The Bears may not be competing in the Big Game on Sunday, but they’re still poised to win this weekend, with three movies debuting on the big screen that, while strong for a Super Bowl slate, don’t appear to pose much of a threat to DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda 3” for box office supremacy.
George Clooney‘s “Hail, Caesar!’ might dominate Friday ticket sales, but come Saturday, not even the film’s stellar cast (Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes and Jonah Hill) can keep it at the top, says comScore senior analyst Paul Dergarabedian. Last weekend, the third installment in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise opened to $41 million among newcomers “The Finest Hours,” “Fifty Shades of Black” and “Jane Got a Gun,” and it’s expected to continue thriving despite the premieres of “Hail, Caesar!” “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “The Choice” this weekend as well.
Tracking has “Kung Fu Panda 3” grossing somewhere in the $20 million range, while “Hail, Caesar!” directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, is looking to make somewhere in the upper single digit to low teen millions this weekend. The latest Nicholas Sparks screen adaptation “The Choice” is looking at mid-to-upper single-digit millions.
According to BoxOffice.com, the only movie that might surprise is Lily James‘ “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” but that will be up to the young adult and teen crowds that won’t be watching the Super Bowl.
In fact, come Sunday, most movies will be impacted by the NFL championship game, in which the Carolina Panthers are slated to play the Denver Broncos. According to BoxOffice.com, it has been seven years since a Super Bowl weekend opener hit $10 million without directly appealing to Teen/YA audiences. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is looking at low-to-mid-teen millions, but could possibly gross higher. In fact, Sony is estimating $9 million.
Whatever happens, says Dergarabedian, all movies will be “jammed and mashed together,” with grosses hovering around the same mark. “Last weekend, ‘The Revenant’ was $13 million, ‘Star Wars’ was $11 million, and ‘Finest Hours’ was $10 million … and the newcomers aren’t catching on that well except ‘Kung Fu Panda 3.'”
While the three debuts might not have a big opening weekend, Dergarabedian says they’ve all got something going for them.
“‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is a cool mashup, and horror movies are the most consistent performers at the box office and generally profitable; ‘The Choice’ will have a long shelf life; and ‘Hail, Caesar!’ will also have a long playing field,” says Dergarabedian. “Everyone has something to offer out there.”
“The Choice,” for example, is positioning itself as an alternative for women who don’t like football, and Dergarabedian says that you will often see romantic movies counter-programmed on Super Bowl weekends. “Dear John,” for instance, opened on that weekend in 2010, and Jennifer Lopez‘s “The Wedding Planner” was released opposite the Big Game in 2001.
Either way, he says, “this selection of newcomers is stronger than what was unleashed last weekend. It will be a good Super Bowl weekend for the movies,” which will have until 3:30 p.m. PT to fight for first place, after which time the Broncos and Panthers square off.
“It’s about getting the biggest bang for their buck before the Super Bowl kicks in,” added Dergarabedian.