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Weekend Predictions: Along for the Ride

January 14th, 2016

Ride Along 2

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will finally relinquish its hold on the weekend box office and there are three new releases looking to grab as much of the box office share as they can. Ride Along 2 is the film with the best shot at first place, assuming its reviews don't kill it. The Revenant should have one of the best week-to-week declines, thanks in part to its Awards Season success. 13 Hours looks like a solid top-five film, but not a major hit, while Norm of the North is just hoping not to embarrass itself. This weekend last year, American Sniper expanded wide and set the record for biggest January weekend. That record fell earlier this year, but that's not a lot of comfort for this weekend, as all three new releases combined won't match American Sniper's haul. 2016's winning streak will end at two weeks. Hopefully the upcoming losing streak won't be much longer than that.

When I first looked at Ride Along 2's reviews, there was one review and it was positive. Since then, there have been 17 negative reviews in a row. Ouch. There is some good news to be found here. The original was almost as bad and it earned a $42 million / $49 million opening during the three-day / four-day weekend. Sequels tend to get off to faster starts than their predecessors, but have shorter legs. This could help Ride Along 2 earn over $50 million during this four-day weekend. However, bad reviews the first time and even worse reviews this time will likely result in a drop-off. I'm going with $42 million, but that's over the full four-day long weekend.

The Revenant should remain in second place. Its reviews and its Awards Season success should help it over the weekend. Look for $31 million over the four-day weekend putting it close to $90 million in total. It will crack $100 million shortly, which is a good milestone to reach, but the film cost $135 million to make. It will need to make $300 million worldwide to have a shot at breaking even any time soon. A lot of Oscar wins will likely be enough to get there.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens should be next with $30 million over four days putting it past $850 million domestically. This is more than all but one previous film in the franchise earned globally. Granted, the other films all came out before markets like Russia, Brazil, and especially China were as big as they are today.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is doing the opposite of Ride Along 2. The first four reviews were negative, but since then its Tomatometer Score has climbed past 60% positive. Its buzz is okay, but nothing more. It should earn a theater average of $10,000, over the four-day weekend. With an opening theater count of 2,400 that would give it an opening weekend of $25 million. Not bad for this time of year, but below Michael Bay's average.

Daddy's Home should round out the top five with $12 million, again over four days. It is on pace for $150 million domestically, which should be enough for a very solid profit.

The final wide release of the week is Norm of the North, which might miss the Mendoza Line over the three-day weekend. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and the buzz is really quiet and very negative. Then again, it is a family film so the people complaining that the film looks cheap are probably not in the target demographic. I've seen predictions as low as $5 million and as high as just over $10 million. Even the high end would be a bad opening, but $5 million would be a disaster. I'm going with an opening four-day weekend of $8 million, but I fear I am being too generous.

- Ride Along 2 Comparisons
- 13 Hours Comparisons
- Norm of the North Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Norm of the North, Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens, Ride Along 2, The Revenant, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Daddy’s Home, Star Wars, Michael Bay