It's your usual April hodgepodge weekend to lead off the month, but with a bit of a twist – the films may actually be good. I know, I'm surprised too.
Weekend Forecast for April 6-8, 2018
By Reagen Sulewski
April 6, 2018
A Quiet Place sounds like some lost Merchant Ivory costume drama in Victorian England, which it still of course could be, as long as it involves a bunch of sound-sensitive carnivorous tentacle monsters. John Krasinski makes his directorial, well not debut, but his previous films made juuuust over $1 million, so as good as a debut, with this horror film. Starring with his wife Emily Blunt, it's set in a near future Earth that's been invaded by monsters that pounce on anything that makes a sound. Living in a rural setting, they've been able to scrounge and survive with their children for a number of years, but the daily toll is growing on them. Further plot complications make survival all that more important but difficult, and
It's a simple premise and compelling premise that we shouldn't think toooo hard about and which could easily make for a superior horror film in the hands of a suspense master, which... apparently Jim from the freaking Office is now? After Jordan Peele and now this, should we just hand the reins of all our suspense films over to our funniest people?
Debuting with enthusiastic buzz at South by South West, it's received near universal acclaim from critics, with a reception similar in quality to last year's Get Out (if lacking that film's social critic angle). However, horror is one of those genres where a critical bandwagon effect can be huge for box office, as it becomes legitimized and fodder for the horror-curious community that doesn't want to sit through a bunch of crap (as many horror films are!) to find the gems. I don't expect this to roll up the way that Get Out did (or in the classic example, Blair Witch), but it does take what might be a very modest film into a larger one. In any case, with the typical low budget for a horror film at $17 million, it's certainly going to be a pretty profitable one, and should start with a strong $27 million.
Another genre that benefits from critical steamrollers is comedy, which is taken up by this weekend's Blockers. Starring the long-awaited trio of Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz, they play the parents of three graduating high school daughters, who've formed a pact to lose their virginity on prom night (the poster helpfully completes the joke with a picture of a rooster, ho ho ho). It's basically the reverse of every teenage sex comedy, taking the side of the parents over the kids.
Raunchy to its core, as is standard for this genre, it's a close cousin to the Neighbors movies, where we had to side with the Olds over the Youngs before realize that they were all the Jerks. No surprise though, that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are involved in this one (as producers). Kay Cannon, who was behind the screenplay for the Pitch Perfect movies, gets her directorial debut. Comedies live and die on their trailers and premise, and this one has a decent one, probably putting it in a sub-Neighbors performance of around $17 million.
The run of faith-based films continues with The Miracle Season, which plays things a little closer to its chest versus the overtly religious films of late. Helen Hunt stars as the coach of a high school volleyball team that continues on after the tragic death of its captain. It's fairly low-key and low stakes stuff from the director of Soul Surfer and opens in only 1,700 or so venues, opening to about $4 million.
Another smaller release is Chappaquiddick, the “wait, how is this relevent now?” film about Ted Kennedy's (Jason Clarke) car crash in 1969 that killed his secretary, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), and the subsequent fallout that submarined his political career for a time. A relatively straightforward telling of the events, albeit with a few necessary assumptions about behind the scenes events, it's a look at corruption in its pursuit of power. Also featuring Ed Helms, Jim Gaffigan, Bruce Dern and Olivia Thirlby, it's buoyed by strong performances, but debuts in just 1,500 or so venues and should open to around $3 million.
Returning films are led by Ready Player One, which started with $41 million. The pop culture heavy Spielberg film fought with expectations and some backlash what ends up being something of an underwhelming number. For the “Roger Rabbit of Gen X”, you'd expect more. As such a buzz-reliant film, I'd also expect the second weekend drop to be fairly steep, to around $19 million.
Tyler Perry's Acrimony leapt into second place with $17 million, defying the usual pattern for his non-Madea/family films, showing that perhaps he's growing a bit in his audience. Still, like most Perry films, this should see a very significant drop, to about $8 million.
Black Panther just refuses to have a bad weekend, with its fourth straight with a drop of less than 40 per cent and cracking the $650 million mark. I've sort of run out of superlatives for this film, and it's now inches away from passing Titanic for third place overall. It should add about $8 million this weekend, and keeps its long shot run at $700 million alive.
Faith-film I Can Only Imagine had a strong third weekend hold, losing just a quarter of its business over the Easter weekend, but I expect a little of the bottom to fall out here without the holiday tie-in. Expect around $6 million here.