Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Box Office Prediction

Opening four years after its predecessor, the question really isn’t whether Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opens at #1 (it will). The real question is can the sequel have the best September debut of all time? It can.

On this same final September weekend last year, Adam Sandler’s animated Hotel Transylvania set the September record with a $42 million debut. The original Cloudy opened just north of $30 million in 2009, but displayed remarkable legs and ended up with a $124 million domestic gross. The sequel, featuring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, and Neil Patrick Harris, should have no problem eclipsing the opening weekend of the original. And it seems poised to inch higher than the record-setting Transylvania opening just a year ago.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not talking Despicable Me 2 here, but a Cloudy forecast of a mid to high 40s opening seems like the most probable scenario.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opening weekend prediction: $48.1 million

For my prediction on the opening for Rush, click here:

For my Don Jon prediction, click here:

For my Baggage Claim prediction, click here:

Box Office Results: September 20-22

The Hugh Jackman child abduction drama/thriller Prisoners easily took the top spot at the box office this weekend with a solid opening of $21.4 million, surpassing my $18.4M projection. With an A- Cinemascore average, Prisoners will likely hold up pretty well in future weekends even though there’s plenty of product coming in the next couple of weeks (Rush, Gravity) competing for many of the same moviegoers.

Insidious: Chapter 2 slid to second and dropped a bit further than my estimate earning $14.5 million (I predicted $15.9M). The Robert De Niro comedy The Family was third in its sophomore frame with $7 million, just above my $6.4M prediction. The Spanish language comedy Instructions Not Included actually outdid its gross last weekend with $5.7 million for fourth. I wrongly did not include it in the top five.

Finally, I incorrectly gave the urban dance pic Battle of the Year with Chris Brown far too much credit. I predicted it would open with $10.3 million for a third place showing. Oops. Battle managed a meager $5 million for the #5 spot.

Later today, I’ll have my individual prediction posts up for the four new titles coming out next week: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Rush, Don Jon, and Baggage Claim.

Movies You Might Not Know: Defending Your Life

In 1991, writer/director Albert Brooks released Defending Your Life, a clever and thoughtful comedy about life, regrets, and what happens after you die. In this well-written script, you go to a place called Judgment City and a trial takes place to determine whether you move on to the afterlife or get sent back to Earth to try again.

Brooks plays an L.A. ad exec who learns through his trial that he was paralyzed by fear and that it kept him from living to the fullest. Meryl Streep costars as an almost angelic woman whose trip to the next world seems assured. Rip Torn has some very good moments as Brooks’ defense attorney. Defending Your Life is filled with the type of witty observations you’d expect to find for those familiar with Mr. Brooks’ work. The plot is extremely high-concept, but Brooks pulls it off well.

The film was a box office disappointment in February of 1991 earning a mild $16 million. It deserved better and it’s a picture worth seeking out. This is the kind of flick that you’ll find yourself with a big smile on your face once the credits begins to roll.

2013 Oscar Predictions: Todd’s First Take

Over the past couple of weeks on this here blog, I made my first round of Oscar predictions for the six top categories – Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress. In that time, I’ve even changed a couple things around here and there. Due to this, I felt it would be useful to put all my predictions in this handy post for your perusal.

I will likely have my second round of predictions ready to go by mid-October at the latest. As for now, Todd’s early Oscar predictions:


All is Lost

American Hustle

August: Osage County

Captain Phillips



Inside Llewyn Davis

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Twelve Years a Slave



J.C. Chandor, All is Lost

Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Steve McQueen, Twelve Years a Slave

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

David O. Russell, American Hustle



Chiwetel Ejiofor, Twelve Years a Slave

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Robert Redford, All is Lost

Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels’ The Butler



Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County



George Clooney, Gravity

Michael Fassbender, Twelve Years a Slave

Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher



Naomie Harris, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, Twelve Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels’ The Butler

2013 Fall Movie Preview: Prisoners, Out of the Furnace, Labor Day

In tonight’s edition of my 2013 Fall Movie Preview, we have three drama/thrillers boasting big stars and Oscar hopes.

This Friday brings us Prisoners from Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. It stars Hugh Jackman as a father whose child is abducted and when he’s frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation, he takes matters into his own hands. The film raised eyebrows when it screened at the Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews. In addition to some critics saying it was Jackman’s career-best work, the same was said for costar Jake Gyllenhall. The rest of the sterling supporting casts includes Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, and Viola Davis.

Scott Cooper directed Jeff Bridges to a Best Actor Oscar for Crazy Heart and on November 27th comes his follow-up, the crime drama Out of the Furnace. This one has quite the impressive cast as well: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Shephard. This is one of two pics for Bale this fall in his post-Batman career with American Hustle coming out too. We’ll get to that one soon enough.

Jason Reitman is known for his dramedies Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Young Adult. His next feature, Labor Day, is said to be quite a departure. It stars Kate Winslet as a single mom who takes in an escaped convict played by Josh Brolin. Don’t expect too much comedy in this one, unlike Reitman’s previous work. The pic opened to a somewhat mixed reception on the film festival circuit, though Winslet and Brolin are in Oscar contention. Labor Day opens Christmas Day (naturally).

Stay tuned for my next installment of the fall movie preview coming to the blog soon!

Box Office Predictions: September 20-22

The critically acclaimed child abduction drama Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall and the Chris Brown urban dance flick Battle of the Year both open this weekend. One of them could be an awards contender. I’ll leave you hanging as to which one.

You can find my prediction posts on each right here:

Prisoners may find itself in a tight race with this weekend’s champ Insidious: Chapter 2 for the top spot. I’m predicting the Insidious sequel will have a large drop in its sophomore frame, which is normal for horror flicks. This should allow Prisoners to win the weekend. Of course, that’s barring a bigger than expected opening for Battle of the Year. Don’t reject the idea out of hand. Urban dance pics have a history of impressive debuts, but this one seems to be flying under the radar. Last weekend’s #2 The Family with Robert De Niro had a decent opening but should fall hard in its second weekend. The Butler and We’re the Millers should compete for the five spot with nearly identical grosses.

And with that, my best guess for this coming weekend’s top five:

1. Prisoners

Predicted Gross: $18.4 milion

2. Insidious: Chapter 2

Predicted Gross: $15.9 million (representing a drop of 60%)

3. Battle of the Year

Predicted Gross: $10.3 million

4. The Family

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million (representing a drop of 54%)

5. We’re the Millers

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million (representing a drop of 31%)

That’s all for now, folks! Updates will be posted on the Facebook page Saturday as grosses start to roll in with a final report Sunday on the blog.

Battle of the Year Box Office Prediction

Before you go automatically assuming Battle of the Year, this Friday’s breakdancing flick, will be a huge bomb, consider these facts. The following dance pics over the past few years that marketed toward a hip hop audience all opened between $15-$23 million: Save the Last Dance, Step Up, Step Up 2 the Streets, Step Up 3-D, Stomp the Yard, and You Got Served.

Not too shabby at all. Battle of the Year stars America’s sweetheart Chris Brown and Sawyer from “Lost” Josh Holloway. Oh Sawyer… call your agent. While there is certainly precedent for these types of pictures having robust openings, Battle of the Year could struggle. Last year’s Step Up Revolution had the weakest debut in that franchise with only $11 million, suggesting the genre could be fading.

My fellow estimators over at Box Office Ace have this averaged at only about a $7.5M opening. I’ll cut it a little more slack than that. Chris Brown does have his fans after all and a debut that low would easily mark the lowest in the genre in recent history. I’ll say it debuts right in line with the last Step Up flick and other similar titles like Honey and the Fame remake from 2009.

Battle of the Year opening weekend prediction: $10.3 million

For my prediction on the opening of Prisoners, click here:

Prisoners Box Office Prediction

It has already received considerable critical acclaim with reviewers saying it features career-best performances from its two stars and on Friday, we’ll see if the solid word of mouth brings Prisoners box office success.

The film stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhall in a child abduction drama from Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. The supporting casts includes Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard. After screening at the Toronto Film Festival, critics hailed the work of Jackman and Gyllenhall and the picture itself. Prisoners may well benefit from being marketed toward adults after a summer of mostly teen and kid friendly fare. Even the first couple of weeks of the fall season have followed that pattern with Riddick and the Insidious sequel.

Will that translate to a huge opening? Probably not, but Prisoners could display impressive staying power if moviegoers encourage their peers to see it. I don’t believe it’ll reach the $20 million mark in its debut, though it certainly could. It could also see a rather disappointing opening the low teens, but I think high teens seems more probable.

Prisoners opening weekend prediction: $18.4 million

For my prediction on the opening of Battle of the Year, click here:

Box Office Results: September 13-15

Horror flicks continue to confound this box office prognosticator as Insidious: Chapter 2 had a massive opening this weekend with the second highest September debut of all time. The sequel to the 2011 sleeper hit took in $41 million, only $13 million less than the original did in its entire domestic run! I foolishly predicted the sequel would only earn $22.6 million. Oops. You can be assured that chapter 3 is being planned as we speak.

The Robert De Niro Mob comedy The Family also debuted above my estimate with $14.5 million. This is a pretty decent opening and bested my $11.2 million projection. However, with a troubling C Cinemascore grade, it will likely fall hard next weekend.

In its second weekend, Riddick dropped to third with $7 million, a bit below my $7.9M estimate. Lee Daniels’ The Butler took fourth with $5.5 million (in line with my $5.6M estimate) and We’re the Millers took the five spot with $5.4 million.

I incorrectly put the Spanish language comedy Instructions Not Included at fourth with $5.9 million. It fell harder in its third weekend that I figured with $4.2 million. Be sure to check the blog this evening for projections on next weekend’s two new entries, Prisoners and Battle of the Year.


Early Oscar Predictions: BEST PICTURE

And here we go!

After days on the blog predicting the races for Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress – we arrive at the big prize, Best Picture! In the last few years, the Academy has gone to a format that allows anywhere from five to ten pictures to be recognized. In the last two years, that number has been nine. For now – I’ll keep that number for those I’m predicting, though that’s certainly subject to change.

This newer format more or less guarantees that the five people nominated for Best Director will see their movies nominated for Best Picture. Therefore, that means I’m predicting Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and David O. Russell’s American Hustle are in. I am supremely confident in the nominations of two in particular: Twelve Years a Slave, which I’m also predicting for Director, Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), and Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and Gravity, which I’ve also predicted for Director, Actress (Sandra Bullock), and Supporting Actor (George Clooney).

Foxcatcher, the true-life drama starring Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum, is the only title I’m predicting that no one has seen on the film festival circuit or otherwise. That goes against a group of unseen titles that many others are currently predicting: Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street, John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks, George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, Spike Jonze’s Her and Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Any one of them could enter the fray once the word is out, but I’m simply not ready to include them at press time.

There are two titles already out that stand decent chances: Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, but I don’t think they’ll quite make it. Same goes for the following: Ron Howard’s Rush, Denis Vilenueve’s Prisoners, Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate, and Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyer’s Club.

So what are the other four movies I’ve got in right now? Paul Greengrass’s Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips looks to be a strong possibility. So does the family drama August: Osage County, which has opened to mixed festival reviews but whose A-list cast (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch) should help. The Coen Bros folk music pic Inside Llewyn Davis opened to raves on the festival circuit. And I believe the box office success of this summer’s Lee Daniels’ The Butler puts it in for now.

Will these predictions change? You bet they will! For now, though, here are my nine predictions for the biggest category of them all:


All is Lost

American Hustle

August: Osage County

Captain Phillips



Inside Llewyn Davis

Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Twelve Years a Slave


And there you have it! I’ll be updating my predictions for the six major races frequently on the blog so stay tuned!