The Lone Ranger Box Office Prediction

It’s got Johnny Depp reuniting with his Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and there’s certainly been no shortage of promotion, but whether The Lone Ranger performs well at the box office seems to be an open question right now.

Opening Wednesday, Ranger has been plagued by negative press for quite some time. It’s worth mentioning that its bad press (mostly about budget overruns) is similar to the kind of press World War Z received. And that picture is doing quite well domestically and worldwide.

The price tag for Ranger is reportedly around $250 million so its domestic and foreign numbers will need to be very strong. As mentioned, the combination of director Verbinski (who made the first three Pirates flick) and star Depp (playing Tonto) has been lucrative.

However, beyond its less than glowing press coverage, The Lone Ranger may have other issues. First and foremost, it’s starting to seem as if opening against Despicable Me 2 might be a mistake. That animated sequel looks in position to post huge holiday weekend numbers and Lone Ranger is competing for much of that same family audience. My prediction post on Despicable Me 2 can be found here:

Secondly, I don’t really think the trailers look that good and I’m not convinced audiences will rush out to this like they did for Pirates. 

So, what kind of numbers are we talking here? The range on Ranger is massive. Over its first five days, I would say $90 million would be the ceiling. I’ll be truly surprised if its does over that figure. A number like $75 million is certainly possible and would be considered a fairly decent opening (you gotta keep in mind with the pedigree and budget involved, the numbers game is changed here… in case you’re wondering why $75M would only be considered decent). I think it’ll dip below that though. And anything below $75M will be considered a big letdown for Disney. My prediction reflects Depp’s Tonto and Armie Hammer’s Ranger falling far short of Gru and his minions for a second place showing over the holiday weekend.

The Lone Ranger opening prediction: $63.9 million

Be sure to check back Tuesday for my predictions on the weekend’s top five.

Despicable Me 2 Box Office Prediction

Despicable Me 2 opens this Wednesday and looks to stake its claim as the holiday weekend’s #1 film (that is nearly assured to happen). What is less assured is whether the pic will be able to claim the title of Summer 2013’s highest grossing animated feature.

It’s got stiff competition in the form of Pixar’s Monsters University, which has amassed a terrific $171 million in just ten days of release and looks primed to have a domestic gross in the neighborhood of $300 million.

Can Despicable Me 2 reach Monsterslevel heights? It’s certainly a strong possibility. The 2010 original grossed an impressive $251 million domestically. The original is very well-regarded and family audiences should be primed and ready for more. This will also have the added benefit (as Monsters did) of kids being out of school, not to mention its opening on a big holiday weekend.

Since I’m predicting its five-day gross from Wednesday to Sunday, what range are we talking about? Well, Monsters University took in $82 million a weekend ago in its opening three days. It stands to reason that Despicable will take in at least that much for its five-day debut. Anything below that number would be surprisingly low, in my view. I believe the real question is: will the pic earn more than $100 million for its opening?

This is a tough call. Monsters will be in its third weekend as competition and is likely to still post solid numbers (though Despicable should cause it to take a hit). This week’s other opener, The Lone Ranger, is also competing for a family audience. My prediction post on that movie can be found here:

I see Despicable Me 2 opening somewhere between $90-$110 million. That range means Gru and his minions are likely to challenge the Monsters gang for animated box office supremacy. I’ll say it reaches that nine figure mark and easily takes the #1 spot as it sets off major box office fireworks.

Despicable Me 2 opening prediction: $104.8 million


Box Office Results: June 28-30

Pixar continued to rule at the box office this weekend and two newcomers had wildly different results as Melissa McCarthy’s hot streak continued and audiences seemed to tire of mayhem taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Monsters University was #1 for the second weekend, bringing in $46.2 million, right in line with my $45.6M prediction. With $171M in the bank over 10 days, Pixar has got another massive hit on its hands. It will receive some serious competition this week when Despicable Me 2 hits theaters.

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy brought in audiences with the female buddy cop comedy The Heat, which earned an estimated $40 million. This is below my generous $44.7M prediction, but its still a great number. McCarthy, in particular, is having a wonderful year with her Identity Thief having raked in the cash during the spring.

The news was not so good for White House Down, starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. The action flick debuted well below expectations with a weak $25.7 million for fourth place, way below my $40.3M prediction. Nobody would have seen it coming months ago, but Down actually debuted lower than Olympus Has Fallen, its plot counterpart which had a $30M opening in the spring. Clearly, moviegoers weren’t excited about this pic and may have felt like they get their fill of White House mayhem earlier this year.

Down‘s subpar performance allowed World War Z to nab the #3 spot. It grossed $29.8 million in its sophomore frame (right in line with my $29.1M prediction). The zombie thriller has grossed a solid $123M in 10 days. In fifth place was Man of Steel with $20.8 million in its third weekend (on par with my $20.2M estimate). The superhero flick has amassed $248 million so far and looks to fly past the $300 million mark.

Stay tuned for predictions for this coming week, as two huge titles enter the marketplace: Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger. I’ll have predictions up for both shortly!

Box Office Predictions: June 28-30

This weekend at the box office, we could have a true three way battle for the top spot, with the Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx action flick White House Down and the Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy buddy cop comedy The Heat vying for #1 against the second weekend of Monsters University.

I think it’ll be a close race. You can find my detailed analysis predicting The Heat‘s opening here:

And you can read my post regarding White House Down here:

Ultimately, I feel Monsters will retain its #1 standing, but just barely. If any of the three titles end up first, it wouldn’t surprise me (you can see how close I’ve got it). Rounding out the top five, World War Z and Man of Steel are likely to lose more than half of their audience from last weekend. And with that, my top five predictions for the weekend:

1. Monsters University

Predicted Gross: $45.6 million (representing a drop of 44%)

2. The Heat

Predicted Gross: $44.7 million

3. White House Down

Predicted Gross: $40.3 million

4. World War Z

Predicted Gross: $29.1 million (representing a drop of 56%)

5. Man of Steel

Predicted Gross: $20.2 million (representing a drop of 51%)

The Heat Box Office Prediction

We’ve seen countless male buddy cop comedies over the last few decades, but this weekend at the box office, we have something different. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy headline the female buddy cop comedy The Heat, from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.

The picture was pushed back from its original April release date to a higher profile June summer slot. That’s actually a good sign that the studio is confident they have a hit on their hands. They’re probably right.

With a modest reported $43 million budget, The Heat features the very well-liked Bullock and McCarthy, who is on fire at the box office right now. In February, McCarthy’s Identity Thief (which received mostly negative reviews) debuted to a fantastic $34.5 million. It would stand to reason that this film, with its added star power of Bullock, would debut above that.

Another feather in the cap: this is just about the only title out there targeting a female audience. That worked out beautifully for May’s The Great Gatsby, which scored a $50 million debut. The prospect of The Heat reaching that number is certainly possible.

Ultimately, I feel it will debut somewhere between Thief and Gatsby. We have a very real race between whether this or the weekend’s other newcomer, White House Down, debuts higher. My prediction for its competitor can be found here:

I believe girl power will win out over Mr. Tatum and Mr. Foxx over the weekend. By my prediction, The Heat will outdo its own budget in its first weekend.

The Heat opening weekend prediction: $44.7 million


Tom Cruise Loves To Run

Let me start off by saying that I’m a huge Tom Cruise fan. He makes better choices than most actors. When he hit it real big in the mid 80s with Risky Business and Top Gun, he clearly went on to consciously choose films based mostly on director. That led to him working with Spielberg. Scorsese. Kubrick. Paul Thomas Anderson. De Palma. Sydney Pollack. Rob Reiner and Ron Howard. Cameron Crowe. Barry Levinson and Oliver Stone. JJ Abrams and John Woo. Michael Mann. And that career path turned him into the biggest movie star in the world for quite a while.

There’s something else I’ve noticed with TC over the years. The dude loves to run in movies. I mean… loves to run in movies. So much so that I turned to “the Google” to see if anyone else had noticed.

They have.

There’s a Tumblr site dedicated to shots of him running where they also point out the rare film where he doesn’t, like 2008’s Valkyrie or 2007’s Lions for Lambs. For the most part, though, he runs…

We have video compilations of Mr. Cruise gettin’ his run on:

And… here’s the best YouTube compilation I found of Cruise runs:

Funny stuff. On – there is a forum dedicated to breaking down his rather awkward running style:

Tom Cruise loves to run so much in movies that he seems to come up with excuses to do it, even when the screenplay doesn’t really call for it. Cruise and costar Robert Duvall have a foot race in Days of Thunder. That film, as you probably know, is about race car drivers. Why do they have a foot race? I’m guessing because it’s an excuse to show TC’s mad running skills and prove he’s not just speedy in a vehicle.

In The Firm, Cruise’s wife played by Jeanne Tripplehorn freaks out when he tells her their house is bugged. She flips out so hardcore that she runs out of the house, forcing Cruise to run even faster to catch her. Had she seen almost any of his earlier pictures, she would’ve known that no one… no one outruns Tom Cruise. He also finds an excuse to sprint through his law office in that movie too:

And apparently if the script doesn’t legitimately call for a running scene, Cruise will find a way to invent one. Case in point: 2001’s Vanilla Sky. No decent excuse for Tom to get that cardio up? How about an elaborate dream sequence where he runs by himself through Times Square? Does it have much to do with the rest of the film? Not so much, but it gave him a golden opportunity to shut the streets of New York City down to run his lil heart out…

Remember this great scene from Minority Report when TC is about to get caught and he reminds his captors that “Everybody Runs” before, you know, running? One of the cops reminds him, “You don’t have to run.”

In Tom Cruise’s case, that’s simply not true. Based on his movie history, Tom Cruise usually has to run. A lot. Usually awkwardly. Sometimes for a reason. Sometimes not.


White House Down Box Office Prediction

It’s Django and Magic Mike teaming up in the action flick White House Down, which comes to us just three months after Olympus Has Fallen. That film featured a nearly identical plot (White House under siege) and also a smaller budget and less star power. Olympus was a surprise critical and commercial success, grossing a way better than expected $98 million domestically.

The question is: will audiences be eager to line up for something they’ve already seen so recently? White House Down does have the advantage of Tatum and Foxx, two actors coming off recent 2012 blockbusters. Tatum is the secret service agent and Foxx is POTUS. Its had a decent marketing campaign and was featured prominently during the recent NBA Finals. There’s also director Roland Emmerich, who is a master of blowing stuff up real good. His previous features include Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012.

On the flip side, there’s the very real competition factor. World War Z debuted well above expectations with $66 million and should have decent grosses in its sophomore frame. Man of Steel will be in its third weekend. Both titles are direct competitors.

I can see White House Down debuting as low as in the $25 million dollar range, which would be very disappointing. Being that World War Z grossed $66M (an entire $23M above my projection), I’m hesitant to put a ceiling on Down‘s gross. Honestly though, I feel anything above $50 million would be pretty surprising. In a normal summer, WHD might feel like an event picture with the pedigree involved. After two months of Tony Stark, Kirk and Spock, Superman, and Brad Pitt fighting zombies, this movie almost looks a little small potatoes. This is a tough one, but at the end of the day, I’m predicting White House Down does respectable if unspectacular numbers and just breaks above the $40M mark.

White House Down opening prediction: $40.3 million

Man of Steel Review

Man of Steel may fall short in a number of ways from being a satisfying film experience, but none of them are related to decibel volume. From Hans Zimmer’s score (which never seems to stop running with its dramatic flourishes) to the ear-splitting near constant action, this reimagining of the Superman saga is filled with loud noises! Or as Brick puts it much better:

300 and Watchmen director Zack Snyder was brought in to reinvigorate a franchise that devolved into utter silliness in the late 80s with the Christopher Reeve versions (after a solid first two outings). And there’s the matter of Superman Returns just seven summers ago. That picture was meant to restart the series but was deservedly met with mixed critical and audience reaction. Returns, directed by Bryan Singer, chose to establish a continuum from the original Reeve flicks. Nothing wrong with that… it just didn’t work for the most part. Box office results were not great. Even though it made $200 million domestically, that was considered a letdown and the idea of Brandon Routh ever donning the cape again fell by the wayside.

Man of Steel goes its own way and concentrates more on treating the Superman character as what he truly is… an alien. And an alien who is unsure how to establish himself on planet Earth. Man of Steel correctly plays up the notion that us Earthlings may not be so quick to welcome this superhero to our world. Yes, he can help us. He could also destroy us.

The decision to go that direction marks the film’s most satisfying and new concept. The execution of the concept is a mixed bag. Henry Cavill makes a serviceable Superman, though if we’re in comparison mode – he doesn’t leave even close to the impression that, say, Christian Bale did as another famous crusader. There’s no time for him to play the nerdy Clark Kent and we’ll wait until the inevitable sequel to see how that pans out.

Casting is an issue here. Amy Adams is a supremely talented actress, but I would maintain she’s miscast as Lois Lane. Nothing particularly wrong with her performance, but the character is not well-written and she has limited chemistry with Mr. Cavill. Michael Shannon is another terrific actor, but he’s a bit shackled to what he can do with his General Zod character other than dramatically spout sometimes silly dialogue. The actors who acquit themselves the best are Kevin Costner as Clark’s Earth daddy and Russell Crowe as Krypton daddy. And Antje Traue as Zod’s second-in-command is actually the most memorable villain.

The makers of Man of Steel obviously wanted to go in a more serious direction here  than previous Supes pictures, closer in spirit to the Nolan Dark Knight flicks (Chris Nolan is an exec producer). A lot of the early action set on Krypton is well-developed and exciting. To me, it’s the last half of the movie that gets tiresome. It’s pretty much wall-to-wall action. A lot of it works, but some of it doesn’t. There are certain special effects shots that surprisingly look cheesy. There are others that look amazing. The main problem: the movie fails for the most part to establish any emotional connection to the audience (save for the Costner/Crowe scenes). The idea that Superman and Lois fall for each other feels forced. By the time we’re sitting through the endless fighting in the final 45 minutes, I got… well, bored to be honest.

Man of Steel sets itself up perfectly for a sequel and I hope it gets better… same feeling I had when I watched The Amazing Spider-Man last summer. Don’t get me wrong, film fanatics – Man of Steel is worth a look, but it might leave you feeling a little hollow inside. At least there’s a whole lotta:

**1/2 (out of four)

Box Office Results: June 21-23

Well, I was 1 for 2 as far as new releases at the box office this weekend as Pixar’s Monsters University took the top spot and World War Z had a much bigger than expected opening.

Monsters University had the second largest Pixar opening after 2010’s Toy Story 3 with an estimated opening weekend of $82 million. My prediction? $82.1 million! Gold star! Clearly, family audiences were ready to embrace the prequel to the 2001 original.

Brad Pitt scored the biggest opening of his career as the zombie thriller World War Z exceeded forecasts with an impressive $66 million. I only projected for $43.8M. Oops. A lot of the pre-buzz involving was negative with stories about budgets overruns and reshoots. Positive reviews and a shrewd marketing campaign helped turn that buzz around and audiences responded.

Man of Steel took the three spot in its second weekend with $41.2 million, dipping below my $47.7M projection. Rounding out the top five, This Is the End was fourth with $13M (higher than $11.3M projection) and Now You See Me was fifth with $7.8M (above my $6.5M projection).

I’ll have projections up for next weekend’s openers, White House Down and The Heat, up soon… stay tuned!

Box Office Predictions: June 21-23

Pixar gets in on the summer action with the prequel Monsters University, which is bound to open atop the box office this weekend. Earlier this week, I wrote my post with my prediction for it:

The weekend’s other new release is a bit of a question mark – the zombie action flick World War Z starring Brad Pitt. Once again, my detailed analysis outlining my forecast can be found here:

As for holdovers, it will be fascinating to see how Man of Steel performs in its second weekend. It had the biggest June opening of all time and audiences generally seem to like it. Critics were much more mixed. Films that open as large as Steel usually suffer drops in the 60% range and I really see no reason why this won’t. Still – Warner Bros. can’t get a sequel for this out fast enough.

Rounding out the top five, I expect This is The End and Now You See Me to drop in the forties range. And with that, my predictions for the weekend’s top five:

1. Monsters University

Predicted Gross: $82.1 million

2. Man of Steel

Predicted Gross: $47.7 million (representing a drop of 59%)

3. World War Z

Predicted Gross: $43.8 million

4. This is The End

Predicted Gross: $11.3 million (representing a drop of 45%)

5. Now You See Me

Predicted Gross: $6.5 million (representing a drop of 41%)

Per usual, I’ll post updates on the Facebook page throughout the weekend with final results Sunday. Stay tuned for next week on the blog when I predict The Heat and White House Down.