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Weekend Predictions: Underworld is a Serious Underdog

January 5th, 2017

Underworld: Blood Wars

It’s the first weekend of the year and there’s only one wide release, Underworld: Blood Wars, plus one wide expansion, Hidden Figures. (As expected, A Monster Calls is not expanding truly wide and it won’t grow enough to make the top ten. I don’t think it will top $3 million over the weekend.) None of these films are really going to challenge the top two holdovers, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Sing, although that pair should be in a close race for first place. This weekend last year was very similar to this weekend, with one new release, one wide expansion, and a Star Wars holdover on top. Unfortunately, this year is much weaker. 2017 is going to get off on a losing note.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will likely earn first place for the fourth weekend in a row, although Sing does has a small shot at overtaking it. The film’s box office will fall due to the end of the holidays, but it likely won’t fall more than 50%. Look for a weekend haul of just over $26 million, giving it over $480 million in total. This will put it just days away from overtaking Finding Dory for top spot on the 2016 domestic chart. It will also be about a week away from $500 million domestically, becoming just the seventh film to reach that milestone. This is a monster hit, even if it couldn’t live up to The Force Awakens.

Sing will be next with just under $26 million. It should be a really close race. The film will become the 13th film released in 2016 to get to the $200 million milestone, while it is on pace to climb into the top ten by the end of its run. The film needed about $300 million worldwide to break even before it hit the home market. Not only will it get there with ease, it will make enough worldwide to pay for the production budget of its inevitable sequel.

The biggest “new release” of the week is Hidden Figures, which is expanding into nearly 2,500 theaters. The film’s reviews are over 90% positive, while it is been a regular Awards Season nominee. This should boost the film’s box office chances and it has a very slim shot at first place. Third place with $21 million is more likely and that’s still a major opening for a January release. Furthermore, Awards Season is kicking into high gear with the Golden Globes being handed out this weekend and a trio of major awards nominations being announced next week. If Hidden Figures does well here, then it will stick around in theaters for a long time.

No film in the Underworld franchise has opened with less than $20 million. However, Underworld: Blood Wars won’t even come close to that figure. The film’s reviews are just 10% positive, and buzz is very quiet for a franchise film like this. There’s a chance the film will earn $15 million, or maybe a little more, but there’s also a chance it will barely top $10 million. Splitting the difference gives us an opening weekend of just under $13 million.

La La Land and Passengers will be in a close race for fifth place with between $11 million and $12 million. La La Land is doubling its theater count to just over 1,500 theaters and it is expected to earn at least a few Golden Globes on Sunday, so the buzz should help it over Passengers. On the other hand, Passengers is doing better than expected, given its reviews.

- Underworld: Blood Wars Comparisons
- Hidden Figures Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Passengers, A Monster Calls, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sing, La La Land, Underworld: Blood Wars, Hidden Figures, Underworld