The first Disney release of 2020, Pixar’s Onward, arrived on tracking today with a $44 million projection.
Some believe that the forecast for the March 6 release is low and could go higher. The movie directed by Dan Scanlon and featuring the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Octavia Spencer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is set in a suburban fantasy world, where two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to see if there’s still magic out there.
It’s the first time in the Emeryville, CA animation studio’s 34-year history that they’ve opened a movie in the first-quarter corridor. Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia owns the March opening record for a feature toon at $75M. Spring break for K-12 schools and colleges kicks off March 6 with 4% and 9% off, respectively, and growing throughout the month.
Also opening on March 6, but coming on tracking quite low, is the Ben Affleck drama The Way Back. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, Affleck plays a former high school basketball phenom who struggles with alcoholism. He is offered a coaching job at his alma mater. As the team starts to win, he may have a reason to confront his old demons. Pic is projected to debut in the single digits around $7M.
Looking really healthy is the $7M Blumhouse/Universal February 28 release The Invisible Man, with a $20M-$24.5M forecast, strong with the under-25 demo and Hispanic audiences. Elisabeth Moss stars as Cecilia. After her abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. But as a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. Leigh Whannell directs.
This weekend’s expected No. 1 release, Paramount/Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, continues to eye a $45M-$50M four-day start. Previews kick off tonight at 5 PM. Last night’s Los Angeles special screening received a rapturous response, with many Sonic fans in the audience declaring that Paramount got this video game adaptation right. Pic is currently 71% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. All the of the releases this weekend will benefit from 21% K-12 schools and 9% colleges off on Friday, and 90% K-12 and 32% colleges out on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.
Universal’s Issa Rae-LaKeith Stanfield hot romance drama The Photograph is looking at $12.5M-$15M at 2,500 theaters. Pic is 83% fresh on RT. Logline: When a famed photographer unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (Stanfield).
Also opening over the lucrative Valentine’s Day-Presidents Day four-day weekend is Sony/Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island, which is eyeing at $12M start over four days according to fresh tracking this morning (Sony said $13M-$15M earlier this week) at 2,770 estimated locations. There are no early shows for the PG-13 adaptation of the hit ABC 1980s series. Pic cost around $7M. No RT score yet.
Searchlight has the American remake of the 2014 Swedish movie Force Majeure, which is now a comedy that stars Will Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus, titled Downhill. At 2,280 theaters, pic’s four-day is looking at $3.75M-$4.25M. The comedy follows a marriage in crisis following an avalanche at a European ski resort. Downhill made its world premiere at Sundance a few weeks ago and currently clocks a 47% RT score.