Universal's 'Abominable' Ready to Freeze Out the Weekend Competition
by Brad Brevet
September 26, 2019
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Universal's animated feature Abominable brought in an estimated $5.69 million on Friday as the film looks to deliver a $20+ million three-day performance. Opening day audiences gave the film an "A" 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: DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio's Abominable grossed $650,000 in previews last night from 2,950 theaters. Showings began at 6PM. Based on the comps used in our preview below, only Storks held preview showings and it out-performed that film, which brought in $435k from previews ahead of a $21.3 million opening.
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: The first animated film of the fall season, and the first in over a month, arrives this weekend in the form of Universal, DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio's Abominable and it's looking to top the weekend box office. Behind it is last weekend's strong opener Downton Abbey, while Roadside Attractions looks to crack the top ten with their moderate release of Judy starring Renee Zellweger.
DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio's Abominable serves as the first animated feature since the release of The Angry Birds Movie 2 back in mid-August and it's opening in a hefty, 4,242 locations. Heading into the weekend, the studio is anticipating an opening anywhere from $17-20 million and that lines up with what we've been looking at as the film enters the weekend with very little heat behind it.
A look at IMDb page view data shows the $75 million animated feature pacing behind previous animated September openers such as Storks ($21.3m opening), The LEGO Ninjago Movie ($20.4m opening) and Smallfoot ($23m opening), though not so far behind as to suggest it can't match the openings for those films. As for a range, an opening anywhere from $17-21 million is what we're looking for with our forecast currently expecting a performance on the lower end, yet enough for a #1 finish.
After delivering a record opening for Focus Features last weekend, Downton Abbey is already the studio's 15th highest grossing release of all-time and after this weekend it should end up in fourth on that list. Right now we're anticipating a -45% drop and a $17 million second weekend, which should push the film's domestic cume over $60 million. The big question here is how much the film's $4.3 million in previews will impact its second weekend, because while a -45% drop on $31 million means a $17 million sophomore frame, the same drop against $26.7 million means a weekend closer to $15 million. Typically previews are easier to account for, but this one is targeting a different audience, which will make this weekend's performance one to watch.
Disney's release of Fox's Ad Astra should land in third, looking to drop around -49% for a $9.7 million second weekend and a domestic cume topping $35 million by the end of the weekend.
It: Chapter Two enters its fourth week in release in 3,611 locations and we're anticipating another $9 million this weekend, pushing the horror film's domestic cume over $192 million, closing in on that $200 million milestone.
Rounding out the top five, STX's Hustlers and Lionsgate's Rambo: Last Blood are both looking at performances just shy of $9 million. The biggest question is whether Rambo will be able to hold on better than our anticipated -54% drop. If so, it will most likely jump into fifth position, but it'll be close.
Elsewhere, Roadside Attractions is releasing Judy into 461 theaters with Renee Zellweger starring as Judy Garland in the Rupert Goold-directed biopic. Reviews for the film have been favorable, scoring a 65 on Metacritic and a Certified Fresh rating at 88% on RottenTomatoes. Right now we're expecting a performance around $1.3 million, which would be just ahead of the $1.3 million opening for Whitney last year from a similar number of locations.
In limited release, IFC will debut The Day Shall Come in 32 theaters.
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.
- Abominable (4,242 theaters) - $18.0 M
- Downton Abbey (3,390 theaters) - $17.0 M
- Ad Astra (3,460 theaters) - $9.7 M
- It: Chapter Two (3,611 theaters) - $9.0 M
- Hustlers (3,508 theaters) - $8.7 M
- Rambo: Last Blood (3,618 theaters) - $8.7 M
- The Lion King (1,691 theaters) - $1.7 M
- Good Boys (1,498 theaters) - $1.4 M
- Judy (461 theaters) - $1.4 M
- Angel has Fallen (1,652 theaters) - $1.2 M
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