May 9, 2019
Mother’s Day weekend is looking as if it will be yet another Avengers-led weekend at the box office as Avengers: Endgame will become only the fourth film ever to top $700 million at the domestic box office this weekend, but this holiday weekend won’t only be about Avengers. Warner Bros. is releasing the highly anticipated video game adaptation Pokemon: Detective Pikachu in just over 4,200 locations while STX and UAR will be vying for Mother’s Day audiences with Poms and The Hustle respectively. Additionally, Disney has changed things up with Fox Searchlight’s Tolkien, which was originally scheduled to begin its limited run this weekend, but instead the Mouse House will give the film a wide berth in nearly 1,500 locations.
Entering its third weekend in domestic release, Disney’s Avengers: Endgame is looking to top $700 million this weekend and, in fact, should push over $730 million which will make it the third highest grossing domestic release of all-time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.6m) and Avatar ($760.5m). As for this weekend’s performance, we’re anticipating a dip around 51% or so and a $73 million three-day. This is a bit larger than the -46% drop Avengers: Infinity War experienced in its second weekend, but it also didn’t face the kind of competition WB’s Pokemon: Detective Pikachu will add to the marketplace.
All eyes will also be on Endgame‘s international performance this weekend as it currently ranks as the second largest international release of all-time as well as the second largest global release behind Avatar in both respects, but the gap between the two continues to narrow.
The first of the weekend’s new wide releases to discuss is the Warner Bros. release Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, a feature film adaptation of the 2016 video game of the same name, which itself was based on the popular Pokemon franchise. Several animated features inspired by the Pokemon franchise have been released, including three previous films distributed by WB, beginning with Pokemon: The First Movie in 1999, which grossed over $85 million. Yet, this is the first live action film, which features Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the film’s title star, and WB has gone big with this pic, which carries a reported $150 million budget and will debut in over 4,200 locations this weekend. The studio is currently anticipating an opening anywhere from $50-55 million, which is mostly lining up with our expectations, though there is room for a breakout performance.
A look at IMDb page view data shows Detective Pikachu lining up almost exactly with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, which opened with $55.3 million in early February 2015. One difference between the two films, however, is Pikachu is opening in nearly 600 more theaters. Additionally, Pikachu is outpacing Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie, which opened in mid-May back in 2016 with $38 million. Online ticket retailer Fandango.com is reporting similar findings, saying that Pikachu is outpacing Angry Birds at the same point in the sales cycle.
That said, we’re currently going out with a $60 million forecast with the understanding that while the film could over perform and possibly reach as high as $70+ million, there is also a chance it could be a bit front loaded. There is obviously a rabid fanbase for Pokemon, which was evidenced recently with the massive success of the Pokemon Go app, which has been downloaded by more than 1 billion people since its debut in 2016. That could mean this film could see some front loading with a large opening day, slowing slightly throughout the weekend a bit more than similar titles. Obviously, we won’t know until Sunday how things shake out, but it will be one thing to watch for over the weekend.
Internationally, Pikachu opened in Japan last weekend where it has grossed $10 million so far. Added to that, it opened in a few additional markets yesterday pushing its international total just shy of $15 million and by the end of the weekend will have launched in 60 markets including Germany, Italy, Korea, Brazil, Australia, UK, Mexico, Spain and China.
Next we come to UA Releasing’s The Hustle, a remake of the 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The pic stars Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in the lead roles and industry expectations are for a debut around $12 million from over 3,000 locations. We’ve been looking at IMDb page view data for the film up against releases such as last year’s Life of the Party ($17.9m opening) and 2017’s Snatched ($19.5m opening) and the pic is pacing behind both releases and the mostly negative reviews aren’t likely to help matters. Mother’s Day weekend can be lucrative for female-targeted features and could give this film a boost it otherwise wouldn’t receive, which is why we’re going to remain in line with industry expectations for our forecast and it could pop a bit higher, but it’s not like it’s the only game in town this holiday weekend and it could be fighting for an audience with our next title.
Also looking to target a similar audience, albeit on the older end of the spectrum, is STX’s Poms, which stars Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston and Rhea Perlman and will open in 2,750 theaters with industry expectations looking for a debut anywhere from $7-10 million. An obvious comp for the film is last year’s Book Club, which debuted with $13.6 million and went on to gross over $68.5 million. A look at IMDb page view data over the weeks heading up to release, however, shows Poms severely lagging behind Book Club. In fact, it’s pacing closer to STX’s release of Second Act, which debuted with $6.5 million last December. By all accounts, our expectations hue to the lower end of the anticipated range and were it not for the fact this was Mother’s Day weekend we would probably be right at $7 million if not a bit lower, but, given the holiday, a performance around $8-9 million seems reasonable.
Rounding out the top five we have the moderate release of Fox Searchlight’s Tolkien, which will launch in nearly 1,500 locations after premiering on Tuesday with a Fathom event hosted by Stephen Colbert, which included stars Lily Collins and Nicholas Hoult. The late decision for a wide release would lead one to believe the studio is trying to front load opening weekend in light of the so-so reviews, which don’t encourage great word of mouth and the Fathom event was a great way to quickly get word out on the film’s release in a short amount of time with those grosses set to be rolled into Friday’s number.
In terms of a forecast, we’ve been looking at films such as The Light Between Oceans ($4.8m opening) and The Glass Castle ($4.7m opening) as comps as well as Searchlight’s own The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ($8.5m opening) and have come to expect a debut for Tolkien around $6 million for the weekend.
In limited release this weekend, Fox International will debut Student of the Year 2 in 190 theaters; IFC will open Charlie Says in 35 locations; Neon’s Biggest Little Farm opens in five theaters; and Sony Classics will open All is True in four theaters.
This weekend’s forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.
- Avengers: Endgame (4,662 theaters) – $73.0 M
- Pokemon Detective Pikachu (4,202 theaters) – $60.0 M
- The Hustle (3,007 theaters) – $12.0 M
- Poms (2,750 theaters) – $8.5 M
- Tolkien (1,495 theaters) – $6.0 M
- Uglydolls (3,652 theaters) – $5.5 M
- Long Shot (3,232 theaters) – $5.5 M
- The Intruder (2,222 theaters) – $5.3 M
- Breakthrough (1,902 theaters) – $2.3 M
- Captain Marvel (1,504 theaters) – $2.3 M