It’s shaping up to be a tight finish to the Box Office this weekend, with 4 new wide releases in ‘Little’, ‘Hellboy’, ‘Missing Link’, and ‘After’ all entering with similar ambitions come Sunday night. It’s ‘Little’ and ‘Hellboy’ in particular who have locked horns, both hoping their $15m+ openings are enough for 2nd spot behind ‘Shazam!’s $27m weekend.

 

So, what’s opening this weekend?

In short, a lot.

We start with the battle between Universal’s family comedy ‘Little’, and Lionsgate’s R-rated ‘Hellboy’, the latest adaptation of the Dark Horse comics character. It’s clear the 2 cater to vastly difference audiences, allowing space for both to flourish in a congested weekend. ‘Little’, directed by Tina Gordon and based off of Tom Hanks’ 1988 classic ‘Big’, stars Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin, who, at 14, also serves as an executive producer – the youngest in Hollywood history.

Also producing is Will Packer, the name behind ‘Girls Trip’, this year’s ‘What Men Want’, the ‘Ride Along’ films, ‘Night School’, ‘Think Like a Man’, and others. His Box Office consistency remains unrivalled in recent years; his last 17 films have all opened to over $15m, and ‘Little’ looks to do the same with $17m – star Regina Hall’s biggest since ‘Girls Trip’s $31.2m in 2017.

Its mixed critical reception coming into the weekend means it’ll mainly rely on its tried-and-tested premise, that worked in the aforementioned ‘Big’, as well as ’17 Again’ ($23.7m opening, $64.2m domestic finish) and ’13 Going on 30’ ($21.1m, $57.2m). It not being an out-and-out remake of any of these films will work in its favour, which perhaps can’t be said about Neil Marshall’s ‘Hellboy’.

Originally intended to be the 3rd in the PG-13 del Toro series, the now-reboot sees a much darker tone, and stars Stranger Things’ David Harbour as Hellboy, alongside Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane. The 2 previous ‘Hellboy’ films opened to $23.2m and $34.5m in 2004 and 2008 respectively, but the newest looks to start in the region of around $15m, around the level of similar action-fantasy flicks ‘Resident Evil 6’ ($13.1m) and ‘Underworld 5’ ($13.7m). A Rotten Tomatoes score of 12% only makes matters worse, so expect a sub-$40m domestic finish for this one.

Hot on their tails is ‘Missing Link’, the latest stop-motion animation from studio Laika. The production house behind critical hits ‘Coraline’, ‘ParaNorman’, ‘The Boxtrolls’, and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ offer us a film with the best reviews of the weekend, but one that’ll unfortunately fall by the wayside financially. Laika’s films have all cost $60m, meaning that ‘Missing Link’s forecasted $11m opening may not be enough for a theatrical profit.

It’ll be the lowest opening in the ‘Laikaverse’ (as the other films ranging from $12m-$18m), although a leggy run from the positive reception gave all but ‘Kubo’ a $100m+ worldwide finish. All isn’t lost for ‘Missing Link’ then, who will hope to at least equal fellow animation ‘Wonder Park’s $15.9m opening from a few weeks ago. The film stars the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, and Zach Galifanakis, and sees Jackman’s Sir Lionel Frost set off on an adventure to prove the existence of a magical creature.

Finally, this Box Office weekend sees the release of romantic drama ‘After’ into 2,000 cinemas. No hope of this competing with the others, as the Wattpad-story-turned-movie will barely scrape $4m, to languish around 9th place.

 

What else is on?

The weekend again belongs to ‘Shazam!’, whose $26.5m gross will draw it ever closer to a $100m running domestic total. After an opening that mirrored that of ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ ($53m), it’ll continue to sit on track with it come Sunday, and if ‘Lego Batman’s $175.8m domestic total is anything to go by, Warner Bros has a md-budget superhero hit on its hands.

Last weekend’s release ‘Pet Sematary’ will look to earn just under $11m for a running total above $40m, moving it into the top 10 highest-grossing Stephen King adaptations in U.S. history. Next on the haunted list is ‘The Shining’s $44m, which will likely be beaten in a week’s time.