‘IF’ Heads for $31.5 Million Box Office Opening

The first round of box office returns are a mixed bag for Paramount’s “IF,” which is seeing strong audience reception but isn’t bucking the trend of lower openings for non-IP-based family films with an industry estimated $31.5 million launch from 4,041 theaters.

By comparison, that’s slightly above the $29.6 million opening for last year’s original Pixar film “Elemental,” but below the unadjusted $37.5 million opening for “Hop,” the 2011 original live-action/CGI hybrid family film released by Universal. Pre-release tracking had “IF” opening to $38-40 million, though exhibition sources had projections that topped out at $35 million.

The good news is that opening day audiences have given “IF” strong marks, including an A on CinemaScore and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 85%. PostTrak scores have also been very positive with a 5/5 score from parents and 4.5/5 from general audiences and kids. That will be needed headed into Memorial Day weekend as “IF” tries to bring in more families who are looking for a day out during the holiday period.

Sony’s animated film “Garfield” will be a direct competitor for that family crowd next weekend, but insiders at Paramount say that they feel confident that the word-of-mouth for “IF” will allow it to stand out at cinemas and have a run similar to “Elemental,” which turned its $29.6 million opening into a $154.4 million domestic run.

In second place is Disney/20th Century’s “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” with an estimated second weekend total of $25 million. That’s a 56% drop from the film’s $58.5 million opening weekend and a stronger hold than the $20 million/63% drop that “War for the Planet of the Apes” recorded in 2017. If this result holds, “Kingdom” will cross the $100 million domestic mark on Sunday.

Lionsgate’s “The Strangers — Chapter 1” is in third with a $12.5 million opening from 2,856 theaters. With an $8.5 million budget and a mostly digital marketing campaign, the horror reboot will be another successful low-budget release for Lionsgate, though the film has been a critical dud with a C on CinemaScore and Rotten Tomatoes scores of 13% critics and 43% audience.

Universal/87North’s “The Fall Guy” is in fourth with $8.1 million in its third weekend as its domestic total now stands at a disappointing $62 million.

Finally, Focus/StudioCanal’s “Back to Black” is leaving little mark on the box office with a $3 million opening from 2,010 theaters. Focus Features is handling distribution on this Amy Winehouse biopic for a minimum guarantee. Critics gave the film mostly negative reviews with a 36% RT score, but Winehouse’s fans were largely pleased with a B+ on CinemaScore and an 81% RT score.

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