Illumination-Universal’s ‘The Grinch’ To Steal $50M+ Opening – Early B.O. Forecast

Illumination and Universal’s animated feature The Grinch landed on tracking this morning, and it’s safe to say that the Yarrow Cheney-Scott Mosier directed movie is headed to a $50M-range opening. Given the Dr. Seuss and Illumination brand, it would not be shocking if that projection continues to mushroom.

Universal’s 2000 live-action release of the Seuss Yuletide tale How The Grinch Stole Christmas from Ron Howard opened to $55M on Nov. 17 that year and legged out to $260M, which made it the highest grossing title at the domestic box office that year.

“It looks like a true four-quadrant,” beamed a rival distributor this morning about The Grinch. Unaided awareness on tracking is strong at an overall 19% with men under 25 at 18%, men over at 16%, females over 25 at 22% and females under 25 at 21%. As we always footnote with theses projections is that they can climb or decline leading up to opening day, which for The Grinch is Nov. 9.

Miramax/Blumhouse’s Halloween is poised to explode this weekend at the box office for Universal. There are wild estimates out there that the Jamie Lee Curtis horror film could even do potentially –yes– $100M over three days, but saner projections are now at $70M. Everyone is excited because there are theatrical pre-sales for Halloween that are outstripping It in certain multiplexes. Point is, The Grinch will continue Universal’s rich streak this autumn after No. 1 wins for The House With The Clock In Its Walls ($26.6M) and Night School ($27.2M). Stay tuned.

Also opening on Nov. 9 is Sony/MGM’s The Girl in The Spider’s Web which came on low in the $11M-$12M range. Now in regards to tracking, adult demo pics like Bohemian Rhapsody could be currently squashing Spider Web‘s projections; Sony has cut some really cool trailers to this rebooted feature/sequel starring Claire Foy which have a 007 sensibility. Sony is hoping that adults come out in the long haul which was the case for the first David Fincher-directed pic The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that starred Rooney Mara as rebel vigilante Lisbeth Salander, a role which landed her a best actress Oscar nomination. That movie opened to $12.7M over its FSS and benefitted from the holiday play period with $102M stateside, $230M WW. Production cost on the R-rated Spider Web is half of Dragon Tattoo, $43M to $90M. Pic is showing a definite interest of 34% for guys, 36% for women.

Paramount has Bad Robot’s World War II zombie movie Overlord debuting on that weekend and it is in the high single digit range, possibly $10M+ with the best interest among men over 25 in total awareness and definite interest with guys under 25 not too far behind.

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