'Fate of the Furious' Set to Repeat at #1 as Five New Releases Hit Theaters
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: The Fate of the Furious is right on pace with expectations, bringing in an estimated $11.2 million on Friday, en route to a $35-38 million second weekend. Meanwhile, the film will remain the #1 film in the world this weekend as its international total as of last night is $636.3 million and the international weekend estimate is currently $171 million from 65 territories as it looks to top $910 million by Sunday and will cross $1 billion worldwide next week.

Of the new releases, it looks like Disneynature's Born in China will lead the way after it brought in $1.59 million on Friday, on its way to an opening weekend three-day around $4.6 million or so. Opening day audiences gave the film an "A-" CinemaScore, which is pretty much typical for these features.

Warner's Unforgettable is proving to be anything but as it brought in a meager $1.67 million on Friday and is looking at a $4.4 million opening weekend. Opening day audiences scored the film with a "C" CinemaScore.

Open Road's The Promise brought in an estimated $1.4 million on Friday and is looking at an opening weekend around $4.2 million and scored an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Cinelou's Phoenix Forgotten brought in an estimated $625k as it is looking at a $1.6-2 million weekend.

Otherwise, in its expansion into 614 theaters, Bleecker's The Lost City of Z brought in an estimated $660k on Friday and is looking at a $2+ million weekend and a tenth place finish this weekend.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and well be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Thursday previews were limited last night as Unforgettable, Born in China and Phoenix Forgotten didn't hold preshows. We're still waiting to hear from A24 with regards to Free Fire, but Open Road reports The Promise brought in $200,000 yesterday evening from approximately 1,600 theaters.

As of now industry expectations for The Promise are anywhere from $4-8 million as it begins playing at 2,251 locations today. It's a wide range, but there's an equally wide range of signals to sift through as evident from director Terry George's latest comments reported by The Washington Post regarding the film's subject matter and those more than 120,000 ratings on IMDb we mentioned in our preview below.

As for those previews, looking at adult-targeted features gives us something of a range to consider such as Race, which brought in $205k from early previews before opening with $7.3 million. While not a direct genre comparison, the target audience for Florence Foster Jenkins may seem some crossover and that film brought in $190k in early previews before opening with $6.6 million, while a film like Burnt brought in $250k from early showings before opening with $5 million. While these comps aren't exactly the best, they hopefully present a little context as we await Friday estimates tomorrow morning.

We'll be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates, you can read our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: This week is looking at lot like last week, only difference is the overall for the top twelve is going to show about a 45% dip compared to last weekend as three familiar titles, led by The Fate of the Furious, will lead the pack once again. Otherwise, five new releases will look to have some sort of an impact on the overall weekend box office, though the widest of the lot is WB's Unforgettable, which is only debuting in 2,417 theaters. Otherwise, Open Road's The Promise is opening in just over 2,250 theaters while Born in China and Phoenix Forgotten open in just over 1,500 theaters each while A24's Free Fire theater total just barely tops one thousand.

While the eighth installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise zoomed to an international and worldwide opening weekend record last weekend, it wasn't quite able to finish over $100 million for its domestic opening weekend. By comparison, the film's $98.8 million opening is the second largest in the franchise and just a shade over the $97.4 million opening for 2013's Fast & Furious 6. It is worth noting, however, that Fast 6 debuted over Memorial Day weekend, which is why you'll notice Fast 8 is currently pacing behind the sixth installment in our head-to-head showdown. Taking that into consideration, it will be interesting to see just how "fast" Fate falls.

Last year, Furious 7 dipped 59.5% after its blistering $147.2 million debut; Fast 6 suffered a larger drop for obvious reasons, dipping 64% in its second frame; Fast Five fell 62.4% in its sophomore session; and Fast and Furious dipped just under 62%. Looking at the numbers, a 62-64% drop seems inevitable, with potential to hold on a bit better if only as a result of a lack of direct competition and the week's new releases hardly making a big push for eyeballs. That said, we're anticipating a drop right around 64% and a second weekend around $35.5 million, which will be more than enough to top the weekend once again.

Internationally, Fate of the Furious cracked the top 100 worldwide chart yesterday as its international cume now stands at $565.1 million as its worldwide total has already topped $680 million. The film opens in Serbia today, Poland and Romania tomorrow followed by Japan next weekend.

Second and third place are likely to also carry over from last week with Fox's The Boss Baby and Disney's Beauty and the Beast looking to finish with $9.7 million and $8.4 million respectively over the weekend. There may, however be room for a shake up should WB's Unforgettable over perform.

Unforgettable is the feature directorial debut of long-time producer Denise Di Novi (Batman Returns, Crazy, Stupid, Love.), stars Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl and was made on a slim, $12 million budget. The thriller is debuting in 2,417 theaters and industry estimates have the film targeting a $7 million opening, which appears to be a safe estimation based on what we're looking at. Direct similarities in the $7 million range are tough to find as films such as last year's When the Bough Breaks and The Boy Next Door have opened with double that estimate, and IMDb page view data at the same point in the release cycle tends to reflect that comparison... almost...

While we aren't holding our breath, Unforgettable is pacing well behind the likes of The Boy Next Door as well as behind 2013's Halle Berry starrer The Call at the same point in the release cycle, but it is pacing ahead of When the Bough Breaks, though that September 2016 opener appears to be more noise than any kind of real signal. That said, keep that stat in your back pocket as well as the fact the average opening weekend for a similar feature* opening in this many theaters is $11.4 million, which at this point seems outside of this film's reach, but is worth noting. For our forecast, however, we're anticipating an opening over the industry estimate, right around $8.2 million for the three-day.

Rounding out the top five we have Disneynature's latest offering, Born in China, opening in 1,508 theaters with industry estimates looking for an opening in the $4-5 million range, similar to the past openings for Monkey Kingdom ($4.6m) and Bears ($4.8m). While those are obvious comparisons, it's not obvious the film will perform at the same level. IMDb page view data shows Born in China outpacing both films at the same point in the release cycle as interest has increased over the last ten days by comparison. This doesn't have us going too crazy with our expectation, but a $5.5+ million opening doesn't seem unreasonable based on what we're seeing.

Outside the top five we'll start with Gifted, which is expanding further this weekend as Fox Searchlight adds 840 theaters, resulting in a total of 1,986 locations. It's never easy to predict just how well a film will do in instances such as these, but we're going with a strong, and perhaps slightly-too-aggressive, $3.85 million prediction thanks in large part to a healthy "A" CinemaScore last weekend.

Next we'll look at another one of the week's new releases, that being Open Road's The Promise, which is debuting in 2,251 theaters and arrives with relatively weak word of mouth even before the film hits domestic theaters. The Metacritic score for the film is currently a 46, a number that has held relatively steady following its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival back in September 2016. Since then the film, which stars Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale, has a 5.4/10 rating on IMDb with a strong sampling of 126,387 votes.

That being the case, Open Road seems to have done a decent job getting the word out on The Promise as IMDb page view data show the film outperforming all of this weekend's new releases and while that doesn't necessarily tell us too much, it does suggest a comparison to historical averages, negative or positive, for similar releases are in play. That said, and given data such as the Metacritic score and IMDb rating, we can't say we have high hopes as we anticipate an opening weekend around $3.2 million.

In the tenth slot we come to Bleecker's expansion of The Lost City of Z into 610 theaters. The problem this film faces is the fact it's confronted with competition from both Gifted and The Promise and all three may eat into each other's profits. That being said, Lost City of Z has been well reviewed (78 on Metacritic) and the decision from Bleecker to slow play this one, as it opened in only four theaters last weekend, may prove to be to its benefit while Open Road's Promise appears to have a shelf life of just a few days. All told, we're anticipating a weekend for City of Z around $2.1 million. Now whether or not that's enough to hang on to a spot in the top ten is tough to say as the weekend has two other new wide releases to consider.

First we'll look at Cinelou's sci-fi/horror Phoenix Forgotten. The big sell here is Ridley Scott as a producer, but we all saw how that aided his son's film Morgan last year when it opened with $2 million from 2,020 locations and 2014's Before I Go To Sleep, which opened with $1.8 million from 1,902 theaters. As for Phoenix Forgotten, it's set to debut in 1,588 theaters and we aren't seeing many signals to suggest it will separate itself from such comparisons. In fact, at the same point in the release cycle Phoenix is pacing similarly to Before I Go to Sleep and Shut In, while behind the likes of Morgan and The Disappointments Room. As a result, a $2 million opening seems like the best one this one can look forward to unless Cinelou has been doing some targeted marketing we aren't noticing, in which case we'd have something to talk about come Sunday morning.

Finally, A24's release of Free Fire is a tough one to nail down, and the hard R comedy/action feature would probably best be compared to the likes of Shoot 'Em Up and Smokin' Aces, but a more recent comparison to the likes of Hardcore Henry is a bit more interesting. Now while it's pacing well behind Hardcore when looking at IMDb page view data at the same point in the release cycle, it could prove to be an interesting comp once all is said and done given the difference in release platforms for the two features.

Free Fire has seen significant growth on IMDb's MovieMeter since playing the South by Southwest Film Festival in mid-March, whether the growth in awareness is enough to push its opening weekend over $2 million remains to be seen as it opens in just 1,070 theaters. As for that Hardcore Henry comp, it could prove most interesting as the argument could easily be made that STX simply went too wide with Hardcore upon release, and A24's moderate release approach just might be the best way to stoke word of mouth and deliver a longer overall run.

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 Fate of the Furious (4,329 theaters) - $35.7 M
  • The Boss Baby (3,697 theaters) - $9.7 M
  • Beauty and the Beast (3,242 theaters) - $8.4 M
  • Unforgettable (2,417 theaters) - $8.2 M
  • Born in China (1,508 theaters) - $5.8 M
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village (2,737 theaters) - $3.9 M
  • Gifted (1,986 theaters) - $3.8 M
  • Going in Style (3,038 theaters) - $3.8 M
  • The Promise (2,251 theaters) - $3.2 M
  • The Lost City of Z (614 theaters) - $2.1 M

* "Similar" in this case referring to the number of theaters, MPAA rating, Metacritic score, genre and month of release.

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