MLK Weekend Forecast: ‘The Post,’ ‘Paddington 2,’ & ‘Proud Mary’ Tracking for Healthy Debuts Behind ‘Jumanji’
Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend will see the wide release of four films, one of which expands from a strong platform release. Here’s how the weekend is currently shaping up:
- The Post unites the prestige of Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks — in addition to a strong ensemble cast, a widely praised screenplay from Liz Hannah and Oscar-winner Josh Singer, and the maestro John Williams’ latest award-contending score. Its platform run in select cities has generated vocal enthusiasm, while its pedigree and award season buzz should translate to a solid nationwide opening and a very leggy run with Oscar nominations still ahead later this month. The timely subject matter gives the film an added appeal to various audiences in the midst of an ongoing national conversation about the current presidential administration’s controversial direction.
- Paddington 2 has already churned out a strong overseas run and boasts a stellar 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Following on the goodwill of 2015’s well-received predecessor, this should benefit from both the extended holiday weekend and the lack of any breakout animated releases aimed at parents with young kids since November’s Coco.
- Proud Mary is tracking very well among African-American audiences and looks poised to bring out Taraji P. Henson’s fan base. Strong social buzz is likewise driving optimistic forecasts for opening weekend at this time, while early presales are encouraging.
- The Commuter marks the latest Liam Neeson action thriller as fans of the genre will be key to a healthy debut. The actor has a noted history of consistency in the genre.
- The Post‘s second greatest asset (political relevance) could also be its biggest disadvantage. Even for those who lean toward the side of agreeing with the film’s not-so-subtle timing and message, there still exists some burnout on the subject matter as part of the continued fallout from America’s hotly divisive presidential election and ongoing administrative controversies. Enthusiasm among mainstream audiences is more comparable to the likes of Captain Phillips and Bridge of Spies than Sully at this stage in the pre-release cycle, with traditional tracking lining up very similarly to that of Argo.
- Paddington 2 may lose some of the original’s pre-teen crowds to Jumanji‘s continued buzz. Family-driven sequels also have a fairly consistent history of displaying diminished returns compared to their predecessors.
- Proud Mary isn’t available for critics’ screenings ahead of release, while current tracking shows it in line with mid-range openers like When the Bough Breaks.
- The Commuter‘s social media activity is well behind that of Neeson’s more successful efforts. The target older demo will also be hard fought for this weekend thanks to The Post also aiming for some of that audience.
The 4-Day Weekend Forecast:
|Film||Distributor||4-Day Weekend Forecast||Projected Domestic Total through Monday, January 15||% Change from Last Wknd|
|Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle||Sony||$34,000,000||$290,100,000||-9%|
|Paddington 2||Warner Bros.||$20,400,000||$20,400,000||NEW|
|Proud Mary||Sony / Screen Gems||$17,500,000||$17,500,000||NEW|
|Star Wars: The Last Jedi||Disney||$16,500,000||$597,000,000||-30%|
|Insidious: The Last Key||Universal||$13,000,000||$49,700,000||-56%|
|The Greatest Showman||Fox||$11,900,000||$94,900,000||-13%|
|Pitch Perfect 3||Universal||$6,300,000||$95,300,000||-39%|
|Darkest Hour||Focus Features||$5,100,000||$35,800,000||-16%|