No dramatic tension here: “The Fate of the Furious” (Universal) again will be the top box-office performer in its second weekend, continuing its worldwide push to over $1 billion. Even with a steep fall (likely 55 percent-60 percent), it could end up grossing double what we expect from the five new releases combined.
The next two weeks will see eight new mainstream releases, an unusually high number, and all are standalone, non-franchise entries. That’s rare these days. But unlike “Get Out,” “Hidden Figures,” and “La La Land” — three original movies that grossed $150 million or more at home in the last five months — none the upcoming titles should do more than minor business.
“Fate” virtually tied “The Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in worldwide box office (of note: only “Fate” included China in its initial dates). However, “Fate” fell shy of $100 million in North America. If, like “Furious 7,” it falls the 59 percent in its second week, it will end up around $40 million. That would position it for about $170 million in 10 days and a possible $240 million final gross in North America; that might represent only a fifth of its ultimate worldwide take, and would be an unprecedented low percentage for this level of global success.
Both the high-flying “The Boss Baby” (20th Century Fox) and “Beauty and the Beast” (Disney) could end up ahead of any of the new films, even deep into their runs. The latest DreamWorks Animation film looks likely to hold at over $10 million, while the projected $8 million for “Beauty” could outpace any newbie.
At around 2,300 theaters, “Unforgettable” is the widest of these. The directorial debut of producer Denise Di Novi and starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, it is a thrifty ($12 million) thriller that could have the widest appeal, if still sub-$10 million.
“The Promise” (Open Road) is the other 2,000-level debut. Likely acquired for an A-level cast led by Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac after its Toronto 2016 premiere, a Turkish-set World War I drama has not received good reviews. It will have to rely on star power to reach an older audience that has a number of high-end releases to choose from. It could struggle to break $5 million.
“Born in China” is DisneyNature’s latest foray into the animal world, which comes the same week as “Monkey Kingdom” and “Bears” did in recent years. It looks to open to around $5 million in 1,500 playdates, the same level as its predecessors.
“Free Fire” (A24) is Brie Larson’s return to the company that released her Oscar-winning “Room.” Made in Britain before “Room” premiered, this Boston-set 1970s IRA gunrunning action comedy also comes out of last September’s Toronto festival. It is opening in 1,070 theaters with decent reviews, younger appeal, and Larson (currently in “Kong: Skull Mountain”) adding interest.
“Phoenix Forgotten” (Cinelou) is a found-footage UFO thriller out of Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. It marks the directorial debut of Justin Barber, who produced Barry Jenkins’ first feature, “Medicine for Melancholy.”
James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” (Bleecker Street/Amazon) will expand to 500 theaters, hoping to join the successful “The Zookeeper’s Wife” (Focus) and “Gifted” (Fox Searchlight) in gaining traction with adult audiences.