Disney will be facing off against itself at the North American box office this weekend as “A Wrinkle in Time” opens against the fourth weekend of Marvel’s “Black Panther.”
“Black Panther” shows no signs of slowing down its box office reign, as estimates show Ryan Coogler’s tentpole has a good chance of coming out on top against Ava DuVernay’s time-travel fantasy, which is targeted to hard-to-track younger filmgoers.
The latest tracking for “Wrinkle” projects an opening weekend of $30 to $38 million at 3,980 North American locations. That’s slightly lower than initial estimates assessed, which showed a range between $34 to $37 million. “Black Panther” could bring $35 to $40 million in its fourth weekend.
Numerous schools start their spring vacations this week, giving PG-rated “A Wrinkle in Time” a few weeks to lure young audiences in the weeks leading up to Easter, which is on April 1 this year.
“A Wrinkle in Time” is based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 children’s novel, which follows a group of children as they travel through time and strange worlds to find their missing father. The film boasts a star-studded cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.Four years ago, the first installment of the young adult sci-fi franchise “Divergent” opened March 21 to $54 million. Another Disney title, the live-action “Jungle Book” remake, debuted in April 2016 with an impressive $103 million.
“With the first billion dollar February now on the books and the year-to-date advantage over last year at nearly 11%, the box office gravy train keeps rolling along,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore, said. “Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ will have to contend with a formidable fourth weekend for stablemate ‘Black Panther’ that is poised for yet another solid frame that could land the two films in photo finish for the top spot.”
Meanwhile, “Black Panther” continues to break box office records, with a domestic total of $506.4 million making it the ninth-highest grossing film in North America after only 18 days. The third weekend of “Black Panther” showed only a 41% decline for the third-best third weekend of all time at $66.3 million, trailing only “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Avatar.”
If “Black Panther’s” decline is similar to last weekend, a weekend of about $40 million would result in the third-highest fourth weekend of all time, following “Avatar” with $50.3 million and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with $42.4 million. “The Avengers” currently holds the third spot with $36.7 million.
Three other titles — “Gringo,” “Hurricane Heist,” and “The Strangers: Prey at Night” — are each pacing to open with less than $10 million at about 2,400 sites.
Aviron Pictures’ “The Strangers: Prey at Night” is showing the strongest forecast of the three, with an opening looking the $7-$8 million range. Set in a secluded mobile home park, the horror sequel to 2008’s “The Strangers” is directed by Johannes Roberts, and stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.
Entertainment Studios’ “Hurricane Heist” sees forecasts of around $7 million from an estimated $35 million budget. Directed by Rob Cohen, the bank robbery thriller follows a band of tech hackers who plan to use a Category 5 hurricane to cover their tracks as they execute a $600 million bank robbery. The cast includes Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, and Ralph Ineson.
That leaves Amazon Studios and STX Films’ action comedy “Gringo,” which is aiming for approximately $5 million. Nash Edgerton’s film features David Oyelowo as a businessman who works for a company that has developed the “Weed Pill.” He is sent to Mexico to handle the manufacturing of the product, but while out partying, he ends up getting kidnapped by a drug cartel. Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, and Thandie Newton round out the cast.
Also premiering this weekend is Focus Features’ thriller “Thoroughbreds,” opening on 549 screens. Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke portray childhood friends who reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Cory Finley makes his directing debut with the film that features Anton Yelchin in his final on-screen role. The actor died at age 26 in a freak accident in 2016.Disney’s box office dominance over the past few years has been quite the sight to behold, whether it be its Marvel movies, its Star Wars adventures, or its animated fare from Disney Animation Studios or Pixar. Like a well-oiled machine, the studio looks to transfer its box office power from one blockbuster, Marvel’s Black Panther, which has won for the past three weeks in a row, to another, the studio’s live-action adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. This adaptation of Madeleine D’Engle’s timeless novel should have no trouble taking down the three other newcomers opening this weekend, Entertainment Studios’ The Hurricane Heist, STX Entertainment’s Gringo and Aviron’s Strangers: Prey at Night this weekend.
As of now, none of these four newcomers have enough reviews accrued to post a Rotten Tomatoes rating, but that will change over the next few days. One of the many reasons why A Wrinkle In Time should have no trouble taking down these newcomers is it already has a huge advantage in terms of theater count. A Wrinkle In Time is expected to open in an estimated 3,800 theaters, which is far more than all of its competitors this weekend, but not quite as much as the 4,084 theaters Black Panther was shown in last weekend. The Hurricane Heist is expected to arrive in approximately 2,500 theaters, while both Strangers: Prey at Night and Gringo are expected to debut in roughly 2,400 theaters. We’re predicting that A Wrinkle In Time will open in first place with $55.6 million, followed by Black Panther dropping to second place with $39.2 million.