'Midway' Set for #1 Finish as It Catches 'Doctor Sleep' Napping
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Lionsgate's Midway is the surprise of the weekend, bringing in an estimated $6.34 million on Friday and looking to finish #1 for the weekend with a three-day that could reach $18 million, well ahead of expectations. The film also earned an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which suggests word of mouth throughout the weekend could carry it even higher.

In the runner up position is WB's Doctor Sleep, which has failed to wake up audiences. The film scored a disappointing $5.2 million on Friday and is now hoping to top $12 million for the three-day, falling well below expectations. Opening day audiences did give the film a "B+" CinemaScore, which is pretty good for a genre feature, but it seems to have failed to generate enough enthusiasm to take advantage of any kind of positive word of mouth.

Universal's Last Christmas is delivering on expectations (though a bit below Mojo's forecast), bringing in an estimated $4 million on Friday and looking at a $12 million three-day. The film received a "B-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Paramount's Playing with Fire is looking at a fourth place finish after an estimated $3.55 million on Friday, looking at a three-day around $11+ million. The family comedy received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

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

Warner Bros.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: WB's Doctor Sleep won the preview race last night, bringing in an estimated $1.5 million from evening previews beginning at 6PM. However, that is well behind the $2.3 million in previews for Pet Sematary earlier this year, ahead of a $24.5 million opening. We'll see just how that ends up shaking out as the weekend rolls on.

Lionsgate's Midway took in a solid $925,000 from preview showings in over 2,600 locations. The performance is ahead of $900k in previews for 12 Strong and tops the $750k in previews for Hacksaw Ridge.

Universal's Last Christmas brought in $575,000 in previews last night from 2,700 theaters, which is a bit lighter than we would have expected, coming in well behind the $1.25 million in previews for Yesterday.

We are still waiting on results for Playing with Fire, which held previews beginning at 4PM yesterday.

We'll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: For the second straight weekend, four new wide releases make their way into theaters with Warner Bros. looking to lead the way with the latest Stephen King adaptation, Doctor Sleep. Also debuting this weekend is Universal's holiday-themed romantic comedy Last Christmas, Lionsgate's World War II actioner Midway and Fox's family comedy Playing with Fire. Additionally, both Neon's Parasite and Fox Searchlight's Jojo Rabbit expand nationwide this weekend.

At the top is where we expect to find WB's Doctor Sleep, hitting theaters nearly 40 years after Stanley Kubrick's filmed adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining. Directed by Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil) and starring Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, the film debuts in 3,855 locations this weekend with the studio anticipating a debut around $25 million. This puts the film on course for an opening similar to Pet Sematary, which debuted with $24.5 million back in April and a look at IMDb page view data leading up to release does more than support such an expectation. In fact, Doctor Sleep is outpacing Pet Sematary over the two weeks leading up to release suggesting a performance nearing $30 million isn't at all out of the realm of expectation. We're going out with a $27 million forecast, and should that hold it would be the third largest opening ever for a King adaptation behind only It and It Chapter Two.

Universal Pictures
Look for Universal's romantic comedy Last Christmas with Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding to finish in the runner-up position as it debuts in 3,448 locations. The studio is targeting a debut over $10 million while industry expectations are a bit more specific, anticipating an opening anywhere from $12-15 million. We're currently looking for an opening around $15 million with potential for upside with the film outperforming comps such as Yesterday ($17m opening) and Blended ($14.3m opening) when looking at IMDb page views over the two weeks leading up to release.

Paramount's Terminator: Dark Fate is looking at a second weekend drop around -54% or so, which is a bit steeper than the -49% drop for Terminator Genisys following a similar opening, but Genisys was playing over the summer and didn't have new competition akin to Doctor Sleep. That said, we're expecting a $13+ million second weekend for a domestic cume topping $51 million by the end of the weekend.

Lionsgate's Midway looks to pull into fourth with industry tracking services anticipating a debut around $12-14 million for the Roland Emmerich picture. We've been looking at comps such as Geostorm ($13.7m opening), In the Heart of the Sea ($11m opening) and 12 Strong ($15.8m opening) and IMDb page view data shows Midway is pacing similar to all three, suggesting a debut from $11-16 million is possible, though we're remaining in the middle range, going out with a $13 million forecast.

Look for WB's Joker to enjoy it's sixth straight weekend in the top five, rounding things out with a drop around -37% or so for an $8.5 million three-day and a domestic cume topping $312 million.

Just outside the top five we have Paramount's family comedy Playing with Fire, which will open in 3,125 locations. The film is getting beat up by critics, resulting in a score of 13 on Metacritic and a 29% on RottenTomatoes. Industry expectations are anywhere from $7-10 million for the weekend and we're at the bottom of that range. The best comp we've found using IMDb page view performance data over the two weeks leading up to release is Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, which opened with $6.8 million back in October 2016.

In limited release, Amazon Studios will release Honey Boy in four locations and Greenwich will debut The Kingmaker.

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.

  • Doctor Sleep (3,855 theaters) - $27.0 M
  • Last Christmas (3,448 theaters) - $15.0 M
  • Terminator: Dark Fate (4,086 theaters) - $13.4 M
  • Midway (3,242 theaters) - $13.0 M
  • Joker (2,806 theaters) - $8.5 M
  • Playing with Fire (3,125 theaters) - $8.0 M
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (3,201 theaters) - $7.9 M
  • Harriet (2,186 theaters) - $7.3 M
  • The Addams Family (2,674 theaters) - $5.1 M
  • Zombieland 2: Double Tap (2,427 theaters) - $4.5 M


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