Three new releases are braving Super Bowl weekend, with Hail, Caesar!, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and The Choice opening against the most-watched television event of the year.
Historically, Super Bowl weekend tends to be fairly slow at the box office, and the biggest Super Bowl opening is still the 2008 Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour ($31.1 million), with Nicholas Sparks’ Dear John ($30.5 million in 2010) just behind. With the new offerings all expected to open in the high single or low double digits, that clears the field for Kung Fu Panda 3 to spend its second weekend at No. 1.
Here’s how this weekend’s box office race might play out.
1. Kung Fu Panda 3 — $23 million
The latest installment in the adventures of Po the Panda opened last weekend to $41.3 million, and as an animated, family-friendly comedy, it will probably hold up better against the Super Bowl than some of this weekend’s more adult offerings. As a result, Kung Fu Panda 3 should perform similarly to the franchise’s first two movies and only drop about 45 percent for a second weekend of about $23 million.
2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — $11 million
Debuting in 2,930 theaters, Burr Steers’ period horror piece could fare the best of the new releases. Lily James stars as the zombie-bashing Elizabeth Bennet in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic, with Sam Riley as her Mr. Darcy, and it’s expected to lead with about $11 million.
3. Hail, Caesar! — $10 million
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may have the edge with a higher theater count and a younger audience that’s less likely to be affected by the Super Bowl, but the Coen brothers’ take on old Hollywood should come in just behind. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes, Hail, Caesar! is opening in 2,231 theaters and should debut close to $10 million.
4. The Revenant — $9 million
Now entering its sixth weekend in wide release, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant is still holding on to a spot in the top five. The Leonardo DiCaprio-starring drama has racked up $141.7 million domestically, making it Iñárritu’s highest-grossing film by almost $100 million, and it’s expected to add another $9 million or so this weekend.
5. The Choice — $8 million
Starring Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer, The Choice is the 11th Nicholas Sparks novel to make it to the big screen, and it may become the first not to open to more than $10 million. (The Best Of Me, which opened to $10 million in 2014, currently has the weakest opening of any Sparks movie.) Opening in 2,262 theaters, The Choice is expected to debut in the high single digits.
If any one of the new releases underperform, Star Wars: The Force Awakens could secure fifth place. Regardless, it should be a historic weekend for The Force Awakens: It’s only a few bucks away from breaking $900 million domestically and $2 billion globally. The Force Awakens is already the highest-grossing domestic movie of all time, and worldwide, it’s only behind Titanic ($2.2 billion) and Avatar ($2.8 billion).