As a slow summer wind down continues, this weekend, Universal and Sony’s Crunchyroll offer theaters new content via Beast and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.
Prior tracking for the two films has been relatively close in recent weeks, and not much has changed in recent days — with the exception that the anime title could now be a front-runner to win the weekend.
Crunchyroll has successfully distributed various imports in recent memory, most recently Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie back in March. That pic bowed to $17.7 million domestically, a figure comparable to the five-day $20.2 million start of Dragon Ball Super: Broly back in January 2019.
Super Hero‘s social metrics and pre-sales are benefiting from a strong presence in IMAX this weekend, which in turn elevates dollar projections with higher surcharges in mind.
The translation of niche fan base enthusiasm on the domestic side is still somewhat volatile for a genre whose brand continues to grow, but it’s worth noting that Super Hero bowed to $5 million in Japan back in June — well off Broly‘s $9.2 million.
Domestic previews begin Thursday evening at 5pm. Crunchyroll, via Sony, is not offering weekend expectations.
Universal’s Idris Elba vehicle is making a play for mainstream viewers in search of escapism at summer’s end. Beast has had a wider marketing presence of this weekend’s releases, but the question will be how much pull it’s actually generating.
Only five reviews have been published on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing, so critical reception isn’t much of a factor in today’s final forecasts. Pre-sales are comparable to those of Michael Bay’s Ambulance, which has proven to also be a parallel trend marker on social and other tracking fronts.
Competition shouldn’t be a major factor as word of mouth on the most recent action pic, Bullet Train, has been somewhat mixed. Still, as mentioned before, this is the time of year when a movie truly needs to stand out as a “theatrical must see” as school ramps back up and families enjoy their final few weeks of vacation time.
Beast will play in premium formats such as Dolby and RPX this weekend, though it lacks the IMAX boost as Dragon Ball soaks that up alongside lingering times for Bullet Train, E.T.‘s 40th anniversary, and Top Gun: Maverick.
Also potentially aiding the film is a short runtime of just 93 minutes, allowing exhibitors a chance to maximum shows and giving audiences something to check out that doesn’t require dedicating an entire afternoon or evening to.
Universal expects an opening weekend in the low teen-million range. Previews begin at 5pm on Thursday.
Beyond those wide openers, holdovers will again be the name of the game. Bullet Train will take a hit from a loss of premium screens, but Top Gun: Maverick and others should continue to post steady retention rates. The Tom Cruise blockbuster sequel next has its sights set on Avengers: Infinity War‘s $678.8 million lifetime domestic haul, which it will pass this weekend to become the sixth highest earner in history.
Of note, A24 will expand Bodies Bodies Bodies again from 1,290 to over 2,000 locations this weekend. Last but not least, Paramount will distribute Orphan: First Kill at a projected 600 theaters. That film, a follow-up to 2009’s $41.6 million domestic box office sleeper, isn’t expected to make a major dent at the box office with minimal promotion behind it and a hybrid release that sees the film streaming on Paramount+ the same day.
Weekend Range: $8 – 13 million
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero
Weekend Range: $11 – 16 million
Weekend Forecast & Location Count Projections
Current projection ranges call for a 1 to 10 percent increase from last weekend’s $55.6 million top ten aggregate.
|Film||Distributor||3-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, August 21||Location Count Projection (as of Wed)||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero||Sony / Crunchyroll||$13,200,000||$13,200,000||3,000||NEW|
|Bullet Train||Sony Pictures||$7,600,000||$68,300,000||~3,600||-43%|
|Top Gun: Maverick||Paramount Pictures||$5,900,000||$683,500,000||~3,000||-16%|
|DC League of Super-Pets||Warner Bros. Pictures||$4,900,000||$66,800,000||~3,500||-30%|
|Thor: Love and Thunder||Disney & Marvel Studios||$3,700,000||$331,800,000||~2,800||-31%|
|Minions: The Rise of Gru||Universal & Illumination Animation||$3,500,000||$350,000,000||~2,700||-30%|
|Where the Crawdads Sing||Sony 3000 Pictures||$3,000,000||$77,500,000||~2,600||-26%|
|Bodies Bodies Bodies||A24||$2,700,000||$7,700,000||~2,200||-17%|
*All forecasts are subject to revision before the first confirmation of Thursday previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.
Theater counts are updated as confirmed by studios. The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.