Trackers have the movie surpassing $40 million on its opening, but distributor Sony is eyeing $30 million or just higher.
The high end of estimates on the PG-13 Western could be overreaching, according to insiders who spoke with TheWrap. Recent movies in the genre serve as a litmus test: “Django Unchained” opened to $30 million, “True Grit” debuted to $24 million and “The Lone Ranger” lassoed $29 million when it launched in theaters — the last widely-released PG-13 film in the category.
Following the unit’s debut 2014 hit “The Lego Movie,” Warner Animation Group’s sophomore outing “Storks” is looking to pass the $30 million mark as well, with industry trackers seeing opening numbers as high as $40 million.
The animated feature was made for $70 million, and is set to open in roughly 3,900 locations. It also opens in 33 international markets this weekend, including China, Russia and Brazil — which will add grosses on top of its aforementioned domestic tally.
Featuring Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele in the voice cast, the movie chronicles the challenges of one final baby delivery mistakenly assigned to the storks after they have moved into durable goods deliveries.
WAG’s goal is to put out a movie per year, as its future slate includes: “The Lego Batman Movie,” due in theaters on Feb. 10; “The Lego Ninjago Movie,” coming out Sept. 22 of next year; “Smallfoot,” set for a Feb. 9, 2018 release; and “The Lego Movie Sequel,” in theaters Feb. 8, 2019, with several more to follow.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ true-life tale “Sully” should continue flying high, with the Tom Hanks disaster film estimated to clear $15 million in its third weekend.
Both “Storks” and “The Magnificent Seven” are generating a good amount of social buzz, according to comScore’s PreAct tool. The Western represents nearly 16,000 new conversations online in the past week, with a cumulative total of more than 90,000. WAG’s animated feature inspired more than 11,000 social media mentions in the past week, with an overall total of nearly 65,000.
Representing more than 170,000 new conversations, the top movie this past week, however, is “Fifty Shades Darker” — due to the recent release of a new trailer and poster. That’s followed by “Moana,” “Rogue One” and then this weekend’s Pratt movie in the No. 4 spot. “Storks” is No. 6, just behind “Nocturnal Animals.”
Antoine Fuqua directed “The Magnificent Seven,” a new take on the classic story about seven outlaws assigned to protect a vulnerable town. Aside from Pratt and Washington, it also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Haley Bennett, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matt Bomer and Martin Sensmeier.
Produced for $90 million, it opens in 3,665 theaters on Friday. It was co-financed with LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures.