In the midst of a weekend with National Cinema Day, in addition to several previews, Sony’s feature take of PlayStation game, Gran Turismo, is bound to take No. 1 at the box office. This despite the fact that tracking has lowered its projections on the film down to $12M from $15M.
Gran Turismo originally was scheduled to open on Aug. 11, but Sony unconventionally decided to pivot to previews for two weeks prior to the pic’s opening this Friday in an effort to drum up word of mouth on the Neill Blomkamp directed movie since the cast wasn’t available due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. Per industry sources, not Sony, previews are estimated to be in the $3M-plus range. That cash will be rolled into Gran Turismo‘s first Friday. This would boost the movie’s opening weekend to an estimated $15M in 3,800 theaters. In major markets such as LA, cinemas have been playing Gran Turismo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; two weekends back-to-back. Thursday previews start at 2PM in 3,100 sites. So far, critics aren’t fans of Gran Turismo at 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, but moviegoers who’ve seen it are at 98%. The production was $60M before P&A.
What also remains to be seen is the halo effect from National Cinema Day, which falls on Sunday this year whereby all movies, all showtimes, all formats are $4. Last year, National Cinema Day was held on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, clocking 8M admission off $3 tickets in a three-day weekend that counted 10.5M admissions. Will business crater on Friday and Saturday this weekend? Will Sunday box office wise be flat with Saturday? Last year, business went up dollar wise on Saturday with pics like Top Gun: Maverick and Bullet Train seeing respective Friday-to-Saturday jumps of +26% and +117%.
No. 2 is a toss-up between the second weekend of Warner Bros.’ Blue Beetle and the sixth frame of Barbie with $12M-$13M apiece, however, many believe the latter will be fueled by repeat business off $4 Sunday tickets. Through Monday, Barbie counts a running domestic take of $569.3M while Blue Beetle stands at $27.1M. Next is Universal’s sixth weekend of Oppenheimer with around $6M, -44%. The Christopher Nolan epic stands at $286.7M in U.S./Canada. As we told you, Barbie will become the highest grossing movie of 2023 on Wednesday, beating Uni/Illumination’s Super Mario Bros Movie‘s $574.2M total cume.
Indie movies will try to take advantage of the availability of screens at this late stage of the summer box office, which is headed toward $4 billion. Briarcliff Entertainment’s faith-based title The Hill will be booked in around 1,500 theaters with an eye at $2M-$3M. The biopic follows the true story of Rickey Hill (Colin Ford), who was born with degenerative spinal disease that gave him small, weak legs. He becomes a baseball phenonmeon and ultimately signs with the Montreal Expos in 1975 and plays with the team for fours seasons. Dennis Quaid plays Rickey’s stern preacher dad.
Roadside Attractions/StudioCanal/The Picture Company’s Liam Neeson action movie, Retribution, also wide, looks to do around the same low single digit dollar amount this weekend. In the pic, Neeson plays a bank executive who receives a bomb threat while driving his children to school: His car will explode if they stop and get out.
Nimród Antal directs. No RT scores yet for the pic.
Bleecker Street/ShivHans Films’ Golda Meir biopic, Golda, from Oscar winner Guy Nattiv, is being released in 883 theaters. There’s a Fathom Events fan night on Wednesday in roughly 500 theaters. Outlook is around $1M. Golda is 43% Rotten with critics.
MGM in limited release has the LGBTQ+ comedy, Bottoms, which world premiered at SXSW. Presales are strong in the Theater Camp range with critics already at 98% certified fresh. Emma Seligman directed this raunchy comedy about two girls, PJ and Josie, who start a fight club as a way to lose their virginities to cheerleaders. Their bizarre plan works. The fight club gains traction and soon the most popular girls in school are beating each other up in the name of self-defense. But PJ and Josie find themselves in over their heads and in need of a way out before their plan is exposed. Bottoms will be booked at ten locations in NYC, LA, San Francisco and Austin. There’s a big advance screening promotion with Alamo Drafthouse.