'Boss Baby' and 'Ghost in the Shell' Debut as 'Beauty and the Beast' Eyes Third Week at #1
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $15.5 million Fox and DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby got off to a wonderful start this weekend, topping Friday's box office en route to what looks like a $50-52 million opening weekend. As of right now it's looking like that will be enough to take the weekend #1 crown from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which brought in an estimated $13 million on Friday and should deliver a weekend around $49 million.

Meanwhile, while Boss Baby is over performing based on expectations Paramount's Ghost in the Shell is having a harder time at the box office, delivering an estimated $7.66 million on Friday and looking at a $20 million three-day weekend.

Finally, Focus Features's The Zookeeper's Wife added an 67 theaters more than were originally reported for the weekend and brought in an estimated $1 million from 541 locations. The studio is currently anticipating a $3.2 million three-day weekend, which should be more than enough to secure a spot in the weekend top ten.

You can browse the complete Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Last night Paramount's Ghost in the Shell brought in $1.8 million from Thursday night previews in 2,229 locations starting at 7PM. This isn't an uncommon result and actually matches one of our comparisons from our weekend preview below as Edge of Tomorrow also brought in $1.8 million and went on to open with $28.7 million in June of 2014. A closer comparison is also from Paramount as 10 Cloverfield Lane also brought in $1.8m in Thursday previews before opening with $24.7 million last March.

Other comparisons used in our weekend preview are listed below:
  • Lucy - $2.74m Thursday / $43.9m Opening Weekend
  • Now You See Me - $1.5m Thursday / $29.3m Opening Weekend
  • The Maze Runner - $1.1m Thursday / $32.5m Opening Weekend

Fox and Dreamworks' The Boss Baby wasn't too far behind, grossing a strong $1.5 million from ~2,700 theaters on Thursday evening with screenings beginning at 5PM. As always with animated titles, it isn't easy to draw much of a comparison as this is $100k over the $1.4 million Big Hero 6 brought in on Thursday night before opening with $56.2 million. It's also more than double the $650k Fox's Home brought in from Thursday previews in 2015 before opening with $52.1 million.

You can check out our full weekend preview below and we'll be updating this post tomorrow morning with Friday estimates.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: After a stellar hold last weekend on the heels of a record-breaking March opening, Disney's Beauty and the Beast will need to top a pair of incoming wide releases if it's to become the second 2017 release after Split to top the weekend box office three weeks in a row. Stepping into the spotlight, the week's two new wide releases are Paramount's Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson and Fox's animated feature The Boss Baby, both of which looking to make splash over the weekend.

Last weekend Disney's Beauty and the Beast dropped a mere 48.3%, resulting in the fourth largest second weekend of all-time. This weekend we're expecting a relatively similar drop for a $48.8 million three-day, which is looking like it should be enough for a third weekend atop the box office and should push the film over $400 million domestically. As for the weekend's two new releases, industry expectations project a mid-$20 million opening for Ghost in the Shell and a $30 million debut for Fox's The Boss Baby, and while we aren't expecting either to top Beauty, we are anticipating each will over perform against said expectations.

Looking at a second place finish is Fox's The Boss Baby, which is opening in 3,773 theaters. The film began playing internationally last weekend and as reviews began trickling in over a week ago the early buzz wasn't overwhelmingly positive and it hasn't improved since as it currently holds a Metacritic score of 49. This doesn't exactly hurt the film, but it's unlikely it will help.

Looking elsewhere for additional indicators, IMDb page view data shows Boss Baby over performing against the likes of Rio 2, which debuted with $39 million, but given that was a sequel that essentially failed to outperform its 2011 predecessor, it's a comparison that should be looked at with a raised eyebrow. More telling is Boss Baby pacing behind the likes of films such as The Croods, and well behind Home, which topped this same weekend back in 2015 with an outstanding $52.1 million opening. As such, while we are anticipating it will slightly over perform against the current $30 million industry expectation, we can only go as high as $35.4 million, which is on the low end when looking at historical performances for titles that opened on a similar scale.

Debuting in 3,440 theaters, Paramount's Ghost in the Shell hopes to take advantage of star Scarlett Johansson's recent box office success as an action heroine, not only as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but as the title star in 2014's break-out hit Lucy, which debuted with $43.8 million and grossed over $460 million worldwide on a reported $40 million budget. Ghost in the Shell, however, carries a price tag that nearly triples Lucy, with a budget said to be $110 million as Paramount, DreamWorks and Reliance bring the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga to life on the big screen.

As we already said, industry expectations are for a ~$25 million opening, but based on some of the comparisons we're looking at we expect something a bit bigger. While it is pacing a bit behind Lucy at the same point in the release cycle when looking at IMDb page view data, it is proving to pace nicely alongside the likes of The Maze Runner, Now You See Me and Edge of Tomorrow. Looking at historical data and taking factors such as its 62 Metacritic score, MPAA rating, genre, distributor and month of release we get an opening weekend range $26.9-34.9 million, which averages out to just over $30 million. That said, we're forecasting it will do just a bit better, opening around $32 million with a chance it outperforms even that expectation and possibly pushes over $35 million.

In addition to its domestic release, Ghost in the Shell will premiere in over 50 international markets this weekend, representing 78% of the film's ultimate footprint.

Lionsgate's Power Rangers is looking at a fourth place finish, the question is just how far it will drop. The film's $40 million debut was strong, as was the opening day "A" CinemaScore, but will it translate into a strong hold? We're anticipating a 58% drop for a sophomore session around $17 million, though it could prove to deliver ~$2 million on the plus or minus side of that projection. It's definitely one to keep an eye on.

Rounding out the top five is WB and Legendary's Kong: Skull Island, which is nearing $150 million domestic this weekend as it should pull in around $7 million in this, it's fourth weekend in release.

Speaking of $150 million, Universal's release of Jordan Peele's Blumhouse horror Get Out crossed $150 million domestically this week and is looking at another $5 million or so this weekend from 1,840 theaters in its sixth week in release.

Elsewhere, Focus will debut The Zookeeper's Wife starring Jessica Chastain into 474 theaters and Reliance will release Naam Shabana.

Overall, should our forecast hold, the top twelve is looking to generate over $165 million this weekend, which is down compared to the same weekend last year when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice debuted to a then March record opening of $166 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.

  • Beauty and the Beast (4,210 theaters) - $48.8 M
  • The Boss Baby (3,773 theaters) - $35.4 M
  • Ghost in the Shell (3,440 theaters) - $32.5 M
  • Power Rangers (3,693 theaters) - $16.9 M
  • Kong: Skull Island - $7.2 M
  • Life (3,146 theaters) - $5.8 M
  • Logan (2,323 theaters) - $5.7 M
  • Get Out (1,840 theaters) - $5 M
  • CHiPs (2,464 theaters) - $3.8 M
  • The Shack (1,430 theaters) - $1.9 M

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