After just 5 movies were released wide in the last month, the cinematic Gods have gifted U.S. cinemas with 5 new films dropping on Friday alone. There’s something for everyone, as TV-series adaptation ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ looks to conquer comedy-drama ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’, while PG-13 horror ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ aims to spook the star-studded crime drama ‘The Kitchen’, and biographical tale ‘Brian Banks’. With so much to choose from, which’ll be the inevitable flop, and who will fight ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ for the top spot?
So, what’s opening this weekend?
It was inevitable that ‘Dora the Explorer’ would get its own movie – it’s just surprising that it’s taken so long. After 176 episodes of the popular TV show (a Nick Jr. record) since the year 2000, ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ catapults the young adventurer, played by Isabela Moner, into high school. She’s supported by a strong cast in Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, and Danny Trejo (with voice support by Benicio del Toro), and helmed by ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ director James Bobin.
Studios Paramount and Walden have seemingly gone all out to ensure success here, bolstering the popular IP with A-list talent. The only issue lies in ‘The Lion King’, who in its 4th weekend still has enough left in the tank to act as heavy competition in the family market. ‘Dora’s 83% on the Tomatometer may shift the tide in its favour slightly, but if we’ve learned anything from recent kid-friendly TV/book-adaptations such as ‘Goosebumps’ ($23.6m), ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ ($26.6m), and ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home’ ($28.9m), there’s usually a ceiling with these types, especially with competition, meaning we forecast this to open to a solid $23m.
Not about to be frightened by competition is the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’, which aims to capitalize on being the 1st horror movie released since Paramount’s ‘Crawl’ a month ago, and break out.
Can it? The odds are certainly stacked in its favour. Based off of the popular (but controversial) horror books of the 1980s, ‘Scary Stories’ also boasts a strong cast in Zoe Colletti, Dean Norris, Austin Abrams, and Lorraine Toussant, and its PG-13 rating opens the viewing out to a wider audience that the usual R-rating would normally limit.
Not difficult then to see why we expect a strong opening in the mid-teens for this, especially as it’ll draw from fans of the source material as well as those looking for a good scare. Even an start similar to ‘Crawl’s $12m wouldn’t be the worst start for Lionsgate. Although it doesn’t inspire Blumhouse levels of Box Office terror, a $14m opening will surely put any nasty fears of a cinematic flop to bed.
Next is ‘The Kitchen’, a film that couldn’t be further away from the wholesome PG of ‘Dora’, or the horror of ‘Scary Stories’. Here, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss take over the crime operations of their now-imprisoned husbands in 1970’s New York. Joined by Domhnall Gleeson, Margo Martindale, Common, and Bill Camp, the women find themselves delving deeper and deeper into the underworld, with disastrous consequences.
Similarities to last year’s critical hit (but commercial flop) ‘Widows’ are understandable; both movies focus on the wives of criminals after a police raid, both films star an Oscar-nominated lead, and both films are adapted from previous media (in this case, a DC comic book series). Although Melissa McCarthy’s power at the Box Office isn’t what it once was, ‘The Kitchen’ has the added bonus of Elisabeth Moss’ popularity from hit-show ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, while Haddish’s shine hasn’t waned since ‘Girls Trip’ 2 years ago. Nonetheless, it won’t be able to escape the most damning ‘Widows’ comparison, and that’s of a $12m opening.
Chasing ‘The Kitchen’s tail closely is doggy-drama ‘The Art of Racing in the Rain’. Based on the 2008 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, this canine clip sees Kevin Costner voice Enzo the dog, and follows his relationship with owners Denny (Milo Ventimiglia) and Eve (Amanda Seyfried).
Already the 3rd puppy picture of the year behind ‘A Dog’s Way Home’ ($11.3m opening) and ‘A Dog’s Journey’ ($8m), it’s no real surprise to see studios invest in these mutt movies, considering the low cost-high earnings potential that was realized by 2017 release ‘A Dog’s Purpose’, which earned $205m worldwide from just a $22m budget. Unfortunately, ‘The Art’s all bark and no bite, and will fail to stand out amongst ‘Dora’ and ‘The Lion King’ for the family crowd, with just a $7m opening.
Lastly is the biographical drama ‘Brian Banks’, based on the true story of high school football player Brian Banks, who, after years spent in prison over a false rape allegation, attempts to rebuild his life. It’s a subject matter that sees director Tom Shadyac take a swift U-turn from his more famous releases (think ‘Ace Ventura’, ‘Bruce Almighty’, and ‘The Nutty Professor’), and in fact is his 1st film this decade. Nothing too serious about its opening though, as a release just 1,500 cinemas means ‘Brian Banks’ will have to settle for just $4m.
What else is on?
Last weekend’s winner ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ will find itself in a tougher race this weekend after cruising to a $60m win 7 days ago. With a near-60% drop on the cards, it’s looking like a photo-finish with ‘Dora’ and ‘The Lion King’, but ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ should just beat them to the line with $26m.
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