It's going to be a very crowded weekend at the box office. IT Chapter Two has had a clear path to dominance over the past couple of weeks, with the horror sequel raking in $39.6 million for a second straight win last weekend. However, a trio of new arrivals is going to see things get shaken up in a big way. Lionsgate is releasing Rambo: Last Blood, 20th Century Fox is releasing Ad Astra and Focus Features is behind the Downton Abbey movie. The question is, who will come out on top?
This isn't as cut and dry as it is some weeks. All three of the weekend's box office newcomers are expected to debut in the $20 million range, and IT Chapter Two will be right in that ballpark as well. To make matters a tiny bit more complicated, Hustlers won't be too far behind. Not to mention that the movie has earned rave reviews and is generating excellent word of mouth thus far, which means it could easily over-perform in its second frame. Point being, it could be a very right race all across the top five.
Vegas odds are likely on Rambo: Last Blood. Box office tracking has the sequel, which once again stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, earning between $20 and $24 million. But Lionsgate has put a hefty marketing campaign behind this one and the fact that the character has been away for a while could work to its benefit. Meanwhile, Ad Astra, a high-concept sci-fi flick starring Brad Pitt from director James Gray, should be right at or near the $20 million mark. The movie has earned rave reviews, but the heady nature of the material may prevent it from having the mass appeal of something like Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. Considering the $80 million production budget, that may not cut it.
Rounding out the top five will be Downton Abbey, the big screen continuation of the beloved TV series, and Hustlers, the heralded stripper drama starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. While some analysts believe Downton Abbey, directed by Michael Engler, will get closer to $20 million, in part thanks to tremendous presales, other analysts believe this one is going to be very heavily front-loaded with pre-sales. As such, it could wind up closer to $15 or $16 million
Hustlers, on the other hand, did better than expected with $33.1 million last weekend and is now generating legitimate Oscar buzz. With an 88 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, the flick should see, at most, a 50 percent drop, which could put it just above Downton Abbey. In almost every case, each studio comes out a winner here. Ad Astra is the exception, as Disney is probably going to suffer yet another lackluster performance from a Fox title they inherited in the merger. 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. Figures used in this report were provided by Box Office Mojo.