Weekend Forecast for August 31-September 2, 2018

By Reagen Sulewski

August 30, 2018

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A surprisingly busy Labor Day Weekend (perhaps because of the magic of it starting in August) sees two new wide releases, an expanding experimental film with critical acclaim and a couple of niche films as the main attractions – although they're all playing for second, at best.

Coming hot on the heels of last weekend's 80s sci-fi throwback A.X.L., this weekend we get Kin, which takes a big old spin of the genre wheel of destiny, combining gritty urban family drama with... The Last Starfighter. OK, then. Newcomer Myles Truitt stars in the film as the adopted child of Dennis Quaid in a run down Detroit neighbourhood, while Jack Reynor plays his just-released-from-prison brother, who's deep in hock to a crime boss (James Franco) who offered him protection in the joint. Normal, so far as that goes.

But then... little Rudiger discovers a giant space rifle during one of his expeditions into abandoned buildings, which he psychically bonds with and uses to settle scores and protect his family. And then there's the intergalactic bounty hunters looking to retrieve their weapon and we're deep into First Produced Screenplay territory. Save some ideas for the next one, OK?

Also starring Zoe Kravitz and Carrie Coon in smaller roles, and a cameo I won't name that's obviously a favor to somebody, it's received pretty dismal reviews, with most of them asking the film to pick a lane, but at least throwing it a bone for a few solid performances and Franco's usual unhinged act being allowed to run free. Between the reviews, the genre hopping and the end-of-summer release date though, I'd say we're looking at a weekend of around $7 million.

Opening Wednesday was Operation Finale, a story about the plot by Israeli operatives to capture Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann in Argentina 15 years after the end of World War II and put him on trial back in Israel. Oscar Issac, Melanie Laurent and Nick Kroll (!) star as the main agents tasked with tracking him down, while Ben Kingsley, man of 1000 races, plays Eichmann.




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Played out as a game of cat-and-mouse with a heavy dose of “do we even have the right guy?”, it's an interesting peek into a familiar bit of history but one that's not been overdone in entertainment. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be the knock it out of the park version of that, and director Chris Weitz (yes, the American Pie dude, though he's done some decently received stuff since then. But he'll never shake that) may not have been the guy to elevate it to the level it needed. Starting on Wednesday with about $1 million, this is a pretty similar take to The Debt from eight years ago, and points to a three day weekend of around $7 million.

Expanding from 9 venues to around 1,100, Searching has a relatively unique filmmaking style that's gotten it attention and a solid limited release box office. John Cho stars as the father of a teenager (yeah, you're old) that disappeared suddenly. After a couple of days of no leads, he turns to her online presence as a way to try and learn more about what might have happened and to track her down. Shown almost entirely through social media snippets, CCTV footage and any other little bits of footage pasted together to make a narrative.

While this isn't a purely new invention – notably, Unfriended, Paranormal Activity and many other films have used this sort of digital found footage motif (I would also point people towards an indie film from 2002 called On_Line) – it's rare for critical acclaim to follow, as well as for it to be a non-horror film.

Reviews hail for transcending it gimmick and creating real characters and a real dilemma, which seems a bit like Low Expectations Theatre in some ways, but it would exceedingly easy for critics to dismiss it if they wanted, so I'm inclined to believe them on this. Opening with a $40 thousand per venue average last weekend, its aggressive expansion points to around a $5 million weekend.

This weekend will however once again belong to Crazy Rich Asians, which followed up on its strong opening weekend with an otherworldly 6 per cent drop. Even a normal drop-off would put it well over $100 million domestically after just three weekends, and a better one puts us into My Big Fat Greek Wedding territory. Projections are basically impossible at this point, given that leggy films tend to create their own wind and then suddenly stop for no discernible reason, but there's no good reason to see a dramatic shift in one weekend. The twin novelties of a romantic comedy and a minority cast are turning this into a bona fide cultural phenomenon. Even accounting for Labor Day and a slight slide back from the peak, we should see around $21 million this weekend.

The Meg crossed $100 million domestically last weekend with a solid carryover at $13 million. The “Crazy, but not too crazy” shark film does seem to be occupying a similar space that Deep Blue Sea did once upon a time, as a late summer cheese fest and even with it sky high budget, could easily see a sequel, considering there's a decently popular book series to draw from. I'd expect about $7 million this weekend.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout managed some late legs for just a 25 per cent drop off, and is finally about to hit that $200 million milestone it's been tracking down all summer. Tom Cruise's inevitable breakdown into constituent parts seems to be the only true barrier for this series' continuation. I'd expect $6 million this weekend.


Forecast: Weekend of August 31-September 2, 2018
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Crazy Rich Asians 3,865 +339 21.0
2 Kin 2,141 New 7.3
3 Operation Finale 1,818 New 6.9
4 The Meg 3,761 -260 6.8
5 Mission: Impossible - Fallout 2,639 -413 6.2
6 Searching 1,207 +1,198 5.5
7 The Happytime Murders 3,256 0 4.7
8 Christopher Robin 2,925 -469 4.2
9 Mile 22 2,950 -570 3.6
10 BlacKkKlansman N/A N/A 3.3

     


 
 

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