Box Office Predictions: April 4-6

There’s only one new movie opening this weekend and that’s no accident because it’s a massive one – Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the sequel to the 2011 Marvel original. Steve Rogers and company should be poised to have the biggest opening of the year so far by a wide margin. You can read my detailed post predicting its debut here:

As for holdovers, last weekend’s champ Noah got off to a strong start. However, its weak C Cinemascore grade indicates audiences weren’t exactly (ahem) swept away by it and it could suffer a precipitous decline in its sophomore frame. In its third weekend, Divergent is likely to lose around half it audience as it did in week two. Numbers 4-6 should be a close contest between Muppets Most Wanted, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

And with that – we’ll do top 6 predictions for this weekend:

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Predicted Gross: $86.3 million

2. Noah

Predicted Gross: $19.6 million (representing a drop of 55%)

3. Divergent

Predicted Gross: $12.8 million (representing a drop of 50%)

4. Muppets Most Wanted

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million (representing a drop of 37%)

5. Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million (representing a drop of 31%)

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million (representing a drop of 28%)

Box Office Results (March 28-30)

As mentioned before, Darren Aronofsky’s controversial Biblical epic Noah easily took the top spot with $43.7 million, surging a bit ahead of my $39.7M forecast. With Son of God and God’s Not Dead all posting big results, you can count on plenty of other Bible themed pictures over the next couple of years or so. Divergent held up slightly better than my prognosis in its second weekend with $25.6 million compared to my $23M estimate. Muppets Most Wanted also displayed a better hold the second time around than I figured with $11.2 million (my prediction: $9.6M). I incorrectly had Mr. Peabody & Sherman outside the top six in its fourth weekend but it held strong with $9 million. The aforementioned God’s Not Dead was fifth with $8.7 million – right above my $7.9M estimate. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded its theater count and took sixth with $8.5 million, right on target with my $8.6M prediction.

Finally, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sabotage suffered a disastrous debut with an awful $5.2 million for seventh place. I predicted $8.4M. Clearly Ah-nuld has completely lost his luster with moviegoers and this represents his third bomb in a row after The Last Stand and Escape Plan.

That’s all for now, folks!

March Badness: The Month’s Box Office Failures

As the month of March draws to a close – there are a number of success stories that opened during the time frame: 300: Rise of an Empire, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Divergent, God’s Not Dead, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Noah.

However, the news wasn’t so lucky for everyone and here are four examples of pictures that didn’t meet expectations:

Need for Speed

Based on the best selling video game and starring “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul, Need for Speed was pegged my many (including me) to open in the $25 million range and yet it managed only $17 million. It will be lucky to earn $50 million stateside, though it’s doing decent business overseas.

Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club

Media mogul Perry is rapidly losing his luster with film audiences. Both Peeples and A Madea Christmas disappointed and Single Moms Club represents his worst opening as a director. The pic debuted to a tepid $8 million.

Muppets Most Wanted

When this franchise rebooted in 2011, the result was a $29 million three-day opening and $45 million five-day premiere over the Thanksgiving holiday. The follow-up couldn’t reach close to those numbers with a less than expected $17 million start. Most Wanted held up well in weekend #2 yet it won’t match its predecessor.


After bad openings for his last two features The Last Stand and Escape Plan, news got even worse for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The action pic Sabotage bombed badly with a puny $5 million opening. This represents Ah-nuld’s worst opening in nearly thirty years. Ouch!


Captain America: The Winter Soldier Box Office Prediction

The Marvel Studios gravy train keeps on rolling this Friday with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the sequel to the 2011 original and most importantly – the continuation of The Avengers saga that broke box office records in 2012. Chris Evans returns as the title character alongside Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury with Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Shaw, and Robert Redford (!) joining the regulars.

Buzz on The Winter Soldier is red hot and it stands at a terrific 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Marvel films have opened at significant bumps following The Avengers and the evidence is clear. The pre-Avengers sequel Iron Man 2 opened to $128 million while the post-Avengers entry Iron Man 3 premiered to $174 million. The pre-Avengers original Thor debuted to $65 million while its post-Avengers follow-up Thor: The Dark World came in at $85 million. Like the first Thor, the original Captain America opened at $65 million.

So it stands to reason that the sequel would make the $85 million that the second Thor achieved, right? Well… yeah, pretty much! An opening in that range seems like a safe bet. It could overachieve and approach $100 million, but I’m going by the numbers we have on file and predicting it’ll just outpace the Thor sequel.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier opening weekend prediction: $86.3 million

Box Office Predictions: March 28-30

Lots of activity at the box office this weekend as Darren Aronofsky’s highly publicized Biblical epic Noah and the Arnold Schwarzenegger action pic Sabotage make their way into multiplexes. We’ll also have the expansion of Wes Anderson’s red hot The Grand Budapest Hotel into theaters and it could certainly crack the top five. You can my individual prediction posts on the newbies here:

As I see it, Noah should easily nab the top spot. Last weekend’s champ Divergent got off to a very respectable debut for a new franchise yet it should understandably take a rather large dip in its sophomore weekend. Muppets Most Wanted debuted with less than expected results and is likely to fall in the 40s range.

Expanding to 800 theaters, The Grand Budapest Hotel may well compete with Arnold’s Sabotage for the four spot and it could even nab #3. As for Sabotage, I expect it to suffer the same fate as Schwarzenegger’s last two features – The Last Stand and Escape Plan – which both failed to crack double digits in their premieres.

Meanwhile, the Christian themed God’s Not Dead surprised prognosticators such as myself with a much better than expected $9.2 million opening over the weekend. Some believe it could post similar numbers this weekend so it could be in the top five mix as well.

And with that – here’s my estimates for the top six this weekend:

1. Noah

Predicted Gross: $39.7 million

2. Divergent

Predicted Gross: $23 million (representing a drop of 58%)

3. Muppets Most Wanted

Predicted Gross: $9.6 million (representing a drop of 44%)

4. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Predicted Gross: $8.6 million

5. Sabotage

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

6. God’s Not Dead

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million (representing a drop of 16%)

Box Office Results (March 21-23)

I was incorrect in buying into the theory that Divergent would post numbers similar to the original Twilight. The YA flick still got off to a solid start with $54.6 million – even though it was far below my generous $68.4M prediction. Muppets Most Wanted disappointed in its opening with a so-so $17 million, under my $22.8M estimate. Kermit and company couldn’t come close to comparing to their $29 million debut two and a half years ago with that comeback film. Mr. Peabody and Sherman dropped to #3 in its third weekend with $11.8 million, a bit below my $12.9M projection. As mentioned before, God’s Not Dead surprised everyone with a $9.2 million take and I incorrectly had it outside the top five, not even making a prediction on it. 300: Rise of an Empire slid to fifth with $8.5 million, in line with my $8.8M estimate. I had Need for Speed at fifth but it was sixth with $7.9 million – in range with my $7.2M guesstimate.

That’s all for now folks!

Sabotage Box Office Prediction

Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping that the third time around is the charm for a comeback attempt with Sabotage, opening Friday. The crime thriller does have some talent behind it in the form of End of Watch director David Ayer. Yet its biggest hindrance could be Ah-nuld himself.

Since taking a decade long break to become Governor of California and get involved in illegitimate child/nanny scandals, Schwarzenegger hasn’t found much luck in returning to the big screen. In early 2013, The Last Stand bombed with only a $6.2 million debut. In the fall, his teaming with Sylvester Stallone Escape Plan also flopped with a weak $9.8 million opening.

I have serious doubts that Sabotage has done anything that will break Arnold’s box office doldrums. The marketing campaign really doesn’t make it look like anything other than your average action cop flick. Like his two previous efforts, Sabotage could struggle to reach double digits and I’m predicting it won’t.

Sabotage opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million

For my Noah prediction, click here:

Noah Box Office Prediction

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah sails into theaters next weekend with some big question marks as to how it will perform stateside. It’s gotten off to a solid start internationally, but its faithfulness/unfaithfulness to the Biblical source material has received plenty of ink.

Russell Crowe stars as the title character with a supporting cast featuring his Beautiful Mind costar Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins. My estimate would put Noah in the #1 spot and I believe it will capture a good portion of the Christian audience who will be curious to watch. Whether they like how Black Swan director Aronofsky interprets the material is something that’ll be answered soon enough. If Son of God, which was basically a shortened version of an already aired miniseries, could debut at $25 million in February – Noah should surpass that and then some.

Noah opening weekend prediction: $39.7 million

For my Sabotage prediction, click here:

Box Office Predictions: March 21-23

Two new entries should take the two top spots at the box office this weekend as Divergent and Muppets Most Wanted debut. You can find my individual prediction posts on both here:

Prognosticators have Divergent debuting anywhere from $50 million to over the $70 million that Twilight achieved in 2008. My estimate reflects going towards the higher end of the scale though I believe it’ll reach just short of Twilight heights.

Muppets Most Wanted could debut with $30 million or more, but my prediction reflects a belief that it will open below its predecessor from 2011.

As for holdovers, this weekend’s champ Mr. Peabody and Sherman may fall more in its third weekend than its second due to Kermit and company. 300: Rise of an Empire and Need for Speed should suffer healthy falls in their third and second weekends, respectively.

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

1. Divergent

Predicted Gross: $68.4 million

2. Muppets Most Wanted

Predicted Gross: $22.8 million

3. Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Predicted Gross: $12.9 million (representing a drop of 41%)

4. 300: Rise of an Empire

Predicted Gross: $8.8 million (representing a drop of 54%)

5. Need for Speed

Predicted Gross: $7.2 million (representing a drop of 59%)

Box Office Results: March 14-16

The story of the weekend was the lackluster openings of both new films – Need for Speed and Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club. Their failure to reach their intended audiences allowed Mr. Peabody and Sherman to rise to the top in its second weekend with $21.8 million, slightly ahead of my $20.4M projection.

300: Rise of an Empire fell to second in its sophomore frame with $19.2 million – in line with my $18.8M estimate.

Need for Speed disappointed bringing in a weak $17.8 million, well below my $25.3M estimate. The film proved one more example of a popular video game failing to generate audience excitement.

Non-Stop was fourth with $10.6 million – holding up stronger than my $8.2 million prediction.

In fifth with disastrous results was Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club, which represented the star’s worst debut ever for a picture he directed. It earned only $8 million, far below my $17.6M estimate. While Perry is finding success on the OWN Network with his television programs, his film career is clearly losing its luster.

As always, I’ll have full results Monday when the final numbers roll in. Stay tuned!

Muppets Most Wanted Box Office Prediction

Kermit, Missy Piggy and company are back nearly two and a half years following their well-received return in The Muppets with Muppets Most Wanted, out Friday. Over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2011, The Muppets took in $29 million over the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $41 million over the five day holiday frame. The pic went on to gross a respectable $88 million.

Director James Bobin and cowriter Nicholas Stoller are back though original stars Jason Segel and Amy Adams do not return. Most Wanted features Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell, but what really matters is our favorite Muppets are all returning. Some prognosticators are pegging this to gross around $30 million or more this weekend. It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise, but I have a gut feeling that the franchise Jim Henson built will have underwhelming results this time around.

Family audiences have had no shortage of quality flicks to enjoy recently – including blockbusters Frozen, The LEGO Movie, and the current #1 Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Entering its third weekend, Peabody should still post solid numbers and could take a bite out of the Muppet pie. Teenagers will likely be distracted by Divergent, which is primed for a big opening.

My prediction reflects a belief that Muppets Most Wanted will fall under what its predecessor did for only a so-so debut.

Muppets Most Wanted opening weekend prediction: $22.8 million

For my Divergent prediction, click here:

Divergent Box Office Prediction

More than a year after their financial juggernaut Twilight franchise wrapped up, Summit Entertainment moves on with their next series based on wildly popular YA novels with Divergent, opening Friday. Based on Veronica Roth’s books, the futuristic sci-fi actioner comes with a healthy $80 million budget and high expectations from the studio. Two sequels have already been greenlit with Insurgent debuting a year from now.

Headlined by Shailene Woodley and Theo James, Divergent also features a supporting cast that includes Shailene’s Spectacular Now costar Miles Teller and Oscar winner Kate Winslet. The box office prospects for Divergent are a bit murky. It’s highly unlikely to reach Hunger Games types of numbers. It also hopes to avoid the disappointing performances of other YA movies like The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones or Beautiful Creatures from last year.

Recent speculation has focused on Divergent opening in range with the first Twilight, which earned $69.6 million in its premiere. This seems like reasonable territory to me. The chances of Divergent getting past $75M out of the gate are within reach. However, I’ll predict it falls just under what Bella, Edward, and company achieved in their debut.

Divergent opening weekend prediction: $68.4 million

For my Muppets Most Wanted prediction, click here:

Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 5-1

Well folks, we’ve reached the end of my personal list of Top 25 Saturday Night Live Cast Members of All Time. If you haven’t had a chance to peruse numbers 25-6, the links may be found here:

This leads us to the Top 5 and the crème de la crème, at least in my view. Here they are:

5. Kristin Wiig

4. John Belushi

3. Phil Hartman

2. Eddie Murphy


1. Will Ferrell

And there you have it, my friends! Feel to comment and quibble (or agree) with my choices.