by Brad Brevet

May 16, 2019

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum took in a massive $5.9 million from Thursday night previews in 3,000 locations. Outside of the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, this is the largest Thursday preview in Lionsgate’s history and more than doubles the $2.2 million John Wick: Chapter 2 brought in from previews two years ago ahead of a $30.4 million debut. The performance is also well ahead of the $3.1 million in previews The Equalizer 2 brought in last July before opening with $36 million.

Universal’s A Dog’s Journey grossed $275,000 from previews last night beginning at 6PM in 2,450 theaters. The performance is below the $455k in previews for A Dog’s Purpose and almost half the $535k in previews for Sony’s A Dog’s Way Home earlier this year before opening with $11.2 million.

We’ll take a closer look at things tomorrow morning once Friday estimates come in. For now you can check out our weekend preview below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Since the beginning of May, the yearly box office has seen some improvement, closing the gap compared to 2018 by a couple percentage points to where 2019 is currently trailing by about -9%. This weekend we’re we’re coming off a strong debut for Detective Pikachu last weekend, while Disney’s Avengers: Endgame looks to top Avatar in the domestic record books and the highly anticipated debut of John Wick 3 arrives, and yet the weekend overall won’t be able to keep up with the same weekend last year, which saw the top ten deliver over $200 million thanks to the release of Deadpool 2. This weekend will also see the release of A Dog’s Journey from Universal along with WB’s release of the romantic drama The Sun is also a Star, neither of which are expected to outperform their expectations.

After three straight weekends at the top of the box office, look for Avengers: Endgame to fall into the runner-up position this weekend as Lionsgate’s release of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum will take the #1 spot as it debuts in over 3,800 locations. The film comes on the heels of a strong, $30.4 milling debut for John Wick 2 two years ago and some of the best reviews of the franchise so far — 90% on RottenTomatoes and 73 on Metacritic. A look at IMDb page view data does show Parabellum pacing just behind its predecessor over the two weeks leading up to release as well as The Equalizer 2 ($36m opening), however, a look at the 90 days leading up to release shows Wick 3 out-pacing both features, not to mention its getting a much wider release than either of those two comps.

Heading into the weekend the studio is anticipating a debut anywhere from $30-35 million but we’re climbing well over that range, anticipating an opening anywhere from $45-55 million and should audiences like it as much as critics have there’s no reason for it not to push higher. On top of the strong reviews, online ticket retailer Fandango.com reports the film is outpacing presages for both of the previous Wick films combined. Added to that, it will be opening in 737 more theaters than its predecessor and the May release date is much better positioning for a large opening than the February release for Wick 2. We’ll get a hint as to what we’re looking at on Friday morning following Thursday night’s previews. John Wick 2 kicked things off with $2.2 million two years ago and this one should meet or exceed that figure.

Internationally, Wick 3 opens in 65 markets day-and-date this weekend, including Australia, Brazil, Russia, Italy, Mexico, Scandinavia, and the UK.

Look for Avengers: Endgame to land in second position as it will become the second largest domestic release of all-time, topping Avatar ($760.5 million). Right now we’re anticipating a drop around -53% and a three-day just shy of $30 million.

We’re estimating Detective Pikachu will land in third, dipping -52% in its second weekend for a three-day around $26 million. Should this forecast hold look for the film to top $95 million domestically in its first ten days of release.

In fourth position look for Universal’s release of A Dog’s Journey, which is a sequel to the studio’s January 2017 release A Dog’s Purpose, which opened with $18.2 million en route to a $64.5 million domestic run. As promising as those numbers sound, we’re not seeing evidence of this one living up to that feature as it appears to be pacing a bit close to Sony’s release of A Dog’s Way Home earlier this year, which debuted with $11.2 million and finished its run with just over $40 million domestically. A look at IMDb page view data shows Dog’s Journey pacing behind both of those films leading up to release, which has us looking for a debut closer to $10 million.

Universal and Amblin are partnering on A Dog’s Journey‘s international release with Universal debuting the pic day-and-date with North America in 14 markets, including Mexico, Peru and Taiwan. Amblin will handle the film’s release in China this weekend, through its partnership with Alibaba Films.

Rounding out the top five is UA Releasing’s The Hustle, which had a modest debut last weekend and should dip around -54% or so this weekend for a $6 million three-day and a domestic cume approaching $24 million after ten days in release.

Outside the top five we find WB’s latest romantic teen drama The Sun is also a Star, debuting in just over 2,000 locations with the studio anticipating an opening around $6-9 million. Trouble is, we’re having a hard time finding comps that support such an opening. This film is getting ~800 fewer theaters than Everything, Everything and is actually looking a lot closer to releases such as April’s After ($6m opening) and 2018’s Midnight Sun ($4m opening), which has us forecasting a debut anywhere from $4-6 million for the weekend.

In limited release this weekend, Yash Raj will debut De De Pyaar De in 104 theaters while A24 releases The Souvenir in four theaters, Roadside debuts Trial by Fire in 109 locations and Sony will release Slaughterhouse Rulez in ten 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.

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (3,850 theaters) – $48.0 M
  • Avengers: Endgame (4,220 theaters) – $29.7 M
  • Pokemon Detective Pikachu (4,248 theaters) – $26.1 M
  • A Dog’s Journey (3,267 theaters) – $10.0 M
  • The Hustle (3,015 theaters) – $6.0 M
  • The Sun Is Also a Star (2,073 theaters) – $5.0 M
  • The Intruder (2,231 theaters) – $3.9 M
  • Long Shot (2,110 theaters) – $3.0 M
  • Poms (2,750 theaters) – $2.4 M
  • Uglydolls (2,030 theaters) – $1.5 M

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Story first appeared at boxofficemojo.com

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