Box Office Predictions: July 3-5

Fireworks and hot dogs may be predictable on July 4th weekend, but 2015’s box office for the holiday is anything but. There are four pictures that all have legitimate shots at being #1 and they include newcomers Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL. You can read my detailed predictions on each of them here:

Both face heavy competition from Jurassic World, which has been spent three weeks on its record breaking #1 run and Pixar’s Inside Out, which has itself set records while perched at second for the last two weeks.

As I see it, I believe there will be a photo finish between Terminator, Jurassic, and Inside Out with Magic Mike taking fourth place due to a projected front loaded five day gross when its hardcore female fans may rush to watch it Wednesday and Thursday. Genisys also opens Wednesday.

Ted 2 came in well below expectations this past weekend (more on that below) and looks to place fifth.

And with that, my predictions for the weekend:

1. Terminator Genisys

Predicted Gross: $31.2 million (Friday to Sunday), $48.4 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. Inside Out

Predicted Gross: $30.5 million (representing a drop of 41%)

3. Jurassic World

Predicted Gross: $28.7 million (representing a drop of 47%)

4. Magic Mike XXL

Predicted Gross: $24.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $44 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

5. Ted 2

Predicted Gross: $16.4 million (representing a drop of 51%)

Box Office Results (June 26-28)

As mentioned, Jurassic World continued its history making stampede and placed #1 for the third frame in a row with $54.5 million (ahead of my $51.1M estimate). The three week total stands at an amazing $500 million and looks to place third, if not second, on all time domestic earners.

Pixar’s Inside Out maintained its runner-up status with $52.3 million, in line with my $53.4M projection. Its two week total is $185 million and it should pass the $350M mark with relative ease.

Seth MacFarlane’s comedy sequel Ted 2 posted lackluster results that were well below expectations with $33.5 million, far below my $50.8M prediction. This is a far cry from the $54M earned by the original three summers ago.

The family dog drama Max debuted fourth to an OK $12.2 million, under my $13.9M prediction and Melissa McCarthy’s Spy rounded out the top five with $7.9 million – on pace with my $7.6M estimate for a total of $88M.

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

A Thousand Blog Posts

As I’ve spoken about on this blog before, it was a Thursday evening in October 2012 when I decided on a whim to start it. After years of thinking I should have one, within about an hour, I had the first post up. It was this one:

From that evening on October 11, 2012 to today – June 28, 2015 – has morphed into something I never could have figured from that snap decision over two and a half years ago. And now I sit here writing my 1000th blog post.

This seems like a fine occasion to take a little stock. 152 countries have looked at this blog. The top ten:

The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Indiana, the Philippines, France, Mexico, and Brazil.

The bread and butter of the blog continues to be the box office predictions for every wide domestic release that comes out. In fact, six of my top 11 most ever read posts are the box office predictions. They generate the most traffic. Here’s the top ten:

Man of Steel, Entourage, Ted 2, Oz: The Great and Powerful, After Earth, The Wolverine, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3, Turbo, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

I am encouraged to see Entourage and Ted 2 at numbers 2 and 3. Why? Those are both very recent releases and it indicates correctly that readership for this site has been and continues to increase, for which I am extremely grateful to this blog’s readers.

My recent deviation from movies to my love of the state I’m proud to call home resulted in a post called A Love Letter to Ohio and it marks my third most read entry of all time.

What’s the most read individual post? It remains The 007 Files: My Rankings of All 23 James Bond Movies and later this year, I’ll need to change the name of that post to 24 when Spectre is released.

My most read movie review? American Sniper from earlier this year:

When this blog has its annual anniversaries, I will continue to delve more into the sincere appreciation I feel every day for the fact that actual eyeballs read what I write. For now I’ll just thank you and thank you again and that I cannot wait to write the next thousand.

Those appreciation posts always find a way to mention Tarantino, the writer/director who took My Love of Movies to a different level over two decades ago. So we will end for now on one of the many brilliant clips of his and I’ll be ready to write my box office predictions for next weekend’s holiday frame at Post 1001…

It’s been a fantastic blog odyssey so far.

Magic Mike XXL Box Office Prediction

The boys are back on screen as Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, and Joe Manganaiello return for Magic Magic XXL, the sequel to 2012’s surprise summer hit. Some of the personnel behind the blockbuster from three years earlier, like director Steven Soderbergh and costar Matthew McConaughey, are not returning and we have a new director (Gregory Jacobs) and additional new cast members (Elizabeth Banks and Amber Heard).

Clearly, though, the main draw is Tatum and his male stripper friends. Magic Mike took the box office by storm three years ago with a $39 million debut on its way to a $113 million domestic gross. As with the original, XXL will bank on female fans coming out in droves while their male counterparts keep themselves busy with Terminator Genisys. 

I believe it could be a close race between those two films for highest debut of the July 4th holiday weekend. Ultimately I believe Genisys will manage a better opening, but XXL could certainly over perform. With its long holiday weekend roll out, I wouldn’t be shocked to see its gross be somewhat front loaded. I’ll say it manages to earn slightly more in five days what its predecessor earned in three.

Magic Mike XXL opening weekend prediction: $24.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $44 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Terminator Genisys prediction, click here:

Terminator Genisys Box Office Prediction

31 years after first informing us he’d be back, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays his signature role for the fourth time as Terminator Genisys debuts this Wednesday, hoping to clean up over the July 4th holiday weekend. Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, and J.K. Simmons costar with Thor: The Dark World’s Alan Taylor directing. It is a legitimate question to ponder whether this series will continue to lose steam.

This is actually the fifth entry in the three decade old franchise as 2009’s Terminator Salvation underwhelmed with a $42 million opening on its way to a $125 million domestic take. The last pic with Ahnuld was 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and it also premiered over the Independence Day weekend with a $44 million three day and $72 million five day haul. It ended up earning $150 million overall.

My guess is that this will not match those numbers and Genisys could have a rough time reinvigorating this series. To put it mildly, Schwarzenegger’s post gubernatorial film career has been littered with flops. In fact, his biggest grosser since his screen return that he headlined is Escape Plan at just $25 million total. Obviously Genisys will make more out of the gate than that, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be considered a large success. Reviews so far have been the worst for the franchise as it stands at only 17%. I’ll say it doesn’t manage to do $50 million in its five day rollout and ends up possibly earning less than Salvation when all is said and done.

Terminator Genisys opening weekend prediction: $31.2 million (Friday to Sunday), $48.4 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Magic Mike XXL prediction, click here:

Box Office Predictions: June 26-28

It’s been a record breaking June 2015 so far and this upcoming weekend looks to keep up the torrid box office pace as three films look to each earn $50M or more. There are two newcomers out: comedy sequel Ted 2 and military dog family drama Max. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

The real question is what comes out on top this weekend? It could be Ted 2, which I have making slightly less than its 2012 predecessor out of the gate (though it could certainly earn more). It could be Jurassic World for the third weekend in a row as it looks to extend its record breaking box office pace. Or it could be Pixar’s Inside Out, which I anticipate having a smaller second weekend decline than Jurassic‘s third weekend drop off. As you’ll see below, I expect it to be a photo finish among all three.

Max should place a distant fourth with Spy rounding out the top five.

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

1. Inside Out

Predicted Gross: $53.4 million (representing a drop of 40%)

2. Jurassic World

Predicted Gross: $51.1 million (representing a drop of 52%)

3. Ted 2

Predicted Gross: $50.8 million

4. Max

Predicted Gross: $13.9 million

5. Spy

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million (representing a drop of 32%)

Box Office Results (June 19-21)

Several records once again fell by the wayside this weekend as Jurassic World remained #1 with $106.5 million to bring its total to $402M in just ten days. The dino reboot soared past my $88.3M projection and accomplished the largest second weekend in domestic history. World is well on its way to becoming the biggest grosser of summer 2015.

It may have come in second, but Pixar has much to celebrate with its amazing $90.4 million debut for Inside Out, well above my $71.4M prediction. The critically acclaimed animated feature had the highest opening for a story based on original material, outpacing Avatar‘s $77M previous record breaker. Additionally it scored the second largest debut for a Pixar property after only 2010’s Toy Story 3. It also set the record for biggest debut not to come in at #1 (previously held by the $68M earned by 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow). The only downside is it’s the first Pixar feature not to open on top, but don’t look for Disney to cry into their piles of money too much. Look for Inside Out to continue its impressive run in subsequent weekends.

Holdovers held up better than my estimates as Spy was third with $11.2 million (above my $9.1M estimate). San Andreas took fourth with $8.7 million (ahead of my $5.2M prediction). Their respective totals stand at $75M and $132M.

The only other newcomer, Dope, had a middling premiere with $6.1 million, under my $7.7M prediction.

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

A Deadly Adoption Movie Review

A Deadly Adoption marks by far what has been one of the more intriguing movie experiences in recent times. In April of this year, news leaked that Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig were making a Lifetime flick. And not just making… it had already been shot and was supposed to air in secret and let the channel’s viewers discover on their own that a pair of film comedy’s biggest stars were in it. The audacity factor alone is commendable and Ferrell was reportedly upset when the leak occurred. For two months, we’ve been left wondering whether A Deadly Adoption would play more like a spoof or if the filmmakers would commit to truly shooting a run of the mill Lifetime pic.

The answer is the latter and it’s about as disconcerting as it sounds. Here we have Ferrell as Robert, a well known financial advice author with Wiig’s Sarah as his organic food stand owning wife. As we open, Sarah is pregnant with the couple’s second child. The baby is lost when she has a slow motion accident slipping off the dock of their fancy New England home. It scars them both, but leaves Robert overly protective of his first born daughter who is, of course, diabetic.

Soon they have the possibility of adopting a baby boy from the six months pregnant bombshell Bridget (Jessica Lowndes). She moves in with the couple and soon, in Lifetime fashion, twists and turns keep coming. When I say true Lifetime fashion – I mean it. This is the 25th year that the network has been in the movie business and their hundreds of efforts are mostly interchangeable. A Deadly Adoption stands out solely because of surprising talent that chose to be involved. Yet it’s played straight with all the time tested cliches we’ve come to anticipate. In addition to the diabetic youngster, there’s the gay best friend. The bad cell phone reception. The alcoholism and infidelity.

The fear from me is that this experiment would feel like that and only that. It often holds true, but I’ll be damned if the sight of Ferrell and Wiig doing this isn’t occasionally humorous. Does it sustain its novelty factor for 85 minutes? Not really, but the final scene pays off by being the only one going for genuine laughs and it worked for me. There’s also a moment when the organic loving Sarah has to turn down Bridget’s food request for a big bowl of ice cream. She feels bad turning down the guilty pleasure hunger desires of her expectant guest. For a quarter century, these Lifetime movies have been a lot of people’s big bowl of ice cream. Seeing the two leads join in the ridiculousness is surreal but works better than it probably should.

**1/2 (out of four)

Max Box Office Prediction

Warner Bros family feature Max, out Friday, has quite a bit working against it when you consider its competition. It won’t be the movie most kids are going to see next weekend factoring in Jurassic World and Inside Out. It won’t be the highest grosser with an animal with Ted 2 opening the same day. It won’t even be the biggest summer grosser with the word Max in it when factoring in that mad one from May.

The studio’s best hope is that critics like it and it becomes a word of mouth sleeper hit, which is an uphill climb. Max tells the story of a military working dog who returns home from Afghanistan and Remember the Titans director Boaz Yakin is behind the camera. Thomas Haden Church, Lauren Graham and Jay Hernandez are among the human costars.

Unless Max succeeds in bringing in a sizable military contingent, the pic seems destined for a premiere in the low to mid teens for a probable fourth place showing next weekend.

Max opening weekend prediction: $13.9 million

Kingsman: The Secret Service Movie Review

Kingsman: The Secret Service is an homage to old school spy flicks if those particular movies from the 60s could have featured lots of gory and video game style violence. This genre of film from Bond to Bourne has turned more serious as of late and Kingsman aims to be the antidote. There are a number of clever moments and there is excitement present, but I could never completely shake the feeling that Matthew Vaughn’s latest often feels about half as cool as it thinks it is. The director takes his Kick-Ass attitude to these proceedings and the result never quite reaches the level of fun of that aforementioned effort.

The Kingsman are a group of British super spies whose London store front tailor shop hides the underground lair of gadgetry and much more. Michael Caine is their leader and Colin Firth one of their veteran agents. The picture begins in the late 90s as one Kingsman saves Firth’s life while losing his own. The deceased’s young son Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is visited by Firth and given a code to call the Kingsman if he should ever be in trouble. Flash forward to seventeen years later and Eggsy is a rebellious and aimless youth who does end up making that call and he’s soon recruited to try out for the organization that his dad died for.

He joins a number of other youth in their lengthy auditions for membership to the Kingsman and these scenes are a bit similar to some in Vaughn’s previous movie, X-Men: First Class. The bad guy in the mix is Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a billionaire who aims to wipe out most of the Earth’s population except for a privileged few royals and celebrities (Iggy Azalea is humorously mentioned as one of the survivors). It is the character of Valentine’s and Jackson’s lisping and off kilter portrayal of him that tells you most of what you need to know about the movie. Vaughn and his cowriters wish to harken back to the days of the ridiculous 007 villains. It’s a delicate thing for the screenwriters to get this right while all the over the top Tarantino-esque bloody violence is happening and it doesn’t always succeed. Some of the time, I almost expected Dr. Evil to stand alongside Valentine. Other times the story seems to forget it wants to be a satire at all.

That said, the performers give it their all and it’s particularly amusing to see Oscar winner Firth in a true badass mode. He has one scene located in a Kentucky church that stands as the most memorable. Newcomer Egerton may have a bright future and Jackson definitely seems to be enjoying himself. This is an undeniably stylish exercise and the action centerpieces are directed with the trademark energy we’ve come to expect from Vaughn. On a side note, the climactic battle may have you furiously Shazaming the funky track playing in the background. It’s Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band. You’re welcome.

The talent involved with Kingsman is considerable. I just wish I got the same kinetic thrill I received from Vaughn’s Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. It tries hard, but this concoction of self aware spoof with cartoonish violence and occasionally tired social and political satire plays more like a curiosity than the success stories of the filmmaker’s previous offerings.

**1/2 (out of four)

Ted 2 Box Office Prediction

One year following the critical and commercial disappointment of A Million Ways to Die in the West, Seth MacFarlane should find himself back in the good graces of audiences with Ted 2, out Friday. The sequel to the 2012 mega hit brings back Mark Wahlberg and most importantly, that foul mouthed talking teddy bear. Mila Kunis is out and Amanda Seyfried is in with Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson among other new cast members.

Three summers ago, Ted debuted to a terrific $54.4 million on its way to a $218 million domestic take. The real question is whether or not part two exceeds the gross of the original out of the gate. This is certainly possible and it has the potential to reach $6o million or more next weekend. Yet I’m somewhat skeptical. There is a chance that the Ted novelty may have waned slightly and that may cause a debut slightly under its predecessor’s hot start. Critics were kind to the first and we’ve yet to see if that continues here. Its numbers might improve if word of mouth approaches that of the 2012 blockbuster, but that seems unlikely.

I’ll predict Ted 2 falls just shy of the $54 million achieved when Ted became the sleeper hit of summer 2012.

Ted 2 opening weekend prediction: $50.8 million

Jurassic World Movie Review

For anyone under the age of about 30, it’s difficult to put into words just how amazing Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was when it debuted in theaters during the summer of 1993. As moviegoers today, we are accustomed to astonishing visual effects almost every week, especially during this season. Yet when those dinosaurs made their first appearance on screen 22 years ago, our jaws dropped along with Laura Dern and Sam Neill’s. It was a triumph of special effects and now our nostalgia factor with the original has reached the beloved status.

I never could quite put Jurassic Park alongside my Spielberg foursome of popcorn classics that are Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a near great motion picture experience that’s only flaw is my indifference to the human characters that populate it. Having said that, we all know that the prehistoric creatures are the real stars of this series.

It is in that context that Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World mostly succeeds, more so than sequels we saw in 1997 and 2001. We have new dinos to feast on our eyes upon their creepy looking and menacing eyes. The script allows a proper amount of reverence for 1993’s groundbreaking picture, but none for the follow-ups because few of us have much reverence for them.

And we have to have the scared kids, right? Here it’s teenager Nick Robinson and little bro Ty Simpkins visiting their aunt (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is Jurassic World’s busy bee operations manager. Their parents are getting ready to divorce in grand and cliched fashion and their week long excursion to the park on Isla Nublar goes astray when the genetically designed new theme park attraction Indominus rex escapes his confines and his big debut involves terrorizing visitors. This doesn’t sit well with Jurassic’s head of security (Vincent D’Onofrio, hamming it up in a winking performance) and we learn of his plans to train some of the park’s dinos for military combat purposes. Let us ponder that – how cool would it be if that actually happened and we got to see it in an inevitable sequel/spinoff, eh?

Our main hero dealing with all this dino drama is Owen (Chris Pratt), an expert handler of the creatures who more than earns his overtime pay in these two hours plus. It is Pratt’s effortless charisma that makes him just about the most entertaining human character this franchise has given us thus far. His sidebar romance with Howard is perfunctory and tolerable. Pratt doesn’t get to let loose quite as much as he did in last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but he is a very welcome addition to the proceedings.

The special effects and design of the creatures will simply never rival the wonder factor from over two decades ago. Still these dinosaurs look pretty darn awesome and seeing them in the setting that Richard Attenborough’s Hammond wanted them in is a summertime treat. Jurassic World accomplishes this by reminding us how thrilling and fun this series can be in a way we haven’t experienced since the very first time we saw those now iconic park gates.

*** (out of four)