Batman, Bondage and a Man Named Wick: Three New Titles Look To Avoid Becoming The Lesser Of All Sequels. This Coming Weekend at the Boxoffice

By and Jim Amos | February 6, 2017 2:00 am PDT

To paraphrase Herman’s Hermits, third verse same as the first for M. Night and the “Split” gang.  Universal’s creep-fest pulled a three-peat in winning its third consecutive weekend with a take of USD $14.8 million. “Split” edged out Paramount’s “Rings”, which could only muster USD $13 million (close to the projected USD $15 million) and never successfully got its message out to its intended teen/20’s horror audience.

The weekend’s other opening on Super Bowl weekend, “The Space Between Us”, got sacked, threw a Pick 6 (OK, I’m now out of witty football references) and opened to a disappointing USD $3.8 million, less than half what was projected and only good enough for a snappy ninth place finish. Hopefully everyone in the marketplace has enjoyed their boxoffice bonanza as most will get run over this coming weekend by the Gang of Three.

Speaking of which, onward to this weekend.

LEGO Batman” (Warner Brothers)— When an animated title grosses USD $257 million expect sequels, prequels and off-shoots galore and exactly two years after “The LEGO Movie” opened to a stunning USD $69 million everyone’s favorite Danish export (sorry, Klaus von Bulow) is back and is bringing the Caped Crusader along for the ride. Tracking is strong, ticket prices will be inflated because of the IMAX and 3D components and the movie’s trailers have been seen on YouTube over 20 million times. It’s worthwhile to mention here that Warners hopes this “LEGO” will enjoy a more successful overseas run this time around. The first grossed significantly less overseas (USD $211 million) than it did in the States. That’s odd in today’s worldwide boxoffice market, especially for an animated title and one that has its roots in Europe.

The Verdict: It’s LEGO.  It’s Batman.  It’s Imax.  It’s got the animated landscape virtually to itself.  What could possibly go wrong?  Absolutely nothing.  Look for an opening close to the original (with the possibility of going even higher) then a strong hold on the Presidents Day holiday for week two.  Ka-ching. USD $66 million.

50 Shades Darker” (Universal)— Yes the original “50 Shades of Grey” opened to an at-the-time record USD $85 million but a closer look reveals that the film ended up at “only” USD $166 million, which is less than a 2X multiple, a level usually reserved for horror sequels and Larry The Cable Guy movies. The good news is that sales of the second book were still strong and it has a built-in, primarily female, audience. The bad news is that a comp that could be used would be the two “Sex And The City” movies, also female driven with a built-in audience. The first SATC movie opened to USD $57 million but the second plummeted to a USD $31 million debut. Also aiding the first “50 Shades” was its “can’t wait” factor and that Valentines Day fell on its opening Saturday. This time around V-Day is on a Tuesday which could negatively affect its opening three-day stanza.

The Verdict: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan look to rekindle the “50 Shades” magic but this time out they face significant hurdles along the way (as mentioned above) as well as the fact that most fans say this book has the least amount of steamy sex scenes of the trilogy.  It’s a tough one to call.  We’ll say USD $44 million but I won’t be surprised if it’s opening weekend has a 3 in front of it.

John Wick 2” (Lionsgate)—What could have been a run-of-the-mill, straight-to-video Keanu Reeves actioner turned into a tidy little hit for Lionsgate and not surprisingly everyone’s favorite dog lover returns for a second outing. The original “John Wick” only opened to USD $14 million but it finished with USD $43 million and enjoyed a second life in ancillary markets as a bit of a cult classic.  Tracking is solid but not spectacular.

The Verdict:  The movie could get lost in the boxoffice universe this weekend or it could possibly end up a more viable couples option for Valentine’s Weekend.  USD $22 million would appear to be the ceiling.

Kudos to anyone who caught the common thread with the prediction numbers this weekend.

ALSO OPENING—The British/ South African mixed race romance, “A United Kingdom”, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.  And, in keeping with our sequel themed weekend, “Jolly LLB 2”, an Akshay Kumar comedy for the Bollywood audience.

Jim Amos
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Jim Amos

Founder at Scout53
Founder of Scout 53 Entertainment Consulting. Former President of Distribution at Sony Pictures and Head of Theatrical Sales at Fathom Events and STX Entertainment. Husband, vegan, Anglophile and one-eyed rescue cat owner.
Jim Amos
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