The biggest opening in history is about to followed up by the biggest anti-climax in history. The Avengers cleared out three whole weeks on the schedule and, you know, they deserved it. However, that leaves this week's three new wide releases fighting for space in the shadow of a 500 foot tall skyscraper.
Weekend Forecast for May 3-5, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
May 2, 2019
Perhaps best positioned for success is a comedy with the biggest names of the week, such as it is. Long Shot stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron in yet another "Seth is hideous yet somehow gets the hottie" film. Theron plays the current Secretary of State (well not the *current* one but, well, you know what I mean) who is planning a run for president. At a party, she runs into Rogen, an online, Buzzfeed-type journalist, who she used to babysit as a teenager. After hiring him on as a campaign speech writer, sparks start to fly, and her high class starts to rub off and him, and he shows her the wild life that she's missed while on her road to political power.
The typical eyerolls are in place for the premise, though it's possibly not as implausible as you'd think *coughcoughPeteDavidson*coughcough* and Theron has made a point of saying she's struggled to find dates, with the whole Unapproachable Beauty cliche apparently running true in this case. In this film, though, she plays somewhere in between her glamorous roles and her glammed-down ones like Tully or Young Adult, though it's a funny, charming version of that which isn't always present. Rogen, meanwhile, is his hyuck hyuck self. One thing you can say for certain about him is that he knows his lane and stays in it, for the most part.
Also starring O'Shea Jackson Jr (aka Ice Cube Jr), Andy Serkis in a rare un-mo-capped role, June Diane Raphael, Bob Odenkirk and Alexander Skarsgard, it's received uncommonly good reviews, at least for a comedy, for which critics are often divisive. There's nothing too ground breaking here - the film tells on itself in its own trailer by calling itself a gender flipped Pretty Woman. It's been around three years since Rogen put something similar to this in theaters, the fairly disappointing Neighbors 2. It's been a long time since his heyday of stoner comedies, so he could basically be considered untested at this point, though in another sense he's kind of due. Theron's had a few hits here and there but it's often under the auspices of a franchise or tentpole film. I think there's small breakout potential here with reviews driving the way, and an opening or $16 million is possible here.
Family audiences are taken up by UglyDolls, a musical animated film based on a range of toys that were ... sort of a craze? around ten years ago. The toys themselves are conspicuously "imperfect" and the film is a fairly didactic take on the idea of being true to yourself and embracing imperfection. The dolls are residents of UglyVille, which is the home for rejected toys. They discover a portal to Perfection, a land where perfect toys wait to be chosen for children in the "real world". The toys from this world resent the existence of the ugly ones, with a move towards eliminating them entirely.
The voice cast is heavy on singers, with Kelly Clarkson, Pitbull, Blake Shelton, Janelle Monae, Nick Jonas, Charlie XCX, Lizzo and Bebe Rexha all featuring significantly. Wanda Sykes, Gabrielle Igesias and Emma Roberts also fill out roles here. The film skews verrrry young, and it's hard to imagine a significant portion of the audience being older than 12. That puts a strong cap on the film's box office, and an opening weekend of around $10 million seems likely.
Social thriller The Intruder rounds out our list of new films, playing off the insecurities of its target audience. Michael Ealy and Meagan Good play a young married couple who move out to Napa and purchase a lavish estate from Dennis Quaid. The problem - he can't seem to move on, and continues to hang around, not relinquishing his claim to their new home. It seems to play like a racially conscious version of Pacific Heights, and the politics of it seem pretty apparent. The problem is the ridiculous plotting and over-the-top performances, which sink it as drama, while not being scary enough to turn it into a proper horror film. This looks like a very moderate performer at around $9 million this weekend.
I don't want to go out on a limb here, but Avengers: Endgame may, just may, be able to hold on to top spot at the box office for a second weekend. The MCU's magnum opus made a mockery of the concept of box office records with its $357 million opening weekend (which it has since increased to over $450 million mid-week). To put things in perspective, that opening weekend put it 48th overall just on its own. It broke the previous record by approximately the opening weekend of Transformers 3. Its biggest day would have been the 18th biggest opening weekend all by itself.
I could talk superlatives all day, but there's a great chance for at least one more this weekend - chasing after the biggest second weekend of all time. Currently that number belongs to Star Wars: The Force Awakens with $149.2 million, a number that's well within reach. A step-for-step performance compared to last year's Infinity War would put it at $158 million, comfortably over that line. A couple of competing factors come into play at this point. There was tremendous urgency to see the film as quickly as one could, both just out of anticipation and intense spoiler pressure. The internet just hasn't been a safe place to be if you wanted to see the movie cold and hadn't. However, it's proven to be an extremely satisfying end to the main Avengers saga (at least for now) and word of mouth is strong as you could expect. "Legs", at least in the traditional sense, just can't happen here after such a large initial number, but it's not unreasonable to expect to get some repeat business. I'd back off slightly from the step-for-step comparison, with around $153 million for its second frame, getting to around $625 million by the end of the weekend. It's Titanic in ten days.
Captain Marvel was about the only other thing in play last weekend, seeing a very small 9 percent decline as people studied up for the big Endgame final. It won't be able to repeat that this weekend, but should see around $5 million and push to $420 million domestic, making it the sixth largest Marvel film. Age of Ultron's $455 million is probably safe, but it's a good sign for the future of the MCU for Phase 4.