Box Office Predictions: March 31-April 2

It’s been a robust March at the box office and it closes out with the wide release of two new offerings: sci-fi action pic Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson and Dreamworks animated feature The Boss Baby. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/23/ghost-in-the-shell-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/23/the-boss-baby-box-office-prediction/

I foresee a close race between the newbies, giving Shell a slight edge. Neither is likely to unseat Disney juggernaut Beauty and the Beast from a third week atop the charts. Power Rangers should drop to fourth in its sophomore frame after a solid opening and I look for it to lose about 50% of its premiere audience. Kong: Skull Island should round out the top five.

Finally, The Zookeeper’s Wife with Jessica Chastain opens on approximately 450 screens at press time. Its reviews have been just so-so (58% currently on Rotten Tomatoes). I didn’t do an individual estimate post for it, but I’ll say $2.1 million, which probably puts it in 11th place.

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Beauty and the Beast

Predicted Gross: $48.8 million (representing a drop of 46%)

2. Ghost in the Shell

Predicted Gross: $30.3 million

3. The Boss Baby

Predicted Gross: $28.6 million

4. Power Rangers

Predicted Gross: $20.1 million (representing a drop of 50%)

5. Kong: Skull Island

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million (representing a drop of 46%)

Box Office Results (March 24-26)

Beauty and the Beast continued its amazing run with $90.4 million in weekend #2, besting my $82.5M forecast. The Disney smash achieved the fourth highest second weekend in box office history and brought its total to $319M.

Power Rangers had a sturdy runner-up debut with $40.3 million, powering past my $33.8M projection. That number bodes well for potential sequels in this reboot of a franchise popularized in the 1990s.

Kong: Skull Island was third with $14.6 million compared to my $12.6M prediction. It’s made $133M in three weeks.

Space thriller Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds opened in fourth with a disappointing $12.5 million, below my $19.1M estimate. A host of similarly themed and better reviewed titles in recent years probably didn’t bode well for this in the long run.

Logan was fifth at $10.3 million (I said $9M) for a $201M tally. Its overall gross puts Logan as standing a solid shot at becoming the highest earning X-Men feature thus far. The record currently belongs to 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand at $234M.

Get Out was sixth with $8.8 million ($147M total) and I incorrectly had it outside the top 6.

That’s because CHiPs fell victim to poor reviews and word of mouth, opening in seventh place with just $7.7 million (I said $8.4M).

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

The Boss Baby Box Office Prediction

Next weekend, Alec Baldwin is The Boss Baby in Dreamworks Animation’s latest feature. Based on a 2010 childrens book, the pic has the SNL hosting record setter voicing a wiser than his years infant. Other voice over work is provided by Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow.

Baby arrives in the midst of a number of titles catering to younger audiences and their families. Beauty and the Beast will be in its third weekend and still posting large earnings. Power Rangers will be in its sophomore frame and Smurfs: The Lost Village will debut the weekend after.

Reviews haven’t been strong so far with just a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, Baldwin has surely been visible as of late with his President Trump impression and Dreamworks has a mostly impressive track record in their animated division.

The competition is likely to be a factor keeping this from truly significant grosses, but I’ll still estimate Baby manages a high 20s to possibly low 30s birth.

The Boss Baby opening weekend prediction: $28.6 million

For my Ghost in the Shell prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/23/ghost-in-the-shell-box-office-prediction/

Ghost in the Shell Box Office Prediction

Scarlett Johansson is back in action mode next weekend when Ghost in the Shell debuts. Based on a popular Japanese anime property that produced an acclaimed 1995 feature, the science fiction crime thriller looks to challenge the third weekend of Beauty and the Beast for box office supremacy. However, it’s likely to fall quite a bit short with an opening that should still be pretty decent.

Rupert Sanders directs with a supporting cast that includes Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt, and Juliette Binoche. The draw beyond the genre’s fanboys is surely Miss Scarlett, who’s proven herself to be a hot commodity in action pics. This applies, of course, to her work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet she also turned 2014’s Lucy into a major hit without the assistance of superheroes. That film debuted to $43 million. I expect Shell to fall at least $10 million short of that in what could be a close race for #2 with The Boss Baby.

Ghost in the Shell opening weekend prediction: $30.3 million

For my The Boss Baby prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/23/the-boss-baby-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: March 24-26

**Blogger’s Note (03/23): I am revising my CHiPs estimate down to $8.4 million based on lowered expectations and putrid reviews. That puts it in sixth place.

The moneymaking month of March rolls along at the box office as three new titles hit the marketplace. They are: reboot of 90s cartoon and movie series Power Rangers, Jake Gyllenhaal/Ryan Reynolds led outer space thriller Life, and CHiPs, a comedy based on the 70s/80s TV series. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/power-rangers-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/life-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/16/chips-box-office-prediction/

I see Rangers having the most power of the newbies and it should land in second with Life coming in third. As for CHiPs, I see it edging out Kong: Skull Island in its third weekend for the four spot.

One thing seems certain: Beauty and the Beast should continue its monstrous run and dominate the charts once again after its record-setting debut (more on that below). I have Belle and company losing a bit over half its massive premiere audience.

And with that, a top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Beauty and the Beast

Predicted Gross: $82.5 million (representing a drop of 52%)

2. Power Rangers

Predicted Gross: $33.8 million

3. Life

Predicted Gross: $19.1 million

4. Kong: Skull Island

Predicted Gross: $12.6 million (representing a drop of 55%)

5. Logan

Predicted Gross: $9 million (representing a drop of 49%)

6. CHiPs

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

Box Office Results (March 17-19)

Beauty and the Beast set the all-time March opening weekend record and the sixth biggest debut of all time with $174.7 million, surpassing my $158.8M prediction. The Disney live-action rendering of their 1991 classic also scored an A Cinemascore grade and looks to dominate the box office easily next weekend before Ghost in the Shell could potentially give it a run for its money in its third frame.

Kong: Skull Island dropped to second with $27.8 million, in range with my $25.6M estimate. The ape tale has amassed $109M in ten days of release.

Logan was third in weekend #3 with $17.8 million. My guess? $17.8M! Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine has garnered $184M thus far.

Get Out was fourth with $13.4 million (I said $14.5M) to bring its terrific tally to $133M.

The Shack rounded out the top five with $6 million (I went with $6.3M) for a $42M total.

Finally, The Belko Experiment landed in seventh place with an OK $4.1 million, slightly ahead of my $3.2M projection.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

Any challenges of adapting one of Disney’s classics that happens to be one of their best mostly fall by the wayside in Beauty and the Beast. Over a quarter century ago, the 1991 Mouse Factory version earned the status of being the first animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination. It was deserved and Beauty helped usher in a renaissance for the studio with Broadway level music coupled with its tale as old as time storylines.

Our new Beauty doesn’t rock the boat by any means. Is it a factory made production meant to fog up our nostalgia goggles? Sure. Yet it’s crafted with reverence, the music still holds up, and it looks lovely.

It seems silly to recount the plot that’s been around for our collective childhoods in one form or another, but let’s get through it. We have Belle (a strong Emma Watson) living a rather boring existence in 18th century France with her doting dad (Kevin Kline). She’s being pursued by the chauvinistic Gaston (Luke Evans) who wishes to marry her. Her ho hum existence takes a turn when Dad is captured by the Beast (Dan Stevens), who lives in a dilapidated castle that the other French villagers have long forgotten. He was cursed many moons ago for his inability to love. When Belle travels there and trades her father’s freedom for her own, the strange relationship between the title characters commences.

There really isn’t too much new from this reboot compared to 1991. We have a couple more musical numbers, lest you forget the animated version was a mere 85 minutes. Alan Menken returns to do the music and those magnificent staples like the title track and “Be Our Guest” are happily intact. Bill Condon (whose varied filmography includes Twilight pics and more adult fare like Gods and Monsters and Mr. Holmes) directs with an eye on preserving what we appreciated about what came before.

Like the drawn Beauty, the Beast’s castle is filled with inanimate objects who are quite animated. Ian McKellen is clock Cogsworth, Ewan McGregor voices candelabra Lumiere, and Emma Thompson is Mrs. Potts. She acquits herself just fine in the part, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Angela Lansbury singing that iconic dancing tune toward the finale. Speaking of animated, Josh Gad has his proper comic relief moments in the role of LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick.

Disney has unleashed a gold mine with this recent strategy of updating their canon with live-action. Some have worked better than others and Beauty falls on the better side because it had incredibly strong material adapt from. The team behind this recognize it and are content knowing they had something there to begin with.

*** (out of four)

Passengers Movie Review

Morten Tyldum’s Passengers is a gorgeous looking experience starring two gorgeous people that nevertheless comes up empty in its overall execution. We are presented with two souls who are lost in space and find love, but the chemistry between the two giant stars never quite connects.

These subjects come in the form of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. They are two among thousands of Earthlings on a very long trip to a new planet. How long you might ask? 120 years, which means the passengers and the crew are in hibernation mode until they reach their destination. Jim (Pratt) is jarred awake one day from his slumber and realizes he’s the only one with his eyes open and there’s 90 years left on the journey. He makes it for a year on his own in the beautifully designed ship (props to the production design team), but his loneliness leads him to wake up talented writer Aurora (Lawrence). She thinks she’s woken up accidentally like Jim and he shares his secrets with the only other talking being on board – an android bartender in the form of Michael Sheen.

The duo spend their time trying to figure why the heck they’re such early risers while also falling in love. Jon Spaihts’s screenplay attempts to grapple with the understandable but also rather cruel choice by Jim to get Aurora up. Yet once certain revelations are brought out, the script follows a rather predictable and dull path.

Lawrence and Pratt are two performers who are rarely dull or predictable, but Passengers doesn’t do them any favors. No matter how hard they try, their characters are under developed and their chemistry is passable at best.

We’ve witnessed the stranded in space genre more recently and in much better fashion, from Gravity to The Martian. Speaking of gravity, there is a scene with a loss of just that that’s nifty. Ultimately though, Passengers doesn’t add much new or intriguing, even if it’s pretty to look at.

** (out of four)

CHiPs Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Note (03/23): I am revising down my box office estimate to $8.4 million names on putrid reviews and lowered expectations.

A film that has challenged my ability to properly use capital and lower case letters in its title, CHiPs opens in theaters next weekend. The buddy cop comedy is a more humorous take on the 1970s-80s TV series that starred Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada. Taking over their roles as California highway patrolmen are Dax Shepard (who also directs) and Michael Pena. Costars include Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Brody, and Shepard’s real-life spouse Kristen Bell.

Warner Bros. originally had this pegged as a late summer release before bumping it to March. I don’t foresee this approaching, say, Starsky and Hutch numbers from 2004. That was also based on a buddy cop series from the same era, but its headliners Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson had considerably more drawing power at the time than Shepard and Pena.

The good news for the studio: CHiPs comes with a reported budget of just $25 million. I believe this vehicle could achieve over half of that in its opening weekend. That would put it behind other newbies Power Rangers and Life, but it’s not too shabby.

CHiPs opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million (prediction changed from $13.2M)

For my Power Rangers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/power-rangers-box-office-prediction/

For my Life prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/life-box-office-prediction/

Life Box Office Prediction

Movies with outer space/alien themes have been quite the hot commodity as of late with blockbusters such as Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, and Arrival. Next weekend, Daniel Espinosa’s Life will try and join their ranks for what could be an uphill battle.

The pic pits a crew from the International Space Station against an alien creature who may have greater intelligence than they do. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson headline. This marks director Espinosa’s second collaboration with Reynolds after 2012’s Safe House.

Audiences have certainly had plenty of this type of material in recent years and I’m not sure the trailers and TV spots for Life stand out. It certainly appears unlikely to match the opening weekend grosses of the other genre titles listed above. On the other hand, the participation of Reynolds (hot off Deadpool) won’t hurt and a high teens to mid 20s lift off seems most probable. That should put it firmly in third behind the second weekend of Beauty and the Beast and premiere of Power Rangers.

Life opening weekend prediction: $19.1 million

For my Power Rangers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/power-rangers-box-office-prediction/

For my CHiPs prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/16/chips-box-office-prediction/

Power Rangers Box Office Prediction

Lionsgate is hoping that a wave of 90s nostalgia will propel Power Rangers to powerful grosses when it debuts next weekend. The reported $105 million product is a reboot of the popular kids cartoon that spawned two (not very well-regarded) pics in the mid 1990s.

Franchise creator Haim Saban produces this venture with Dean Israelite directing. A cast of relative unknowns (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin) play our young title characters. More familiar faces including Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, and the voice of Bill Hader are among the supporting cast.

Rangers is banking on capturing the same audience that responded well to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles refresh recently. Its 2014 return spawned a much more than expected $65 million opening. Last year’s sequel, Out of the Shadows, didn’t measure up with a $35 million premiere.

My instinct is that Power Rangers could certainly over perform, but it will likely reach the mid 30s that Shadows accomplished. I believe those initial Turtles numbers could be unreachable. The earlier Rangers flicks weren’t huge successes. In 1995, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers made $13 million out of the gate with an eventual $38M overall tally. Its spin-off two years later, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, was an outright flop with only $8 million total domestically.

Bottom line: I believe the nostalgia factor will come into play and should be enough to make this is a solid second behind the sophomore weekend of Beauty and the Beast.

Power Rangers opening weekend prediction: $33.8 million

For my Life prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/life-box-office-prediction/

For my CHiPs prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/16/chips-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: March 17-19

Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast looks to dominate the box office this weekend as The Belko Experiment also debuts with what will likely be a soft opening. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/08/beauty-and-the-beast-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/10/the-belko-experiment-box-office-prediction/

It should be a fascinating weekend to track as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday and a good portion of the East Coast might be digging out of expected blizzard like conditions. Even with those potential obstacles, I’m still projecting Beast will achieve a monstrous opening that would place it 10th in all-time domestic debuts.

As for Belko, my $3.2 million projection would put it in a weak seventh place.

Regarding holdovers, Kong: Skull Island premiered above expectations (a trend in the month of March) and looks to lose in the mid-high 50s in weekend #2. Logan, Get Out, and The Shack should populate the rest of the top five.

And with that, my projections for the weekend:

1. Beauty and the Beast

Predicted Gross: $158.8 million

2. Kong: Skull Island

Predicted Gross: $25.6 million (representing a drop of 58%)

3. Logan

Predicted Gross: $17.8 million (representing a drop of 53%)

4. Get Out

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million (representing a drop of 30%)

5. The Shack

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million (representing a drop of 37%)

Box Office Results (March 10-12)

Kong: Skull Island exceeded most prognosticators estimates with a robust $61 million, well above my $48.6M prediction. The ape tale was assisted by mostly positive reviews and look for the title character to return vs. Godzilla in three years.

Logan dropped to second in its sophomore weekend with $38.1 million, a bit shy of my $42.5M projection. The acclaimed comic book pic is up to $152M thus far.

Get Out continued its stunning grosses with $20.7 million for  third place – on track with my take of $19.8M. It’s up to $110M.

The Shack held nicely in weekend #2 with $10 million (I said $10.7M) for $32M total. The Lego Batman Movie rounded out the top five with $7.6 million compared to my $6.8M guesstimate. The domestic total for it is $158M.

And that’ll do it for now! Until next time…