'Revenant' Hunts #1 Amid Newcomers, '5th Wave', 'The Boy' and 'Dirty Grandpa'

by Brad Brevet

January 21, 2016

FRIDAY UPDATE: Dirty Grandpa brought in an estimated $660,000 from 2,000+ theaters during Thursday night preview screenings. A recent, genre comparison would be Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's R-rated comedy Sisters, which brought in $769k in December before opening with $13.9 million.

Sony's The 5th Wave scored $475,000 from 2,297 locations. For comparison, Oculus brought in $475k in April 2011 and opened with $12 million while Sin City 2 also brought in $475k from preview screenings and opened with $6.3 million. The closest comparisons within the range are probably the $515k The Forest brought in a couple weeks ago before opening with $12.7 million and the $375k from Thursday preview screenings for Project Almanac, which opened with $8.3 million. The studio is sticking with a conservative $8 million opening as the East Coast snowstorm is putting predictions surrounding the weekend's results in flux.

As for The Boy, it didn't hold Thursday preview screenings. The original forecast follows.

FORECAST & PREVIEW: A new PG-13 horror (The Boy), an R-rated comedy (Dirty Grandpa) and a sci-fi thriller (The 5th Wave) make up the new releases hitting theaters this weekend and they all stand to make around $10-12 million. Meanwhile The Revenant is looking to score a #1 finish in its third weekend in wide release, but it's going to need another strong hold to top last weekend's champ, Ride Along 2.

The Revenant has finished second the past two weekends, but is finally looking to cross the finish line in first. The 12-time Oscar nominee has grossed nearly $50 million since Oscar nominations were announced last Thursday, following not only an outstanding first weekend, but delivering a mere 20.2% drop last weekend.

This weekend the film expands its reach into an additional 152 theaters, which includes 186 IMAX runs and 268 Premium Large Format (PLF) runs. That said, a 35% drop almost seems a worst case scenario as it should pull in somewhere around $20-21 million this weekend, pushing it over $125 million cumulative. These are good numbers for Fox who are looking at a film with a reported $135 million budget due to production overruns. There's still a long way to go to make up for such a hefty budget, but multiple Oscar nominations and continued box office performance such as this goes a long way.

Looking at a second place finish is Ride Along 2 after a solid opening weekend, dampened only by the fact it fell short of the original's strong opening a couple years ago. The first Ride Along dropped 48.7% in its second weekend and a similar drop, or perhaps slightly less, for the sequel seems reasonable, suggesting a second weekend at or around $18 million.

Among the new releases we'll start with the PG-13 sci-fi thriller The 5th Wave starring Chloe Grace Moretz rolling into 2,908 theaters. There is not a lot for comparison here when it comes to the early part of the year, though looking a bit broader we find films such as The Darkest Hour on the low end of the spectrum and Skyline in more reasonable performance territory.

Darkest Hour starred Emile Hirsch and Summit attempted a Christmas release back in 2011 only to open with a mere $2.9 million in 2,324 theaters. That film also suffered disastrous reviews and while The 5th Wave's early reviews aren't glowing, they aren't cataclysmic. Skyline, which opened with $11.6 million back in 2010 seems another logical comparison if only because of the overall genre.

While this isn't The Hunger Games and Moretz doesn't have the exposure or track record of Jennifer Lawrence, the fact this is a female-led genre picture works to its favor and should help generate some additional ticket sales. How much exactly is difficult to wager, but the ceiling could be something around $14 million if it can score $5,000 per theater, similar to what Source Code opened with back in April 2011. As a target goal, an opening around $11.8 million seems doable.

STX has put a week between its release of The Boy and the last, new release PG-13 thriller to hit theaters, The Forest. Director William Brent Bell is no stranger to early year, horror success as he directed 2012's The Devil Inside, which opened with $33.7 million. It did, however, earn an "F" CinemaScore and dropped 76% in its second weekend. The Boy, which stars "Walking Dead's" Lauren Cohan and "Man in High Castle's" Rupert Evans, should be looking at something around $11 million, but the fact it doesn't have Thursday previews suggests the studio might not be all that confident in how it will perform as films like this can really benefit from potentially positive word of mouth from late night Thursday previews.

For a bit of added insight, the theater average for PG-13 horror/thriller films opening in the first two months of the year in over 2,400 theaters, but less than 3,000, is $5,146 per theater with only four opening below $10 million. Many of those films, however, featured stars such as Jessica Alba in The Eye, Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black and Guillermo del Toro's executive producer promotion of the Jessica Chastain starrer Mama, which scorched the box office during its opening weekend back in 2013. An opening for The Boy based on the collective average comes in at $13.3 million, but heading into the weekend all signs are pointing to a weekend closer to $11.2 million.

Finally we have the R-rated comedy Dirty Grandpa starring Robert De Niro, Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza. This isn't Neighbors or Meet the Fockers so don't go looking for those kind of opening weekend returns. Efron is coming off one of the worst wide opening weekends of all-time in last year's We are Your Friends and De Niro has been hit and miss with his most recent comedies, though he scored a winner with last year's The Intern, which more than doubled up its production budget with over $75 million domestically. Thing is, that was a PG-13 comedy from Nancy Meyers, Dirty Grandpa is a raunchy R-rated comedy from Dan Mazer.

On the low end, a weekend comparable to Efron's February 2014 comedy That Awkward Moment wouldn't be a surprise. That one opened in just over 2,800 theaters and averaged just over $3,100 per. A similar performance from Dirty Grandpa would deliver a $9 million weekend. If it manages to pop a bit bigger and do business comparable to 2011's Hall Pass you could be looking at a weekend around $13 million, but a weekend closer to $10.5 million is a safer bet.

Beyond the new releases, another second weekend holdover to keep an eye on is Michael Bay's 13 Hours, which didn't light the box office on fire last weekend, but it largely met expectations. Paramount is adding another 528 theaters this weekend, which could certainly help the film with a much stronger hold. The film has also been at the center of a bit of media controversy throughout the week, which could help move a few additional tickets. Two years ago Lone Survivor added 173 theaters following its three-day, $25 million Martin Luther King weekend and dipped only 41.5%. With this 500+ theater boost Paramount isn't wasting any time and a drop around, or better than, 38% doesn't seem at all unreasonable.

Additionally, Spotlight, the recent Critics Choice Award winner for Best Picture, is adding another 45 theaters this weekend, pushing it over 1,000 theaters for the first time since back in early December. Last weekend the film saw a 77.7% bump after receiving six Oscar nominations and adding over 600 theaters.

Fox will expand the reach of their three-time Oscar nominee Brooklyn. Nominated for Best Picture, Actress (Saoirse Ronan) and Adapted Screenplay, the film will add 275 theaters and play in a total of 962 this weekend. Fellow Best Picture, Actress and Adapted Screenplay nominee (plus Best Director), Room is adding 591 theaters and will play on a total of 884.

Bleecker Street's Trumbo is adding 70 theaters following Bryan Cranston's Oscar nomination and Sony Classics' Foreign Language Oscar nominee Son of Saul is adding 13 as it will now be playing in 34 theaters across the country.

Finally, in limited release, Well Go is releasing Ip Man 3 into 103 theaters, A24 is bringing Mojave to 26 theaters, Freestyle will release Caged No More in 116 theaters and Air Bud Entertainment delivers Monkey Up, starring "Crystal", the Capuchin monkey you've seen in The Hangover and Night at the Museum.

As for Monkey Up, it's only playing matinees in 48 theaters, and all proceeds will benefit the Starlight Children's Foundation along with many tickets comped and provided to the hospitals and support staff that help in children's care around the country.

Here's a look at this weekend's predictions.

  • The Revenant (3,711 theaters) - $21.62 M
  • Ride Along 2 (3,192 theaters) - $18.68 M
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (3,365 theaters) - $15.28 M
  • The 5th Wave (2,908 theaters) - $11.81 M
  • The Boy (2,671 theaters) - $11.22 M
  • Dirty Grandpa (2,912 theaters) - $10.53 M
  • 13 Hours (2,917 theaters) - $10.04 M
  • Daddy's Home (2,789 theaters) - $5.44 M
  • Norm of the North (2,411 theaters) - $4.18 M
  • The Big Short (1,351 theaters) - $3.71 M

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