It’s the calm before the storm.
Just one week before ‘Captain Marvel’ shoots 2019s Box Office into the stratosphere, this Friday sees the test launch, with Tyler Perry’s ‘A Madea Family Funeral’ and Neil Jordan’s ‘Greta’ both opening in under 3,000 cinemas each.
We start with ‘Family Funeral’, the 10th (11th if counting the character’s cameo in ‘Meet the Browns’) and, according to Perry himself, final film in the ‘Madea’ franchise. It’s a franchise first stemming from a 1999 play (‘I Can Do Bad All By Myself’), and has grown to become a $550m-grossing series across the globe. Perry usually stars as title character Madea Simmons, and this time around is no different, with the latest film in the series since 2017 seeing Madea and her family travel to a funeral in Georgia.
The film promises more fun and ruckus than the simple premise gives away, a fact that draws a strong, if not niche, audience to these films on every release. In fact, only one film in the franchise thus far has opened below $20m, with 2013’s ‘Madea Christmas’ grossing $16m on its way to a $52.5m domestic finish. Perry and Lionsgate hope for a small improvement this time around, and will likely find it in their $20m opening.
‘Greta’, the thriller-drama starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert, also enters cinemas this weekend and looks to earn a so-so $6.5m in its opening 3 days. Released by Focus Features and directed by ‘The Borgias’ creator Neil Jordan, the film follows Huppert’s character Greta, a lonely French widower, who befriends Moretz’s Frances, with strange consequences.
Its reception is decent enough, with its 58% on the Tomatometer straddling the fine line of ‘Rotten’ and ‘Fresh’, but there remains a feeling that this will be lost in the wayside, especially being released in just 2,400 cinemas. ‘Greta’s best hopes then is for a reasonable budget to alleviate its mediocre opening.
That leaves ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ atop the charts for the 2nd weekend running, looking to earn $35m in its sophomore weekend. A domestic total above $100m by Sunday night beckons for the DreamWorks release, which will already put it above ‘The Prince of Egypt’ as the studios 26th biggest animated release after just 10 days. Its eyes are on the top 10 list, and will likely finish around ‘Kung Fu Panda’s $215.4m gross from 2008 when all’s said and domestically done.