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Weekend Predictions: Welcome to the Jungle

April 15th, 2016

The Jungle Book

Hollywood's attempt to redefine the start of summer as "some time in April" continue this week with the release of The Jungle Book. This film is expected to dominate the box office this weekend and possibly next weekend as well. Barbershop: The Next Cut is also expected to do well, perhaps earning the biggest opening in the franchise, not taking into account inflation. Finally there's Criminal, which should just be happy with a spot in the top five. This weekend last year, Furious 7 led the way, but Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Unfriended were close behind. Fortunately, it looks like The Jungle Book will earn more than those three made combined. 2016 should have a good week on the year-over-year comparison.

The Jungle Book is expected to have no trouble earning first place over the weekend. There are certainly plenty of positive signs. For example, the film's early reviews started out at 100% positive and while it has fallen, its Tomatometer Score is still a stunning 94% positive. Furthermore, the film's international debut was strong, performing better than Cinderella did last year. This puts $67.88 million as the lower end of expectations. On the high end, it could match Fast Five for third place on the list of biggest April weekends. I hope the high end is correct, but I think being a little more cautious is a better idea. Look for an opening of $72 million.

It has been more than a decade since a film in the Barbershop franchise was in theaters. Delayed sequels have a mixed track record at the box office, but Barbershop: The Next Cut should do quite well. Firstly, the first two movies were both solid midlevel hits. Secondly, there's not a lot of direct competition in theaters. Thirdly, its reviews are stellar at 92% positive. Maybe it will become the biggest opening film in the franchise at $25 million or more, but I think being a little more cautious is wiser. I'm predicting between $22 million and $23 million.

The Boss managed to grab first place last weekend, but it will be pushed into third place this weekend. The reviews are awful, but there is no direct competition coming out this weekend. The target audience also skews towards more mature women, which tend to not rush out to theaters opening weekend and that could also help. The film will match its production budget on Thursday and then add another $12 million to $13 million over the weekend. That puts it on pace to break even sooner rather than later.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice reached $300 million on Wednesday, its 20th day of release. By comparison, Deadpool took 23 days to get to $300 million. On the other hand, Deadpool earned $2.21 million during its 20th day of release, while BvS earned $1.25 million. BvS is still ahead of Deadpool's running tally $301.20 million to $292.65 million. There's a slim chance that lead will evaporate over the weekend. BvS is losing about 15% of its theater count on Friday and there are some who think it will earn less than $10 million over the next three days. I'm not that pessimistic, but I'm also not very bullish. I'm going with a prediction of $11 million over the weekend.

Zootopia should earn another $9 million over the weekend helping it cross $300 million in the process.

The final wide release of the week is Criminal, which is a high-concept film that is just not connecting with critics. It also has almost no buzz and it will likely slip between the cracks with two much better wide releases coming out this week. Worst case scenario, the film opens below the Mendoza Line with $5 million or less. Best case scenario, it manages to just grab a spot in the top five with $10 million. I'm going with $7 million.

- The Jungle Book comparisons
- Barbershop: The Next Cut comparisons
- Criminal comparisons
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Jungle Book, Zootopia, Criminal, The Boss, Barbershop: The Next Cut, Barbershop