CHiPs Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Note (03/23): I am revising down my box office estimate to $8.4 million names on putrid reviews and lowered expectations.

A film that has challenged my ability to properly use capital and lower case letters in its title, CHiPs opens in theaters next weekend. The buddy cop comedy is a more humorous take on the 1970s-80s TV series that starred Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada. Taking over their roles as California highway patrolmen are Dax Shepard (who also directs) and Michael Pena. Costars include Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Brody, and Shepard’s real-life spouse Kristen Bell.

Warner Bros. originally had this pegged as a late summer release before bumping it to March. I don’t foresee this approaching, say, Starsky and Hutch numbers from 2004. That was also based on a buddy cop series from the same era, but its headliners Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson had considerably more drawing power at the time than Shepard and Pena.

The good news for the studio: CHiPs comes with a reported budget of just $25 million. I believe this vehicle could achieve over half of that in its opening weekend. That would put it behind other newbies Power Rangers and Life, but it’s not too shabby.

CHiPs opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million (prediction changed from $13.2M)

For my Power Rangers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/power-rangers-box-office-prediction/

For my Life prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/life-box-office-prediction/

Life Box Office Prediction

Movies with outer space/alien themes have been quite the hot commodity as of late with blockbusters such as Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, and Arrival. Next weekend, Daniel Espinosa’s Life will try and join their ranks for what could be an uphill battle.

The pic pits a crew from the International Space Station against an alien creature who may have greater intelligence than they do. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson headline. This marks director Espinosa’s second collaboration with Reynolds after 2012’s Safe House.

Audiences have certainly had plenty of this type of material in recent years and I’m not sure the trailers and TV spots for Life stand out. It certainly appears unlikely to match the opening weekend grosses of the other genre titles listed above. On the other hand, the participation of Reynolds (hot off Deadpool) won’t hurt and a high teens to mid 20s lift off seems most probable. That should put it firmly in third behind the second weekend of Beauty and the Beast and premiere of Power Rangers.

Life opening weekend prediction: $19.1 million

For my Power Rangers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/power-rangers-box-office-prediction/

For my CHiPs prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/16/chips-box-office-prediction/

Power Rangers Box Office Prediction

Lionsgate is hoping that a wave of 90s nostalgia will propel Power Rangers to powerful grosses when it debuts next weekend. The reported $105 million product is a reboot of the popular kids cartoon that spawned two (not very well-regarded) pics in the mid 1990s.

Franchise creator Haim Saban produces this venture with Dean Israelite directing. A cast of relative unknowns (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin) play our young title characters. More familiar faces including Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, and the voice of Bill Hader are among the supporting cast.

Rangers is banking on capturing the same audience that responded well to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles refresh recently. Its 2014 return spawned a much more than expected $65 million opening. Last year’s sequel, Out of the Shadows, didn’t measure up with a $35 million premiere.

My instinct is that Power Rangers could certainly over perform, but it will likely reach the mid 30s that Shadows accomplished. I believe those initial Turtles numbers could be unreachable. The earlier Rangers flicks weren’t huge successes. In 1995, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers made $13 million out of the gate with an eventual $38M overall tally. Its spin-off two years later, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, was an outright flop with only $8 million total domestically.

Bottom line: I believe the nostalgia factor will come into play and should be enough to make this is a solid second behind the sophomore weekend of Beauty and the Beast.

Power Rangers opening weekend prediction: $33.8 million

For my Life prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/15/life-box-office-prediction/

For my CHiPs prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/16/chips-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: March 17-19

Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast looks to dominate the box office this weekend as The Belko Experiment also debuts with what will likely be a soft opening. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/08/beauty-and-the-beast-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/10/the-belko-experiment-box-office-prediction/

It should be a fascinating weekend to track as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday and a good portion of the East Coast might be digging out of expected blizzard like conditions. Even with those potential obstacles, I’m still projecting Beast will achieve a monstrous opening that would place it 10th in all-time domestic debuts.

As for Belko, my $3.2 million projection would put it in a weak seventh place.

Regarding holdovers, Kong: Skull Island premiered above expectations (a trend in the month of March) and looks to lose in the mid-high 50s in weekend #2. Logan, Get Out, and The Shack should populate the rest of the top five.

And with that, my projections for the weekend:

1. Beauty and the Beast

Predicted Gross: $158.8 million

2. Kong: Skull Island

Predicted Gross: $25.6 million (representing a drop of 58%)

3. Logan

Predicted Gross: $17.8 million (representing a drop of 53%)

4. Get Out

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million (representing a drop of 30%)

5. The Shack

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million (representing a drop of 37%)

Box Office Results (March 10-12)

Kong: Skull Island exceeded most prognosticators estimates with a robust $61 million, well above my $48.6M prediction. The ape tale was assisted by mostly positive reviews and look for the title character to return vs. Godzilla in three years.

Logan dropped to second in its sophomore weekend with $38.1 million, a bit shy of my $42.5M projection. The acclaimed comic book pic is up to $152M thus far.

Get Out continued its stunning grosses with $20.7 million for  third place – on track with my take of $19.8M. It’s up to $110M.

The Shack held nicely in weekend #2 with $10 million (I said $10.7M) for $32M total. The Lego Batman Movie rounded out the top five with $7.6 million compared to my $6.8M guesstimate. The domestic total for it is $158M.

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

Oscar Watch: Personal Shopper

The French psychologist thriller Personal Shopper from director Olivier Assayas has hit domestic theaters in limited release this weekend. It was nearly a year ago that eyeballs first saw it at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. Assayas was honored with the Best Director Award, which he shared with another filmmaker.

Now that stateside audiences are getting a look at it, the buzz for its star Kristen Stewart is increasing. Many critics are calling it her finest work. She plays the title character – an American working for a celebrity in Paris in this pic said to have supernatural overtones. Shopper stands at 78% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stewart has worked with Assayas before in Clouds of Sils Maria, which also whipped up some chatter for an Academy nod for the actress. It didn’t pan out then and may not here, but look for her name to be in the mix as the months roll along.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Who Should Play Donald Trump?

This news should come as no surprise as HBO has announced they will be producing a miniseries in the near future focusing on the 2016 Presidential Election. The effort will come from the team behind Game Change, which told the tale of Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore) in her quest to become John McCain’s (Ed Harris) VP in 2008. Game director Jay Roach will be behind the camera.

There is little doubt the project will heavily focus on the man who became the 45th President of the United States. So that begs the question: who will play Donald Trump? I imagine this will be the focus on much speculation until an announcement is made, so I’ll get in on it too. I’ve come up with a dozen interesting choices outlined in this here post. However, before we move to that, let’s discuss some choices that are sure to bandied about.

Name one: Alec Baldwin. Of course, he may be the first actor people think of due to his portrayal of the President on SNL. Yet I find it extremely unlikely that Baldwin would be interested (he’s already announced his impression of POTUS on SNL is soon coming to an end). The filmmakers themselves also might not be wild about casting the performer only known for an exaggerated comedic take on Trump.

Then there’s some big names that might be given the role if they’re interested. Two that spring to mind immediately: Kevin Spacey and Bryan Cranston. Here’s another – Matthew McConaughey. After all, he’s worked with HBO before on “True Detective”.

Yet I wish to delve a bit deeper into Hollywood’s rolodex for some other names. Here’s a dozen of them for your consideration:

Tom Berenger

This choice seems unlikely as he’s probably not a big enough name anymore, but he’s the right age (67) and he does kind of bear a resemblance to POTUS. It’s been over three decades since Berenger was Oscar nominated for Platoon, but he’s popped up occasionally in recent years in pics like Training Day and Inception. 

Kenneth Branagh

The Irish actor has been known more lately for his work behind the camera, including 2015’s Cinderella. Later this year, he directs and stars in the remake of Murder on the Orient Express. That should be a high-profile project and could dovetail well into this very high-profile experience.

Kevin Costner

Coming off a supporting role in the blockbuster Hidden Figures, I question whether Costner could get the look down. Yet he’s a big star who HBO would probably consider.

Russell Crowe

This is a possible example of HBO going with the Oscar winner if he wants to do it. Crowe would be a huge actor to cast in the part and he could potentially add Emmy winner to his award shelf.

Thomas Haden Church

The Oscar nominee for 2004’s Sideways is currently on HBO right now alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in “Divorce”. I could see him pulling off the look for Trump and see him as an intriguing prospect. Possible issue: big enough name?

Greg Kinnear

Another Academy Award nominee for 1997’s As Good As It Gets, it’s been awhile since Kinnear has had a major showcase role. I could see him totally pulling this off and he’s near the top of my choices.

Viggo Mortensen

Mr. Mortensen could be a fascinating pick and he’s coming fresh off an Oscar nod for Captain Fantastic. Like Kinnear, this pick would fascinate me.

Edward Norton

Like Crowe, this would be an example of a major movie star taking on the part. Norton can be a chameleon and I like this idea.

Bob Odenkirk

The Emmy winner for “Better Call Saul” could nail this part, I suspect. He’s shown both dramatic and comedic chops in his body of work.

Kurt Russell

Russell is simply one of my favorite actors period. He’s more versatile than he gets credit for and I totally buy him making this work.

James Spader

Another high-profile choice due to his exposure on “The Blacklist”, he’s toward the top of my personal choices.

Owen Wilson

Of all the choices here, I could really see him getting the look down. The big question: could his very distinctive voice pull off the tones of The Donald?

So there you have it! What actors not mentioned do you feel could step into the President’s shoes? And how about this question: how will Donald Trump react to his casting on Twitter??

 

The Belko Experiment Box Office Prediction

Next weekend, the horror thriller The Belko Experiment debuts in theaters and it will attempt to serve as counter programming to Disney’s likely box office behemoth Beauty and the Beast. That could be an uphill battle.

Belko comes from director Greg McLean, who last helmed 2016’s underwhelming performer The Darkness. Its screenwriter is of more note – James Gunn, who directed Guardians of the Galaxy and its upcoming May sequel. The pic is set in Bogota, Columbia with a group of employees pitted against one another in a violent social experiment. Stars include John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, and Michael Rooker.

This debuted last fall at the Toronto Film Festival to so-so buzz and it currently sits at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes. The marketing campaign has been rather soft and it’s only slated to open on about 1200 screens.

Add that up and I believe Belko will debut poorly and fade quickly.

The Belko Experiment opening weekend prediction: $3.2 million

For my Beauty and the Beast prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/08/beauty-and-the-beast-box-office-prediction/

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

XMen: Apocalypse isn’t the only disappointing entry in the franchise, but it’s the only one directed by Bryan Singer that I’d classify as such. He directed the first two X entries in 2000 and 2002 and got the series off to a satisfying start. Singer would return in 2014 with Days of Future Past to mostly pleasing results. Apocalypse may have you feeling blue about where this series is at. The villain is shrug worthy, some of the actors seem to not be giving it their all, and some of the CG effects are questionable at best. It also makes the error of providing dull backstory material for characters we didn’t really need to know backstory for.

When Singer left the franchise for the first time in 2002, Brett Ratner took over with The Last Stand in 2006 and was crucified for his efforts. In fact, when Singer returned in 2014, much of Future Past erased Last Stand. Maybe Apocalypse is a bit of revenge for Ratner, because it’s worse than his X-perience. Quite a bit worse actually. Stand doesn’t quite deserve its bad reputation and Apocalypse does.

The whole proceedings get off to a shaky start with a prologue set in Egypt where the first believed mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, in heavy and ugly makeup) is entombed by his enemies. Flash to centuries later and it’s 1983. When Apocalypse breaks out of his long slumber, he is hell bent on exacting revenge on the human race and showing off his many mutant abilities. He doesn’t comment on the awful 80s fashion, but it probably doesn’t make him any more fond of the people he seeks to destroy.

Fighting Apocalypse are many familiar X-Men, including Professor X (James McAvoy, still with hair for awhile) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). Meanwhile, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is laying low in Poland working in factory with lots of metal (oh the temptations!). He has a wife and daughter and a tragic family scene between them is actually rather well handled. While this trio of movie stars playing the most liked X characters get their screen time, Simon Kinberg’s screenplay also spends an unnecessary amount of ink on backstories for Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Storm (younger versions of them all). These are unsought subplots that feel like filler and not much else. We also get a young Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) storyline that should be more interesting than it is.

All in all, there’s simply nothing very exciting about Apocalypse. Lawrence seems downright bored and her performance reflects that. Oscar Isaac is a tremendously talented performer who’s utterly wasted in a one-note villain role. The 60s vibe worked in X-Men: First Class and the 70s era feel of Future Past was pretty cool. Here, the 80s references add little.

There’s a sequence early on when Jean and friends leave Return of the Jedi disappointed and says everyone knows that the third one in a series is always the worst. Was screenwriter Simon Kinberg trying to warn us? Apocalypse isn’t terrible, but it’s the low point of this series so far.

** (out of four)

Beauty and the Beast Box Office Prediction

Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters next weekend and it looks poised for quite a fantastic opening. Bill Condon serves behind the camera (he directed the last two Twilight installments recently) with Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Costars include Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Emma Thompson.

The Mouse Factory has had tremendous success with their reboots of their classic animated tales. 2014’s Maleficent took in $241 million stateside. The following year, Cinderella cleared $200 million. Last year’s The Jungle Book scored even more impressively with $364 million.

Beauty stands a great shot at outdoing them all. For starters, the 1991 original is beloved (it was the first animated feature to nab a Best Picture nomination). The Disney marketing machine has been in high gear and turnout among youngsters and females in particular should be substantial. Reviews (while not gushing) have been solid and it stands at 73% on Rotten Tomatoes.

There is little doubt that this will post 2017’s largest opening so far. Just how high can it go? I am predicting it will achieve one of the top ten domestic premieres of all time. My estimate puts it at #10, right in between The Dark Knight Rises and The Dark Knight for a truly beast mode roll out.

Beauty and the Beast opening weekend prediction: $158.8 million

For my The Belko Experiment prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/03/10/the-belko-experiment-box-office-prediction/

 

Oscar Watch: Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s live-action version of their acclaimed 1991 animated tale (as old as time) Beauty and the Beast is out next weekend. It’s a safe bet that it makes a killing at the box office. It could approach the $364 million territory that The Jungle Book achieved last year and will almost certainly post 2017’s biggest opening thus far, overtaking Logan.

Let’s not forget: the quarter century plus version of Belle and her Beastly beau was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture. Any chance that this rendering of the classic story could follow suit?

Short answer: no. Beast currently sits at 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a decent score but way under the 95% reached by Jungle and that couldn’t get a Picture nod. That said, Beauty could be a factor in some down the line categories. Production Design, Visual Effects, and Makeup and Hairstyling are all possibilities. Where it’s most likely to show up is in Costume Design, where the studio’s recent remakes of Cinderella and Maleficent both scored nominations.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…