Audiences won’t heed the warning in Get Out‘s title this weekend.
The Jordan Peele-directed thriller, which premiered to universal acclaim at Sundance in January, hits wide release this weekend alongside two additional mainstream newcomers, though neither will stand in Get Out‘s way as it likely rises to the top of the domestic chart above holdovers including The LEGO Batman Movie and The Great Wall.
Here’s how the Feb. 24-26 box office showdown could play out:
1. Get Out – $28 million
Though he’s largely known for his work in comedy, Jordan Peele (one half of the duo behind Comedy Central’s sketch series Key & Peele) took a stab at the horror genre for his directorial debut, enlisting well-known actors (Girls‘ Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford) to bring the story — about an interracial couple who retreat to the young woman’s foreboding hometown, where things are not as comfortable for her black boyfriend as they initially seem — to life.
The picture hits 2,773 North American locations via Universal and Blumhouse Pictures, a winning pairing that has produced genre hits like Ouija and The Purge series in the past. The inexpensive ($4.5 million budget) title’s aggressive marketing campaign and stellar critical reviews have generated substantial buzz for the film, which is thus far outpacing the Fandango presales of similar movies like The Visit and The Gift, which bowed to $25.4 million and $11.9 million, respectively, in 2015.
Look for Get Out to gross anywhere between $25 and $30 million this weekend.
2. The LEGO Batman Movie – $20 million
After spending two straight weeks at the top of the U.S. box office, The LEGO Batman Movie will finally succumb to Friday’s most prominent newcomer, most likely tumbling a single notch to finish the weekend in the runner-up position. Family titles tend to hold on stronger than their live-action counterparts, and with the cross-demographic appeal of both the DC Comics franchise and the popular line of LEGO toys, LEGO Batman is poised for a soft descent, eyeing a $19-22 million haul over its next three-day frame.
3. The Great Wall – $10.5 million
Matt Damon’s epic monster movie, helmed by renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, was a worldwide hit before it opened for business in North America. Thus far, it has made $269.1 million globally, though its domestic performance (it opened to $21.5 million over the four-day President’s Day weekend) is uncharacteristic of blockbusters that typically carry budgets in excess of $150 million, as this film does. While audiences were lukewarm on the picture (polled viewers gave the film a middling B grade on CinemaScore), a lack of epic-sized action fare on the market should be enough to keep ticket buyers interested for another weekend. The Great Wall will crack — not crumble — to the tune of approximately $9-12 million by Sunday’s end.
4. Fifty Shades Darker – $10 million
Considering its worldwide grosses exceed $286 million to date, the second film in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie franchise is already in the black, given its relatively modest $55 million budget. After descending nearly 60 percent from week one to week two, the romantic drama, adapted from E.L. James’ book series, still managed to secure the No. 2 spot on the U.S. chart for the second straight week. As it prepares for its third go-round in theaters, the film’s status as effective counter-programming to the broadly appealing titles gunning for higher positions on the domestic chart should pad its fall. Fifty Shades Darker could add $10-12 million to its tally between Friday and Sunday.
5. John Wick: Chapter 2 – $8 million
Having already surpassed the overall grosses of its 2014 predecessor by leaps and bounds, John Wick: Chapter 2 heads into its third weekend in wide release with momentum on its side. Strong reviews from movie critics and sturdy word-of-mouth from polled moviegoers (A- grade on CinemaScore) have kept the film afloat so far, though it will shed a higher-than-average number this weekend as Get Out eats up a small portion of its potential ticket sales. Expect Chapter 2 to dip around 40-55 percent in the days ahead.
Outside the top five, Lionsgate sets loose its animated comedy Rock Dog at roughly 2,000 sites. The family flick features the voices of J.K. Simmons, Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, and Sam Elliott, and is projected to take around $4-5 million this weekend.
Elsewhere, Open Road’s Collide, an actioner starring Felicity Jones and Nicholas Hoult, debuts at approximately 2,000 locations. As of Thursday, critical reviews for the film have yet to be tallied by major aggregate sites (never a good sign), which doesn’t bode well for an opening above $3-4 million.