'Alien: Covenant' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' Duke it Out for Weekend Box Office #1

by Brad Brevet

May 18, 2017

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Fox's Alien: Covenant enjoyed a strong opening day, delivering an estimated $15.35 million (including $4.2m in Thursday previews). Early expectations for the weekend are for a $38-40+ million three-day and a #1 opening.

In second is Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, which is looking to deliver close to our weekend prediction with an estimated $8.8 million on Friday headed toward a $33-35 million weekend.

WB and MGM's Everything, Everything also delivered a solid Friday with an estimated $4.7 million. The $10 million production is looking at a weekend around $11-12 million.

Finally, Fox's Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul brought in an estimated $2 million on Friday and is expected to deliver a $7-7.5 million opening, well short of our forecast and industry expectations. However, with a holiday weekend on the horizon next weekend could prove fruitful.

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

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Alien: Covenant delivered $4.2 million from Thursday night previews, which began at 7PM at ~3,000 locations. This compares favorably to Mad Max: Fury Road, which brought in $3.7 million on Thursday night before opening with $45.4 million. In fact, this is a better preview result than 2012's Prometheus, which brought in $3.6 million ahead of its $51 million opening weekend.

Meanwhile, Everything, Everything brought in $525,000 from Thursday previews, which began at 5PM. This is well behind the $1.36 million Me Before You brought in on Thursday night and otherwise there isn't a lot to compare to within this range.

Finally, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul grossed $150,000 from ~2,000 locations.

We will be back tomorrow morning with a look at Friday estimates. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: This weekend could feature a little excitement at the top of the box office as Fox debuts Alien: Covenant into theaters domestically where it hopes to end the the two week reign of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 at the top of the box office and depending on who you ask it could go either way. Fox will also release the fourth film in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, and Warner Bros. is releasing Everything, Everything, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, hoping to find some of the magic they found last year in Me Before You.

Starting with the battle between Alien: Covenant and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, we're currently anticipating a #1 finish for what is effectively now the eighth film in the Alien franchise. Covenant is a sequel to 2012's Prometheus, which is the only film in the franchise to top $100 million domestically, but it also proved to be quite divisive among fans as it was enjoyed and dissected by many while at the same time derided by others. Reviews so far for Covenant are mostly on par with those for Prometheus with a lot of love for star Michael Fassbender as well as praise for director Ridley Scott as this installment is said to be more of a harkening back to the glory days of the franchise while capping off what was started in Prometheus. Whether that appeals to franchise fans is what we'll soon see play out.

Covenant debuts in 3,760 theaters and industry expectations are for an opening around $40 million. Based on IMDb page view data the film is pacing, unsurprisingly, well behind Prometheus, which opened with $51 million while at the same time keeping pace with the likes of Star Trek Beyond, Gravity and The Martian at the same point in the release cycle. It was also holding its own opposite Mad Max: Fury Road until the last couple of days. While the comparison to films that opened anywhere from $45-59 million is helpful, the disparity between Prometheus and Covenant is also telling as it would seem Covenant is due to open anywhere form $39-43 million and if fans embrace it, it could find itself playing very well over the next couple of weeks. It's simply a question of whether it can crack that $40 million mark or if it stumbles into the mid-30s, which could mean trouble if a #1 opening is the goal.

Internationally, Alien: Covenant is up to $46.7 million as of Wednesday and will be releasing in 54 additional markets this weekend including Germany, Argentina, Russia, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands.

Competing with Alien for that #1 slot will be Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which enters this weekend on the heels of the best second weekend drop for a first time Marvel sequel ever and is looking to impress yet again.

After nearly matching the second weekend drop for the first Guardians, despite a $52.2 million difference in their opening weekend grosses, it's a question as to whether it can do it again this weekend. The first film dipped 55.3% in its second weekend compared to the sequel's 55.5%, and it's third weekend saw a 40% dip, a drop that would deliver a $39+ million three-day for the sequel this weekend should it come to that.

There is something of a caveat, however, as the first Guardians' third weekend didn't find it going up against a new release the likes of Alien: Covenant, which is bound to have an effect. How much of an effect is tough to say, though we aren't anticipating it will be debilitating as we're still forecasting a drop around 44.5% and a weekend around $36 million as Guardians 2 will finish over $300 million domestically come end of day Sunday.

Third through fifth place features a trio of films that could sway anywhere from $8-12 million give or take a million or so on either side. The three films in question include Fox's newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid film, which faces off with WB and MGM's Everything, Everything as well as last weekend's opener Snatched.

Of the lot we'll begin with Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, which is opening in 3,157 theaters with an expectation for a $10-12 million debut. The Wimpy Kid features delivered $20+ million openings for the first two films, but 2012's Dog Days, while the widest release of the first three films, could only muster a $14.6 million opening. That said, the first two films were released in mid-March, taking advantage of spring break while the third film debuted in early August, shortly before kids return to school. The timing of the release for The Long Haul doesn't necessarily work in the film's favor in that sense, though it could help its second weekend with Memorial Day around the corner.

At this time we're going to remain relatively conservative with our forecast, anticipating an opening around $11.5 million, but IMDb page view data shows Long Haul vastly out-performing Dog Days as well as other competitive titles and we wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see it deliver beyond expectations.

Between Snatched and Everything, Everything for fourth place it's a tough call. While industry expectations for the WB/MGM release of Everything, Everything are around $10-12 million, we're looking at data that shows it pacing closer to films such as The Space Between Us and the wide release of Gifted while pacing well behind the likes of Me Before You. This isn't to say we're anticipating an opening around $4 million, but it's tough to expect anything higher than $8-10 million based on what we're looking at, and the Metacritic score of 50 doesn't exactly help increase word of mouth.

As for Snatched, we're looking at a film that could cliff dive after last weekend's $19.5 million opening. The film saw a significant increase on Mother's Day last weekend, a result that could signal a larger drop than might otherwise be expected for a $19.5 million opener. That said, while we are anticipating a steep drop we aren't dinging it too hard, anticipating a 56% drop and a second weekend around $8.6 million.

Elsewhere, we're expecting a 51% drop for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and a second weekend around $7.5 million and then there's Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which should finish the weekend knocking on the door of $500 million domestically.

In limited release, PBS will release Abacus: Small Enough to Jail from Steve James (Hoop Dreams) into one theater and IFC will release Wakefield, also into one theater.

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.

  • Alien: Covenant (3,760 theaters) - $41.4 M
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (4,347 theaters) - $36.2 M
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (3,157 theaters) - $11.6 M
  • Snatched (3,511 theaters) - $8.6 M
  • Everything, Everything (2,850 theaters) - $8.5 M
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (3,717 theaters) - $7.5 M
  • The Fate of the Furious (2,278 theaters) - $3.4 M
  • Beauty and the Beast (1,792 theaters) - $3.1 M
  • The Boss Baby (2,071 theaters) - $2.9 M
  • How to be a Latin Lover (948 theaters) - $2.5 M

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo and author Brad Brevet at @bradbrevet.

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