Box-Office Preview: Winter Storm Jonas Could Wreak Havoc on Moviegoing in Northeast

Courtesy of Lionsgate
Zac Efron and Robert De Niro in 'Dirty Grandpa'

New films getting caught in the storm's path are YA adaptation 'The Boy,' 'The 5th Wave' and 'Dirty Grandpa.'

A massive winter storm headed for the East Coast could wreak havoc on moviegoing in major cities including New York, Philadelphia and Boston should it live up to current forecasts.

Jonas is expected to bring heavy snow, strong winds and blizzard conditions to the Northeast between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already issued a weather state of emergency, saying the storm could be one of the worst in history.

And weather emergencies have also been declared for Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, where Jonas will hit first.

Movie theaters along the Northeast corridor have not announced any plans to close this weekend, but if employees are unable to get to work, they will have no choice but to shut their doors.

Generally speaking, the Northeast makes up about 20 percent of the overall box-office gross; New York, 7 percent to 8 percent.

New films that will find themselves in the storm's path are supernatural horror pic The Boy, comedy Dirty Grandpa and YA film adaptation The 5th Wave. The Boy and The 5th Wave have an advantage in that they will play younger; as a rule, younger consumers aren't as likely to be bothered by nasty weather.

Even without the storm, none of the new offerings is set to open to huge numbers and topple holdover Ride Along 2 from the top perch at the North American box office. All three films are generally tracking to open in the $9 million-$11 million range. (The only movie made available to reviewers so far is The 5th Wave.)

According to prerelease tracking, Dirty Grandpa has a shot at approaching $12 million, but Jonas could make that difficult. The Lionsgate road-trip comedy, directed by Dan Mazer, stars Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Zoey Deutch and Aubrey Plaza, with De Niro playing a grandfather who tricks his grandson (Efron) into driving him to Florida just days before the young, uptight lawyer's wedding.

Director William Brent Bell's The Boy, the third release from STX Entertainment, is expected to debut in the $9 million-$11 million range. Previously titled The Inhabitant, the modestly budgeted film, which cost $10 million to produce, revolves around a young American (Lauren Cohan) who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village. Her charge, however, turns out to be a life-size doll that the parents treat as a real boy, while the whereabouts of their son is unclear.

The 5th Wave is eyeing a bow in the $8 million-$10 million range, a subdued start for a title that was intended to launch a franchise for Sony. The $38 million movie, starring Chloe Grace Moretz, hopes to be a vibrant player overseas, where it has already earned $8.6 million. Based on the best-selling book series, the story follows a young girl on the run after four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks leave much of Earth decimated. As she prepares for the fifth attack, she meets a young man (Nick Robinson). Directed by J. Blakeson, The 5th Wave also stars Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe and Liev Schreiber.