Long Range Forecast: ‘The Great Wall,’ ‘Fist Fight,’ ‘A Cure for Wellness,’ ‘Patient Zero’

Presidents Day will see the release of four new films, providing an extra kick to the box office in addition to what should be decent holds for the previous weekend’s blockbusters The LEGO Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker. Universal’s historical action fantasy The Great Wall should lead the way, followed by the Warner Bros. R-rated comedy Fist Fight and two horror releases: Fox’s A Cure for Wellness and Sony’s Patient Zero.

The Great Wall (Universal)

PROS:

  • The historical action film follows a European mercenary fighting in medieval China alongside the Great Wall against a mysterious monster. Its all-star Chinese supporting cast should earn it big dollars in China if for whatever reason it fails to in America. Matt Damon is coming off two straight box office hits. 2016’s Jason Bourne earned $162.1 million, less than some other Bourne installments but still certainly qualifying as a success, and 2015’s The Martian with $228.4 million.

CONS:

  • The film has tentatively attracted controversy for casting a white actor as the lead role in a film taking place in China and primarily about Chinese culture. Then again, similar criticisms didn’t seem to hurt the box office for A Beautiful Mind or Argo, when Jennifer Connelly and Ben Affleck played real-life Hispanics despite both being Caucasian themselves. Great Wall could also suffer if the previous weekend’s action release John Wick: Chapter Two performs and/or holds better than expected.

Fist Fight (Warner Bros.)

PROS:

  • The R-rated comedy stars Ice Cube and Charlie Day as two school teachers, one tough and one wimpy, who get into an argument that escalates into a fist fight in the school parking lot that the entire student body gathers to watch. The theme of teachers — usually a respected and admired profession — is reminiscent of 2011’s Bad Teacher which earned $100.2 million.

CONS:

  • Can the two leads can attract audiences as leads? Ice Cube made good money with 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street where he was clearly in a supporting role, and same thing with Ride Along where the primary draw was Kevin Hart. 2016’s Ride Along 2 made about 32 percent less than the 2014 original, while 2016’s Barbershop: The Next Cut also sold by far the fewest tickets in the Barbershop trilogy. Charlie Day might also not be a big enough name, with his biggest comedy hit being Horrible Bosses where he was part of an ensemble — and even then, 2014’s sequel earned less than half the original’s gross.

A Cure for Wellness (Fox)

PROS:

  • The creepy trailer has earned buzz for its limited revealing of the film’s plot alongside plenty of intriguing and memorable horror visuals. The premise centers on a wellness center in Switzerland where horrific experiments are conducted on the patients. Director Gore Verbinski knows how to spark huge box office by helming the first three Pirates of the Caribbean installments: 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2006’s Dead Man’s Chest, and 2007’s At World’s End. Notably, the fourth installment was the first without Verbinski at the helm and it grossed notably less than the previous three.

CONS:

  • Pitting two films of the same genre in the same weekend against each other is a risky bet no matter what, but especially in horror where grosses are usually less. If Patient Zero ends being the breakout among the two, it could be a zero-sum game.

Patient Zero (Sony / Columbia)

PROS:

  • The plot: a pandemic mutates most humans into a new species, and only one human survivor is able to communicate as he tries to create a cure, including for his infected wife. The premise could appeal to fans of action, sci-fi, and horror. Plus the two lead stars are Matt Smith and Natalie Dormer, stars of two of the biggest sci-fi or fantasy television series of this decade in Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, although neither have yet proven their bona fides at the box office.

CONS:

  • The film doesn’t even have a trailer out yet, which is virtually unheard of for a film two months out from its release. It’s hard to build buzz if you haven’t released a trailer, the main way during “the YouTube era” to spark interest in a movie.

Check out the official Boxoffice Pro long range forecast in the table below.

Title Wide Release Date Distributor Opening Weekend Cumulative
The Great Wall Fri, Feb 17 Universal $34,000,000* $68,000,000
Fist Fight Fri, Feb 17 Warner Bros. $25,000,000* $63,000,000
A Cure For Wellness Fri, Feb 17 Fox $13,500,000* $35,000,000
Patient Zero Fri, Feb 17 Sony / Columbia $8,500,000* $19,000,000
Fifty Shades Darker Fri, Feb 10 Universal $41,000,000 $83,000,000
The LEGO Batman Movie Fri, Feb 10 Warner Bros. $56,000,000 $210,000,000
John Wick: Chapter Two Fri, Feb 10 Lionsgate $20,000,000 $45,000,000
Rings Fri, Feb 3 Paramount $19,000,000 $45,000,000
The Space Between Us Fri, Feb 3 STX Entertainment $7,000,000 $20,000,000
Same Kind of Different as Me Fri, Feb 3 Paramount $4,500,000 $12,000,000
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Fri, Jan 27 Sony / Screen Gems $24,000,000 $52,000,000
A Dog’s Purpose Fri, Jan 27 Universal $16,000,000 $65,000,000
Bastards Fri, Jan 27 Warner Bros. $8,000,000 $22,000,000
Gold Fri, Jan 27 Weinstein Company $7,000,000 $22,000,000
xXx: The Return of Xander Gage Fri, Jan 20 Paramount $32,000,000 $72,000,000
Split Fri, Jan 20 Universal $16,000,000 $45,000,000
The Founder Fri, Jan 20 Weinstein $9,500,000 $39,000,000
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone Fri, Jan 20 High Top Releasing $1,400,000 $3,000,000
Live By Night Fri, Jan 13 Warner Bros. $15,000,000* $35,000,000
Patriots Day Fri, Jan 13 Lionsgate $23,500,000* $78,000,000
Sleepless Fri, Jan 13 Open Road Films $13,000,000* $42,000,000
Monster Trucks Fri, Jan 13 Paramount $12,000,000* $22,000,000
The Bye Bye Man Fri, Jan 13 STX Entertainment $8,000,000* $17,000,000
Underworld: Blood Wars Fri, Jan 6 Sony / Screen Gems $17,000,000 $42,000,000
Amityville: The Awakening Fri, Jan 6 Weinstein / Dimension $8,000,000 $17,000,000
Hidden Figures Fri, Jan 6 Fox $11,000,000 $43,000,000

*= 4-day weekend, Friday-Monday, referring to Martin Luther King Day in January or Presidents Day in February.

Shawn Robbins and Jesse Rifkin contributed to this report.

Boxoffice Staff

4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Don't Mind Me Now December 23, 2016

    “decent holds for… Fifty Shades Darker.”

    Um, did you see the holds that Fifty Shades of Gray had? They were not “decent” by any stretch of the means.

    There’s no way A Cure for Wellness doesn’t stomp Patient Zero, assuming PZ doesn’t flee to another date. ACFW has been scheduled here for a long time, so positioning PZ at the same date is an acknowledgment of terrible quality and suicidal scheduling. At this point, PZ is likely to be a Disappointments Room-level failure. That said, ACFW is still at risk, but if it’s a quality picture, that will give it the major advantage of being the only real game in town for horror fans (Rings will be hemmorhaging theaters at this point).

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Don't Mind Me Now December 23, 2016

      I think I got autocorrected there. I know it’s Grey, not Gray.

      Reply
    • Avatar
      Jacen December 23, 2016

      There’s a lot of great imagery in A Cure for Wellness, but a red flag for me is the pretentious fade-in/out style of the trailer–always a bad sign (the studio trying to misdirect your attention or cover something up). And they do it a LOT in this trailer, when it would be just as effective without it. I hope I’m wrong and the film is good…

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    C.S.Strowbridge December 27, 2016

    Didn’t Amityville: The Awakening get pushed back till June?

    Reply

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