Forecast: 'Fantastic Four' Falls Apart
Forecast Update: Making a breathtakingly bad $2,829 per screen, Fox's Fantastic Four made $11.3M on Friday (with Thursday screenings added). Unless the wheels fall completely off the vehicle that should put Fantastic on the road to a $27M weekend. The only consolation at this point is international (reports still to come in) and that the reboot did better than Pixels ($24M its opening weekend). That also opens the door, wide, for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation to come in first place.

The Gift is doing better than expected, making $4.12M in Friday totals (with only $585K of that from Thursday), placing it in the $10M range. That's better than The Box (which, for some reason, is the first movie we think of in association with this) which made $7.5M in 2009 ($8M adjusted to 2015 prices).

Ricki and the Flash made $2.2M and looks to finish the weekend with $7.2M. That's half of the take of Hope Springs, which also starred Meryl Streep and was the same frame in 2012. The stirring-the-embers tale of Streep's character, Kay, and her husband, Arnold (the irascible Tommy Lee Jones) attending a couples retreat was billed as a autumnal sex comedy while Ricki was marketed as a drama-edy.

Shaun the Sheep made $1.2M Friday on the road to $3.8M domestic. Don't feel too bad that the little lamb remains lost yet. It already has over $70M in overseas coin and will be a staple of preschool, hand-held devices, for years to come.

Forecast: On 3,995 screens, Fox's Fantastic Four should win the weekend, even in the headwinds of withering reviews, with an estimated $45M.

That $11,264 per screen estimate is lower than the opening weekends of either the 2005 and 2007 Tim Story-directed Fantastic Four films, even without adjusting for inflation. The 2005 Fantastic installment, which starred Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, Ioan Griffudd as Reed Richards, Michael Chiklis as The Thing and Chris Evans, in his first incarnation of a super-hero, as Johnny Storm, opened to a then-super $56M, in 3,602 theaters, for $16,700 per. As tickets were $2.20 less expensive then the adjusted take today would be $75.2M for the same amount of tickets sold (using NATO's Q2 price of $8.61).

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the lumbering sequel made $58M (3,959 theaters, $13,700 per) its opening weekend, which would translate to $72.6M given today's prices.

The lowered per-screen-average expectations of the franchise must be painful for Fox for the $120M film. The casting was intriguing and inventive putting together the dedicated and charismatic Miles Teller as the inventor Reed Richards, Kate Mara as Susan Storm, the powerful Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm (which caused a stir when announced), and, in possibly the smartest bit of counter-casting, the wispy Jamie Bell as The Thing. The director, Josh Trank, had a previous sleeper hit with Chronicle in 2012, making $126.6M worldwide on a $12M budget. But rumors of on-set troubles were rampant, culminating in some sources stating that Matthew Vaughn had been brought in to redo huge patches of the film, burning through the budget reserved for a 3D conversion. Fox may be happy, at this point, just to get the whole thing behind them.

Much more intriguing is The Gift, a psychological thriller from actor turned director Joel Edgerton, last seen on screen, wearing manscara as Ramses in Exodus: Gods and Kings. The Gift, which also stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, is the first film from STX Entertainment, the new studio founded by Robert Simonds and includes former Disney marketing exec. Oren Aviv, among others. They also have the the Julia Roberts-led, star-studded The Secret in Their Eyes coming in November and the Matthew McConaughey-starrer, Free State of Jones in March of 2016. They'd like to see the coffer starting to fill back up but it looks like The Gift, in 2,470 locations, will only hit at about $6M this weekend.

Critically-adored Shaun the Sheep opened to a slow $852K on 2,320 screens Thursday night. Its crowd, however, is more of the matinee set, so look for it to pick up, have an $11M weekend, and, with a bit of luck, end up in Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the WereRabbit territory ($56.1M domestic, $136.5M overseas, $192.6M worldwide).

Ricki and the Flash in 1,600 locations is angling to lure some of the The Banger Sisters audience ($38M worldwide cume) and all of the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel crowd ($136.8M world cume) to come see it, using Meryl Streep as bait. Directed by the wonderful Jonathan Demme we can only hope this is enough of a hit, it likely makes $7M this weekend, to keep this man making features and not more Neil Young documentaries.

In holdovers Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, on insanely good word of mouth, makes $35M this weekend, dropping a slight 35.7%.

Warner Bros. Vacation lucks out by being the only newish comedy out there and drops 45.2% to $8M. If it drops any more than that and this film can officially be labeled a bomb.

A24's The End of the Tour extends to 36 screens from the four it had last week. This will be the test to see what kind of interest this intriguing little film will have, most of it based upon the strong word of mouth about Jason Segel's performance of author David Foster Wallace. If it can pull in $8K per screen, it's in $2.8M range.

Also, Cop Car, the spare but spunky Sundance hit from director Jon Watts, and starring Kevin Bacon, opens in 3 theaters. This is your new Spider-man director so get a glimpse of the wares early.

Forecast (August 7 - Aug. 9)

1. Fantastic Four - $45M

2. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - $35M (-37.5%)

3. Shaun the Sheep - $11M

4. Ricki and the Flash - $7M

5. Ant-Man - $6.5M (-49.2%)

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