Jon Baker and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello have just joined the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten up pro motorbiker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside job—inside the CHP. The inexperienced rookie and the hardened pro are teamed together, but clash more than click, so kickstarting a partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker’s bike skills combined with Ponch’s street savvy it might just work…if they don't drive each other crazy along the way.
Summer is usually the slowest time of the year on the home market; however, this week we have the biggest theatrical hit of the year so far coming out. Unfortunately, Beauty and the Beast isn’t really Pick of the Week material. It’s not bad and the DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack hav enough extras to be worth picking up, but that’s not enough to put it over the top. Unfortunately, the film was such a massive hit at the box office that it scared away all of the competition and there’s no real Pick of the Week films on this week’s list.
The Boss Baby beat expectations and earned first place with $50.20 million over the weekend. The strong competition pushed Beauty and the Beast into second place, but it nearly hit $400 million and it is on pace for $500 million, so I wouldn’t feel too bad for the film. On the other hand, you can feel bad for Ghost in the Shell, because an opening of just $18.68 million on a $110 million production budget is a disaster. Overall, the box office rose 16% from last week reaching $169 million. Compared to last year, the box office rose 28%, which is very impressive. Year-to-date, 2017 has pulled in $2.98 billion, putting it 6.1% or $170 million ahead of 2016’s pace. We are far enough into the year that a lead this big is significant. That doesn’t mean 2017 is guaranteed to come out ahead, but this is certainly reason to be optimistic.
Our predictions for Beauty and the Beast was higher than average, but even we underestimated the film’s weekend box office numbers. It fell just 48% to $90.43 million, which was more than double the second place film, Power Rangers. This one-two punch helped the overall box office earn $202 million, but this was 23% lower than last weekend. It was also 20% lower than the same weekend last year. Granted, this weekend last year was the weekend Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice debuted, so a decline like this was expected. Year-to-date, 2017 has earned $2.75 billion, putting it 6.7% or $170 million ahead of last year’s pace.
An impressive 49% second-weekend drop for Beauty and the Beast will be more than enough to secure its place at the top of the box office chart once more, but that doesn’t diminish the achievement of Power Rangers in debuting with an estimated $40.5 million. With two strong movies powering box office receipts, a weekend that was expected to be down substantially from the comparable weekend last year, when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice launched with $166 million, will actually be off just 20%, and 2017 remains 5% ahead of 2016 year-to-date.
Power Rangers easily dominated the other two new releases during Thursday previews earning $3.6 million. In fact, this is barely lower than the $3.7 million Kong: Skull Island earned just a couple of weeks ago. Does this mean Power Rangers will open with a similar amount, say $60 million? No. The film’s reviews are much weaker and the film has a much stronger Fanboy Effect. It does have a real shot at $40 million over the weekend, but our $37 million prediction seems like a safe bet at the moment. If the film is earning better legs, we will adjust this figure tomorrow.
There are three wide releases this week, but none of them have a shot at topping Beauty and the Beast at the box office. In fact, all three films combined won’t make as much as Beauty and the Beast does this weekend. Of the three wide releases, Power Rangers has the best chance of box office success and it does have a shot at $100 million domestically. Life could become a midlevel hit and since it likely cost a lot less to make, it could be a bigger financial success. Finally there’s CHiPs, which has gained no traction with audiences. It will likely miss the top five. This weekend last year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened with a then March record of $166.01 million. Nothing playing this weekend will match that. Beauty and the Beast might not make half that. Fortunately, 2017 has a $100 million lead on 2016, so one bad weekend in the year-over-year comparison won’t do too much damage.
There are three wide releases next weekend: Power Rangers, Life, and CHiPs. However, none of them are expected to match Beauty and the Beast’s second weekend of release. That said, Power Rangers is widely expected to be the biggest of the three films and it is the best 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 Power Rangers.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a Frankenprise consisting of their choice of either one TV on DVD release, two movies, or a kids package (could be a theatrical release, a couple of single-disc TV on DVD releases, or a full season TV on DVD release).
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a Frankenprize, as described above.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will win the final Frankenprize, as described above.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
February was an okay month. The films that missed expectations were mostly balanced by the films that were pleasant surprises. Unfortunately, last February was amazing as Deadpool dominated the chart, so 2017 has fallen further behind 2016 and 2016’s lead is now about $100 million. It is not so bad that a good March won’t help 2017 back into the lead. Will that happen? We have some good news and some bad news. Good news: Every week there is one movie that has at least a shot at $100 million. Two of them, Logan and Beauty and the Beast, could reach $200 million or a lot more. Bad News: last March, both Zootopia and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earned more than $300 million. That’s a really powerful one-two punch and I don’t think we can replicate that this time around. On the other hand, last March, the third best film of the month was 10 Cloverfield Lane, while there were four films that were expected to open wide that earned less than $10 million at the box office. 2017 likely won’t be as good at the top, but I also don’t think it will have as many bombs either. If Beauty and the Beast reaches the very high end of expectations, then 2017 could even close the gap with 2016 entirely. I’ll be happy getting halfway there.
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