'Don't Breathe' to Stifle Weekend Box Office as Summer 2016 Winds Down

by Brad Brevet

August 25, 2016

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $10 million on Friday, Screen Gems' Don't Breathe took the #1 spot with ease and will breeze through to a weekend win around $22 million. Meanwhile, Jason Statham's Mechanic: Resurrection pulled in an estimated $2.6 million on Friday and is expected to bring in $6.5-7 million for the three-day weekend.

Roadside and Miramar's Southside with You brought in approximately $1 million on Friday and is expected to bring in $2.6-3 million for the weekend while the Weinstein's Hands of Stone brought in an estimated $624k and should finish right around $1.5-1.8 for the three day.

You can check out our chart of Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a full recap of the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films' Don't Breathe brought in $1.875 million from Thursday night screenings in ~2,500 theaters. This is just ahead of the $1.8 million Lights Out brought in on Thursday night before opening with $21.6 million and well ahead of the $1.02 million The Visit brought in last September before opening with $25.4 million. It's also 2.2x more than Sinister 2 brought in last August before opening with $10.5 million.

Lionsgate's Mechanic: Resurrection delivered $390,000 from 1,800 locations a number comparable to the $375,000 brought in by The Transporter Refueled last September before it went on to open with $7.35 million. Another good comparison is last year's Hitman: Agent 47 which brought in $600,000 last August before opening with $8.3 million.

We'll be updating this article tomorrow with Friday estimates, just below is our complete weekend preview and forecast.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: This being the penultimate week in the summer movie season it has become clear things are winding down. Not only have all the "big" summer titles been released, this will be the first weekend since late April where the top twelve at the box office won't combine for more than $100 million. That said, this weekend's top twelve will still show improvement over the same weekend last year, perhaps by as much as 20%.

Of the week's new releases contributing to the weekend's total, the box office will be led by the R-rated horror Don't Breathe while Jason Statham's reprisal of Arthur Bishop in Mechanic: Resurrection is looking at a finish outside the top five. Also holding interests this weekend are the moderate releases of the Weinstein's boxing drama Hands of Stone, and Roadside and Miramax's partnering on Southside with You as well as the continued expansion of Hell or High Water, which is adding another 437 theaters this weekend.

Certain to finish first is the well-received SXSW standout Don't Breathe from director Fede Alvarez who once again teams with producer Sam Raimi, whom he last worked with when he directed the 2013 remake of Raimi's horror classic Evil Dead. Alvarez co-wrote the script with his Evil Dead partner Rodo Sayagues and reviews are holding strong with a 89% rating on RottenTomatoes. Made on a budget just shy of $10 million, Screen Gems is remaining very conservative with their expectations, plotting an opening around $11-12 million, but reviews, word of mouth and comparing the film's daily performance on IMDb against competitive titles suggests a much higher opening.

Looking at IMDb performance data, from a competitive standpoint Don't Breathe is performing below 2015's The Visit and the five-week-old release of Lights Out. Both films went on to open over $20 million with The Visit delivering an impressive, $25.4 million opening last September. The obvious difference between those two films and Don't Breathe, however, is the R-rating.

Compared to R-rated titles such as Sinister 2 and As Above / So Below, Don't Breathe has the advantage not only when examining IMDb performance at the same point in the release cycle but also in terms of reviews with the Sinister sequel earning a measly 13% on RottenTomatoes and As Above scoring 25%. Adding fuel to the fire, online ticket retailer reports Don't Breathe is out-pacing both Lights Out and The Visit at the same point in the Fandango sales cycle suggesting an opening anywhere from $18-21 million is a very strong possibility.

As for Jason Statham's Mechanic: Resurrection, which co-stars Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones, the sequel is looking like it could be Statham's lowest grossing opener since The Bank Job, which opened in 655 fewer theaters and brought in $5.9 million back in 2008.

Based on the performance of 2016's sequels, which are opening, on average, 14.5% below their predecessors, Resurrection would be looking at an opening around $9.8 million when compared to the $11.4 million opening for The Mechanic back in 2011. Don't expect that to happen. Heading into the weekend industry projections are expecting something in the $6-8 million range, we're anticipating this one to finish on the lower end of those projections.

Next we come to Southside with You and Hands of Stone, which are opening in 811 and 810 theaters respectively. Southside tells the story of the first date of Barack and Michelle Obama and was quite the hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival which is where it was acquired for distribution by Miramax and Roadside. The two companies partnered on Mr. Holmes last year, which they opened in mid-July in just 361 theaters and grossed $2.4 million in the first three days of release. While that doesn't mean Southside will be looking to double that figure as it is playing in more than double the theaters, it does open up the possibility to a weekend that could open with $2.5-3 million.

Hands of Stone is a little more difficult to sort out. While Southside had the strong Sundance performance and currently holds a 91% rating on RottenTomatoes, Hands of Stone finished production in 2014 and didn't have its premiere until this year's Cannes Film Festival where reviews were middling at best as it now holds a meager 40% rating on RottenTomatoes. Starring Edgar Ramirez, Robert De Niro and Usher, the film was expected to open in 2,000 theaters this weekend until Weinstein dialed that back to just over 800 at the beginning of the week. An opening around $2 million seems like a relatively safe bet for the weekend as Weinstein is planning on going wide next Wednesday, ahead of Labor Day weekend.

Outside of the weekend's new wide releases we have the continued expansion of CBS Films and Lionsgate's Hell or High Water, which delivered $2.69 million last weekend from 472 theaters. The film expands to 909 theaters (+437) this weekend and should find itself topping that figure with a weekend right around $2-2.5 million.

In limited release Sony Classics will premiere The Hollars in four theaters; FilmBuff is releasing Level Up in 27 theaters; A24 will release Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees in two theaters; and Well Go is set to release Tunnel, which has finished #1 at the Korean box office over the past two weekend taking in over $37 million.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Don't Breathe (3,051 theaters) - $20.5 M
  • Suicide Squad (3,582 theaters) - $9.6 M
  • Kubo and the Two Strings (3,279 theaters) - $8.3 M
  • Sausage Party (3,135 theaters) - $7.5 M
  • War Dogs (3,258 theaters) - $6.8 M
  • Pete's Dragon (3,244 theaters) - $6.6 M
  • Mechanic: Resurrection (2,258 theaters) - $5.9 M
  • Ben-Hur (3,084 theaters) - $5.2 M
  • Bad Moms (2,565 theaters) - $4.8 M
  • Jason Bourne (2,435 theaters) - $4.3 M

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DAILY: Friday, 'Super Troopers 2' #1
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