Box Office Predictions: June 3-5

The first box office weekend of June brings a trio of new entries: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, British romance Me Before You, and Andy Samberg’s musical doc spoof Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. You can peruse my detailed predictions posts on each here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-out-of-the-shadows-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/me-before-you-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/26/popstar-never-stop-never-stopping-box-office-prediction/

That martial arts reptile sequel should have no problem topping the charts, unless it severely comes in under expectations… you know, like Alice Through the Looking Glass did (more on that below).

X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice should experience high drops, though should still mark the two spot. Alice may find itself in a battle for third with Me Before You (or even Angry Birds). Captain America should fall to 6th with Popstar perhaps settling for seventh.

Therefore, let’s do a top 7 predictions this weekend and see how it all shakes out:

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Predicted Gross: $50.3 million

2. X-Men: Apocalypse

Predicted Gross: $25.3 million (representing a drop of 61%)

3. Me Before You

Predicted Gross: $11.5 million

4. Alice Through the Looking Glass

Predicted Gross: $10 million (representing a drop of 63%)

5. The Angry Birds Movie

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million (representing a drop of 46%)

 

6. Captain America: Civil War

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million (representing a drop of 50%)

7. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

Box Office Results (Memorial Day Weekend 2016)

As anticipated, X-Men: Apocalypse ruled the Memorial Day weekend, even though its tally couldn’t match the superior performance of its predecessor, Days of Future Past, in the same weekend in 2014. The 8th feature in the franchise (which received less favorable reviews than most others) earned $65.7 million from Friday to Sunday and $79.8 million counting its Monday earnings. That’s far below my respective predictions of $82.8M and $100.4M. By contrast, Future Past‘s Memorial Day brought in $90M and $110M for its holiday performance.

Disney has had a truly incredible year with smashes like Zootopia, The Jungle Book, and Captain America: Civil War. Yet the hits stopped this weekend with the massive failure of Alice Through the Looking Glass. The sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland (which received scathing reviews) tanked with only $26.8 million over the three day and $33.5 million for the holiday. I went WAY over with $53.6M and $67.7M. This is an unmitigated disaster. Speculation is fair about whether Johnny Depp’s scandal over the weekend with Amber Heard may have played a part, but the studio may have simply waited too long to put this out.

The Angry Birds Movie dropped to third in its sophomore frame with $18.7 million for the three-day (just under my $20.4M forecast) and $24.5 million for the full weekend. My prediction? $24.5M! Yay me! Its total sits at $72M.

Captain America: Civil War fell to fourth in weekend #4 with $15.3 million and $20 million, under my estimates of $18.1M and $22.2M for a $377M gross. It should reach over $400M.

Disappointing comedy sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising was fifth with my $9.3 million and $11.4 million for the three and four day a bit below my respective estimates of $10.4M and $12.2M. The two week total for it: $40M.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

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Oscar Watch: Love & Friendship

In 1990, writer/director Whit Stillman had a major critical success with Metropolitan that led to a Best Original Screenplay for him at the Oscars. Over a quarter century later, Mr. Stillman could find himself on the Academy’s radar screen again with Love & Friendship. The romantic comedy is based on the book Lady Susan by Jane Austen. Starring Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny and Stephen Fry, the film holds a 99% Rotten Tomatoes rating and has grossed over $4 million domestically on less than 500 screens.

If its box office grosses continue to hold well over the next few weeks, Oscar voters may take notice. None of the actors are likely to be factors for nods. Truth be told, this is probably a long shot for attention. Still – 2016 has yet to produce many awards contenders and Love & Friendship is at least worthy of mention.

Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 1986: A Look Back

On this here blog, we have some summer traditions now. One of them will be a look back at the movies that dominated (and didn’t dominate) the box office from 20 years ago in 1996 and 10 years ago in 2006. Those posts will be coming to the site soon.

However, before we get to that… let’s get to bumping some music in here, shall we? As I did last summer, let’s recount the top ten summer music singles from 30 years ago, 20 years ago, and a decade ago according to the Billboard charts. With each track, we can take a trip down memory lane and I’ll give you my thoughts on each song and, most importantly, whether it’s on my iTunes.

I’ll rate each track (my personal opinion of course) on a scale of 1 (awful) to 10 (summer hit masterpiece).

We begin today with the summer of 1986!

10. “Mad About You” by Belinda Carlisle

You may have just seen Ms. Carlisle rocking out with her group The Go-Go’s on the Billboard Music Awards, but “Mad About You” was her first solo success after the band broke up over three decades ago. It’s a perfectly reasonable summer ditty that gave her a pretty solid start on her own, though it’s not particularly memorable.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

9. “Venus” by Bananarama

As for girl groups that weren’t broken up in 1986, Bananarama had their signature tune with the dance hit “Venus” and it’s easy to see why. A remake of a #1 1970 hit, it’s catchy as hell and still receives plenty of airplay.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My iTunes? No

8. “Holding Back The Years” by Simply Red

From their debut album, this soulful ballad remains the group’s largest hit and it features fine vocals from front man Mick Hucknall.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My iTunes: No

7. “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood”

Winwood’s first #1 hit, it’s got Nile Rodgers on rhythm guitar and Chaka Khan doing backing vocals. As summer songs should be, it’s built for belting out with the top down when no one is hopefully looking.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

6. “On My Own” by Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald

Patti and Michael could sing the phone book and it would be riveting. This is the biggest hit of both of their careers in this Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager production. They’ve both had much better tracks, but those voices!

My Rating: 7

Is It On My iTunes: Yes, thanks to McDonald’s greatest hits

5. “Invisible Touch” by Genesis

The first single off their album that bared the same name, “Invisible Touch” is Genesis’s highest selling song. They’ve had better as well, but this is undeniably catchy stuff with some seriously sinister synthesizers.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

4. “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)” by Billy Ocean

Mr. Ocean has had plenty of memorable hits, but I’ll be honest in that I’d kinda forgotten this one. It’s perfectly passable, but it is a little forgettable in a way that “Caribbean Queen” is not.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes: No

3. “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel

Now we’re talking! This signature tune from former Genesis front man Gabriel has an iconic video and is just a total jam. Love those horns.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

2. “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera

Chicago lead singer Cetera had his first solo smash with this single from The Karate Kid Part II soundtrack. The David Foster produced ballad is schmaltzy as hell, but it’s also the definition of that song you’ll belt when no one is watching.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

  1. “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna

Coming on the heels of her classic ballad “Live To Tell”, this track continued Madonna’s musical growth in the mid 80s with edgy lyrics dealing with pregnancy and abortion wrapped up in a groovy pop blanket.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

We’ll get to 1996 soon, my friends!

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Box Office Prediction

It has, at least to me, a title that makes me laugh every time I think of it. Yet I’m not convinced that will lead to an impressive performance on the charts.

Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island partners Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone headline the music documentary spoof Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Costars include Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack, Maya Rudolph, Will Arnett (pulling double duty over the weekend with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows), and Martin Sheen. There’s also a bunch of cameos from real pop stars such as Adam Levine, Mariah Carey, Usher, and Carrie Underwood.

Mr. Samberg’s digital shorts on “Saturday Night Live” were a solid staple of the show for many years with classics like “Lazy Sunday” and “Dick in a Box”. His film career, on the other hand, has been pretty unimpressive box office wise. 2007’s Hot Rod and 2012’s That’s My Boy both were critical and commercial disappointments.

I’ll predict Popstar struggles to even reach high single digits.

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping opening weekend prediction: $5.6 million

For my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-out-of-the-shadows-box-office-prediction/

For my Me Before You prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/me-before-you-box-office-prediction/

Me Before You Box Office Prediction

For those who don’t believe there’s enough British romance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, a good alternative could be Me Before You. Based on a 2012 bestseller by Jojo Moyes, the drama from first-time director Thea Sharrock stars “Games of Thrones” actress Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman, Charles Dance, and Janet McTeer.

The Warner Bros. release hopes to capture a female audience against competition that is mostly based on comic books and more male driven. Better reviews may have assisted – it currently stands at just 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.

That said, it’s hoped for counter programming measures could get it to low double digits or low teens.

Me Before You opening weekend prediction: $11.5 million

For my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-out-of-the-shadows-box-office-prediction/

For my Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/26/popstar-never-stop-never-stopping-box-office-prediction/

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Box Office Prediction

Box office prognosticators such as myself were a little shell shocked two summers ago when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made its return to the big screen and posted a $65 million opening weekend. Its eventual domestic haul was $191M. The pizza loving reptiles are back again in Out of the Shadows alongside returnee non-reptile performers Megan Fox, Will Arnett, and William Fichtner. Chris O’Donnell look alike Stephen Amell joins the mix as Casey Jones, as do Tyler Perry and Laura Linney.

The Michael Bay produced franchise may not see much of a drop-off from its predecessor. The well-received 2014 effort (critics weren’t fans, but audiences ate it up) is still fresh in viewers minds. Youngsters who dug the first one and older fans introduced to Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello in the late 80s and early 90s should bring this sequel to a gross in the low 50s.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opening weekend prediction: $50.3 million

For my Me Before You prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/25/me-before-you-box-office-prediction/

For my Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/26/popstar-never-stop-never-stopping-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: May 27-30

It’s Memorial Day weekend coming up at the summer box office with two high-profile sequels debuting – X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/18/x-men-apocalypse-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/18/alice-through-the-looking-glass-box-office-prediction/

I expect the Mutants to fairly easily top The Mad Hatter, with Apocalypse just edging the century mark for its four-day holiday frame with Looking Glass getting to the mid-60s. That would mean both entries would come in below what their predecessors managed in 2014 and 2010, respectively.

As for holdovers, The Angry Birds Movie should slide to third after a robust 1st place debut (more on that below) with Captain America: Civil War and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (which struggled this last weekend) rounding out the top five.

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the Memorial Day frame which encapsulates my three and four-day forecasts:

  1. X-Men: Apocalypse

Predicted Gross: $82.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $100.4 million (Friday to Monday)

2. Alice Through the Looking Glass

Predicted Gross: $53.6 million (Friday to Sunday), $67.7 million (Friday to Monday)

3. The Angry Birds Movie

Predicted Gross: $20.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $24.5 million (Friday to Monday)

4. Captain America: Civil War

Predicted Gross: $18.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $22.2 million (Friday to Monday)

5. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $12.2 million (Friday to Monday)

Box Office Results (May 20-22)

The first feature film based on an app nabbed the #1 spot as The Angry Birds Movie soared to a $38.1 million opening, a bit above my $34.5M projection. This was on the higher end of expectations for the animated pic.

After two weeks on top, Captain America: Civil War slipped to second with $32.9 million, just under my $35.1M forecast for a three-week total of $347M.

The news was not good for Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and company as Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising grossed an unimpressive $21.7 million for third. I went way over with $38.2M, which I should predicted for those ill-tempered birds. Considering the original made $49M out of the gate, we can safely assume Neighbors 3 won’t happen. This continues a recent trend of comedy sequels (think: Horrible Bosses, Zoolander) under performing.

Despite mostly glowing reviews, The Nice Guys with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling finished fourth with $11.2 million in its opening, under my $14.4M prediction.

The Jungle Book rounded out the top five with $10.9 million and I predicted… $10.9M! Yay! Almost makes up for the Neighbors thing, but not really…

And there you have it, folks! Until next time…

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand in often thrilling and impressive ways in Captain America: Civil War, which is by all intents and purposes a third Avengers pic where Hulk and Thor are apparently on a well-deserved vacation. It walks the tightrope of introducing new characters and finding new dynamics for the old ones without seeming gimmicky or overloading the audience with all its activity. To that end, director Joel and Anthony Russo are to be commended for mostly succeeding in this latest effort where our heroes are often unmasked and sometimes emasculated.

Civil War presents a chasm in the MCU that centers on Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) aka The Winter Solider from this trilogy’s slightly better second movie. His history with Captain America (Chris Evans) garners understandable sympathy from our title character. That isn’t the case with Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) when it appears Bucky may be responsible for an attack on the United Nations.

There’s also the question of whether The Avengers actions across the globe are worth the collateral damage that sometimes comes with it. The U.S. government proposes to put some serious checks on their powers. Tony agrees. Cap does not. And the rest of the crew (minus Hulk/Thor sipping Mai tai’s somewhere) must choose which side to join. This include Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye (who comes out retirement from his boring home life Age of Ultron subplot), Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Don Cheadle’s War Machine, and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. We also have Paul Rudd in the mix less than a year after his debut in Ant-Man, which was the other underwhelming MCU summer 2015 experience (along with Ultron). And then there’s the two newbies introduced who will soon have their own stand-alone features: Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Spidey is good for some solid one-liners and I enjoyed Holland’s take on Peter Parker. This budding franchise should hopefully eclipse what we saw the last time around with Andrew Garfield and company. That said, I actually found Black Panther’s plot line to be a bit more interesting here and I equally anticipate that solo pic.

Civil War also continues the tradition of rather forgettable central villains, with the exception of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Here it’s Daniel Bruhl as Zemo, whose motives are murky for most of the running time and who stands as just another baddie in a world where the heroes are the focal point. This entry isn’t really about a main villain, however. Rather it’s about deciding if you’re on Team Cap or Team Iron Man and the screenplay is smartly written enough that the answer isn’t automatic.

The MCU continues to build on itself and this one does so in the most entertaining way since Winter Soldier. By the time we get to the final Avengers pictures, Hulk and Thor will return. Guardians of Galaxies will be in the mix. And with the Mouse Factory behind this with their extensive array of characters, who knows who else we shall see? Will Rey and Finn cross star systems to appear? Which team will Mowgli align with? Will Kermit and Miss Piggy agree to follow Cap or Tony or split? As long as it’s satisfying like Civil War, I’m still curious to find out.

*** (out of four)

Alice Through the Looking Glass Box Office Prediction

Nowadays, moviegoers are accustomed to a yearly live-action remake of a Disney classic in the form of your Malificent‘s, Cinderella‘s, and Jungle Book‘s. Yet it was six years ago that the ball really got rolling when Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland opened to a fantastic $116 million on its way to a $334 million domestic haul.

Now the Disney machine (who’s been having a banner 2016) has produced the sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass and it brings back Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska as the title character, Anne Hathaway as The White Queen, and Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen. Sacha Baron Cohen and Rhys Ifans join the party. Tim Burton opted not to return to directorial duties (he executive produces) and James Bobin, who made the Muppets reboot, fills that role.

Competition over Memorial Day weekend is considerable with X-Men: Apocalypse also debuting. The biggest hurdle Alice faces could be the six-year gap that it took to produce this follow-up. The original didn’t receive very positive reviews and the story for Looking Glass is even worse with a current 27% Rotten Tomatoes score. I could actually see this performing closely to what another long gestating sequel accomplished over Memorial Day 2012 when Men in Black 3 earned $54 million for the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $69 million for the four-day holiday frame.

Alice Through the Looking Glass opening weekend prediction: $53.6 million (Friday to Sunday), $67.7 million (Friday to Monday)

For my X-Men Apocalypse prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/18/x-men-apocalypse-box-office-prediction/

 

X-Men: Apocalypse Box Office Prediction

The Mutants are back in the multiplex as X-Men: Apocalypse hits screens this Memorial Day weekend. Bryan Singer (who directed the first two well-regarded entries in the original trilogy and 2014’s Days of Future Past) is back behind the camera with franchise regulars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Rose Byrne returning, in addition to Oscar Isaac and Olivia Munn.

The pic is likely to rule the holiday weekend, but it is worth noting that competition is fiercer than two years ago when Future Past debuted on the same weekend. In 2014, the only other newcomer was the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore dud Blended. This time around, it’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, another high-profile sequel.

This is the 8th X-Men franchise flick in the 21st century (counting the two stand-alone Wolverine features) and the best opening so far is ironically 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Despite being generally regarded as the worst of the X series, it premiered to $102 million over that year’s Memorial Day Weekend from Friday to Sunday with $122 million for the four-day holiday frame. Days of Future Past was second with a $90 million Friday to Sunday and $110 million Friday to Monday.

Apocalypse would love to match Last Stand‘s debut or exceed it and there’s another common bond between them. This is the third movie in the current trilogy that began with 2011’s X-Men: First Class and like Stand, it’s receiving the weakest reviews. First Class earned an 87% Rotten Tomatoes score. Future Past improved slightly with 91%. Apocalypse currently sits at just 53%. The somewhat negative word of mouth and more significant competition could cause this to gross under what Past managed. However, I don’t think it’ll be much under.

I look for Apocalypse to post a low to mid-80s start for the traditional three-day with a gross just eclipsing the century mark for the holiday weekend.

X-Men: Apocalypse opening weekend prediction: $82.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $100.4 million (Friday to Monday)

For my Alice Through the Looking Glass prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/18/alice-through-the-looking-glass-box-office-prediction/