“Fate of the Furious” shows no signs of slowing down.
The high-octane eighth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise broke box office records last weekend when it sped to $532.5 million worldwide. This weekend’s smattering of low-watt newcomers don’t show signs of earning even a tenth of “Fate’s” opening weekend $100 million domestic earnings.
The weekend’s most promising fresh prospect is “Unforgettable,” from Warner Bros., the story of a scorned ex-wife played by Katherine Heigl who pathologically torments her husband’s new mate (Rosario Dawson). The twisty, dark, psycho-sexual thriller, directed by longtime producer, but first-time feature helmer Denise Di Novi should take in about $7 million from 2,300 locations. The estimates grosses are not too, shabby off of a $12 million production budget.
“The Promise” — set during the Armenian Genocide and centered on a love triangle made up of Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale — looks to earn a mere $5 million, compared to its $90 million production costs. The socially conscious flick from Open Road Films on behalf of Survival Pictures has pledged to donate all proceeds to philanthropy. Its backers are more interested in raising awareness than they are in making money.
The film’s politics caught the attention of a Turkish message board, similar to Reddit that sent trolls flocking to leave one-star reviews for the movie on IMDb. On the Wednesday before the film was released, “The Promise” had amassed over 120,000 reviews — a combination of haters and a reaction from supporters to rate the film highly.
Then there’s “Phoenix Forgotten,” a sci-fi horror film from Cinelou Films, and the directorial debut of Justin Barber. Centered around a real-world claim of a UFO sighting in the ’90s, the movie should earn about $2 million from 1,500 screens. Expect Disney’s “Born in China” (known colloquially as ‘the panda movie narrated by John Krasinski’) to get off a fine start — about $5 million from 1,508 locations. And finally, Ben Wheatley’s British action-comedy “Free Fire,” distributed in the U.S. by A24, aims to pick up about $3 million.
Overall, though, it’s “Fate’s” race to lose until “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” enters the picture during the first week of May. With franchise name-recognition and diverse star power including Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson (and an added bonus in Charlize Theron as an icy hacker), the action flick looks to cruise to the No. 1 position for the second weekend in a row with about $50 – $60 million domestically, leaving a pileup of newcomers in the dust.