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Weekend Predictions: Kung Fu vs. Sniper

January 28th, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3

There are three, three and a half, wide releases coming out this week. (I've seen reports that Jane Got a Gun is opening in 600 to 1,200 theaters. Even the high end will likely keep it out of the top ten.) Of the three truly wide releases, only Kung Fu Panda 3 is expected to be a significant hit. In fact, it will likely earn more than the rest of the top five combined. On the other hand, The Finest Hours will likely bomb compared to its $85 million production budget, while Fifty Shades of Black will be a financial hit only because its production budget is very low. This means for Kung Fu Panda 3 the only real competition is from last year, when American Sniper earned $30.66 million. Kung Fu Panda 3 should top that by about $20 million. Additionally, no other film earned more than $10 million last year, while this year there could be five films in the top five reaching that mark. 2016 should bounce back in the year-over-year comparison after two soft weeks.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third film in the franchise. The first two films were released with prime summer release dates. This one is opening in January. Normally that would be a sign that something went horribly wrong. However, the reviews are excellent and its Tomatometer Score is over 80% positive. There's a very slim chance that Kung Fu Panda 3 will double American Sniper's take from this weekend last year. That would be fantastic. However, just over $50 million is more likely and that will still be an incredible start for this time of year. In fact, it would break the record for biggest January opening by $10 million.

The Revenant will get pushed well back into second place with just under $11 million. This will raise its running tally to $135 million, matching its production budget.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens should be close behind with just over $10 million. It is getting very close to $900 million domestically and $2 billion worldwide.

The Finest Hours is a disaster movie set during a real life maritime disaster. ... It's In the Heart of the Sea, but with a weaker release date and weaker competition. The reviews started out weak, the first four to appear on Rotten Tomatoes were all negative. However, since then, its Tomatometer Score has risen to 57% positive, which is actually really good for this time of year. On the other hand, the buzz is bad and I think it will open with just under $10 million. That's a disaster for a film that cost $85 million to make.

Fifty Shades of Black is the latest spoof starring and co-written by Marlon Wayans. He's been in some big hits, but also some real duds. Sadly, it appears this will be one of the duds. There are still no reviews and the buzz is equal parts quiet and bad. It could surprise and challenge for second place, but fifth place with just over $8 million is more likely.

Finally there's Jane Got a Gun. To say this film had a troubled development is putting it mildly. When a distributor goes bankrupt, you know a film has had a rough go. Sadly, it looks like the film suffered as a result of these problems. There are only three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and all three are negative. Furthermore, the film's theater count is estimated at 1,200, at most. Even if we go with the high end of the theater count, the film is unlikely to reach the top ten and it would only need a $6 million opening to get there. I'm going with an opening weekend of $4 million.

- Kung Fu Panda 3 Comparisons
- The Finest Hours Comparisons
- Fifty Shades of Black Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, In the Heart of the Sea, Kung Fu Panda 3, Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens, Jane Got a Gun, The Revenant, The Finest Hours, Fifty Shades of Black, Kung Fu Panda, Marlon Wayans