The first Box Office weekend of the year sees sole offering ‘Escape Room’ enter 2,500 cinemas in an attempt to continue December’s strong momentum into 2019. As is the case in recent years, January gets the singular horror-variant to kick the month off, and although the film doesn’t have the franchise-backing of a ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’, or even ‘The Woman in Black 2’, ‘Escape Room’s simple but unique premise could entice cinemagoers for a fun scare.

Escape Room’ sees six strangers (including ‘True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll, ‘Insecure’s Jay Ellis, and Taylor Russell and Tyler Labine) attempt to survive deadly Escape Rooms. Notably, it’s helmed by Adam Robitel, who kicked off 2018 with ‘Insidious: The Last Key’s $29.6m opening.

Again, without the backing of a popular franchise, such an opening is beyond ‘Escape Room’s remit. We’re looking at other recent January horrors, such as ‘The Forest’ ($12.7m) and ‘The Boy’ ($10.8m) as a guide here, alongside the similarly-themed ‘Jigsaw’ ($16.6m) from October 2017. Specifically, we expect a gross just under $13m, pitting the film alongside the weekend earnings of ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Into the Spider-Verse’ for a congested 3rd place fight.

Aquaman’ should have no real concerns entering its 3rd weekend in release, and will earn around $28m to make it a hattrick of 1st place finishes. Already well over the $200m domestic mark and past ‘Wonder Woman’s $822m worldwide mark, it’s only a matter of time before ‘Batman v Superman’ no longer stands as the DCEU’s highest earner.

Meanwhile, comedy/drama ‘Vice’ remains stuck in the grips of the Box Office. Much has already been made of Annapurna in the media, as decisions such as allowing $60m to be spent on ‘Vice’ (where less than half should’ve sufficed) have left the studio hemorrhaging cash. What doesn’t help is ‘Vice’, their biggest domestic hit, struggles to break-out, with it looking to make just $5m in its second weekend to bring its running total closer to $30m.

Still, that’s above ‘Holmes and Watson’, the comedy from Sony, which is in-line to gross $3.5m this weekend. It’s a poor showing for the film with the slightly more respectable $42m production cost, but when considering the strength of its cast (Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Kelly Macdonald, Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Grant and more), more is always expected.

It’s of little wonder why Sony attempted to sell the ill-fated comedy to Netflix before settling for cinematic distribution. The knowledge that they had a poor film on their hands circulated well before the 8% on the Tomatometer was made public. Hopefully, ‘Escape Room’ spares Sony’s blushes.

The first weekend of the year starts on a quieter front, giving room for ‘Escape Room’ to potentially outdo our forecasts. How much do you see it grossing this weekend? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.