After pretty well dominating January, it looks as if Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Junglewill be toppled off its first-place throne, though by how much remains to be seen. Let’s run through this week’s new opener (and nationwide expansion)!
Maze Runner: The Death Cure (Fox)
The Maze Runneris one of the more successful young adult franchises to spawn of late, with the $34m-budgeted first flick earning $102.43m domestic/$343.82 global in 2014, while the $61m-budgeted The Scorch Trials notched $81.7m domestic/$312.33m global in 2015. This weekend’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the trilogy capper, was intended to come out last year, but lead star Dylan O’Brien suffered an injury, life went on, and here we are.
The Death Cure has a 40% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (avg. critic rating being 5.2/10 from >60 reviews) and a 7.1/10 score on IMDb (from >1,700 ratings), not awfully far from Scorch Trials (46% Tomatometer, 6.3/10 IMDb score), but a ways off from the first flick (65% Tomatometer, 6.8/10 IMDb score). Truth be told, these movies were never critical darlings nor were they really meant to be, I feel, so their reception likely won’t mean much regarding numbers.
Speaking of numbers, how high will this thing go? Not very, for starters, but with a reported $62m production cost and an international following it doesn’t necessarily have to. The Divergent series would be Maze Runner’s closest comparison, but if Death Cure suffers an opening-to-opening decline akin to Allegiant ($29.03m) to Insurgent ($52.26m) we’re eyeing $16.83m (from Scorch Trials’ $30.32m debut). That’s a little harsh, since Death Cure hasn’t been nearly as reviled as Allegiant. If we use The Hunger Games series as a comparison, not quite reasonable given the huge disparity in numbers but whatever, an opening drop similar to Mockingjay – Part 1($121.9m) from Catching Fire ($158.07m) earns Death Cure a $23.34m debut. That number sounds more in line with expectations, give or take a couple million.
Prediction: $22 million, #1 rank
Before we get into this, I’d like to emphasize the name of this film’s distributor, Entertainment Studios. It’s just hilariously the laziest thing ever. Anyway, Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Ben Foster, has earned $1.72m from five weeks of limited play and expands to ~2,850 hubs this weekend.
Entertainment is expecting around $12m for their trouble, which is damn optimistic. Hostiles has a 71% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (avg. critic score being 6.7/10 from >130 reviews) and a 7.2/10 score on IMDb (from >2,900 ratings). That’s decent, but Hostiles is expanding right after Oscar nominations with zero Oscar nominations to its name (or many awards nominations in general, really). There are plenty of other options to entice adult moviegoers at this point.
Scott Cooper and Christian Bale’s previous collaboration, 2013’s Out of the Furnace, earned $5.22m in its debut with a bit less praise than Hostiles. Going off that, we should expect Hostiles to perform better, but not by much.