Dragons Will Reign at the Box Office Again as Tyler Perry Bids Farewell to 'Madea'

by Brad Brevet

February 28, 2019

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Lionsgate's release of Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral is off to a stellar start and could challenge Universal's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World for the #1 spot at the weekend box office. Madea delivered an estimated $9.2 million on Friday and is currently looking at a three-day weekend anywhere from $25-26+ million. As for Dragon, it brought in an estimated $6.4 million and could bring in anywhere from $25-27 million, making for a very close race where none thought there would be. Madea received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which tracks similarly to previous Madea releases, all of which have earned either an "A" or "A-".

Focus Features's release of Greta brought in an estimated $1.6 million on Friday and is currently expected to deliver a three-day debut around $4.7 million. The film received a "C+" CinemaScore.

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: Lionsgate's release of A Madea Family Funeral took in an estimated $1.1 million from previews in ~2,100 locations last night, outperforming recent Tyler Perry releases including Acrimony ($1m in previews) and Boo 2! ($760k in previews) while playing right behind What Men Want, which brought in $1.25 million in previews ahead of an $18.2 million debut.

Focus's Greta brought in $300k from Thursday previews beginning at 7PM.

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: After last weekend saw a franchise record debut for Universal and DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, this weekend serves as something of the calm before the storm that will be Captain Marvel, which the industry is counting on to give the 2019 box office the jolt it sorely needs. As for this weekend, Hidden World will remain at #1, hoping to hold on more like the first film in the franchise than the second, while Lionsgate debuts Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral and Focus will release the thriller Greta. Additionally, this past weekend's Oscar winners find themselves expanding back into theaters, led by Best Picture winner Green Book.

Following a better-than-expected debut last weekend, Universal's release of DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon 3 will remain the top film at the weekend box office this weekend, the question is whether it delivers a performance more like the first film, which dipped just -33.7% in its second weekend, or more like the second, which fell -50% in its sophomore frame. Based on the film's debut performance we're looking for a second weekend somewhere in the middle, anticipating a dip around -42% and a $32 million second weekend, pushing the film's cume right to the edge of, if not over, $100 million after ten days in release.

Looking at a second place finish is Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral, which the multi-hyphenate has suggested will serve as the final Madea feature. Family Funeral is the ninth Madea film so far and all but one — A Madea Christmas — has opened with over $20 million and there doesn't seem to be any reason to expect anything less from this latest release. Debuting in 2,442 locations, industry expectations are for an opening anywhere from $18-20 million, but we're expecting a performance that at least lives up to the $21+ million opening for 2017's Boo 2!. The film will have 7PM previews on Thursday evening.

Fox's Alita: Batlte Angel dipped a little more than expected last weekend, dropping -56.7%. This weekend things should simmer down a little bit as we're looking for the film to drop -42% for a three-day a little over $7+ million, which should result in a domestic cume topping $72 million by the end of the weekend.

WB's The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part also dropped a bit more than expected last weekend in the face of Hidden World's debut and this weekend it should shed around another -36% or so for a three-day around $6 million and a domestic cume topping $90 million, less then half of where the original was at the same point in its release.

Look for Focus's release of Greta to round out the top five. Right now we're looking for the Neil Jordan-directed thriller starring Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Moretz to debut anywhere between $4-5 million from 2,409 locations with a slight possibility it reaches a bit higher, lining up with the studio's anticipation for a mid-single digit opening. With a focus on comps such as Paranoia ($3.5m opening), It Comes at Night ($5.99m opening) and Unforgettable ($4.79m opening), IMDb page view data shows Greta pacing similarly to both Paranoia and Unforgettable over the two weeks leading up to release, while trailing It Comes at Night. The film will have 7PM previews on Thursday evening.

Elsewhere, some of last weekend's Oscar winners, led by Best Picture winner Green Book, are getting significant theater bumps. Green Book will continue to remain in the top ten as it is adding 1,388 theaters this weekend for a total of 2,641 locations. This is the largest theater increase a Best Picture nominee (winner or otherwise) has ever received the weekend following the ceremony — over 400 more than Moonlight, which saw a +979 theater bump following its Best Picture win at the 2016 Oscars. There are obviously many ways to slice the data, but looking at Best Picture Oscar winners that grossed over $1 million the weekend following their win and were playing in over 1,000 theaters, they, on average, saw a +89.3% bump compared to the previous weekend. In the case of Green Book this would suggest a weekend performance right around $4 million and we see no reason not to expect such a performance from Green Book, if not slightly better.

Other Oscar winners getting a bump this weekend include WB's A Star is Born, which will expand in what marks its 22 weekend in theaters, playing in 1,235 locations (+490); Sony's Best Animation winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will go from 743 theaters to 2,404 (+1,661); Fox Searchlight's The Favourite will take its Best Actress win for Olivia Colman and expand to 742 theaters (+454); and, despite already being available on Blu-ray and digital, Fox will bring four-time Oscar winner Bohemian Rhapsody back to 839 theaters (+415).

In limited release this weekend A24 will debut Climax; Neon will release the documentary Apollo 11 into 120 IMAX theaters exclusively; Blue Fox will be releasing Saint Judy in 55 locations; and IFC will release The Wedding Guest into four locations.

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.

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (4,286 theaters) - $32.0 M
  • Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral (2,442 theaters) - $22.0 M
  • Alita: Battle Angel (3,096 theaters) - $7.2 M
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (3,458 theaters) - $6.2 M
  • Greta (2,409 theaters) - $4.8 M
  • Fighting with My Family (2,855 theaters) - $4.7 M
  • Isn't It Romantic (3,325 theaters) - $4.6 M
  • Green Book (2,641 theaters) - $4.0 M
  • What Men Want (2,018 theaters) - $3.0 M
  • Happy Death Day 2U (2,324 theaters) - $2.2 M

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