Weekend Forecast for March 15-17, 2019

By Reagen Sulewski

March 14, 2019

Look, it's Captain Marvel!

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Hollywood's running principle that no one would possibly see a movie two weekends in a row outside of the summer season rears its head again after the mega-weekend of Marvel's latest, as just three minor offerings hit theaters in wide release. Nice of them to give us all a second chance to see Captain Marvel, right?

Wonder Park has the best chance to lead the pack as an animated family film, even as it looks like something that would have been purchased in a 4 pack of DVDs for $9.99 at Wal-Mart. Produced by Paramount Animation, which has brought us the Spongebob movies, the Gnomes movies and then... wait, it'll come to me... it's an action-adventure film about a little daredevil who dreams up rides and tries to build them, until family tragedy strikes. Then one day, her dreams manifest into life and the titular park, with all sorts of manic rides and attractions, appears in the forest behind her house. Staffed by her stuffed animals, now alive and sentient, she now has to save it from its destruction by a rampaging pack of metaphors for growing up.

The de rigueur celebrity voice cast includes Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Ken Jeong and Kenan Thompson, so, basically no one that kids would actually care about or recognize, and no one among them that's interesting enough to drive adults to the movie. Reviews are mostly irrelevant here, but just as another kick in the teeth, they are pretty poor. Possibly the best thing that you can say about this movie is that it will at give Oliver something to lord over former boss Jon Stewart, who appeared in the execrable Doogal. This looks much more like a Ferdinand or a Nut Job, as opposed to being a medium tier, Smallfoot like hit. I'd expect around $11 million this weekend.

Somehow not based on a John Green novel, Five Feet Apart is a teen weeper, focusing on a tentative but forbidden romance between two cystic fibrosis patients. He (Cole Sprouse, currently of Riverdale fame) is a brooding bad boy, while she (Haley Lou Richardson, The Edge of Seventeen) is a free spirit with a relentless positive attitude (and a vlog!) and have an instant attraction for each other. The problem - CF patients must keep six feet apart from each other lest they cross-infect each other, a complication for patients with the genetic lung disease, which could possibly be fatal. Hey folks, we got ourselves a brick-bat obvious metaphor of a love story here!

With the right hype and cultural cachet, these films can sometimes break through, but being an original story rather than a pre-sold book put this film in a difficult spot. Good reviews would help, but it's looking like one of those melodramatic doomed romances, comparable to The Space Between Us or Everything, Everything, instead of being a The Fault in Our Stars. Around $8 million seems reasonable here.




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Sci-fi allegory is our third option for the weekend with Captive State, a film that arrives with little hype or even advance notice. Set ten years into the future after an alien invasion establishes an all-controlling dictatorial state around the world, we follow a young man in occupied Chicago who is attempting to fight back with the help of an underground resistance. While the aliens have created order and "safety," it's come at the cost of freedom and expression the odd sacrifice of a dissident or two. Meanwhile, there are collaborators, who embrace the aliens and the new world order out of a sense of self-preservation, or out of being able to grab power within the system.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt, of Rise of the Planet of the Apes fame, it stars John Goodman, Ashton Sanders (best known from Moonlight), Vera Farmiga and ... uh, Machine Gun Kelly I guess? It's fairly thin pickings for stars after that.

Coming out of the cheap CGI boom, it's probably going to be successful enough on its own terms internationally, having only a $25 million budget, but looking like at least three times that. The ad campaign for this film is basically non-existent, so at least they're saving money. Reviews are similarly not out there, which is a rather large red flag, and I expect this to be a non-factor at about $5 million.

Depending on how thin you want to slice the salami, Captain Marvel set a number of records last weekend on its opening weekend, with around $150 million to start. Weathering a laughable-in-retrospect boycott campaign with ease, it introduced what's likely to be one of the key characters in Marvel's next phase of movies based on little more than a post-credit tease. Marvel said, "Hey, you need this movie in order to know what's going on for Endgame," and we all said, "Sure, Kevin Feige. You basically own us all anyway."

Word-of-mouth isn't amazing, although it probably rests solidly in the upper tier of Marvel films. Legs are difficult when you get to these huge opening weekends and it's a bit closer to its Avengers movie than Black Panther was last year. Both of those films ultimately coexisted and that may be the case here as well. The legs of Black Panther were a bit overstated at the time anyway, as its major achievement was avoiding a 50 percent drop in its second weekend, falling "merely" 45 per cent. I'd expect $81 million for Captain Marvel's second weekend.

How to Train Your Dragon 3 was chopped in half for a second straight weekend as the franchise runs its course, but that represents having already reached $125 million, putting it roughly on pace with the other two films in the series. It's trending out to around $160 million, give or take, and should see around $8 million this frame. Meanwhile, the Madea films' finale saw its typical second weekend drop off, with a little more than half of its box office disappearing. Expect about $6 million this weekend as it moves towards $60 million domestic.


Forecast: Weekend of March 15-17, 2019
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Captain Marvel 4,310 0 81.6
2 Wonder Park 3,838 New 10.8
3 How to Train Your Dragon 3 3,727 -315 8.5
4 Five Feet Apart 2,803 New 8.1
5 Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral 2,350 -92 7.4
6 Captive State 2,547 New 5.6
7 The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part 2,046 -884 2.2
8 No Manches Frida 2 472 New 2.0
9 Alita: Battle Angel 1,696 -678 1.7
10 Green Book 1,303 -794 1.5

     


 
 

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