Last weekend saw Terminator: Dark Fate claim the top spot at the U.S. box office, but its reign as champ will be short-lived, much to the dismay of Paramount Pictures and everyone else involved. This weekend sees four newcomers enter the fold in the form of Warner Bros.' Doctor Sleep, Universal's Last Christmas, Lionsgate's Midway and Paramount's Playing With Fire. Safe to say, it's going to make for a crowded weekend.
Doctor Sleep, directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game, The Haunting of Hill House) serves as a sequel to The Shining, both Stanley Kubrick's movie and Stephen King's novel. It's an ambitious undertaking, but one that looks to pay off as the horror flick, which stars Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, is expected to bring in between $25 and $30 million on opening weekend. That box office number could be bolstered as reviews for this one have been quite good so far. It currently boasts a 74 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go with a stellar 95 percent audience score. The new golden age of King lives on.
Next up, Paramount looks to get a jump on the holiday season with Last Christmas, the latest from director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids). The holiday romcom is toplined by a couple of hot stars in Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, with Emma Thompson also included in the ensemble. Despite middling reviews thus far, the Christmas flick is looking at a debut between $15 and $19 million. Considering this one could have long legs up through the end of the year, this could be another winner for Paramount in 2019.
Midway, a large-scale World War II epic from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) faces an uncertain long-term fate. Estimates have it taking in around $15 million, which isn't great considering the $100 million production budget, which Emmerich raised outside the studio system, essentially making it one of the most expensive independent movies ever made. If overseas audiences turn up, this could work out, but things aren't looking great. The cast includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson and Woody Harrellson.
Rounding out the top five will be Terminator: Dark Fate, which is going to stumble with between $13 and $14 million, further cementing it as one of the biggest bombs of the year. Playing with Fire, a family-friendly comedy starring John Cena, will get off to a middling start with between $7 and $10 million. Elsewhere, Netflix's The Irishman expands to several key markets across the country and Fox Searchlight's Jojo Rabbit, a likely Oscar hopeful from director Taika Waititi, also will expand to more than 250 screens. Be sure to check out our full list of weekend box office predictions below and check back with us on Sunday for the weekend estimates. Numbers used in this report were provided by Box Office Mojo.