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'Dark Tower' Looks to Top Slow Weekend as Summer Slump Continues

by Brad Brevet
 

 
August 3, 2017

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Things are mostly shaping up as expected as of right now with The Dark Tower bringing in an estimated $7.7 million on Friday heading toward an opening around $18-19 million.

Aviron's Kidnap is performing on the higher side of expectations, delivering an estimated $3.68 million on Friday on its way to an opening around $10 million.

Finally, Annapurna's nationwide release of Detroit is falling well short of our forecast after bring in an estimated $2.6 million on Friday, likely to finish around $7 million for the weekend.

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: The Dark Tower delivered $1.8 million from 2,770 Thursday early shows starting at 7:19 PM. This is a bit ahead of the $1.7 million Valerian brought in just a couple weeks ago from screenings beginning at 5 PM in a similar number of theaters ahead of its $17 million opening weekend, it's also right on par with the $1.8 million Ghost in the Shell brought in before its $18.6 million debut suggesting early industry expectations of a debut in the high teens seem about right.

Annapurna's Detroit expanded its reach yesterday evening ahead of its nationwide expansion beginning today and brought in $525,000 from preview showings. This is an improvement on the $365k brought in by Free State of Jones ahead of its $7.5 million opening weekend as well as the $350,000 The Birth of a Nation brought in before opening with $7 million. It's also an improvement on the $400k in preview grosses Selma brought in ahead of its $11.3 million nationwide expansion.

Aviron's Kidnap brought in $500k from previews last night, which began at 7PM in ~1,900 locations. This matches the preview gross for Jennifer Lopez's The Boy Next Door, which debuted with $14.9 million and is an improvement on the $455k preview for Liam Neeson's Run All Night, which opened with $11 million and is short of the $585k brought in by The Gift in 2015 before it debuted with $11.8 million.

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: Around this time last year Suicide Squad debuted to the tune of $133.6 million and gave the 2016 summer movie season a much-needed jolt. This year the summer movie season is in the midst of a slump, off nearly 9% compared to last year and don't expect this weekend to turn things around. Sony's adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower should top the box office, but only with an opening around $20 million while fellow new wide release Kidnap appears unlikely to crack double digits. Meanwhile, Annapurna will deliver Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit nationwide following its limited release last weekend as it looks for a spot in the weekend top five among the holdovers.

Back in 2010, Universal set a 2013 release date for The Dark Tower. At the time, Ron Howard was set to direct the Stephen King adaptation and there was talk of telling King's sci-fi fantasy story across both film and television. Eventually, that version fell by the wayside and the project ultimately landed at Sony while a complimentary TV series is in the works with co-financier MRC. While the television series recently secured a showrunner, the feature film may be looking at an uphill battle this weekend as weak reviews and low expectations don't bode well for its opening weekend prospects.

Carrying a reported $60 million, The Dark Tower will debut in 3,451 theaters with the studio anticipating an opening around $19 million. While that is being looked at as a conservative estimate, a lot of what we're looking at suggests it might not be too far off. When it comes to films in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre released by Sony the average opening is around $24 million and the same goes for Sony titles that carry a Metacritic rating around The Dark Tower's current score of 34. Additionally, IMDb page view data leading up to release shows it performing similarly to films such as Ghost in the Shell ($18.6m opening) and Jupiter Ascending ($18.3m opening). It's even performing similarly to the last King adaptation to hit theaters, 2013's Carrie, which launched in October 2013 with $16.1 million.

What could push Dark Tower closer to the $24 million mark is the sheer fan anticipation for this long awaited adaptation. Whether it's enough to push it that high remains to be seen. Our forecast is looking at an opening range anywhere from $17-23 million with $20 million serving as something of an optimistic forecast. We'll get our first look at how things are shaping up tomorrow morning following Thursday night preview screenings, which are taking place in 2,750 theaters, beginning at 7:19 PM, the 19 being an ode to King lore.

Internationally, Dark Tower debuts in Russia this weekend along with smaller eastern European and southeast Asian markets. The roll-out will continue in Europe next week, with releases in the UK, Australia and Latin America coming in late August.

After two weekends at #1, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk will likely finish this weekend in the runner-up position as it will be adding 266 theaters in its third weekend in release, eyeing $16+ million from over 4,000 locations. The film's domestic cume should top $130 million by the end of the weekend as it's international total crossed $150 million yesterday.

Sony's animated feature The Emoji Movie was able to open with nearly $25 million last weekend despite highly negative reviews and received a "B" CinemaScore from its opening day audiences. Yet, a lot of focus has been placed all week on the "A-" score the kids in attendance gave the film, which begs the question, Just how much does word of mouth spread by children affect a film's second weekend?

The average second weekend drop for other animated films that have received a "B" CinemaScore is 44%, which is right in line with the second weekend drop for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, though that film did open with over $55 million, which would suggest a slightly smaller drop for Emoji. A closer comparison might be to The Nut Job, which dipped 38% in its second weekend after a $19.4 million opening, all to suggest a drop around 42% or so and a second weekend around $14 million isn't too unreasonable an expectation, which would put The Emoji Movie's domestic cume over $50 million by end of day Sunday.

In fourth position we find the impressive performance for Universal's R-rated comedy Girls Trip, which dropped just 37% last weekend and is likely to hang right around that percentage again this weekend. After the film earned an "A+" CinemaScore, that second weekend drop was just a tad higher than the average 35% drop for films opening in over 2,000 theaters that also received an "A+" CinemaScore. The average third weekend dip for the same group of films is just 34% and we'll be sticking close to that average for our forecast this weekend, anticipating a second weekend nearing $13 million, pushing the film over $85 million domestically.

Rounding out the top five we expect to find the nationwide expansion of Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit, which debuted in 20 theaters last weekend and averaged $17,510 per. This weekend it expands into over 3,000 locations with sights set on a double digit three-day. Industry tracking pegs the film in the low teens for this weekend, which would appear to be the high-end of expectations based on what we're looking at.

One of the big factors facing Detroit is the idea of launching an adult-targeted drama in the summer. This, of course, paid off for Dunkirk, but there is clearly a difference between the two films, such as the nearly $70 million budgetary gap. Comparisons to films such as Fruitvale Station ($4.6m wide opening) and last year's June release of Free State of Jones ($7.5m opening) are two such titles that come to mind. Of course, the Fruitvale debut was in just over 1,000 theaters and a similar per theater average would put Detroit right at that $13 million mark while the Free State of Jones comparison stumbles under the weight of its critical reception as it is rated a 43 on Metacritic compared to the 80 Detroit currently holds.

To compare IMDb page view performance, Detroit is pacing well ahead of both Jones and Fruitvale as well as ahead of The Birth of a Nation. That being said, we're being cautiously optimistic, anticipating an opening around $12.5 million as an opening anywhere from $8.5-14 million isn't out of the question.

Outside the top five is where we find the weekend's third new wide release, that being Kidnap, which was picked up by newly-formed Aviron Pictures after the film bounced around the release schedule while housed at Relativity. Starring Halle Berry, the film will debut in 2,378 locations this weekend with Aviron anticipating an opening around $8 million. Based on comparable titles that's a reasonable figure, and while looking at IMDb page view data shows it pacing well behind Berry's 2013 thriller The Call, which debuted with $17.1 million, the difference between the two suggests a possible surge as high as $10 million. Our forecast is sticking closer to industry expectations, but there's a chance for this one to play a bit better than expected.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight is releasing Step into 29 locations and The Weinstein Co. will debut Taylor Sheridan's latest, Wind River, into four locations.

Elsewhere, this weekend will see Spider-Man: Homecoming inch ever-so-close to $300 million domestically while Wonder Woman will likely come up just a bit shy of $400 million domestically, though it will reach that milestone early next week.

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.

  • The Dark Tower (3,451 theaters) - $20.0 M
  • Dunkirk (4,014 theaters) - $16.3 M
  • The Emoji Movie (4,075 theaters) - $14.2 M
  • Girls Trip (2,580 theaters) - $12.8 M
  • Detroit (3,007 theaters) - $12.5 M
  • Atomic Blonde (3,326 theaters) - $9.7 M
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (3,116 theaters) - $8.8 M
  • Kidnap (2,378 theaters) - $8.0 M
  • War for the Planet of the Apes (2,704 theaters) - $6.1 M
  • Despicable Me 3 (2,443 theaters) - $4.3 M

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.



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