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At Last, the Box Office Has a Variety of Promising Films Again

After weeks of box office struggles, theaters are finally heading into a weekend where multiple films could bring a diverse crowd of moviegoers into their auditoriums.

Along with the critically praised “Dune: Part Two,” which has grossed $89 million domestically over four days, a pair of bears will arrive on the big screen. There’s the goofy panda bear Po in Universal/DreamWorks’ family film “Kung Fu Panda 4,” and there’s the monstrous teddy bear Chauncey in Lionsgate/Blumhouse’s “Imaginary.”

“Kung Fu Panda 4” is currently tracking to take the No.1 spot with an opening weekend of at least $56 million, with rival distributors saying the film has a chance to top $60 million. The first “Kung Fu Panda” opened to $60 million before inflation adjustment in 2008, while “Kung Fu Panda 3” opened to $41 million in 2016.

“Imaginary” is tracking for a third place opening on the charts with $10-14 million, which would put it in the same neighborhood as Blumhouse’s January release “Night Swim,” which opened to $11.7 million and grossed $51.8 million worldwide against a $15 million budget.

What’s most important for theaters is that all three of these films has their own lane. On opening weekend, “Dune: Part Two” took 64% of its audience from moviegoers over 25, with the 25-34 cohort taking the largest share. While Gen Z may start coming in thanks to the sequel’s immensely strong word-of-mouth, it will likely be the same core of millennials and Gen Xers driving interest in “Dune,” particularly those waiting for open screenings on Imax and other premium theaters to become available.

“Kung Fu Panda 4,” may get some turnout from nostalgic millennials, but it will of course rely primarily on families for turnout. While Illumination’s “Migration” didn’t set the box office ablaze, it legged out decently en route to a $123 million domestic/$277 million worldwide run against a $72 million budget.

That shows that the appetite for family films is still strong, and Universal is counting on that as “Kung Fu Panda 4” plays throughout March and into April while kids cycle through spring school breaks.

“Imaginary,” meanwhile is a PG-13 horror film, and that means its target audience is teens and Gen Z adults under the age of 25. It’s that demographic that has driven recent titles like “M3GAN” to breakthrough hit status, and even if the word-of-mouth on “Imaginary” isn’t strong enough to get it that far, Gen Z turnout should be strong enough to turn a modest theatrical profit.

The best-case scenario for theaters is that all three films continue to find sustained turnout among their core demographics into the latter half of March, when sequels to “Ghostbusters” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” will try to bring in four-quadrant turnout heading into the spring. Strong opening weekend and holdover totals are both needed for a healthy theatrical market, and at least for the duration of March, the films on the slate have the potential to provide that.

The post At Last, the Box Office Has a Variety of Promising Films Again appeared first on TheWrap.