VARIETY – While sci-fi epics and action-adventures have dominated theaters over the past few months, two fresh genres are looking to shake things up at the domestic box office.
Horror thriller “A Quiet Place” and R-rated comedy “Blockers” are expected to have solid openings this weekend, with the former likely to take the crown.
Paramount Pictures’ “A Quiet Place” — John Krasinski’s third directorial effort and first for a major studio — could launch to as much as $30 million from 3,200 locations, but other estimates are in the low-$20 millions. The film, which opened at South by Southwest to rave reviews, currently boasts a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The Office” star Krasinski co-wrote the movie and stars alongside his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. The pic follows a family of four who must live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.
Another title hoping to translate SXSW enthusiasm into box office success is Universal’s “Blockers.” The bawdy comedy is expected to make between $16 million and $20 million at 3,300 theaters.
Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena play parents trying and stop their teen daughters’ pact to lose their virginity on prom night. “Blockers” marks the directorial debut of Kay Cannon, who wrote the “Pitch Perfect” trilogy. It was produced by Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, and James Weaver, and is currently averaging an impressive 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Two other films getting a wide release this weekend are independent dramas “Chappaquiddick” and “The Miracle Season,” both pacing for lower openings.
“Chappaquiddick” is aiming for $4 million at 1,500 locations, though analysts suggest $2 million might be a more realistic marker. Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios spent $4 million to acquire the film and committed $16 million in P&A.
John Curran’s drama tells the true story of the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident, and the political and social ramifications that followed, when Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy (Jason Clarke) drove his car into a lake killing the passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). Ed Helms, Bruce Dern, Jim Gaffigan, and Taylor Nichols round out the cast.
“The Miracle Season,” also based on a true story, is expected to earn $3 million from 1,700 theaters. Directed by Sean McNamara (“Soul Surfer”), the inspirational drama focuses on the Iowa City West High School volleyball team after the sudden death of their team captain. Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Erin Moriarty, and Danika Yarosh make up the ensemble cast.
In limited release, Amazon Studios’ “You Were Never Really Here” will debut in three locations, while Warner Bros.’ “Pandas” will bow in 32 theaters.
“You Were Never Really Here,” based on Jonathan Ames’ book, was written and directed by Lynne Ramsay. An unfinished version released in competition at Cannes, where Ramsay won best screenplay and Joaquin Phoenix nabbed best actor.
Kristen Bell narrates “Pandas,” a documentary adventure about reintroducing captive-born pandas into the wild. The movie, which will air in select Imax theaters, was helmed by David Douglas and Drew Fellman, the filmmakers behind “Born to Be Wild” and “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.”
And of course, “Black Panther” is still going strong, two months in. The Marvel powerhouse, in its eighth weekend, will face the second weekend of Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” which opened with a healthy $53 million at the North American box office.
“Black Panther’s” record-breaking performance most recently saw the superhero film passing “Jurassic World” to become the fourth-highest grossing domestic movie of all time in the U.S. with $652.5 million. Globally, it landed at No. 10 with $1.28 billion.
Overall, the 2018 domestic box office is down 3.8% from 2017 as of April 1, with $2.89 billion, according to comScore.