Last weekend, Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle proved its unconventional box office mettle by beating out the only newcomer in wide release, Winchester, winning for the fourth time in its seven-week run, with just $10.9 million. Barring any sort of box office miracle, its rule at the top is likely over, with Universal rolling out Fifty Shades Freed, alongside Sony Pictures' Peter Rabbit and Warner Bros. The 15:17 to Paris starting this Friday. We're predicting that the animated family film Peter Rabbit will come out on top at the box office this weekend as Fifty Shades Freed continues the massively downward trajectory for this franchise.
As of now, only Peter Rabbit, the family adventure based on Beatrix Potter's beloved books, has enough ratings on Rotten Tomatoes to qualify for the TomatoMeter, receiving mixed-positive reviews thus far, with a 59% RT score. The score is just one percent under the "Fresh" cut-off of 60%, and with just a few days left until this hits theaters, the critical reception could swing either way. Both Peter Rabbit and Fifty Shades Freed are estimated to open in 3,700 theaters apiece this weekend, but since family movies that cater to a wider audience often get the best of adult R-rated fare like Fifty Shades Freed, we're predicting that Peter Rabbit wins with a modest $23.6 million, followed by Fifty Shades Freed with $21.8 million and The 15:17 to Paris in third with $14.6 million. We're predicting the top 5 will be rounded out by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle dropping to fourth place with $7.2 million, with The Maze Runner: The Death Cure in fifth with $6.1 million.
If these projections hold true for Fifty Shades Freed, it will mark another massive drop from its predecessor. The Fifty Shades trilogy kicked off in 2015 with Fifty Shades of Grey, which introduced movie audiences to Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). The movie opened big in February 2015 with $85.1 million, although it dropped off rather quickly, dropping a massive 73.9% in its second weekend, and ending its domestic run with $166.1 million and an additional $404.8 million internationally for $571 million worldwide, from just a $40 million budget. The 2017 sequel Fifty Shades Darker fell off considerably, with a $46.6 million debut, en route to $114.5 million domestic, plus $266.5 million internationally for a global haul of $381.1 million, from a slightly-increased $55 million budget.
While both Fifty Shades Freed and Peter Rabbit have built-in audiences, the real X-factor this weekend could very well be Clint Eastwood's The 15:17 to Paris. The filmmaker made the bold move of casting the real-life American heroes, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, who helped thwart the 2015 terrorist on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, as themselves in the movie. While casting the actual subjects of a biopic as themselves isn't entirely unprecedented (i.e. Howard Stern playing himself in Private Parts), it's incredibly rare, especially when the subjects have no acting experience whatsoever. It's possible this bold gamble could help entice audiences to theaters that may lead to a bigger box office debut.
The top 10 will likely be rounded out by Winchester ($5.2 million), The Greatest Showman ($4.7 million), Hostiles ($3.5 million), The Post ($3.1 million) and 12 Strong ($2.8 million). Also opening in limited release this weekend is Pantelion's La Boda de Valentina, arriving in an estimated 325 theaters, Sony's Padman arriving in 150 theaters, IFC's The Female Brain slated to debut in one theater, and Reliance Entertainment's Aiyaary and Parade Deck's FourPlay also arriving without any theater count estimates. There is no word on whether or not these limited release titles will be expanding nationwide in the weeks to come.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Marvel rolls out Black Panther, which was named one of the most highly-anticipated movies of 2018. That superhero adventure will go up against Lionsgate and Aardman Animation's stop-motion comedy Early Man and PureFlix's Samson. Also opening in limited release next weekend is FilmRise's The Boy Downstairs, WellGo USA's Detective K: Secret of the Living Dead and The Monkey King 3, Sony Pictures Classics' Loveless, Bleecker Street's Nostalgia, Film Movement's Oh Lucy! and Roadside Attractions' The Party. Take a look at our projections for the box office top 10 below, and check back on Sunday for the top 10 estimates, courtesy of Box Office Mojo.