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‘Ghostbusters’ Franchise Heading To $1 Billion With ‘Frozen Empire’; Sydney Sweeney Nun Movie ‘Immaculate’ Also Going Wide – Box Office Preview

Sony’s $100 million sequel Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is looking at a $45 million opening at the domestic box office this week, give or take. The previous installment, Ghostbusters: Afterlife — released during the pandemic in 2021, directed by Jason Reitman and produced by the late Ghostbusters filmmaker Ivan Reitman — opened to $44M and legged out to $129M domestic.

Through four movies, the Ghostbusters franchise box office stands at $945.2M; the fifth title easily will put the brand past the $1 billion mark globally, if not this weekend then shortly thereafter.

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‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’
‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is playing at 4,300 theaters and will have all the PLFs and a majority of the Imax screens (some still will be playing Dune: Part Two). Previews start at 2 p.m. Thursday in roughly 3,600 locations. Essentially, what we have here is more theatrical product serving the spring break audience, this Friday seeing 15% of K-12 schools off and 15% colleges on break, per Comscore. On Good Friday, March 29, these numbers skyrocket to 77% K-12 schools and 39% colleges on break.

Overseas, Frozen Empire is going in 25 markets this weekend representing about 55% of international. Top markets are the UK, Mexico, Australia, Spain and Germany.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife was a reboot set on reinvigorating the comedy series with his die-hard male fans after Sony made an all-female comedy in 2016 with Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones. That opened to $46M and actually finaled at $128.3M domestic. Despite those good numbers, that Ghostbusters wasn’t well received by the fans, with a B+ CinemaScore.

The Reitman reboot — which co-stars original cast members Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson — was promptly hailed by exhibition who watched it at August CinemaCon 2021 as being a throwback to the warm, fuzzy Spielberg kid sci-fi and fantasy movies of the 1980s. Afterlife received an A- CinemaScore and a Rotten Tomotoes critics grade of 64% fresh — the third-best RT critics grade in the franchise. No RT reviews yet for Frozen Empire.

Jason Reitman handed over the directing reins to his Afterlife co-scribe Gil Kenan on this installment; Papa Ivan giving his blessing to the idea before his passing. Blurb: When the discovery of an ancient artifact unleashes an evil force, Ghostbusters new and old must join forces to protect their home and save the world from a second ice age

Ghostbusters is always a domestic driven property, read Afterlife made 67% of its $204.3M global here in U.S. and Canada. The 2016 version did 56% of its $229.1M worldwide box office here in the states. In addition, Ghostbusters is typically an older guy skewing property. 60% dudes showed up for Afterlife with 72% over 25 and 47% over 35. Expect something similar, though Sony is also going after families with teens and older kids. Men first choice is hot with those over 25, followed by women over 25. First choice for the sequel is substantially higher on tracking than Afterlife, which makes sense given Covid’s impact on the numbers at the time; Afterlife arriving in theaters 8 1/2 months after cinemas reopened in major markets like LA, NYC and San Francisco.

Immaculate
Sydney Sweeney in ‘Immaculate’

And Sydney Sweeney isn’t bringing back the romcom this weekend, but rather scary nun movies with Immaculate from NEON. The pic made its world premiere at SXSW and the reviews for the Michael Mohan directed and written title aren’t shabby at 70% fresh on RT. Sweeney also produces. Despite showing similar definite interest among both men and women to New Regency/20th Century Studios’ Barbarian ($10.5M opening), Immaculate is looking at a low-single-digit start at roughly 2,354 theaters.

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