'X-Men: Apocalypse' & 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' to Lead Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday AM Update: Memorial Day weekend's two new wide releases got off to soft starts with X-Men: Apocalypse leading the way with an estimated $26.4 million on Friday, targeting an $80+ million four-day holiday weekend. Despite virtually matching its predecessor, X-Men: Days of Future Past, when it comes to Thursday night previews (see Friday AM update below), the follow-up brought in $9 million less on Friday.

Coming in second on Friday was Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass with an estimated $9.7 million. The film looks to be tracking similar to Tomorrowland's opening last year, heading toward a $33 million or so three-day and a four-day holiday weekend around $40-42 million.

You can check out our list of Friday estimates here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a look at the three-day weekend and what to expect from the overall holiday four-day.

Friday AM Update: X-Men: Apocalypse brought in an estimated $8.2 million from Thursday night previews from approximately 3,595 of the 4,150 theaters it will be opening in this weekend. It's a solid start and compares favorable to the $8.1 million X-Men: Days of Future Past launched with in 2014 before opening with $90.8 million over the three-day and $110.5 million for the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. Days of Future Past brought in $35.5 million on Friday back in 2014 so we'll be looking closely at that number once Friday estimates are released.

Alice Through the Looking Glass brought in an estimated $1.5 million from Thursday night previews from approximately 2,800-3,000 theaters. As a basis for comparison, Men in Black III opened over Memorial Day weekend in 2012 and brought in $1.55 million from midnight showings before opening with $54.5 million for the three-day and $69.2 million for the four-day, holiday weekend.

Weekend Preview: Two of the five largest four-day, Memorial Day opening weekends belong to films in the X-Men franchise and this weekend the latest installment, X-Men: Apocalypse, hopes to secure its own spot in the record books. Additionally, Disney arrives with their fifth release of their already, record-breaking year with the sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass. Both films enter a weekend that pits them against some stiff demographic and genre competition, all of which should combine for an increase over Memorial Day weekend last year.

Assured to finish #1, X-Men: Apocalypse is Fox's latest installment in the X-Men franchise and it's coming on the heels of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which scored an impressive $90.8 million three-day opening, which ballooned to $110.5 million over the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. Reviews for Apocalypse, however, have been mixed as it currently stands at a 48% rating on RottenTomatoes compared to the 91% for Days of Future Past. In fact, outside of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Apocalypse has the lowest RottenTomatoes rating of the franchise.

Apocalypse must also compete with the fact this has been a huge year for superhero films already. Within the last four months Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War have brought in over $1 billion domestically combined. The argument could be made that Civil War already experienced a little bit of early year genre fatigue which would suggest Apocalypse might feel it a little more.

With a reported $178 million budget, the studio was able to keep costs below that of the $200 million price tag for Days of Future Past and Apocalypse will be released in 4,148 locations (152 more than its predecessor), with 500 of those delivering the premium large format (PLF) experience. The studio is expecting an opening at or above $80 million for the four-day and we're going just a bit higher, anticipating a ceiling of $90 million for the holiday weekend.

Internationally, Apocalypse is up to $130 million after opening in 77 territories last weekend. This weekend it expands further, most notably in South Korea where it opened yesterday with $1.7 million from 1,216 screens.

Continuing with the domestic weekend, targeting second position will be Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass, arriving six years after Alice in Wonderland opened with a massive $116.1 million and went on to become only the sixth film (at the time) to top $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Looking Glass, however, isn't expected to match Alice's opening as tracking is indicating an opening in the low $60 million range. In fact, even that could be a tough number to hit.

The original Alice in Wonderland is often looked at as something of a box office blemish. The film scored a 52% on RottenTomatoes, has a 6.5 rating on IMDb and even RottenTomatoes users score it with a 55% rating. Looking Glass isn't fairing any better, in fact it's looking worse. The score on RottenTomatoes is a paltry 28% at this time and when looking at the film's performance on IMDb it's well below where movies such as Maleficent, Oz the Great and Powerful and Cinderella were at the same point in their release cycle. Even the IMDb MOVIEMeter is at just 54 when films of this size are typically, at the very least, near the top 25 the week of their release if not higher—Maleficent ranked #9 one week before release, Oz ranked #33 and Cinderella #29.

Alice is playing in 3,763 theaters, 3,100+ of which will be showing the film in 3D along with 380 IMAX, 77 PLF and 79 D-box locations. All things considered, forecasting for this title isn't easy, particularly because there is no comparing to the first film. Alice in Wonderland arrived in 2010, on the heels of Avatar, at a time when 3D was the cool "new" thing. Johnny Depp was also a much bigger draw then than he is now. All told, and based on all the signals available, Mojo is expecting a three-day weekend around $40 million and a four-day holiday weekend in the range of $50-$56 million.

Moving on, The Angry Birds Movie finished #1 last weekend and it could prove to be an interesting film to watch this weekend. The "B+" CinemaScore would typically suggest a drop around 47% or so, but given this is a holiday weekend we're shaving a few percent points off. The target here is a 44% drop and a second weekend around $21 million, enough for what should be a third place finish, but it may be in a tight race with the next Disney title on the board.

Given the fact X-Men: Apocalypse is hitting theaters it would stand to reason a film such as Captain America: Civil War may take a hit thanks to Apocalypse stealing the vast majority of the superhero audience. However, this may be a weekend for general audience members that have yet to see the film to get their fill of Captain America. Add to that, it could also take advantage of the negative reviews for Apocalypse. It's tough to predict a weekend drop any better than 40%, but if it can deliver a 42% drop we could be looking at a $19 million fourth frame with a 49% drop being a worst case scenario. This gives us a weekend range anywhere from $16.5-19 million for the three-day and perhaps as much as $24 million for the extended weekend.

Universal's Neightbors 2: Sorority Rising will round out the top five with an expected drop around 45% or so for a three-day weekend around $11-12 million and a holiday weekend approaching $15 million.

Elsewhere in the top ten, look for Roadside's Love & Friendship to secure a spot in the top ten. The Amazon Studios film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is riding a wave of strong word of mouth as it expands into 493 theaters (+446) this weekend. The film holds a 99% rating on RottenTomatoes and a strong comparison would be Jon Favreau's Chef, which also enjoyed great reviews back in 2014, followed a similar expansion pattern and delivered a $2.97 million Memorial Day weekend from 498 theaters a couple years ago. Look for Love & Friendship to score a similar result if not a little higher and expect to see it expand even further over the coming weeks.

This weekend's three-day and four-day weekend 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.

  • X-Men: Apocalypse (4,148 theaters) - $67.41 M
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass (3,763 theaters) - $40.26 M
  • The Angry Birds Movie (3,932 theaters) - $21.37 M
  • Captain America: Civil War (3,395 theaters) - $17.79 M
  • Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (3,416 theaters) - $11.77 M
  • The Jungle Book (2,523 theaters) - $7.33 M
  • The Nice Guys (2,865 theaters) - $6.39 M
  • Money Monster (2,315 theaters) - $3.44 M
  • Love & Friendship (493 theaters) - $2.61 M
  • Zootopia (572 theaters) - $1.18 M

  • X-Men: Apocalypse - $82.2 M
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass - $52.03 M
  • The Angry Birds Movie - $27.78 M
  • Captain America: Civil War - $23.12 M
  • Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising - $14.83 M
  • The Jungle Book - $9.44 M
  • The Nice Guys - $7.98 M
  • Money Monster - $4.3 M
  • Love & Friendship - $3.75 M
  • Zootopia - $1.55 M

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