Over the past few years, studio executives have been gleefully sliding the summer movie season further up each year, like that guy at the bar whose had too much to drink and doesn't think you'll notice if he scooches towards you a couple inches every few minutes. Movies one would expect to see between May and August are now starting to appear as early as February, which has recently proven to be as good a month as any for studios to plant a franchise tent pole.
This weekend is shaping up for a similar shakedown, with multiple, big franchises looking to stake an early 2017 claim. Such licenses include the second 50 Shades of Grey installment, the next chapter in the surprise John Wick storyline, and of course the first of many LEGO Movie spinoffs. These newcomers are set to square off against the reigning champ Split as well as the hot underdog (and Oscar Darling) Hidden Figures. By the looks of it, the box office could be in for quite a slobber knocker this weekend.
Here are my predictions for the match (ranked by predicted domestic gross):
#1: The LEGO Batman Movie
Predicted gross: $80 million
#2: Fifty Shades Darker
Predicted gross: $55 million
#3: John Wick Chapter 2
Predicted gross: $19 million
Predicted gross: $8.3 million
#5: Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures recently passed La La Land to become the highest domestic grossing Best Picture nominee this year. Based on general reactions from moviegoers and critics alike, there seems to be a thirst for a feel good theater experience and Hidden Figures definitely delivers on that front. Expect this true story to continue hanging around the top five for at least another weekend or two.
Predicted gross: $6.9 million
*All box office figures provided by Box Office Mojo & The Numbers.