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Weekend Predictions: Will Furious be Friendly to the New Releases?

April 16th, 2015

Unfriended poster

Furious 7 could be knocked out of top spot on the box office chart this weekend, as there are three wide releases coming out this week. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 appears to be the biggest and many think it will earn first place. However, its reviews are currently zero percent positive. Unfriended's reviews are still in the overall positive area, but I'm not sure how long that will last, as they've fallen quite a bit from earlier in the week. The only film with overwhelming positive reviews is Monkey Kingdom, which is opening in barely more than 2,000 theaters. This weekend last year, there were four wide releases and overall there were three films that earned $20 million or more. I think this weekend we could match that and that could give 2015 the victory in the year-over-year comparison. It could be close, on the other hand.

It appears there will be a close race for first place, but it also appears that Furious 7 is in the lead and should earn just over $30 million over the weekend. This would push its running tally to nearly $300 million and put it on pace to top American Sniper before its run is over. Nearly everyone thought this film would be a monster hit, but I don't think there were many who thought it would be this huge.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is the follow-up to 2009's Paul Blart. That film earned bad reviews, but still managed to set a record for a January release. This film is earning even worse reviews, but tracking suggests it will become at least a midlevel hit. On the high end, it could open in first place with close to $40 million. On the low end, it will open in third place with $25 million. I think the low end in more likely. Look for just under $30 million and second place.

Unfriended's early reviews were more than 80% positive, which is amazing for a horror film and / or an April release. Unfortunately, the buzz didn't grow as much as I was expecting, while its reviews have softened to just 71% positive. Don't get me wrong, that's still very good for the genre and this time of year. On the high end, the film could earn more than $25 million and compete for second place. On the low end, it will fail to get to $15 million. I think just over $20 million is a safe bet and likely twice what it cost to make.

Up next is Home, which will add between $11 million and $12 million over the weekend. This will leave the film short of $150 million by the end of the weekend; however, it will get to that milestone by the following weekend.

The Longest Ride will round out the top five with $7 million giving the film close to $24 million after two weeks of release. This is already nearly as much as Nicholas Sparks's previous film made in total, but still well short of what it needed to break even any time soon.

Monkey Kingdom is the latest nature documentary from DisneyNature. Like most of the rest of these films, this one is earning stunning reviews; however, nature documentaries still struggle at the box office. There are some who think it will open below the Mendoza Line, which would give the film a $4 million opening, or less. Even on the high end, it will only earn fifth place with under $10 million. I think sixth place with $6 million is more likely.

There are two other new films that have a shot at the top ten: Child 44 and True Story. True Story is opening in more theaters than expected, which is a really awkward theater count. It is too many for a targeted ad campaign, but too few to justify a national campaign. Add in the weak buzz and the middling reviews and it likely won't earn significantly more than $3 million. Child 44 is opening in just over 500 theaters with even weaker reviews. $2 million is probably out of the question, but it could come relatively close.


Filed under: Weekend Preview, Home, The Longest Ride, Furious 7, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Monkey Kingdom, Child 44, True Story, Unfriended, Nicholas Sparks