choice for the target film in this week’s box office prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Unforgettable.
Our April Fools contests continue this week. Two of our winners will win La La Land on Blu-ray Combo Pack, while one will be chosen at random to be the fool and receive an HD-DVD release. The Blu-ray Combo Pack doesn’t come out until the 25th, but the film is already out on Video on Demand.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will be a potential winner of La La Land on Blu-ray Combo Pack, or the winner of the Fool’s Prize.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also be a potential winner of La La Land on Blu-ray Combo Pack, or the winner of the Fool’s Prize.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will be the final potential winner of La La Land on Blu-ray Combo Pack, or the winner of the Fool’s Prize.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
March was a month of extremes, led by two strong performances: Beauty and the Beast breaking records and Logan cracking $200 million with ease. There were also two other $100 million hits and another potential $100 million hit that we don’t have significant box office numbers for yet. This is fantastic. On the opposite end, there were three films on last month’s list that didn’t even open truly wide. This month won’t be as lucrative at the top, as The Fate of the Furious is the only film expected to top $100 million. Fortunately, it is expected to open with over $100 million. On the other extreme, there are many, many films on this list that I’m not sure will open wide. Fortunately, last April wasn’t any better. The Jungle Book made nearly $1 billion worldwide, but the other nine films combined made less than half of that. To emphasize: the other nine films that opened last April averaged less than $50 million worldwide each. If The Fate of the Furious can just come close to the previous installment of the franchise, then 2017 has a solid shot at topping 2016.
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