Weekend #1 Up for Grabs as 'Downton Abbey', 'Rambo' & 'Ad Astra' Hit Theaters
by Brad Brevet
September 19, 2019
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Focus's Downton Abbey is off to a tremendous start, bringing in an estimated $13.8 million on Friday, which does include $2.1 million from Thursday night previews as well as an additional $2.2 million from previous sneak peek screenings. Studio expectations for the film's three-day weekend currently stand at $31 million, which would be a record opening for Focus, topping the $22.7 million opening for Insidious Chapter 3. The film also scored an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
Lionsgate's Rambo: Last Blood with an estimated $7.17 million on Friday. Current industry expectations are for a three-day performance around $17-18 million. The film received a "B" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
Sticking with Rambo, stride-for-stride, is Fox's Ad Astra, which is looking right on track to match our expectations with an estimated $7.16 million on Friday and expected to finish with a $19.5+ million three-day performance. The film received a "B-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences.
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: Focus's Downton Abbey grossed $2.1 million from Thursday night previews beginning at 7PM in 2,800 theaters. The figure does not include $2.2 million in previous sneak peek screenings that took place prior to release, which is to say the film is entering 3,079 theaters today with $4.3 million already in the coffers.
Fox's Ad Astra delivered $1.5 million from previews on Thursday night. The performance is just ahead of the $1.45 million in previews for Arrival ahead of a $24 million opening and looking at some of the other comps mentioned below it's ahead of Oblivion ($1.1m) and Passengers ($1.2m) and just behind Elysium ($1.6m).
Lionsgate's Rambo: Last Blood took in $1.3 million from previews in just under 2,900 theaters. The performance is just behind Angel Has Fallen ($1.5m) as well as The Hitman's Bodyguard, both of which opened with over $21 million.
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 could see a serious battle for #1 as three brand new releases hit theaters, all of which could deliver as much as $20 million if not more. Among those films is Lionsgate's Rambo: Last Blood, Focus's Downton Abbey and Fox's Ad Astra, all set to target three different audiences and all but Rambo receiving a strong critical response. Which title will have the legs to cross the finish line first?
We'll begin this weekend's preview with Downton Abbey, which will launch in 3,079 locations and Focus is heading into the film's opening with expectations for a $20 million debut. We've been looking at comps such as 2014's The Monuments Men ($22m opening) and Wonder ($27.5m opening) and it's right in line when comparing IMDb page view data over the two weeks leading up to release. It's also outpacing First Man, which opened last October with $16 million when looking at IMDb page view data. We're going out with a $22 million forecast for this weekend, expecting a #1 finish and should it hold, it will be only the third time Focus has had a film open over $20 million with an eye to become the studio's largest opening ever.
In second we're looking for Lionsgate and Millennium's Rambo: Last Blood, which will launch in over 3,600 theaters with the studio anticipating a performance anywhere from $17-20 million, pointing to 2008's Rambo, which opened with $18.2 million. Looking at IMDb page view performance for films such as The Hitman's Bodyguard and London Has Fallen, both of which opened with over $21 million, Last Blood holds a slight edge over both heading into the weekend. It's also outpacing Angel Has Fallen, which also debuted over $21 million just a few weeks ago. While this helps suggest the film could easily reach $21 million, if not higher, the $18 million opening for the last film does cause us to hesitate ever so slightly, keeping expectations right around $20 million, knowing full well it could end up +/- $2 million or more on either side of that number. That being said, that difference could end up being the difference between a first place finish or perhaps slipping as far down as fifth.
WB and New Line's It: Chapter Two is looking at a drop around -52% after holding on better than expected last weekend. Should that forecast hold we're looking at a $19 million weekend and a domestic cume topping $180 million by end of day Sunday.
Right behind it, or perhaps climbing even higher on the list is Disney's release of Fox's Ad Astra. Starring Brad Pitt, the sci-fi feature is debuting in 3,460 theaters with tracking suggesting a debut in the high-teens. We're sticking to that forecast in our projections for this weekend, going out with an $19 million forecast, but we've seen plenty of evidence this could go much higher.
A peek at IMDb page views shows Ad Astra pacing similarly to films such as Arrival ($24 million opening) and out pacing Passengers ($14.8 million opening), both signals suggesting a performance anywhere from $19-25 million is not at all unlikely, and perhaps even more when you consider Arrival opened in 1,143 fewer locations. That said, IMDb page view data also shows the film outpacing features such as Gravity, Elysium and Oblivion ahead of release. How much of this interest is driven merely by curiosity is tough to say, but we can't discount the fact interest does seem to be increasing, making this one of the more compelling titles to watch heading into the weekend.
Rounding out the top five we have STXfilms's Hustlers, which had an impressive debut last weekend, giving the studio a record opening weekend with $33.1 million, topping the opening weekend of films such as Girls Trip and Bad Moms. While the film also worked for critics, the only thing heading into this second weekend that's a little concerning is the "B-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. By comparison, Bad Moms received an "A" and Girls Trip an "A+". So what does that mean for this weekend? Had that CinemaScore been in the "A" range we might have been looking at a -40% drop if not even better, but as it is we're looking more around -47% and a $17.6 million second weekend, which would push the film's domestic cume around $63 million by the end of the weekend, making it the fourth largest release all-time from STX after just ten days in release.
In limited release, Fox International will release The Zoya Factor in 100 theaters and Sony Classics will debut Where's My Roy Cohn? in 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.
- Downton Abbey (3,079 theaters) - $22.0 M
- Rambo: Last Blood (3,618 theaters) - $20.0 M
- It: Chapter Two (4,156 theaters) - $19.0 M
- Ad Astra (3,460 theaters) - $19.0 M
- Hustlers (3,525 theaters) - $17.6 M
- Good Boys (2,017 theaters) - $2.5 M
- Angel has Fallen (2,505 theaters) - $2.4 M
- The Lion King (1,978 theaters) - $2.4 M
- Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (1,382 theaters) - $1.7 M
- Overcomer (1,818 theaters) - $1.5 M
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