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It will arguably be the first “normal” month at this year’s box office.
December 2021 was packed with the likes of Spider-Man: No Way Home, West Side Story, Sing 2, and The Matrix Resurrections. But then the Omicron variant hit in late December, spiking daily Covid-19 cases rates to their highest levels of the entire pandemic.
As a result, a number of high-profile theatrical titles postponed or vacated their planned January, February, or March release dates. The Batman led for three consecutive weekends in March, as not a single major wide release debuted in competition on either the film’s second or third frames.
Here’s our guide to the top movies poised to receive a wide release in April 2022.
Friday, April 1
Premise: Jared Leto stars as title character Michael Morbius, a scientist searching for a cure to his blood disease who tests a concoction on himself and turns into a vampire. Read Boxoffice PRO‘s interview with director Daniel Espinosa here.
Box office comparisons: This is the third installment in the Sony Pictures / Columbia standalone franchise centered on Marvel Comics villains. 2018’s Venom earned $213.5M, the exact same figure achieved by its 2021 sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Current Morbius projections are below both of those titles.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Friday, April 8
Premise: Paramount’s family action sequel returns Jim Carrey as the live-action villain Doctor Robotnik and Ben Schwartz as the voice of the CGI title character, in this franchise based on the bestselling videogames since the early 1990s.
Box office comparisons: 2020’s original Sonic the Hedgehog earned $146M at the domestic box office, and that was cut short by the pandemic. The film still ranked sixth place during the final weekend before cinemas shut down nationwide, and likely would have earned somewhere around $160M without that curtailment.
Friday, April 8
Premise: Universal’s original R-rated action thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Matrix Resurrections) as adopted brothers who get more than they bargained for when attempting to rob a bank. Michael Bay, who helmed five Transformers and two Bad Boys movies, directs.
Box office comparisons: Bay’s two other original (non-sequel) theatrical releases in the past decade were 2016’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi with $52.8M and 2013’s Pain & Gain with $49.8M. Three of Gyllenhaal’s more recent action or adventure movies were 2017’s Life with $30.2M, 2015’s Everest with $43.4M, and 2015’s Southpaw with $52.4M.
Wednesday, April 13
Premise: Sony Pictures’ inspiration biopic drama stars Mark Wahlberg as Stuart Long, a convict who turned his life around and became a priest. Mel Gibson has a supporting role as Stu’s father Bill Long and Gibson’s real-life girlfriend since 2014, Rosalind Ross, makes her feature film directorial debut.
Box office comparisons: Wahlberg’s similarly-inspirational Patriots Day earned $31.8M, while Matt Damon’s similar-tone Stillwater made $14.4M last July. Wahlberg’s also-inspirational Joe Bell only totalled $1.4M last July, though Father Stu stands to outearn that in its opening weekend alone.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Friday, April 15
Premise: The third installment of Warner Bros.’ (supposedly) five-part Fantastic Beasts franchise, which takes place in the Harry Potter universe of the 1920s and 1930s, this fantasy sequel is penned by the original novels’ author J.K. Rowling. Returning Eddie Redmayne as protagonist Newt Scamander and Jude Law as the titular younger version of Albus Dumbledore, who audiences know as his elderly self in the Harry Potter books and films, the movie is directed by David Yates who also helmed four of the eight Potter movies.
Box office comparisons: While 2016’s original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took in $234.0M and 2018’s sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald fell shorter with $159.5M, Dumbledore looks to likely fell shorter still. Combining mixed-to-negative reception for Grindelwald plus personal controversies surrounding Rowling herself since the previous installment’s release could result in lower-than-expected box office figures.
The Bad Guys
Friday, April 22
Premise: Five criminal animals — a snake, wolf, shark, spider, and pirhana — team up to form a superteam in the Universal / DreamWorks animated comedy, based on the children’s book series by Aaron Blabey. Pierre Perifel directs, making his feature film directorial debut after helming several shorts.
Box office comparisons: Universal is clearly hoping to replicate the success of their 2010 Despicable Me, which also starred an animated villain and earned $251.5M, though that seems far above the best-case scenario for Bad Guys. More likely box office comparisons here include 2021’s Raya and the Last Dragon with $54.7M or 2019’s Spies in Disguise with $66.7M.
Friday, April 22
Premise: Alexander Skarsgård stars as the title character, a Viking warrior, in Focus Features’ historical action thriller costarring Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke, and Willem Dafoe. Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse and The Witch) directs.
Box office comparisons: Focus Features’ top two films of 2021 were Stillwater ($14.4M) and Last Night in Soho ($10.1M). Last October’s similar Last Duel, from 20th Century Studios, earned $10.8M.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Friday, April 22
Premise: Lionsgate’s meta-comedy stars Nicolas Cage as… Nicolas Cage, playing a fictionalized version of himself recruited by the CIA for a secret mission that requires him to reenact qualities from characters across three decades of his prior film roles, from National Treasure to his Academy Award-winning turns in 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas. Tiffany Haddish, Neil Patrick Harris, and Pedro Pascal (Wonder Woman 1984 and The Mandalorian) costar.
Box office comparisons: There is arguably no comparison to this, in the entire 100+ year history of the movie business. Still, Boxoffice PRO‘s most recent long range forecast projects it will earn in the $16M-$36M range.