The 22nd Pixar pic in the past quarter century debuts next weekend with Onward. The fantasy flick comes from director Dan Scanlon, who also made the sequel Monsters University in 2013. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt lead a voice cast that includes Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Ali Wong, Lena Waithe, Mel Rodriguez, Wilmer Valderrama, Tracey Ullman, Dave Foley, and John Ratzenberger.
Per usual for Pixar, reviews are strong with a current 85% Rotten Tomatoes score. Some critics have said this isn’t quite in the league of their classics. Interestingly, this is the first selection from the studio not to open in either summer or fall (with the vast majority having premiered in June or November).
That could have the effect of making Onward not seem like the event debut that most Pixar offerings are. There is also some family competition from holdovers Sonic the Hedgehog and The Call of the Wild. Still, Disney knows how to market their product. Only three of the Pixar titles that had wide releases have made under $50 million out of the gate. I expect this will top that, but $60 million could be a slight reach. I’ll say mid 50s is the likely scenario – on par with non-Pixar Mouse Factory pictures such as Big Hero 6 and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
As February ends and March begins at the box office, we have one new wide release out this weekend. Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man with Elisabeth Moss hopes to reverse the 2020 trend of horror pics posting unimpressive grosses. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
With impressive early word-of-mouth, I’m estimating that Invisible will be quite visible to genre fans and easily top the charts with a low to mid 30s haul. If that occurs, it will more than quadruple its measly $7 million budget out of the gate.
The battle for #2 should be closer with holdovers Sonic the Hedgehog and The Call of the Wild, which exceeded expectations in its start (more on that below). I’ll give Sonic a slight edge. The rest of the top five should consist of returnees Bad Boys for Life and Birds of Prey. And with that, my take on the frame ahead:
1. The Invisible Man
Predicted Gross: $33.8 million
2. Sonic the Hedgehog
Predicted Gross: $14.9 million
3. The Call of the Wild
Predicted Gross: $14.5 million
4. Bad Boys for Life
Predicted Gross: $3.6 million
5. Birds of Prey
Predicted Gross: $3.2 million
Box Office Results (February 21-23)
Sonic the Hedgehog was expected to easily repeat at #1 in its sophomore outing. However, the Sega based action comedy just held onto the top spot at $26.1 million (a bit under my $30.2 million projection). The film has still outperformed estimates as it stands at $106 million after ten days.
The close call came at the hands of The Call of the Wild. Harrison Ford and his CGI hound was second and debuted well at the top of its range with $24.7 million. I was much lower at $14.6 million. The downside? Call has a reported budget of $125 million.
Birds of Prey was third with $6.8 million compared to my $7.9 million estimate. In three weeks, the disappointing DC flick is at $72 million.
Bad Boys for Life was fourth at $5.8 million (I said $6.5 million) as it nears the double century mark with $191 million.
Finally, Brahms: The Boy II was fifth and also made $5.8 million. The sequel is another example of horror fans tuning out this year. My forecast of $5.5 million was on target.
Horror pics have faced a tough road so far in 2020 as The Grudge, The Turning, Gretel & Hansel, and Fantasy Island have all posted lackluster debuts. This weekend, I don’t see the trend stopping with Brahms: The Boy II. I do see it changing next Friday with The Invisible Man. From director Leigh Whannell (who recently made Insidious: Chapter 3 and Upgrade), this is an update of the H.G. Wells novel that was turned into a classic 1933 James Whale tale. Elisabeth Moss (who co-starred in last year’s Us) headlines a cast that includes Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer.
This project was originally intended as a vehicle for Johnny Depp as part of Universal’s plans for a franchise that began with 2017’s The Mummy. When that pic brought in less than expected returns, the monster series was scrapped. The Invisible Man has undergone a significant transformation with Blumhouse co-producing. Per usual with that production company, the budget is tiny (a reported $7 million).
Early word-of-mouth is strong with screening members reporting a tense and effective crowd pleaser. Whannell appears to be a filmmaker on the upswing and Moss certainly has her fans from The Handmaid’s Tale and more.
I believe Invisible will be quite visible on the radar screens of genre moviegoers and break the streak of scary disappointments over the past few weeks. A gross of over $30 million might be the result.
The Invisible Man opening weekend prediction: $33.8 million
After a fantastic opening over the long weekend, Sonic the Hedgehog looks to fend off two new challengers: Harrison Ford and his CGI dog in The Call of the Wild and horror sequel Brahms: The Boy II with Katie Holmes. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:
Sonic might lose about half its Friday to Sunday premiere audience, but that should be enough to easily top the charts for the second frame in a row. The runner-up position should go to Wild, but with a muted low teens start. Birds of Prey is likely to fall from second position to third.
I haven’t seen much anticipation for the return of Brahms and have it in fifth place. My guess is that the drop for Bad Boys for Life should be less than the sophomore frame falls of Fantasy Island and The Photograph. I look for both of them to fall out of the top five.
And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:
1. Sonic the Hedgehog
Predicted Gross: $30.2 million
2. The Call of the Wild
Predicted Gross: $14.6 million
3. Birds of Prey
Predicted Gross: $7.9 million
4. Bad Boys for Life
Predicted Gross: $6.5 million
5. Brahms: The Boy II
Predicted Gross: $5.5 million
Box Office Results (February 14-17)
Topping Detective Pikachu for the all-time best video game adapted debut, Sonic the Hedgehog opened at the very highest end of expectations over the Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day frame. From Friday to Monday, the Jim Carrey led pic took in $70 million and that blasted past my meager $51.8 million projection. As mentioned above, it should repeat in first this weekend.
Birds of Prey was second with $19.7 million, on target with my $19.5 million estimate. Its unimpressive two-week tally is $61 million as it should struggle to reach the century mark.
Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island was third at $13.7 million, which isn’t bad considering its low budget. I was a tad lower at $11.6 million. Look for it to fade quickly.
Romantic drama The Photograph was fourth and came in at the low end of its range with $13.2 million. I gave it more credit with a $17.4 million projection. My suspicion is that this Photograph fades fast as well.
Rounding out the top five was Bad Boys for Life with $13.1 million with a strong hold and well ahead of my $10 million estimate. The threequel is up to $183 million.
Finally, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Will Ferrell sputtered in 10th with $5.1 million. It did post slightly ahead of my $4.1 million forecast.
Released four years ago, horror pic The Boy managed to gross its budget in the first three days of release. Even though audiences and critics were generally unimpressed, we now have the sequel Brahms: The Boy II out next weekend. William Brent Bell is back in the director’s chair with Katie Holmes in the lead. Costars include Ralph Ineson and Owain Yeoman.
Originally slated for last summer and then December, Brahms looks to cater to fright fest fans who have shunned their offerings thus far in 2020. The Grudge opened to $11.4 million and that middling number was a high point. The Turning followed with $6.9 million and then Gretel & Hansel with $6.1 million.
The Boy made $10.8 million for its start in January 2016 with an eventual $35 million domestic gross. I just don’t see much anticipation for the follow-up and will predict it begins with just over half of its predecessor’s number. For horror enthusiasts, it looks like the following weekend’s The Invisible Man will be the first genre success of the year. Don’t count on Brahms to be much of one.
Brahms: The Boy II opening weekend prediction: $5.5 million
For my The Call of the Wild prediction, click here:
Harrison Ford and a furry friend that isn’t Chewbacca team up for The Call of the Wild next weekend. Based on Jack London’s 1903 adventure book, the wilderness tale pairing Ford with canine pal Buck comes from director Chris Sanders. It’s his live-action debut, but he’s had success making animated features including The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon. Costars include Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, and Bradley Whitford.
Coming from the newly named 20th Century Studios (now owned by Disney), Wild is a rather large gamble. The price tag reportedly tops $100 million and that’s steep considering the source material may not be as familiar to some of the young audience it is counting on. To add to that, Sonic the Hedgehog will be in its sophomore frame and that could cut into the crowd.
Older viewers turning out for Ford and the short novel it’s based on could potentially get this to top of its range ($20 million). Yet my feeling is low to mid teens is most likely.
The Call of the Wild opening weekend prediction: $14.6 million
Blogger’s Note (02/12): My Sonic the Hedgehog estimate has risen significantly from $38.7 million to $51.8 million
It’s a four-day weekend at the box office with four new titles premiering: video game adaptation Sonic the Hedgehog, low-budget Blumhouse horror pic Fantasy Island, romantic drama The Photograph with Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield,and the Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Will Ferrell comedic drama Downhill. You can peruse my detailed individual prediction posts on the quartet here:
Let’s start with Downhill, which screened last month at Sundance to middling reviews. With a small 1500 theater count, my $4.1 projection leaves it outside of the top five.
As for the rest of the newbie trio, I expect them to be in the high five. Sonic should easily be the leader with my high 30s forecast, dropping the underwhelming Birds of Prey (more on that below) to #2.
The Photograph has breakout potential and my low teens estimate puts it in third. I’m skeptical that Fantasy Island finishes higher than fourth in the low double digits. The five spot could be a contest between holdovers Bad Boys for Life and 1917, which could dip a bit more than I originally anticipated since it lost Best Picture to Parasite.
And with that, my take on the long weekend:
1. Sonic the Hedgehog
Predicted Gross: $51.8 million
2. Birds of Prey
Predicted Gross: $19.5 million
3. The Photograph
Predicted Gross: $17.4 million
4. Fantasy Island
Predicted Gross: $11.6 million
5. Bad Boys for Life
Predicted Gross: $10 million
Box Office Results (February 7-9)
As mentioned, it was a lackluster start for DC Extended Universe spin-off Birds of Prey with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn character. Expected to gross around $50 million, the pic got its wings clipped with only $33 million, way under my $55.6 million prediction. Despite solid reviews, viewers weren’t as keen to see it as anticipated.
With Birds as the only new release over the weekend, holdovers all held better than I assumed. Bad Boys for Life dropped to second after three weeks in first with $12 million compared to my $9.8 million take. Total is $166 million.
1917 was third with $9.2 million, above my $7.1 million projection as it has reached $132 million thus far.
Dolittle was fourth at $6.5 million (I said $4.8 million) for $63 million overall as the flop will fail to make the century club.
Jumanji: The Next Level rounded out the top five at $5.5 million (I went with $4.5 million). The sequel is about to hit the triple century mark at $298 million.