December was full of wide releases, from family-friendly films like Annie to darker fantasies like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies—but in the first weekend of the new year, there’s only one huge release: The Woman in Black 2, the sequel to 2012’s horror starring Daniel Radcliffe, is opening in about 2,600 locations.
The first Woman in Black made $20.8 million its debut weekend in February 2012—much more than expected—and it went on to make $54.3 million total in the U.S. While these numbers could indicate the film’s sequel will have a similarly successful debut weekend, the movie also has some factors working against it, including its cast: Radcliffe was a big draw with the first one, especially since The Woman in Black came out just a year after the Harry Potter film series ended, when audiences were extra invested in the actor—but the follow-up doesn’t feature any recognizable stars.
It’s also arriving in theaters at a time when audiences still have multiple new, much-hyped films to see, such as Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and the musical Into the Woods—and when Night at the Museum and Annie are holding onto their spots in the top five thanks to moviegoers looking for PG-rated options. But there’s hope The Woman in Black 2 could crack the top five. Here’s how it could play out:
1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies — $25 million
Unlike Annie, Night at the Museum, and The Hunger Games, ticket sales for The Hobbit didn’t increase Christmas weekend—but the final film in the trilogy ended up nabbing the No. 1 spot at the box office anyway with $40.9 million. This number will likely fall by at least 40 percent this weekend without the help of holiday moviegoers, but it should continue to lead the pack thanks to the power of the franchise and the allure of seeing the last installment on the big screen.
2. Into the Woods — $23.3 million
Into the Woods was neck and neck with Unbroken last weekend and ended up taking the No. 2 spot in the box office by less than $1 million (Into the Woods earned $31.1 million; Unbroken $30.6 million). This could happen again this weekend, but Into the Woods will probably still win out over the Jolie drama in part because of its positive (at least compared to Unbroken’s) reviews and star-studded cast.
3. Unbroken — $23 million
Unbroken surprised last weekend by taking one of the top spots in the box office, and that should happen again even despite negative reviews (it currently has a 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s a war drama, which appeals to many moviegoers — especially the ones who saw Fury in the fall and are itching for more — and it’s a Jolie-directed film, which appeals to fans of the actress.
4. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — $15.2 million
The third film in the Night at the Museum series has been faring well since it opened Dec. 19 and should continue to be a hit among families whose options are the not-so-beloved Annie and older animated flicks like Big Hero 6 and Penguins of Madagascar.
5. The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death — $10 million
It’s very likely Annie could make more than this wide release, but there’s some hope The Woman in Black 2 could gross enough to earn it a top five spot: The first film already proved forecasters wrong by making a strong $20.8 million its opening weekend, so this one could follow suit — especially if horror fans, who haven’t had much to see in theaters lately, show up. But it likely won’t have nearly as impressive a debut as the first because, as mentioned, it’s missing star power—and because it’s arriving at a time when movie options are already aplenty, and when many of those movie options are films people will be talking about for the next couple months during award seasons. Miss Unbroken and you’ll miss out on some water cooler conversations; miss The Woman in Black 2 and you’ll merely miss out on 90 minutes of possibly forgettable horror.