'Justice League' is Coming Together for $110+ Million Opening While 'Wonder' Looks to Surprise
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: WB and DC Comics' Justice League is getting off to a slower start than expected, bringing in an estimated $38.8 million on Friday (including $13 million from Thursday previews) and looking as if it's unlikely to reach $100 million for the three-day weekend. Audiences gave the film a "B+" CinemaScore.

Internationally, Justice League has now released in 65 markets and has so far brought in an estimated $70.7 million for a $109.5 million global cume thus far. We'll have more details on its international roll out in tomorrow's weekend wrap up.

Looking at second place and proving the second half of our headline true, Lionsgate's Wonder delivered an exceptional $9.65 million on Friday and is now targeting a $27 million debut. The film's success is largely being attributed to unusually large group sales according to online ticket retailer Fandango.com, which reports the film is seeing more tickets-per-transaction than any other family film this year. The film received an "A+" CinemaScore.

Sony's animated faith-based feature The Star brought in an estimated $2.8 million on Friday and is now looking at a three-day around $9-10 million. The film received an "A" CinemaScore.

Elsewhere, A24's Lady Bird brought in an estimated $725,000 and is looking at a weekend around $2.3 million from just 238 theaters and Fox Searchlight's Three Billboards expanded into 53 locations and after an estimated $333k on Friday is looking at a three day just over $1 million.

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.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: WB and DC Comics' Justice League delivered $13 million in Thursday night previews, which compares favorably to the $11 million Wonder Woman brought in prior to a $103.2 million opening back in June. It's a bit behind Thor: Ragnarok's $14.5 million in previews before its recent $122.7 million debut and places well behind the $20.5 million and $27.7 million in previews for Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman respectively.

Lionsgate's Wonder brought in $740,000 from ~2,400 theaters from screenings beginning at 7PM. There are few, if any, meaningful comparisons to be made with this performance. If anything, it's just behind the $850k Thursday previews for Lionsgate's The Shack, which went on to open with $16.1 million.

We are still waiting on results for The Star.

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: This weekend Marvel's latest hit Thor: Ragnarok is looking to top $250 million after 17 days in release while Warner Bros. and DC Comics unveil their latest entry into the DC Extended Universe, Justice League looking to make a splash globally, though it's not the only new release the weekend has to offer. Lionsgate will debut the highly anticipated adaptation Wonder while Sony is debuting their faith-based animated title The Star. All-in-all we should be looking at a strong weekend in which the top twelve should combine for over $200 million for the first time since early July.

Looking at a #1 finish, Warner Bros. and DC Comics' Justice League will debut in 4,051 theaters with industry expectations right around $105-115 million. Given Wonder Woman debuted with $103.2 million earlier this year, Suicide Squad opened with $133.6 million last year and Batman v Superman opened with $166 million, those expectations might seem low given this is essentially DC's equivalent to Marvel's The Avengers. While that is true, the DC Extended Universe has taken something of a different path than the Marvel franchise, playing it big almost from the start by bringing Batman and Superman together and introducing Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman immediately after Man of Steel, followed that same year by the anti-hero feature Suicide Squad. As such, while these expectations appear a little low, they aren't entirely unreasonable.

Looking at IMDb page view performance, Justice League is pacing just ahead of Wonder Woman at the same point in the release cycle and well behind both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. And if you take the average opening for a film of this type from Warner Bros., debuting in this many theaters, you only get a ~$95 million opening. That said, based on IMDb page view performance Justice League is over-indexing, leading us to believe an opening no lower than $115 million is likely.

Not helping matters, reviews for Justice League are only marginally better than those for Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, as it currently holds a Metacritic score of 47. There has also been a bit of controversy surrounding the suppression of the film's RottenTomatoes score, but just as previous films didn't perform entirely well with critics, their opening weekends appear critic-proof and that should be the case again here. How it plays beyond opening weekend is another matter.

All told, we're anticipating an opening around $118 million or higher for Justice League. We'll get a good indication as to how the film is performing on Friday morning as it begins its weekend run tonight with Thursday previews beginning at 6 PM in ~3,700 theaters.

Internationally, Justice League kicked off its release yesterday in nine markets including a record $3.7 million opening day in Brazil, over $1.1 million from previews in South Korea and a $1.1 million opening day in France, 19% ahead of Wonder Woman's debut in the market. The film opens in an additional 38 markets today, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Korea and Australia with releases in the majority of markets this Friday.

Looking at a second place finish is Thor: Ragnarok as it should approach, if not top, $250 million by end of day Sunday. The big question is just how much of a chunk out of Thor's weekend will go to Justice League? Ragnarok isn't losing any theaters this weekend and typically we might expect a drop around 43% or so, but given the entrance of Justice League into the picture we're anticipating a drop closer to 54% and a three-day around $26 million.

In third we're expecting a strong debut for Lionsgate's Wonder, Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of the #1 New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio. Chbosky last directed the adaptation of his own novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, to strong reviews and a score of 67 on Metacritic. Wonder is enjoying similar reviews, currently holding a score of 64 on Metacritic, and IMDb page view performance has been solid, over indexing compared to titles within a similar genre. Given traditional tracking methods are suggesting an opening around $9 million, our $16 million opening weekend forecast seems a little risky, but some of the numbers we've crunched suggest that might even be conservative. Fact of the matter is, should this one land with audiences it should play well not only this weekend but throughout the holiday season.

Depending on how Wonder ultimately performs, we could be looking at a log jam around the third, fourth and fifth slots at this weekend's box office. Last weekend's two new releases, Murder on the Orient Express and Daddy's Home 2, should both bring in around $15-16 million this weekend, both pushing their domestic cumes over $50 million after ten days in release.

Just outside the top five we have Sony and Affirm's animated release, The Star featuring the voices of Steven Yeun, Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Aidy Bryant, Keegan-Michael Key, Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey. The faith-based feature is opening in 2,837 locations and the studio is anticipating an opening around $7 million, but just like Wonder we're seeing data that suggests a debut that could hit double digits. IMDb page view data shows it easily out pacing Norm of the North ($6.8m opening) leading up to release and even hanging tough with Smurfs: The Lost Village, which opened with $13.2 million earlier this year from 3,610 theaters. While The Star isn't opening quite that wide, it is opening in 426 more theaters than Norm of the North and while our forecast calls for a $8 million opening, we feel there's an outside chance it could reach double digits.

Elsewhere in the top ten, A24's Lady Bird is expanding into 238 theaters this weekend (+201) where we're expecting it to once again improve over last weekend, this time jumping around 55% compared to last weekend for a three-day around $1.9 million.

Then we come to Fox Searchlight's Three Billboards, which is expanding into 53 theaters (+49) following its strong debut in just four theaters last weekend. It's tough to say just how will the film will perform this weekend, but to expect a chance it slides into the top ten around $1 million for the three-day doesn't seem far fetched.

In limited release, Sony will debut Dan Gilroy's Roman J. Israel, Esq. starring Denzel Washington in four theaters this weekend before it goes wide next Wednesday and IFC will release the thriller Sweet Virginia into one location.

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.

  • Justice League (4,051 theaters) - $118.0 M
  • Thor: Ragnarok (4,080 theaters) - $26.3 M
  • Wonder (3,096 theaters) - $16.1 M
  • Murder on the Orient Express (3,354 theaters) - $16.0 M
  • Daddy's Home 2 (3,575 theaters) - $15.5 M
  • The Star (2,837 theaters) - $8.1 M
  • A Bad Moms Christmas (2,948 theaters) - $5.9 M
  • Lady Bird (238 theaters) - $1.9 M
  • Jigsaw (1,201 theaters) - $1.4 M
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (053 theaters) - $1.0 M

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