Box-Office Preview: Kevin Hart's 'The Upside' Takes on 'Aquaman,' 'Dog's Way Home'

David Lee/The Weinstein Company
'The Upside'

Elswhere, Golden Globes victor 'Bohemian Rhapsody' will offer special sing-alongs, while Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic 'On the Basis of Sex' expands nationwide.

On the heels of the will-he-or-won't-he-host-the-Oscars imbroglio, Kevin Hart returns to theaters this weekend in The Upside.

The dramedy, also starring Bryan Cranston, goes up against fellow new offerings A Dog's Way Home, a family drama, and Replicas, a sci-fi thriller starring Keanu Reeves. None of the three films are likely to unseat ruling champ Aquaman, which is set to swim past the $1 billion mark in global ticket sales sometime on Saturday or Sunday.

The Upside and the family-friendly A Dog's Way Home, the first PG release of 2019, are each tracking to open in the $9 million-$12 million range. Replicas is projected to earn an unimpressive $4 million to $5 million.

From STXfilms and Lantern Entertainment, The Upside hits theaters after a long delay. The pic, about a quadriplegic billionaire who hires an ex-con to care for him, staged its world premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival but was shelved weeks later following the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. It is a remake of the 2011 French film The Intouchables, which was a huge global hit and became a cultural phenomenon in its native country. 

STX picked up distribution rights to Upside from Lantern, which bought the assets of The Weinstein Co. Nicole Kidman also stars in the Neil Burger-directed film.

A Dog's Way Home is based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, who also authored A Dog's Purpose, which spawned the Amblin and Universal film of the same name in 2017 (that pic was mired in controversy when a video of a distressed dog on set surfaced).

The new canine-friendly movie cost a reported $18 million to produce, while The Upside cost in the low- to mid-$30 million range.

Dog's Way Home chronicles the adventures of a dog — voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard — who travels 400 miles to find her owner. Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos co-star. The film isn't a sequel to A Dog's Purpose; that honor belongs to A Dog's Journey, which set for a May 17 release.

Replicas, directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, takes place after a car accident kills the loving family of a daring neuroscientist — who will stop at nothing to bring them back. Like The Upside, the thriller has had a long road to the big screen; Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios picked up rights to the film, which co-stars Alice Eve, after a private screening at the 2017 Tribeca Flim Festival.

Elsewhere, the Golden Globes' best drama victor Bohemian Rhapsody will offer special sing-along shows in more than 750 North American theaters. 

The Queen biopic, from Fox, New Regency and GK Films, has already earned nearly $750 million at the global box office, so any additional grosses are gravy. Bohemian Rhapsody, which bowed in early November, has been slowing down in terms of its box office run, but is using its surprise Golden Globe win to increase its domestic theater count by roughly 300 locations to 1,300 sites,

Green Book, which won the Globe for best comedy or musical, won't expand in a major way until later this month following Oscar nominations, but it could nevertheless see a boost this weekend. Other Golden Globe recipients to watch include The Favourite, Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk.

Meanwhile, On the Basis of Sex will make a major push this weekend, despite being shut out of the awards race to date. From Participant Media and Universal, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic is expanding nationwide into more than 1,900 theaters following a stellar run in select locations.