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Weekend Predictions: In Fifty Shades' Shadow

February 20th, 2015

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 poster

Fifty Shades of Grey will again win the weekend box office race. In fact, it could make more than the three new wide releases make combined. The biggest of these three wide releases is Hot Tub Time Machine 2, but it is unfortunately earning terrible reviews. The DUFF's reviews were amazing, but it has since settled on merely good. McFarland, USA is earning the best reviews, but unfortunately its buzz is really quiet. Granted, its target audience doesn't tend to get hyped about movies, but this still isn't a good sign. This weekend last year, The LEGO Movie remained in first place with just over $30 million. This is about the same as Fifty Shades is expected to earn. If 2015 is to win, it will need to rely on depth. Since we could have seven films earning $10 million or more, that won't be an issue.

Fifty Shades of Grey is rapidly running up the chart for highest grossing R-rated movie; however, it could have a tough time going forward. Not only are its reviews terrible, but the film is definitely a Fangirl film. This will likely result in a deep decline to $30 million, more or less. I'm going with about $30 million, but there's about a $4 million margin of error on either side of that number.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water should rise a spot to second place thanks to its family friendly target demographic and its strong reviews. Look for just over $19 million over the weekend.

Kingsman: The Secret Service will be very close behind with just under $19 million. This is enough to keep it on pace to reach $100 million, but barely. Then again, it won't need to get to $100 million domestically for the studio to turn the film into a franchise.

The biggest of the new releases is Hot Tub Time Machine 2, but it is only expected to earn fourth place. The film's reviews are terrible, to be blunt. Its Tomatometer Score is just 14% positive, which is a fraction of what the original earned. It should still open better, thanks to inflation and the Sequel Effect. Look for an opening of $15 million, but much shorter legs than its predecessor possessed.

There should be a three-way race for fifth place between American Sniper and the other two wide releases. The holdover has a little advantage over the newcomers and I think it will earn fifth place with just under $11 million pushing its running tally past $320 million.

The Duff could land in fifth place, but it could also struggle to earn seventh place. On the one hand, its reviews are good, certainly better than most wide releases that have come out so far this year. On the other hand, its primary target audience is teenage girls. This is an underserved target demographic, but also one that is very finicky and that makes it harder to predicted how much the movie will make. On the high end, it will open in the low teens. On the low end, it will struggle to avoid the Mendoza Line. I'm going with just over $10 million and sixth place.

McFarland, USA is an inspirational sports movie based on real life events. There have been way too many of those films that have come out, so it is really hard to get excited about any of them, even if they earn good reviews. Additionally, Kevin Costner is on a losing streak. Finally, the buzz is really quiet. Granted, it is aimed at a more mature target demographic, so I wasn't expecting a lot of buzz, but I was hoping for more than this. Look for just under $10 million, but it wouldn't take much to top expectations and earn fifth place.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Fifty Shades of Grey, McFarland, USA, Hot Tub Time Machine 2, American Sniper, The DUFF, Kevin Costner