Easter Weekend 2016 looks to be the biggest one that has ever been, and by a large margin, too. This weekend finds newcomer Batman Vs. Superman looking to exceed the March opening record and newcomer My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 looking to put up decent numbers. Plus, Zootopia is still bringing in the families and Miracles from Heaven is looking to benefit from Easter Sunday crowds. Combine all of those factors and the result is the top 5 films at the box office this weekend earning well over $200 million combined. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for Easter Weekend 2016.
1. Batman Vs. Superman
Here, we have what is the most anticipated film since Star Wars 7 three months ago. About three months after Man of Steel came out, the Batman Vs. Superman project was announced. It has had two and a half years of anticipation built up which is a lot. This film is supposed to be the launching pad for the DC cinematic universe like The Avengers was for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That has excited many fans of the DC comics brand and that fan base is about as large as that of the Marvel comics brand. I do not expect it to quite reach the opening weekend The Avengers had for many reasons, but I will get to that shortly. The Hunger Games currently has the March opening weekend record ($152.5 million) which was back in 2012. Batman Vs. Superman looks like it will break that record and then some. I also predict that it will open a little higher than the last two films in the Dark Knight trilogy, but not by much. It has anticipation going for it and comic book fans have longed to see both of the titular characters together on the big screen for quite some time, which should help. However, it has some factors working against it. The early reviews are poor as many skeptics thought it would be. Also, Captain America: Civil War comes out in six weeks and people may be inclined to save up for that more vibrant option from Marvel. A large chunk of its opening weekend is likely to be made up by its opening day. So let's do the math. It is apparently outselling early Thursday night tickets for The Avengers 2. If we assume an early Thursday night gross of $32 million and assume it will be pretty frontloaded, it could get to about $77 million on opening day. With unfavorable reviews so far, we can assume its jig may be up by Saturday. I am predicting an opening in the low to mid $160 millions this weekend. When dealing with a film like this, though, it is easy to be off significantly in either direction.
This weekend is not all about the epic superhero battle (although it will account for a vast majority of business this weekend). Zootopia looks poised to continue to have small declines and continue to bring in strong numbers from families in a market curently devoid of any similar films this weekend. It should be in the mid to high $20 millions this weekend.
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
The original came out in 2002 and earned a strong $240 million domestically. This one is opening in over a thousand more theaters than its predecessor, but early word of mouth is not great. It is also 14 years later, which does not help, either. The story finds the couple's romance losing its spark as well as dealing with a rebellious teenage daughter and the difficulties that come with married life. That premise sounds intriguing and should provide solid counter programming to Batman Vs. Superman. It should open in the low to mid $20 millions.
Last weekend, Allegiant took second place, and that was the first time I have ever incorrectly predicted the top film for a weekend. My streak prior to that was 10 weekends correct. Anyways, what is worse is that it opened to $29 million, which is a little over half of the openings the first two had ($54.6 million and $52.3 million, respectively). It is likely to take a big drop this weekend for two reasons. It had significantly worse reviews than the first two (I saw it yesterday and gave it a C). Not helping matters is the fact that Batman Vs. Superman is going to take away from the action adventure demographic in a major way this weekend. All in all, things do not look good for Allegiant's long term demographics. It should earn something in the low to mid $10 mllions.
5. Miracles from Heaven
Rounding out the top 5 should be Miracles from Heaven. It is likely to have a very light decline because of crowds looking to see it on Easter Sunday. It should be somewhere in the low to mid $10 millions like it was last weekend.
The Easter weekend is likely to be one of the biggest weekends of all time. If the weekend is as strong as I am predicting, March 2016 might have a shot at setting the all time monthly record for March (in 2012, total business reached $943.2 million). Anyways, here are my official predictions for the weekend.
1. Batman Vs. Superman: $164.4 million
2. Zootopia: $25.9 million (-31%)
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: $22.9 million
4. Allegiant: $12.8 million (-56%)
5. Miracles from Heaven: $11.9 million (-19%)