'LEGO Batman', 'Fifty Shades Darker' & 'John Wick 2' Set to Light Up the Weekend Box Office
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Universal's Fifty Shades Darker led the way on Friday with an estimated $21.5 million, heading toward a three-day opening north of $46-50 million. Meanwhile, WB's The LEGO Batman Movie took in an estimated $15 million ($1.25m from IMAX showings) on Friday, which is a bit below expectation and is not looking as if it will be in a tight race with Fifty Shades, pulling in around $52+ million for the three day.

Lionsgate's John Wick: Chapter Two is performing mostly as expected, bringing in an estimated $11 million on Friday and looking like it just might top $30 million for the weekend.

ou 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: Universal's Fifty Shades Darker led the way last night, hauling in $5.72 million from Thursday evening previews, which began at 7PM and played in 3,710 theaters. This compares as expected to the first one, which brought in $8.6 million on Thursday night from 2,830 theaters.

WB's The LEGO Batman Movie brought in $2.2 million from ~3,400 theaters from previews beginning at 5PM. This is below the $2.7 million Monsters University kicked off its $82.4 million opening with and $500k better than Zootopia's $1.7 million Thursday evening last year before it went on to open with $75 million. As for the first LEGO film, it brought in a mere $400,000 on Thursday night and went on to open with $69 million.

Also pulling in $2.2 million from Thursday previews in 2,400 theaters last night was John Wick: Chapter 2, a significant improvement over the $870k the first film started with back in 2014. There isn't a lot to compare to in this range that fits the mold of R-rated actioner, but this is an $800k improvement on the $1.4 million Kingsman: The Secret Service started with back in February 2015 before opening with $36.2 million and $700k more than The Equalizer's Thursday preview session, which ended with a three-day weekend totaling $34.1 million, all of which paints a very good picture for John Wick 2 and the possibility it tops $30 million this weekend.

You can check out our weekend preview below and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: This weekend has a little something for just about everyone as the week's newcomers feature The LEGO Batman Movie for families, Universal's Fifty Shades Darker is the girls' night out offering and John Wick: Chapter Two delivers for action fans. On top of that, awards season titles including La La Land, Hidden Figures and Lion are still in theaters. All will contribute to what will be the largest weekend at the 2017 domestic box office yet, with the top twelve looking to combine for more than $180 million, a more-than-$50-million improvement over the best weekend thus far.

Heading toward an easy finish at #1, WB's The LEGO Batman Movie is the studio's second film in the LEGO franchise, which is already slated to continually expand with sequels and spin-offs set for release through 2019. Thing about this week's release, though, is it delivers not only a LEGO movie, but a Batman movie as well and to top it all off, it has been well-received by critics. The film lifts off into 4,088 theaters this weekend with Thursday previews beginning at 5PM and the reviews have it at a 94% on RottenTomatoes and a 75 on Metacritic. Budgeted at $80 million, the combination of factors above all point to a massive start this weekend.

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In terms of forecasting, the first, and most-obvious, comparison would be to 2014's The LEGO Movie, which debuted with $69 million. That said, looking at IMDb page view data, LEGO Batman is actually pacing a bit behind The LEGO Movie leading up to release. However, at the same time it is neck-and-neck with Zootopia and pacing ahead of Monsters University. This puts into perspective the amount of build-up there was leading to the release the first LEGO movie, but also leaves us to wonder if LEGO Batman can match Zootopia's $75 million opening or perhaps even climb as high as Monster University's $82.4m opening. A comparison to Despicable Me 2 is a little difficult given the Despicable Me sequel opened on a Wednesday, but LEGO Batman is right there with the $83.5 million opener (three-day) while pacing a considerable (and to-be-expected) distance behind Minions and its $115.7m July opening.

As for WB, they are being extremely conservative, anticipating a $60 million opening, which is a shade below the median when looking at what Mojo's pre-release model suggests, pegging the film at an opening anywhere from $56-$65.24 million based on a variety of factors, all compared to historical performances for animated features. All that said, we're going even higher with our forecast, anticipating an opening anywhere from $75-80 million based heavily on IMDb page view data, the goodwill earned from the first film and the Batman factor.

In second we're looking at a $40+ million opening for Fifty Shades Darker, which may raise a few eyebrows considering the $85.1 million opening for Fifty Shades of Grey back in 2015, but you have to consider the circumstances. The 2015 release of Fifty Shades of Grey was something of a perfect storm with the hype surrounding the racy adaptation of E.L. James' novel as well as the Valentine's and President's Day timing. Taking that into consideration, our $43.5 million forecast should also come with an asterisk, as Fifty Shades Darker will benefit over the week to come with Valentine's Day falling on Tuesday. After that, it will likely play a little more closely to films of this sort rather than experiencing a drop similar to the massive 74% dip Fifty Shades of Grey endured over its second weekend.

Summit's release of John Wick: Chapter Two is looking at a third place finish with an opening north of $20 million. The first film was a bit of an out-of-nowhere surprise, opening with $14.4 million in October 2014 and ultimately pulling in $43 million domestically and $86 million worldwide on a $20 million budget. A look at IMDb page view data shows the sequel pacing behind Kingsman: The Secret Service, which debuted in February 2015 with $36.2 million, though it has started to catch up over the past couple of days. Overall, we're anticipating an opening around $26 million from 3,113 theaters while at the same time wondering... Is there an off-chance it could top $30 million?

In fourth, look for the three week box office champion Split to finish with $7.6 million or so after it topped $100 million domestically this past Tuesday. And rounding out the top five we have another new member in the century club, Hidden Figures, which should pull in around $6.4 million this weekend as it pushes over $130 million domestically.

This weekend's limited openers include FIP's Jolly LLB 2, which is opening in 173 theaters and should bring in around $700k-1m for the three-day while Fox Searchlight's A United Kingdom is opening in just four theaters and will be looking to be the weekend's per theater champ, hoping to pull in around $34k or so per location. Additionally, China Lion will release Duckweed into 30 theaters after it opened in China at the end of January where it has brought in over $90 million so far.

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 LEGO Batman Movie (4,088 theaters) - $76.0 M
  • Fifty Shades Darker (3,710 theaters) - $43.5 M
  • John Wick: Chapter Two (3,113 theaters) - $26.0 M
  • Split (2,957 theaters) - $7.6 M
  • Hidden Figures (2,667 theaters) - $6.4 M
  • Rings (2,931 theaters) - $6.1 M
  • A Dog's Purpose (3,021 theaters) - $5.5 M
  • La La Land (2,065 theaters) - $5.3 M
  • Lion (1,337 theaters) - $3.0 M
  • The Space Between Us (2,758 theaters) - $2.3 M

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