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Weekend Predictions: Will the New Releases Scare the Industry?

June 9th, 2016

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

If this weekend is as bad as some fear it will be, it could begin to cause a panic among some studio executives. Two of the three wide releases are sequels and there are some who expect both to fail to match their predecessors by significant margins. If this happens, we will have six sequels failing to match expectations during a four-week stretch. Worse still, there are more than six additional sequels left to open before the end of summer. (Finding Dory seems safe, but the rest could flop as well.) The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist should come out on top at the box office, but with less than the original made. Now You See Me 2 will likely continue Lionsgate's losing streak. Meanwhile, Warcraft could do well enough in China to justify a sequel, which is great news, because it will likely bomb here. This weekend last year, Jurassic World opened with $208 million. There's no way the entire box office will make that much this year. 2016 is going to get pummeled in the year-over-year comparison.

The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist is widely expected to earn first place over the weekend; however, there are some who think it won't earn $30 million in the process. I'm not that pessimistic, but I can also see where these people are coming from. First of all, the early reviews were excellent, but they've since fallen to 67% positive reviews. This is significantly weaker than the first film managed. Secondly, sequels are in a serious slump right now. Captain America: Civil War kicked off the summer blockbuster season and it is the last sequel to be an unqualified box office success. Finally, the last horror movie to hit theaters was The Darkness and no horror movie released in 2016 has managed to become even a midlevel hit. This could mean there is a lot of pent-up demand for the genre. Or it could mean the target audience for these films is just too small. Worst case scenario has the film earning $25 million over the weekend, which may or may not be enough for first place. Best case scenario has the film somehow managing to top the opening of the first film. I'm going with $35 million, but the more I think about it, the more I think the pessimistic people are right.

Lionsgate needs Now You See Me 2 to be a hit. The studio is in a slump and they are looking to turn this franchise into a trilogy. Now You See Me earned $350 million worldwide, but it only earned mixed reviews and that doesn't bode well for this film's chances. Furthermore, Now You See Me 2's reviews are even weaker at just 35% positive. There is still a chance it will challenge The Conjuring-2-The-Enfield-Poltergeist for first place with just over $30 million. However, I think an opening of under $30 million is more likely. I'm going with $28 million as a final prediction.

Warcraft is based on a video game series, which I've played from the beginning and was a huge fan for a long time. I still have my original Warcraft instruction manual. I once had seven max level characters on World of Warcraft, including a long-haired Gnome named Overfed. If you get that reference, you are a music nerd, or at least a bigger music nerd than anyone I played with. I also had a Dwarf Hunter that had a pet cat named Dennings. That's another reference that no one I played with got. That was a decade ago, before she got her big break. Anyhoo, what I'm saying is, I'm in the target audience for this film. However, I've never even finished watching one of the trailers, because it just never grabbed me. Sadly, the reviews back up my opinion of the trailers and it is one of the worst wide releases of the summer. The film's international numbers are mixed with some markets seeing impressive openings (Russia and China), but also some middling debuts as well (The U.K. and France). The buzz suggests the lower end is more likely than the higher end and a $25 million opening is likely all that we can expect. This is really bad for a film that cost $160 million to make, but its international numbers might save it anyway.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will fall from first to fourth place down more than 50% in the process. This gives the film a high end of about $17 million, but $16 million is more likely. The film will need strong international numbers to break even, which is possible.

X-Men: Apocalypse and Me Before You should be in a close race for fifth place with between $10 million and $11 million. Neither film has good reviews, but Me Before You does come out ahead in that regard. It also doesn't have to deal with direct competition and won't be losing theaters over the weekend. I think that will help it earn fifth place over the weekend, but again, it will be close.

- The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist Comparisons
- Now You See Me Comparisons
- Warcraft Comparisons

Filed under: Weekend Preview, Warcraft, X-Men: Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, Me Before You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Now You See Me 2, The Darkness, Now You See Me, Kat Dennings