With three new, well-hyped wide releases and two sizable holdovers, this weekend we appear to be in for one of the wilder box office races for #1 in recent memory, where almost any ranking of those five movies could be a feasible top 5 for the weekend. So does a new release take the top spot, does It go for a three-peat at #1, or could Hustlers move up from #2 if word-of-mouth proves stronger than indicated by its Cinemascore? Let’s move down the most likely top 5 ranking for the weekend:
#1 – Downton Abbey: Perhaps the film with the widest potential range this weekend, I have Downton ending up on the high end of current expectations thanks to its sizable built-in fanbase. Granted, it’s been a while since a theatrical sequel to a TV series blew up at the box office – Veronica Mars and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie were box office non-events, while Entourage floundered in the summer box office with a $32.4 million total. But the Downton TV series was far more popular than those series, regularly pulling in 8-10 million viewers even near the end of its run on PBS. Per Fandango, early sales were well ahead of adult-aimed hits like Mamma Mia! 2 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Earlier this week Variety put the movie’s range at $16-20 million, which could put the film in fifth place for the weekend. However, I have the film tapping into enough of the show’s fanbase to take the top spot, finishing the weekend in the $23 million range.
#2 – Rambo: Last Blood: Sylvester Stallone, hasn’t been a box office draw on his own in a long time, but after successfully returning to his other iconic role as Rocky Balboa in the Creed series, he seems inspired to give his other iconic character a big sendoff. The last entry entry in this series, Rambo, opened to $18.2 million over 11 years ago, or $22.8 million adjusted for inflation. Tracking has put this movie within that range, and selling the film as the Last in the franchise might help convince old fans to come out for one final ride. I’ll put it right in between that unadjusted and adjusted number for s $20.5 million opening weekend.
#3 – It: Chapter Two: With three new movies aiming for different sections of adult audiences, Chapter Two should be in for another steep drop. The first IT dropped 50.5% in its third weekend when it faced Kingsman: The Golden Circle, so a drop within that range looks likely. A 51% drop would put the film at $19.5 million for the weekend.
#4 – Hustlers: After rave reviews in the build-up to its release, the B- Cinemascore for Hustlers raised some questions about how much general audiences would enjoy this crime movie compared to critics. Early weekday numbers have been promising, as the film was easily #1 on Monday and Tuesday over IT: Chapter Two, and has been not far off from last September’s A Simple Favor in terms of daily trajectory. If it continues to follow that film, it should finish the weekend with $19 million, a respectable -43% drop from its opening.
#5 – Ad Astra: Alas, the most acclaimed and most expensive new release this weekend is beginning to look set for the smallest opening. While adult-aimed sci-fi movies have become a successful fall staple thanks to the successes of Gravity, Interstellar, and The Martian, the marketing for Ad Astra has been far more muted than those films, as new Fox owners Disney seem perplexed on how sell this more cerebral take on the genre. And while Brad Pitt is one of the biggest movie stars in the world, he sometimes struggles to bring in audiences for more difficult sells like this movie. An opening around $18 million looks like a reasonable goal, if well below what this movie needs in order to make a profit.
1. Downton Abbey – $23 million (NEW)
2. Rambo: Last Blood – $20.5 million (NEW)
3. IT: Chapter Two – $19.5 million (-51%)
4. Hustlers – $19 million (-43%)
5. Ad Astra – $18 million (NEW)
6. Good Boys – $2.7 million (-35%
7. The Lion King – $2.6 million (-29%)
8. Angel Has Fallen – $2.5 million (-45%)
9. Overcomer – $1.7 million (-38%)
10. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – $1.6 million (-42%)