A busy March box office slate continues this weekend with the release of three new films: Sony’s adaptation of the Valiant comic book series “Bloodshot,” Universal/Blumhouse’s provocative thriller “The Hunt” and Lionsgate’s faith-based “I Still Believe,” the studio’s first release under its new partnership with Jon and Andrew Erwin’s production label Kingdom Story Company.
Of those three, “I Still Believe” is the one picked by independent trackers to have the best opening weekend and one analysts tell TheWrap has an outside chance of taking the No. 1 spot from Pixar’s “Onward” if it overperforms. Estimates for the inspirational true story film are currently set around $15 million, with Lionsgate projecting a $10-12 million start. Screenings will begin early on IMAX starting Wednesday.
While it isn’t expected to be a major grosser for Lionsgate, “I Still Believe” is still an important release for the studio. After Lionsgate’s $83 million success in 2018 with “I Can Only Imagine,” also an Erwin brothers’ film, profits from the movie were used to launch Kingdom Story Company in 2019 under a partnership with Lionsgate. The studio became the first major Hollywood studio to make a distribution deal with a faith-based label, aiming to release a mix of films that appeal to evangelical Christians and others that reach a wider audience with broader inspirational themes. The partnership is also part of Lionsgate’s plan to market itself to the industry as a studio that puts the director’s vision first. For more on Lionsgate and Kingdom’s plans, check out our Box Office Report on WrapPRO.
“I Still Believe” stars KJ Apa in the true story of Jeremy Camp, a singer-songwriter who fell in love and married his first wife, Melissa, as she was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. The film also stars Britt Robertson, Shania Twain, Melissa Roxburgh and Gary Sinise, with the Erwins directing a screenplay written by Jon Erwin, Jon Gunn and Madeline Carroll.
“The Hunt” will also hit theaters this weekend after being delayed from its initial release last September in the wake of shootings in Dayton and El Paso, along with public backlash at the film’s premise of rich liberals hunting conservatives for sport. The marketing for the film has heavily leaned into that backlash, with a theatrical poster featuring quotes from outlets like Fox News and The Wall Street Journal condemning the film, along with the tagline: “The most talked about movie of the year is one that no one’s actually seen.”
The film might also get a small boost from the increased interest in the film’s co-writer and producer Damon Lindelof, who won over critics with his HBO series “Watchmen” last fall. But for now, “The Hunt” is expected to have a quiet opening of $8-9 million against a budget of $14 million.
“The Hunt” stars Betty Gilpin as Crystal, one of a group of red staters who are captured and transported to a remote facility called Manor House, where she must fight her way out as she is hunted by rich liberal elites who have paid thousands to a spiteful businesswoman (Hilary Swank) to kill people for sport. Ike Barinholtz and Emma Roberts also star in the film, which is directed by Craig Zobel and written by Lindelof and Nick Cuse.
Finally, there’s “Bloodshot,” an R-rated adaptation of the bloody Valiant Comics series starring Vin Diesel. At the moment, the film faces an uphill battle to break even with estimates projecting a $10 million opening against a $45 million budget co-financed by Columba Pictures, Bona Film Group and Cross Creek Pictures. With “A Quiet Place Part II” coming out next weekend, the film will have a limited window to drive turnout among 18-35 males.
“Bloodshot” stars Diesel as Ray Garrison, a U.S. Marine who is brought back to life with powerful nanotechnology after he and his wife are killed. Trained to be a powerful super-soldier, he slowly regains his memories of his life before the murder and sets out on a path of revenge. Eiza González, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, and Guy Pearce also star in the film, which is directed by David S.F. Wilson in his feature directorial debut. None of this week’s wide releases currently have a score on Rotten Tomatoes.