Super Bowl weekend was weaker than I anticipated, but if my predictions are correct or close to it, this weekend is going to bounce back in a big way. With Deadpool and Zoolander 2 both looking to make big bucks and How to Be Single setting its sights on a solid debut as well, overall business is looking to match, if not exceed that of this timeframe last year when Fifty Shades of Grey and Kingsman: The Secret Service ruled the box office. I just hope my optimistic predictions end up paying off. Now, here are my predictions for the top 5 for Presidents Day Weekend 2016 (3 day Friday-Sunday frame, not 4 day Friday-Monday frame).
Deadpool has excited fans since the project was first announced and now, anticipation could not be higher. However, this is the first Marvel comic book film to get an R rating. It was pretty much allowed to go as wild as it wanted with all the raunchiness and violence. R rated films also have a lower ceiling than other ratings. The highest opening weekend ever for an R rated film was for The Matrix Reloaded in 2003 ($91.8 million). However, the anticipation is what will drive this film to earn strong numbers. For the past couple months, I have seen people walking around with Deadpool hats and backpacks. The titular character was briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine back in 2009 and people are looking forward to the wisecracking mercenary getting 2 hours of his own film. The February opening weekend record was set this time last year by Fifty Shades of Grey ($85.2 million) and I predict that it will open above that and will do battle with The Matrix Reloaded for the all time R rated opening weekend record and open in the low to mid $90 millions for the weekend.
2. Zoolander 2
Zoolander 2 may not come close to the giant opening weekend Deadpool will have, but it has also been anticipated for quite a while. The original in 2001 was not very popular in theaters. It opened to $15.5 million ($23.8 adjusted for ticket price inflation) and closed to $45.2 million ($69.5 million adjusted for ticket price inflation). While that does not seem like much, it had strong reviews and a strong following after its theatrical run. The sequel benefits from a strong lineup of stars, the most memorable of which is Will Ferrell as the main villain. He is coming off a strong outing from Daddy's Home, which is at $145.6 million and counting. The trailer also caused some laughs. However, early reviews are mixed, but it should open in the mid to high $40 millions.
3. How to Be Single
How to Be Single has made a smart move opening on the weekend of Valentine's Day. It is also refreshing for audiences on a weekend like that to not be seeing a film about couples. However, this film did not have much time to get attention and it is competing with Zoolander 2. Still, it should be in for a strong opening in the mid to high $20 millions.
4. Kung Fu Panda 3
Kung Fu Panda 3's 49% drop last weekend was pretty steep, even though it still managed to take the top spot at the box office last weekend. Still, that second weekend drop was slightly better than Kung Fu Panda 2's 50% drop, but it was worse than Kung Fu Panda's 44% second weekend drop. With no animated competition until Zootopia arrives on March 4th, it is likely to remain the go-to film for families until then. Also, the fairly steep drop last weekend was likely due to the Super Bowl on Sunday. Since there are no massively anticipated sporting events this weekend (at least that I am aware of), it should compensate by having a light decline this weekend. It will likely be in the mid to high $10 millions for the weekend.
5. Hail Caesar!
The last in the top 5 for the weekend should be Hail Caesar! It was enjoyed by critics, but disliked by general moviegoers, which is a rarity. The general moviegoers outnumber the critics significantly which means Hail Caesar! is not likely to have a light second weekend decline like most of the Coen Brothers' films. To add salt to the wound, two comedies are opening this weekend and are looking to earn a substantial amount. Hail Caesar! should earn a little above $5 million for the weekend. If Star Wars 7, does not crumble in the wake of Deadpool, it might be in 5th place, but that remains to be seen.
Here are my official predictions for the 3 day Friday through Sunday frame. Note that when there is a percentage in parentheses, it represents a decline (or in some cases an increase) from the previous weekend. If there are no percentages next to the title, it is just opening nationwide this weekend.
1. Deadpool: $91.4 million
2. Zoolander 2: $45.3 million
3. How to Be Single: $28.1 million
4. Kung Fu Panda 3: $16.4 million (-23%)
5. Hail Caesar!: $5.9 million (-49%)