“The Fate of the Furious” is expected to easily hold on to the No. 1 spot on an otherwise quiet box office weekend that will mostly serve as a release slot for several art house releases.
“Fate of the Furious” is coming off the biggest opening weekend in movie history, racking up $536 million worldwide with only $98.8 million coming from domestic screens. Since releasing in 15 overseas markets on April 12, “Fate” has reached the $600 million global mark in just six days. That puts it on pace to pass “Beauty and the Beast” and set the new bar for the highest grossing film of 2017, though how long “Fate of the Furious” will stay atop that list remains to be seen with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” leading a slew of heavyweight summer titles starting next month.
Another big question: By how much will grosses from the car-tastic sequel starring Vin Diesel and Charlize Theron drop in weekend No. 2? If “Fate of the Furious” follows the same pattern as “Fast Five” and “Fast & Furious 6,” which had similar openings, it’s looking at a second frame drop between 60-65 percent. However, “Fate” is facing far less competition than its 2011 and 2013 predecessors, which shared cinemas with films like “Thor” and “The Hangover Part III.” In other words: No road blocks.
But while we wait for those summer titans to arrive, the new release slate for this weekend will belong to quieter fare, all of which will roll out to far fewer screens than “Fate of the Furious” got. The most prominent release this weekend is Disney’s “Born in China,” a co-production between the House of Mouse and Shanghai Media Group and the tenth nature documentary released by Disney through their Disneynature imprint. Directed by Lu Chuan and narrated by John Krasinski, the film is projected to make $4-5 million from an estimated 1,500 screens, a range that many of Disney’s recent nature films have hit in their opening weekends.
On the far more adult end of the spectrum is A24’s “Free Fire,” an action-comedy directed and written by Ben Wheatley. The film stars Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, and Cillian Murphy as a group of black market arms dealers who whip out their guns when a warehouse deal takes a very violent turn. Co-written by Amy Jump and produced by Andy Starke and Film4, the film is projected to make $3 million. It currently has an 80 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a screen count yet to be announced.
Open Road Films is also submitting an entry this weekend with “The Promise,” which stars Oscar Isaac as an Armenian medical student who falls into a love triangle with an American reporter (Christian Bale) and a beautiful dance instructor (Charlotte Le Bon) amidst the start of the Armenian Genocide in 1914. Trackers have the film making $5 million from an estimated 2,000 screens this weekend. It currently has a rating of 35 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
The widest release this weekend is Warner Bros. love triangle thriller “Unforgettable,” which is expected to make $9-10 million from 2,300 screens, with WB projecting a little less at $7-8 million against a $12 million budget. Directed by Denise Di Novi, the film stars Katherine Heigl as Tessa, a woman fresh off a divorce who watches as her ex-husband (Geoff Stults) quickly become engaged to another woman named Julia (Rosario Dawson). Soon, Tessa’s jealousy drives her to violent madness, forcing Julia to fight for her new family.