Entourage Box Office Prediction

Vinnie, E, Johnny Drama, Turtle and Ari go from the small screen to the big one as Entourage debuts in theaters this Wednesday. Based upon the HBO series that ran from 2004 to 2011, the studio is hoping to recapture the magic that allowed Sex and the City to become a huge silver screen blockbuster.

Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon, Jeremy Piven and Jerry Ferrara reprise their aforementioned roles with Billy Bob Thornton and a host of celebrity cameos in the mix. They include Liam Neeson, Tom Brady and the show and picture’s executive producer Mark Wahlberg. Entourage may suffer from hurdles preventing it from becoming a success at the multiplex. First, while the show was acclaimed – many critics and viewers felt it had worn out its welcome and lost quality by the culmination of its pay cable run. Second, there’s another comedy in town premiering as Melissa McCarthy’s Spy looks to have a solid start. Its most hardcore fans should push it to a mid to high teens five day haul and it’ll likely fade soon afterwards.

Entourage opening weekend prediction: $11.2 million (Friday to Sunday), $16.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Spy prediction, click here:


For my Insidious: Chapter 3 prediction, click here:


Aloha Movie Review

Cameron Crowe’s Aloha further marks a trip down mediocrity lane for a filmmaker that has graced us with Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. For me, his last worthy effort was 2001’s Vanilla Sky, which occasionally lacked focus but its merits outweighed its demerits. The same cannot be said for everything in Crowe’s oeuvre that’s followed – Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo and now this. Aloha is a strange mix of romance, comedy, drama, Hawaiian mysticism and corporate and military industrialism that never feels cohesive. The various aspects of the screenplay never quite gel. The casting decisions, packed with top notch talent, are a mixed bag. There are moments that remind us of Crowe’s greatness, but not many.

Bradley Cooper stars as Brian, a defense contractor who travels to Hawaii to assist a billionaire business mogul (a subdued Bill Murray) on a shady deal. Emma Stone is Allison Ng, the Air Force pilot whose task it is to assist him and, of course, fall for him. Rachel McAdams is Brian’s “one that got away”, an old flame now married to John Krasinki’s strong and very silent service officer. We jump back and forth wondering which woman Brian will try to end up with. Crowe’s screenplay keeps us busy with not only the romance angle but our central character’s occupational hazards with Murray and Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride’s military personnel roles. There’s a lot of plot happening here coupled with many stories of Hawaiin lore. Simply put, it never really comes together in satisfactory fashion.

I appreciated Krasinski’s work and his non talking nature allows for some humorous moments. Yet there isn’t a performance here for any of the famous faces matching their best work. It’s when Crowe allows his performers to be quiet for a moment that shine, like Murray and Stone dancing to Hall and Oates in a nicely constructed sequence. As good as Stone can be and usually is, she’s miscast here and her part is not written well (her explained Chinese and Hawaiian heritage feels a bit stretched).

We get the family drama involved with Brian and the McAdams clan that we see from a mile away mixed with his involvement with Ng and then back to Murray’s increasingly nefarious corporate magnet. It switches so much that it never allows us to care much about any of it. Cameron Crowe’s lesser work still provides glimpses of his unique voice in cinema. Over the last decade, those moments are becoming more and more sparse and there’s not enough gorgeous scenery of our 49th state to make up for it.

** (out of four)

Insidious: Chapter 3 Box Office Prediction

Focus Features has had a nice little horror cash cow in the Insidious franchise and the third edition hits theaters Friday. Chapter 3 is a prequel and therefore original stars of its predecessors Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are nowhere to be found (in fact Byrne is busy this weekend with Spy).

Dermot Mulroney and Stefanie Scott headline with Leigh Whannell making his directorial debut after writing chapters 1 and 2. Insidious: Chapter 2 surprised prognosticators when it landed a $40 million debut in September 2013. It would be a bit of a shocker to see this follow up post that number, but you never know. I believe this will manage a start in the mid to high 20s, settling for second to Melissa McCarthy’s Spy.

Insidious: Chapter 3 opening weekend prediction: $26 million

For my Spy prediction, click here:


For my Entourage prediction, click here:


Spy Box Office Prediction

Ever since Bridesmaids some four years ago, Melissa McCarthy has become a potent box office force and while her comedies have yielded financially pleasing returns, critics haven’t always been on her side – see last summer’s Tammy. This Friday’s Spy is a notable exception as it boasts a terrific 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The action comedy pairs her yet again with her Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig. The supporting cast includes Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law and Allison Janney.

McCarthy’s star power plus the critical love should lead to a very nice debut for Spy. As I see it, the question is whether or not it manages to top the $39 million earned by The Heat to create McCarthy’s largest domestic opening of all time. I am predicting it’ll just manage to get there and its solid word of mouth should continue its healthy run forward for the weeks to come.

Spy opening weekend prediction: $42.1 million

For my Entourage prediction, click here:


For my Insidious: Chapter 3 prediction, click here:


A Love Letter to Ohio

At the end of his celebratory press conference after reaching the NBA Finals in his first year back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron James said the following (as I minorly paraphrase):

Nothing is guaranteed.

I can’t guarantee the championship.

But I promise we’ll play our (butts) off.

He used a different word.

That, my friends, is Ohio. That encapsulates the spirit of the Buckeye State and its people.

For sports fans in this state, there’s been some magic happening here in Ohio lately. From a favorite son of Akron who had gone astray to taste victory in South Beach returning home to a third string quarterback at THE Ohio State University defying all odds to bring a championship to the state. It’s the kind of thing that would be just entirely too unrealistic for a movie. Yet truth in Ohio is stranger than the fictional robots and superheroes and A Capella singers on our summer screens.

Let’s stay on the entertainment tip for a second. Don’t think Ohio has much connection to the world of film? We got the guy who invented the motion picture camera named Edison. There was also a director named Spielberg born here. And actors named Clark Gable and Paul Newman and Bob Hope for starters. A comedian named Dave Chappelle. That beloved fictional President named Josiah Bartlett? That guy who played him is from Ohio. As is his press secretary C.J. And his advisor Sam and that means Ohio is home to Rob Lowe and Peaked in High School Rob Lowe and Super Creepy Rob Lowe. Superman may be from Krypton but the duo that actually created him are straight outta Cleveland. Bart Simpson’s voice was first heard here. So were these voices… Dean Martin, Dwight Yoakam, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Roy Rogers.

Forget the fictional presidents. We’ve had 8 real ones. Ohioans built the first airplane. An Ohioan was the first man to orbit the Earth. An Ohioan was the first man on the moon. An Ohioan was the first to knock out Mike Tyson, whether for real or in the video game.

The list goes on and on with countless athletes and other game changers to mention like Jack’s Nicklaus and Hanna. Woody. Lebron. Ted Turner. Gloria Steinem. Cy Young. Jesse Owens. Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe.

Ohioans know this rich history and appreciate and value it. We also know it’s not always sunshine and rainbows and gold pants. There has been severe economic turmoil in recent times that seemed nearly insurmountable. There have been sports droughts that also appeared to be never ending. And it continues… Just who IS the Browns QB this week?

I’ve listed a lot of notable Ohioans, but the people who’ve inspired me in Ohio have not been famous. It’s been the same people that inspire you. Family. Friends. Coworkers. It’s the same people that inspired those notable folks in the paragraphs above. That’s Ohio. If you’re reading this from another state – have no fear. I’m sure your state is special too – but this post is about MY state. And it’s something else.

So we can look back in pride at these last few years in Ohio history. The state has dug itself out of recession to prosperity. It seemed impossible but it happened with dedicated people leading us there. Our football team had a field general who no one had heard of a couple months beforehand that led us to the promised land. Our professional basketball team lost a prodigal son only to watch him journey back and lead us to the possibility of a championship we haven’t seen in over half a century.

As that Ohioan said, it’s not guaranteed. That being said, from the air above the clouds all the way to the moon to the camera that allows for the subject this blog is usually focused on, Ohioans play their butts off trying. And that’s why I love calling it home.

Box Office Predictions: May 29-31

For the last week of May, we have two more entries into the Summer Box Office Derby: disaster action pic San Andreas starring Dwayne Johnson and the Bradley Cooper/Emma Stone rom com Aloha. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each of them here right here:



As I see it, Andreas should easily dominate the weekend. The wild card is Aloha, but I have it grossing in the high teens for a fourth place debut. All holdovers will likely experience the typical hefty declines for the post Memorial Day weekend. Current champ Tomorrowland may have the most pronounced dip due to lackluster buzz (more on that below) and I’m predicting all currently released top five dwellers will fall over 50% from the four day holiday frame. It could be quite a tight race for the #2 spot.

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

1. San Andreas

Predicted Gross: $43.4 million

2. Tomorrowland

Predicted Gross: $19.1 million (representing a drop of 55%)

3. Pitch Perfect 2

Predicted Gross: $18.5 million (representing a drop of 51%)

4. Aloha

Predicted Gross: $18.2 million

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Predicted Gross: $15 million (representing a drop of 52%)

Box Office Results (May 22-25)

It was a disappointing Memorial Day weekend at the box office as Brad Bird’s polarizing Tomorrowland topped the charts with a ho-hum $42.7 million, just under my $44.6M projection. The Disney fantasy has received both mixed reaction from critics and audiences alike and its long term prospects don’t look great.

On the flip side, last week’s champ Pitch Perfect 2 continued its truly magnificent run with $38.3 million over the holiday weekend (above my $32.8M estimate), bringing its two weeks total to $125.7M, nearly double what the original made in its whole domestic run.

Mad Max: Fury Road also held up better in its second weekend with $31.3 million, ahead of my $25.5M prediction. The acclaimed reboot has amassed $94.7M.

Avengers: Age of Ultron took $28.2 million (in line with my $26.6M estimate) and the Marvel title’s four week total stands at $411.4M.

Finally, the horror remake Poltergeist had a fair start with $26.3 million, not quite matching my prediction of $29.3M. Look for it to drop quickly, as most horror titles tend to do.

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Noah Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah combines the work of a truly talented filmmaker with one of the more well-known tales in Biblical history. It’s an audacious undertaking by both the director and the studio who were willing to budget it at a reported $125 million. For fans of Aronofsky, it is impossible to imagine him going the safe route with this story and he doesn’t. From Pi to Requiem for a Dream to The Fountain to The Wrestler to Black Swan, the auteur has given us challenging and rewarding pictures consistently. Those same adjectives apply in this case, even if the film ultimately drowns under the weight of its aspirations and own flat-out weirdness.

Russell Crowe gives a sturdy performance as the title character, who receives a message from The Creator to take his wife and children on an ark along with duos of the Earth’s creatures. He believes that God has sent word to punish all other humans for their sins. Noah soon becomes convinced that all mankind, including himself and his family and even his unborn grandchildren, must perish too. This creates eventual dissention with his loved ones, especially his son Ham (Logan Lerman) and adopted daughter Ila (Emma Watson). Even his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly, once again playing spouse to a strong-willed Crowe character) comes to doubt him.

Further complicating matters is tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), who leads his followers on a revolt to take the ark themselves. They certainly do not share Noah’s vision of the future and do all they can to disrupt it. Noah receives protection from The Watchers, who are a strange-looking monstrous group of stone creatures. More assistance is provided by Noah’s grandfather played by Anthony Hopkins in some serious old age makeup.

Noah the movie is primarily focused on the inner conflict that Noah the man feels with his God-given vision. Yet along with it comes some battle scenes that could have fit with a Lord of the Rings pic and lots of digital animals that look – well, extremely digital. The effect on the viewer is a bit discombobulating. Biblical purists looking for a straightforward retelling from the Book of Genesis best look elsewhere – like the source material. Moviegoers wishing for something like a Tolkien-esque experience only get it in glimpses.

The picture is undoubtedly the work of a true artist whose very idea to make this is pretty bold. Not as bold, however, as what he’s pulled off before with more satisfactory and deeper results. Noah will surely hold your interest with its often bizarre mix of fight scenes, family drama, sometimes mediocre CGI, dream sequences, creation montages, and supreme British acting. For this gifted director, though, a massive budget and familiar story don’t equal anything close to his finest work.

**1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Macbeth

The 2015 Oscar race, still in its infancy, got a dose of Shakespeare today at the Cannes Film Festival when Macbeth premiered. The adaptation comes from director Justin Kurzel and features Michael Fassbender as the title character with Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth. Both performers have immediately vaulted to the top of the list for Best Actor and Actress. The film itself has received early raves and could be a contender for the big race. If so, it’d be the first screen treatment by the author to be recognized since 1968’s Romeo & Juliet.

This would mark Fassbender’s second nomination after being in the Supporting Actor mix in 2012 for 12 Years a Slave. For Cotillard, it would mark her second Actress nod in two years as she made the cut last year for Two Days, One Night. She won the award in 2007 for La Vie en Rose. It is only May and yet we may already know two of the nominees in those categories – Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl for Actor and Cotillard and Cate Blanchett for Carol in the Actress race.

Per usual, the Cannes fest has given us another Academy hopeful in the form of Macbeth.

Aloha Box Office Prediction

In a career spanning over a quarter century, Cameron Crowe has given us critical darlings like Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. Yet it’s been some disappointments in recent years from the director including Elizabethtown and We Bought a Zoo. Where will this Friday’s Aloha place?

That remains to be seen. With less than a week before its premiere, I’m a little surprised no reviews have yet to surface and it does create a bit of skepticism. The romantic comedy/drama will attempt to bring in a female audience and the all star cast won’t hurt. Bradley Cooper is hot off the biggest grosser of 2014, American Sniper. Emma Stone is fresh off Oscar attention for Birdman. And the supporting players consist of Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski and Danny McBride.

Aloha is a somewhat odd release for late May as it would appear to be more suited for a fall release. Still, the cast alone should get it close to $20 million for a decent debut.

Aloha opening weekend prediction: $18.2 million

For my San Andreas prediction, click here:


San Andreas Box Office Prediction

The disaster flick that was popularized so effectively in the 1970s returns in summer 2015 with San Andreas, opening Friday. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, fresh off megahit Furious 7, stars in a reunion with his Journey 2: The Mysterious Island director Brad Peyton. Carla Gugino and Paul Giamatti costar. The $100 million budgeted pic will attempt to break out in a season where most action fare is sequels and reboots.

It could work. The trailers and TV spots have at the least indicated that the budget is up there on the screen. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Johnson has been omnipresent in front of moviegoers with the enormous Furious franchise.

As I see it, a debut above $40 million would be a win for Warner Bros. International grosses should be solid as well. I think San Andreas will just manage to top that number and will look to top the box office frame during May’s final weekend.

San Andreas opening weekend prediction: $43.4 million

For my Aloha prediction, click here: