While January isn't typically a big month for box office blockbusters, there can be the occasional movie that opens big. Two weeks ago, Ride Along 2 breathed some life into the new year with a respectable $35.2 million opening frame, but last weekend, it dropped a whopping 64.7% and slipped from first to third place, with the holdover The Revenant taking the top spot in its fifth week in theaters. This weekend is shaping up to be the biggest frame of the new year so far, with three heavily-promoted new releases, Kung Fu Panda 3, Fifty Shades of Black and The Finest Hours. According to the projections at Pro.BoxOffice.com, Kung Fu Panda 3 is expected to win in a landslide.
Kung Fu Panda 3 is expected to easily take the top spot with a projected $48 million, which isn't terribly surprising given this franchise's pedigree of critical acclaim and box office success. The animated sequel already has an impressive 89% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is opening in a projected 3,900 theaters, making it the widest release of the weekend. The Finest Hours is expected to open in 3,000 theaters, but it hasn't fared well with critics so far, with just a 20% "Fresh" rating, while Fifty Shades of Black is opening in 2,150 theaters, with no Rotten Tomatoes rating so far. Fifty Shades of Black is expected to open in second place with $13.5 million, followed by The Finest Hours in third place with $9.5 million. The top 5 will be rounded out by last weekend's winner The Revenant ($8.7 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($8.1 million).
Kung Fu Panda 3 marks the return of one of the most successful animated franchises in the world, with its biggest comedy adventure yet. When Po's (Jack Black) long-lost panda father (Bryan Cranston) suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai (Mads Mikkelsen) begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas! The voice cast is rounded out by Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, David Cross, James Hong and Kate Hudson.
A heroic action-thriller, The Finest Hours is the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, the film will transport audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale. On February 18, 1952, a massive nor'easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly-sinking stern. As the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to set aside their differences and work together to ride out one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast. Meanwhile, as word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) orders a daring operation to rescue the stranded men. Despite overwhelming odds, four men, led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), set out in a wooden lifeboat with an ill-equipped engine and little, if any, means of navigation, facing frigid temperatures, 60-foot high waves and hurricane-force winds.
The spoof comedy Fifty Shades of Black featuring Marlon Wayans and his co-stars Kali Hawk, Mike Epps, Affion Crockett is a spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey, although we've seen from previously-released footage hat they poke fun of Magic Mike as well. The supporting cast is rounded out by Jane Seymour, Fred Willard, Andrew Bachelor, Kate Lang Johnson, Tina Grimm and Marissa D'Onofrio. Along with starring in the comedy, Marlon Wayans also co-wrote the script with Rick Alvarez, who he has collaborated with on Little Man, Dance Flick, A Haunted House and last year's A Haunted House 2. Michael Tiddes, who directed Dance Flick, A Haunted House and A Haunted House 2, returns to the helm for this spoof.
The top 10 will be rounded out by Ride Along 2 ($7.2 million), Dirty Grandpa ($5.9 million), The Boy ($5.4 million), The 5th Wave ($5.1 million) and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi ($4.8 million). Also opening in limited release this weekend is The Weinstein Company's Jane Got a Gun, expected to open in approximately 550 theaters, and the 2016 Oscar Nominated Short Films, which will debut in 140 theaters. It isn't known if The Weinstein Company has plans to expand Jane Got a Gun, which has been delayed several times, to a nationwide release in the weeks or months ahead, but we'll have to wait and see.
Looking ahead to next weekend, three new wide releases hit theaters, with Universal's Hail, Caesar!, the latest from the Coen Brothers, Sony's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Choice. Also opening in limited release is the dramatic thriller Regression, starring Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke, the comedy Tumbledown starring Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall and Magnolia's Viva. Be sure to check back on Sunday for the box office estimates, and again on Tuesday for next week's predictions. Until then, take a look at our box office projections for the weekend of January 29.
PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: