Tracking shows Sony’s animated family film pacing ahead of Dwayne Johnson’s latest turn on the big screen. Then again, tracking is hardly a science.
Will an animated Dracula draw blood from Dwayne Johnson’s Skyscraper at the weekend box office?
That’s the big question as Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation opens everywhere Friday opposite Johnson’s disaster-action pic, from Legendary and Universal.
Pre-release tracking shows Hotel Transylvania 3 debuting in the $38 million-$45 million range, while Skyscraper is projected to gross $33 million-$40 million. Tracking, however, is hardly a science, and Johnson remains a star with sway. He’s also prolific; Skyscraper is his fourth movie in a little over year after Baywatch, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Rampage.
The respective studios backing the two new titles are being more conservative in their estimates. Sony insiders suggest $35 million for Hotel Transylvania 3, while Legendary/Universal are predicting $30 million for Skyscraper, which opens two years after Johnson’s fellow disaster pic San Andreas debuted to $54 million for New Line.
Both films will have to contend with Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which is tipped to earn $30 million-$35 million in its sophomore outing.
Skyscraper will prove yet another test of Johnson’s star status. The summer movie cost Legendary and Universal $129 million to produce before marketing.
In the film, Johnson stars as a former FBI hostage rescue team leader now assigned to provide security for a towering skyscraper in China. Johnson’s character must spring into action when his wife (Neve Campbell) and children are trapped inside the world’s tallest building after villains set fire to the skyscraper. Rawson Marshall Thurber, who made Central Intelligence with Johnson, wrote and directed.
Legendary and Universal are counting on big returns overseas, where Johnson’s last film, Rampage, earned 77 percent of its total $425 million gross at the international box office, or $326.1 million, after debuting to $35.8 million domestically in mid-April. Skyscraper opens in numerous foreign markets timed to its U.S. launch before scaling China in July.
Universal and Legendary note that Skyscraper is an original summer film amid a sea of franchise installments, one of which is Hotel Transylvania 3.
The animated film sees Adam Sandler once again voice the role of Dracula, who decides to take a cruise with his pals, only to fall in love with the captain of the ship (Kathryn Hahn). She also happens to be a relative and loyal ally of Van Helsing, a notorious vampire hunter. The voice cast also includes Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Jim Gaffigan and Mel Brooks.
Genndy Tartakovsky directed Hotel Transylvania 3, which Sony insiders say cost $80 million to produce before marketing.
Hotel Transylvania 3 has already begun rolling overseas, where it has grossed $6 million to date. By this weekend, the film will be playing in nearly 50 percent of the international marketplace.