Will 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Top 'Spider-Man' for #1 at the Weekend Box Office?
by Brad Brevet
July 13, 2017
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $22.1 million on Friday, War for the Planet of the Apes is on its way to a #1 finish at the weekend box office, though it's looking to fall short of Mojo's forecast. Current industry expectations are for a finish anywhere from $56-58 million, though that could bump up a bit considering it's still playing a bit ahead of where Kong: Skull Island was after it brought in $20.1 million on its first day and went on to gross $61 million. Even better, War received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences compared to Kong's "B+".
Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Homecoming delivered an estimated $13.6 million in its second Friday, looking to call closer to 60% in its sophomore frame than 50% for a weekend around $47.5 million.
Expanding this weekend, Lionsgate and Amazon's The Big Sick brought in an estimated $2.47 million from 2,597 theaters (+2,271) and is looking at a weekend around $8 million, again short of Mojo's forecast.
Finally, Broad Green's Wish Upon needs a few more wishes as it could only manage an estimated $2.3 million on Friday and is looking at an opening around $5.5 million. The film received a "C" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: War for the Planet of the Apes got off to a strong start from Thursday night previews, delivering $5.012 million from shows beginning last night at 7PM in 3,251 locations. By comparison this tops the $4.1 million preview gross for Dawn of the Apes, which resulted in a $72.6 million opening as well as the $3.7 million preview gross for Kong: Skull Island earlier this year, which led to a $61 million opening.
As for Broad Green's Wish Upon, it delivered $376,000 from previews beginning at 7PM in 1,650 theaters. The film goes wide into 2,250 theaters today.
We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.
WEEKEND PREVIEW: On the heels of a strong opening weekend for Spider-Man: Homecoming last weekend, and solid daily results thus far, Fox is delivering War for the Planet of the Apes into over 4,000 theaters this weekend, hoping to also stay clear of the summer franchise slump. Additionally, Broad Green will debut the PG-13 horror feature Wish Upon while Amazon and Lionsgate expand the release of The Big Sick into over 2,500 theaters in its fourth weekend of release.
While Tim Burton's attempt to revive the Planet of the Apes franchise in 2001 failed to generate a new series of films, Fox's next attempt, which began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011, is another story. After Rise delivered over $480 million worldwide, the 2014 sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, brought in over $710 million worldwide, including over $200 million domestically. Rise opened with $54.8 million domestically in 2011 and Dawn saw a healthy increase three years later, debuting with $72.6 million and now War for the Planet of the Apes arrives with the best reviews of the franchise so far, but will it translate into the best opening of the franchise?
Like Sony's $80 million estimate for Spider-Man last weekend before it debuted with $113 million, Fox appears to be low-balling expectations, suggesting a $50 million opening from 4,022 theaters, 55 more theaters than Dawn debuted in. As for that anticipated opening, it's perhaps fitting the only metric we're looking at that suggests an opening that low is based on the average opening for Fox titles debuting in a similar number of theaters. Otherwise, we're seeing much different numbers.
Looking at historical averages for films opening in a similar number of theaters, metrics such as MPAA rating, genre, release month and that impressive 82 rating on Metacritic suggest an opening anywhere from $59-87 million is in the offing. While we aren't leaning so far as to expect an opening as high as $87 million, a debut that threatens or surpasses Dawn's $72.6 million doesn't seem at all unlikely.
Looking at IMDb page view data, comparisons to films such as Kong: Skull Island ($61m opening), Star Trek Beyond ($59m opening), Godzilla ($93m opening) and Dawn of the Apes showed War actually pacing ahead of Kong for most of the time leading up to release and in the past couple days all of those films have tended to bunch together in terms of performance with only Godzilla standing out as a clear outlier.
All told, audiences have clearly grown to enjoy this franchise as Dawn saw increased support over Rise and with early reviews of War being the best of the franchise there is no reason to expect this one won't debut with anything less than $70 million. While it is a possibility it comes up short due to the fact it is sharing the marketplace with Spider-Man, it's very unlikely it will debut with the $50 million the studio is suggesting.
Internationally the film is getting the widest release by a large margin when compared to Rise and Dawn, which debuted in 25 and 26 markets respectively. Instead, War will go out to over 60 international markets this weekend including the UK, India, Italy, Russia, Spain and Hong Kong.
After its strong opening weekend last week, look for Spider-Man: Homecoming to deliver a second place finish this weekend. Considering the fact it's sharing the marketplace with War for the Planet of the Apes it's tough to determine just how much it affects the two films, but we're anticipating a drop no more than 50% or so for a second weekend around $57 million as the film will look to push toward $220 million domestically after ten days in release.
Universal and Illumination's Despicable Me 3 should continue its solid run with a drop around 43% and a third weekend that could top $19 million as it inches closer to $200 million domestically.
Fourth place is where we expect to find Lionsgate's release of Amazon Studios' romantic comedy The Big Sick. The film has done great business in limited release over the past three weeks and it's going big this weekend as it expands into 2,597 theaters (+2,271). There aren't many films to compare to that have seen this kind of jump around the four week mark and those that have aren't necessarily the best comps. Films such as Hidden Figures, Patriots Day, The Revenant, American Sniper and Sicario don't exactly shout "rom-com" leaving a film such as St. Vincent as what may be the best comparison, though it didn't perform as well in limited release, diminishing the value of that comparison.
That being said, we're shooting a little from the hip with this forecast, but a performance anywhere from $11-13 million doesn't seem at all unreasonable given the support the film has received. Not only is The Big Sick sporting a stellar 87 rating on Metacritic, it has seen its user rating on IMDb climb as more and more people see it, which bodes well for word of mouth.
Rounding out the top five we have Tristar's Baby Driver pulling in around $8 million for the weekend with the off chance it settles a little higher once all is said and done. The film has already grossed nearly $63 million, which is more than double director Edgar Wright's previously highest grossing domestic release, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which completed its run with $31.5 million. This weekend it will top $70 million domestically after 19 days in theaters.
Outside the top five, and hoping to possibly leap frog Baby Driver and finish in fifth, is Broad Green's release of the PG-13 horror Wish Upon. The $12 million production is releasing in 2,250 theaters this weekend and industry expectations peg the film for a debut in the high single digit millions. Reviews for the film didn't start arriving online until this morning and early indication is they aren't going to help much considering the early score of 26 on Metacritic. While there is a chance this one delivers as much as $8+ million it could also finish closer to $5.5 million, so we'll settle somewhere in the middle and anticipate a $7 million debut and see what happens once the dust settles.
Finally, Wonder Woman should add another $6 million or so as the superhero feature approaches $380 million domestically and should soon surpass the domestic run of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to become the highest grossing superhero release of summer 2017.
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.
- War for the Planet of the Apes (4,022 theaters) - $70.0 M
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (4,348 theaters) - $57.3 M
- Despicable Me 3 (4,155 theaters) - $19.2 M
- The Big Sick (2,597 theaters) - $11.5 M
- Baby Driver (3,043 theaters) - $8.1 M
- Wish Upon (2,250 theaters) - $7.0 M
- Wonder Woman (2,744 theaters) - $6.9 M
- Transformers: The Last Knight (2,323 theaters) - $2.9 M
- Cars 3 (2,049 theaters) - $2.8 M
- The House (1,633 theaters) - $1.7 M
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