March 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
March 4, 2016
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane (March 11th)
Technically speaking, 10 Cloverfield Lane ranks among the month's more unpredictable releases, but on the other hand, we've been through Cloverfield-mania before, haven't we? The original film, released a little over eight years ago now, was a phenomenon owed entirely to successful advertising, right there at the dawn of the social media age. It was also an entertaining and pretty well-reviewed sci-fi monster movie, even if it also had one of cinema's great front-loaded openings: $17 million on Friday, $40 million for the weekend, and $80 million at its end. The sequel appears connected to the original only by virtue of also being a potentially post-apocalyptic science-fiction tale with some very good marketing - and while some of the trailer is striking, yes, it does not, I think, have any money shots quite as good as what was seen the first time out.
Still, horror fans turn out in moderate droves when so prepositioned by the right studio, and this quasi-sequel should play well enough, especially opening in a year that so far hasn't produced any horror film total grosses above $35 million (or an opening approaching half of that). Cloverfield Lane will probably win its weekend, which is just about the only one this March without a big special-effects action film (we are deprived).
Opening weekend: $20 million / Total gross: $45 million
7. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (March 25th)
That's right, Batman v Superman is not the only long-in-the-making follow-up set to explode onto cinema screens on March 25th. Which one will prevail? That's a rhetorical question, as it must be, but credit should be given where credit is due: the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding's run remains one of the most remarkable box office performances of all time. I still remember seeing the first film listed among the limited releases of April 19, 2002. Like many such indies, it got some good reviews and had a pretty solid weekend ($597,362 on 108 screens), but unlike every other such release, it refused to disappear into the eternal video void: week after week, month after month, the film grew some at-first low-key word-of-mouth, and then it grossed, and grossed, and grossed, never making more than $11 million a weekend but finishing with a remarkable total of $241 million (in 2002 dollars!).
The original film was based on a one-woman play and autobiographical passion project of star Nia Vardalos, whose subsequent movie roles (Connie & Carla, My Life in Ruins) mostly came and went from the release schedule. So this could be a big comeback, and indeed, pretty much all of the original cast have returned once more into the fray, with the story's new elements including the cultural travails of the original couple's daughter, along with another improbable Greek wedding. The plot isn't really the point, though, and while it looks like the Greek Wedding phenomenon is somewhat in the past, I think there's still a very good chance I'm underestimating the material's fan base and its chance at a much higher performance. As much as everyone loves Greek weddings, though, any nuptials on that weekend will likely be obliterated by people finally getting the chance to see Batman and Superman beat the s--t out of each other.
Opening weekend: $13 million / Total gross: $40 million