Coming off a huge Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, theaters are likely going to be noticeably quieter beginning January 24th. The only brand-new nationwide release is I, Frankenstein, and expectations are fairly low for the gothic fantasy flick. As a result, last weekend's comedy smash Ride Along should easily hold on to first place in its second outing.
Playing at 2,753 locations, I, Frankenstein is a revisionist take on the Frankenstein story that finds the monster (played here by Aaron Eckhart) battling supernatural forces in the present day. Its connection to Mary Shelley's novel is tenuous at best; instead, I, Frankenstein is cut from the same cloth as Underworld. Aside from the January release date, similarities with that decade-old franchise includes the dark color palette, the fantasy action, supporting actor Bill Nighy, and a handful of producers.
Marketing has targeted males with placements during the NFL playoffs, and there's also been a substantial amount of outreach to Hispanic audiences. Advertisements play up the aforementioned Underworld connection, which makes sense given that all four of those movies opened north of $20 million. However, while some portion of that franchise's fanbase will surely give I, Frankenstein a look, other potential viewers are likely to be turned off by the vague story and the clash between the dead-serious tone and the silly imagery.
Aside from the Underworld franchise, other similar January releases include Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters ($19.7 million), Legion ($17.5 million) and Daybreakers ($15.1 million). Lionsgate, which has limited financial exposure on the $65 million production, is only expecting around $10 million.
Roadside Attractions is releasing Vanessa Hudgens drama Gimme Shelter in to 384 locations this weekend. Roadside has executed a handful of these moderate releases in the past few years; the majority open below $1 million, and it's safe to assume the same for Gimme Shelter.
Finally, two Oscar nominees are expanding nationwide this weekend. After earning over $10 million in two months in limited release, Nebraska finally expands nationwide this weekend. Playing at 968 locations, look for the Alexander Payne movie to earn between $1 and $2 million. Meanwhile, Dallas Buyers Club will be playing at 1,110 theaters, which is its widest release yet. Forecast (January 24-26): 1. Ride Along - $22 million (-47%) 2. I, Frankenstein - $13.8 million 3. The Nut Job - $13.6 million (-30%) 4. Lone Survivor - $13.2 million (-40%) 5. Jack Ryan - $8.9 million (-42%) 6. Frozen - $9.5 million (-19%) Bar for Success With a substantial budget and a solid marketing push, I, Frankenstein ought to be opening to at least $15 million this weekend.