'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' could be dethroned over the May 19-21 frame

By Joey Nolfi
May 18, 2017 at 05:31 PM EDT
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Credit: Fox; Warner Bros; Fox
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Alien: Covenant is poised to launch a Facehugger attack squarely at Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend.

The Ridley Scott-directed Prometheus sequel guns for the peak position on the domestic chart as the superhero sequel enters its third weekend in wide release, while a pair of modestly-budgeted newcomers — Warner Bros.’ literary adaptation Everything, Everything and Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul — are expected to perform well against what’s shaping up to be a pack of steady holdovers.

Check out EW’s May 19-21 weekend box office predictions below.

1 – Alien: Covenant – $43 million

While Scott’s Alien franchise lacks in consistency (it has dabbled in everything from the mindless carnage of the Alien vs. Predator days to the high brow philosophical musings of 2012’s Prometheus), its seemingly bottomless lows (Alien 3, anyone?) are typically outweighed by its soaring highs, and Covenant — a continuation of Prometheus in a planned prequel trilogy leading up to the events in the 1979 original — is shooting for the moon (and beyond) at the weekend box office.

With a budget of $97 million, someone obviously had stellar hopes for the flick, which bows at 3,757 sites (including IMAX) this Friday. While Fox is hoping for a debut in the $40-45 million range, there’s reason to believe the film could push higher — especially given the film has pulled in stronger reviews than the aforementioned Alien Vs. Predator, which overcame negative critical reception to post $38 million over its first three days in 2004. Prometheus was also able to rope in $51 million worth of ticket buyers without the Alien moniker, and Covenant is being touted as a return-to-form for Scott’s space-centric sci-fi series, which should pull in both the curious and the nostalgic.

Still, as 2017 has shown us so far, aging franchises aren’t exactly the safest bets at the box office. Power Rangers quickly tumbled from a solid $40.3 million start in March and Kate Beckinsale’s Underworld series hit a new low in January, as did the Milla Jovovich-led Resident Evil collection later that same month (though the latter has gone on to make a stunning $312 million worldwide). That’s not to say any of those films’ trajectories are on-par with the time-tested legacy Scott and Sigourney Weaver introduced almost 40 years ago, just that mainstream audiences can quickly tire — sometimes for no detectable reason — of that which they’re familiar.

There’s little reason to believe Covenant is headed for a crash-landing, however, as social media activity is healthy for the film, as is the playing field upon which it enters this weekend — Guardians of the Galaxy is prepping for its third go-round with moviegoers and both fellow newcomers are aimed at entirely different demographics, so expect Covenant to gobble up $40-50 million (or more).

2 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – $36 million

It’s time for round No. 3 for Guardians of the Galaxy‘s second Hollywood installment, following its massive $146.5 million opening earlier this month. The film has thus far raked in $646.9 million worldwide, and that total will climb even higher after this weekend when the film enters steady territory (most tentpole comic book films tend to tumble hard from week one to week two, and level out from week three onward). Guardians of the Galaxy should pull in an additional $30-40 million through Sunday.

3 – Everything, Everything – $11 million

As Warner Bros. reels from the disappointing figures posted by the expensive action epic King Arthur, the studio will likely see a few rays of sunshine this weekend when its Nicola Yoon adaptation Everything, Everything opens at roughly 2,800 sites this Friday (with Thursday pre-shows). Warner produced the film alongside MGM on a reported $10 million budget — a number the film should clear over its first three days, given the performance of comparable titles like 2016’s Me Before You, which earned $18.7 million last June. That number seems a bit high for Everything, Everything to clear, though its source material’s status as a similarly popular best-seller — particularly among teens — should push it past the $11 million mark at the close of the week.

4 – Snatched – $10 million

After rising $2 million above initial projections to a healthy $19.5 million premiere thanks to a healthy Mother’s Day push last weekend, Snatched positioned Goldie Hawn back in the good graces of the movie-going public after a 15-year big screen absence. The film has continued to grow at a solid pace, with midweek numbers averaging between $1.2 and $1.9 million. Summer comedies typically hold on stronger than entries from other genres, with Schumer’s own Trainwreck coasting through the middle of 2015 to an impressive $110 million. While Snatched won’t reach that number, it should, given seasonal trends, dip around 40-50 percent (even in the wake of its middling B grade on CinemaScore) over its sophomore frame.

Since 2010, three Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles have amassed decent ticket sales on domestic screens, with final totals landing between $49 and $64 million. The Long Haul — the fourth in a line of family-oriented movies based on the popular children’s books — takes a creative risk, though, as it replaces the cast that occupied the first three installments (Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn, Rachael Harris) with series newcomers Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone, and Tom Everett Scott. Those who’ve flocked to see the previous Wimpy Kid films are less likely to care about cast and character than they are about the films’ wacky hijinks, which its theatrical trailer promises plenty of. As the aging series winds down, look for The Long Haul to post between $9 and $12 million this weekend.

Outside the top five, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword looks to pad its disastrous opening weekend (the film cost $175 million to make, earning just $15.4 million on North American screens) throughout week No. 2, though it’s likely to fall hard (a fall in the 50-60 percent range isn’t out of the question) as Covenant swoops in to steal a large chunk of its audience.

Elsewhere, on the specialty front Bryan Cranston leads Wakefield — which traveled the 2016 fall festival circuit to positive reviews — to a single location alongside Jennifer Garner and Beverly D’Angelo in the days ahead, where it should post a decent number given the film’s buzzy premise (a man abandons his family home only to spy on his loved ones in the aftermath) and glowing critical reception.


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