Meanwhile, the only new wide release this weekend was Screen Gems' Underworld: Blood Wars, which debuted with an estimated $4.85 million, headed toward a $13-14 million opening. The film scored a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
Additionally, Focus's expansion of A Monster Calls scored an "A" CinemaScore from audiences, but that crowd was limited as it pulled in an estimated $659,000 from 1,523 theaters, headed toward a $1.9 million three-day.
You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back on Sunday morning with a complete wrap-up.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Thursday night preview results are coming in and after two weeks in limited release, Hidden Figures goes nationwide this weekend into 2,471 theaters and last night it got a jump start on its wide release weekend hauling in an impressive $1.2 million from ~2,250 theaters. For comparison, Son of God brought in $1.2 million in previews before opening with $25.6 million back in 2014.
Screen Gems's Underworld: Blood Wars didn't hold preview screenings and Focus has opted to not report Thursday preview grosses for A Monster Calls, but they will still be rolled into Friday's gross.
We will be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates and you can read our weekend preview below
WEEKEND PREVIEW: It's the first weekend of a new year as the holidays have come to a close, people are getting back to work and kids back to school. As such, releases such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Sing hope to successfully continue their holiday runs while films such as Fences and La La Land are just two Oscar hopefuls in release, aspiring for awards season glory and the corresponding box office receipts.
Meanwhile, Fox will expand the release of Hidden Figures nationwide after its strong performance in just 25 theaters over the last couple weeks and Focus will deliver A Monster Calls into over 1,500 theaters after its rather quiet, limited run. The only wholly new release hitting domestic theaters this weekend is Screen Gems' Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth film in the R-rated franchise, of which all but the first were January releases.
At the top for a fourth weekend in a row, Rogue One will continue to close in on $500 million domestically, most likely dropping around 40% this weekend for a three-day around $30 million. So far the standalone Star Wars feature is the second highest grossing release of 2016 and will soon pass Finding Dory's $486.2 million. Worldwide it totals just shy of $830 million as it inches closer to becoming the fourth 2016 release from Disney to top $1 billion globally as it opens in China this weekend.
Looking at a second place finish for the third weekend in a row is Universal and Illumination's Sing, which should also drop around 40% or thereabouts for a three-day weekend around $26 million as its domestic cume will attempt to top $220 million by the end of the day on Sunday.
In third is where we expect to find Hidden Figures, expanding into 2,471 theaters after generating nearly $3 million in its first 11 days in release while playing in just 25 theaters. Fox is anticipating an opening around $15-17 million for the $25 million production, which would be reasonable for most titles of this size, but given the buzz and solid reviews, a nationwide expansion around $20 million seems entirely doable. Direct comparisons based on content and release date aren't easy to come by, but to look at films such as The Butler, 42 and The Help, they all delivered $20+ million from ~2,500+ theaters. Adjusting for theater count and taking into account the fact Hidden Figures saw a significant improvement last weekend over the weekend prior, a weekend at or over $20 million doesn't seem at all unreasonable.
Screen Gems's Underworld: Blood Wars is looking at a fourth place finish as the $35 million production was made for half of the 2012 installment, Underworld: Awakening as the studio's focus appears to clearly be set on the film's global performance rather than its domestic.
Awakening opened in January 2012 with $25.3 million and went on to gross $62.3 million domestically, but overseas is where it made the bulk of its earnings, hauling in $97.8 million, almost double what Underworld: Evolution brought in from international markets in 2006 and more than enough to be the highest global earner in the franchise. By cutting the budget and once again securing Kate Beckinsale in the lead role the studio can put more of its focus into a global marketing campaign. As such, look for Blood Wars to open significantly lower than Evolution as the studio anticipates an opening in the low to mid-teens, which is perfectly within reason as it will otherwise be looking to add to the $42.1 million it has already brought in internationally since debuting overseas in late November.
Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate's awards season heavy La La Land as it more than doubles its theater count this weekend expanding into 1,515 theaters (+765), looking to bring in $11+ million for the three day, pushing its domestic cume over $50 million with plenty more to come. The studio is already counting on a big Golden Globe Sunday as the announcement it will begin playing in IMAX theaters next weekend hit the wire this morning.
Finally, this weekend also features the expansion of Focus's A Monster Calls into 1,523 theaters (+1,519) after a rather quiet run in four theaters over the last 13 days, generating just shy of $90,000 so far. It would be a bit of a shock were it able to top $3 million, which would typically be a reasonable expectation for a release of this size, but given how it has played so far it might have a hard time cracking $2 million.
This weekend also sees Martin Scorsese's Silence expand into 51 theaters ahead of its nationwide expansion next weekend. Ben Affleck's Live by Night will continue to play in four theaters this weekend before expanding nationwide into 2,700+ theaters next weekend and the same goes for Peter Berg's Patriots Day, which will continue to play in seven theaters this weekend and expand into ~2,900 theaters next weekend.
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.
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (4,157 theaters) - $30.0 M
- Sing (3,941 theaters) - $26.2 M
- Hidden Figures (2,471 theaters) - $20.0 M
- Underworld: Blood Wars (3,070 theaters) - $15.0 M
- La La Land (1,515 theaters) - $11.0 M
- Passengers (3,400 theaters) - $8.2 M
- Fences (2,368 theaters) - $7.2 M
- Moana (2,549 theaters) - $7.1 M
- Why Him? (2,904 theaters) - $6.2 M
- Assassin's Creed (2,642 theaters) - $4.7 M
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