Batman Forever Ago: A Quarter Century Box Office Report

Earlier this week (on Tuesday), Batman Forever celebrated its 25th anniversary of release. For those who may not recall, this was when Joel Schumacher took over the franchise from Tim Burton and Val Kilmer replaced Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader. Tommy Lee Jones (coming off an Oscar for The Fugitive) and Jim Carrey (the hottest comedic star in America after the one-two-three punch of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber) costarred as villains Two-Face and The Riddler, respectively. Nicole Kidman was in the mix as Bruce Wayne/Batman’s love interest and Chris O’Donnell was introduced as Robin. Sounds like a recipe for a box office bonanza right? Indeed it was.

In mid June 1995, Forever scored the best opening weekend of all time and was the first feature to make over $50 million in its first three days. The $52.7 million tally topped the previous record holder from two summers before (a little something called Jurassic Park). Forever would hold the title for two years before being toppled by… The Lost World: Jurassic Park. 

The all-time premiere record has since changed 11 times, including in 2008 with another Batflick The Dark Knight at $158 million. The current holder is Avengers: Endgame at $357 million. And that right there shows how much times have changed. In a quarter century, the first frame of Endgame made 7x that of Forever. Higher ticket prices are certainly a factor. Yet in 25 years, Val Kilmer’s grapples with Jim Carrey went from a highest ever start to now 225th. By the way, 224th place belongs to… The Lego Batman Movie! And now, Forever lags behind such forgettable material as The Nun, The Karate Kid remake, Valentine’s Day, and DC’s own hugely disappointing Green Lantern.

Speaking of disappointing, I’m certainly of the opinion that Forever was just that as far as quality. It’s not nearly as bad at what followed with Schumacher’s sequel Batman & Robin. However, it was a big letdown from what Burton accomplished before and what Christopher Nolan achieved a decade later with the start of The Dark Knight trilogy. What remains is an interesting snapshot in time when a $50 million debut was new territory and it took the Bat Signal (even a rather mediocre one) to get there.

Unhinged Makes Its Move

There was movie news today and it was significant. It may cause a thriller centered on the “Driver from Hell” to become a trivia answer and a historical footnote. The upstart Solstice Studios has announced that Unhinged, which casts Russell Crowe as a psychopath with serious road rage issues, will park into theaters on July 1.

This would normally not be a post worthy item. However, by vaulting its release date from September to early July, Unhinged is primed to be the first major new theatrical item to open wide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obviously, significant questions abound. How many theaters will be operating at the time? Will some states not even have multiplexes even open? Most importantly, will audiences be ready to make their trip to see Mr. Crowe terrorize his fellow motorists?

The last couple of months has seen an unprecedented shift in release dates for pictures. Many summer blockbusters moved to fall or 2021. That has caused some ’21 releases to push back to 2022. It’s been a startling domino effect.

However, Unhinged breaks the streak by actually moving up and becoming a potential litmus test for the remainder of summer and calendar year as a whole. And July still has some heavy hitters that have yet to blink, most notably Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s live-action Mulan treatment. How will it go? Only time will tell.

A Quiet Place Part II Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (03/12): In what is becoming a new reality due to the COVID-19, the release of this film has been delayed indefinitely from its 03/20 opening. I’ll keep the prediction up, but certainly revisions are likely to be made once a future release date is secured.

Arriving two years after its predecessor made serious noise at the box office, A Quiet Place Part II hits theaters next weekend. The horror sequel to the acclaimed 2018 blockbuster sees John Krasinski returning as writer/director with his spouse Emily Blunt headlining. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are back as her children. New cast members include Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou.

The original struck a loud chord with audiences and critics with a $50 million opening. Part one legged out impressively for its genre with an eventual $188 million overall domestic haul. It even earned some awards attention with Blunt winning a Supporting Actress SAG trophy.

All horror titles not named The Invisible Man have faced a tough road at multiplexes in 2020. However, with the first feature fresh in their minds, audiences should turn out for this follow-up. The X factor is, of course, worldwide events and this is likely to be a recurring theme in my projections for the foreseeable future. The impact of the Coronavirus on the moviegoing public is playing out in real time. At present, I will say Part II makes a few million under what the first accomplished.

A Quiet Place Part II opening weekend prediction: $42.5 million

March 13-15 Box Office Predictions

Uncertainty at the box office persists this weekend as three new titles open in wide release: the faith-based drama I Still Believe, comic book based Vin Diesel action pic Bloodshot, and Blumhouse thriller The Hunt. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/03/i-still-believe-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/04/bloodshot-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/the-hunt-box-office-prediction/

Pixar’s Onward should manage a second frame atop the charts. However, a drop of close to 50% could occur and that would mean high teens or low 20s. Of the newcomers, I Still Believe looks poised for runner-up status as its core Christian audience should turn out (similar to 2018’s I Can Only Imagine).

As for Bloodshot and The Hunt, I question whether they can reach double digits and there could be a battle in the 3-5 slots between them and holdover The Invisible Man. The uncertainty I speak of is, of course, due to current events. The Coronavirus impact on the moviegoing public is playing out as we speak and is certainly a factor to consider with estimates.

And with that, my top 5 take:

1. Onward

Predicted Gross: $19.8 million

2. I Still Believe

Predicted Gross: $14.6 million

3. Bloodshot

Predicted Gross: $9.6 million

4. The Invisible Man

Predicted Gross: $8 million

5. The Hunt

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million

Box Office Results (March 6-8)

One doesn’t expect Pixar to have an underwhelming start at multiplexes, but that’s precisely what happened with Onward. Its $39.1 million premiere marks the weakest wide rollout in the studio’s modern era. It’s well under my $54.3 million estimate. Reviews that weren’t as gushing as their other titles may have contributed, in addition to previously mentioned outside factors.

The Invisible Man dropped to second with $15.1 million, a bit under my $17.2 million projection. The two-week total is $52 million against the minor $7 million budget.

Sports drama The Way Back with Ben Affleck opened in third and right in line with expectations with $8.1 million (I said $8.3 million).

Family fare filled the rest of the top 5 as Sonic the Hedgehog was fourth at $7.7 million compared to my $9 million take for $140 million overall. The Call of the Wild was fifth with $6.7 million (I said $7.1 million) for $57 million at press time.

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

My Spy Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (03/07): As of today, the release date for My Spy has been pushed back (again) from March 13th to April 17th. I am keeping the post up with my current $8 million prediction, but will post updates if the projection moves up or down.

From Guardians of the Galaxy to guarding a sassy 9-year-old girl, Dave Bautista stars in the action comedy My Spy next weekend. From director Peter Segal, maker of such hits as Tommy Boy, 50 First Dates, and Get Smart, the supporting cast includes newcomer Chloe Coleman, Kristin Schaal, and Ken Jeong.

Reviews are fairly decent with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 64%. The pic has experienced delays as it was originally slated for last summer and then January. While Bautista is certainly recognizable from his wrestling days and role as Drax in the Guardians and Avengers series, he’s yet to prove he can open a picture. He’s not exactly in Dwayne Johnson territory.

A better comp could be last November’s Playing with Fire starring John Cena, which also catered to a family crowd. It opened with just under $13 million. However, Fire premiered during a more fruitful box office period. Competition is also considerable with the second weekend of Pixar’s Onward. Due to these factors, I spy a gross under double digits.

My Spy opening weekend prediction: $8 million

For my I Still Believe prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/03/i-still-believe-box-office-prediction/

For my Bloodshot prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/04/bloodshot-box-office-prediction/

For my The Hunt prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/the-hunt-box-office-prediction/

The Hunt Box Office Prediction

After being pushed back several months due to its violent subject matter, Blumhouse’s thriller The Hunt debuts next weekend. Based loosely on the nearly century old story “The Most Dangerous Game”, the pic comes from director Craig Zobel. The cast includes Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Hilary Swank, and Justin Hartley.

As is the case with most Blumhouse Productions, this is a low budget venture with a reported price tag of $15 million. Damon Lindelof, creator of Lost, HBO’s Watchmen, and numerous film scripts, has cowriting credit.

The satiric tale was originally scheduled for September of last year before being delayed following the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings. The Friday the 13th reschedule could manage to capitalize on its past publicity, but I question whether it will. I believe The Hunt may not achieve double digits for its start.

The Hunt opening weekend prediction: $7.7 million

For my I Still Believe prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/03/i-still-believe-box-office-prediction/

For my Bloodshot prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/04/bloodshot-box-office-prediction/

For my My Spy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/my-spy-box-office-prediction/

Bloodshot Box Office Prediction

Two months before F9 (the latest edition of his wildly successful Fast & Furious franchise) debuts, Vin Diesel hopes to kick off a new series with Bloodshot next weekend. Based on the Valiant Comics superhero, Diesel is tasked with the title role in this directorial debut from David S.F. Wilson. The supporting casts includes Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, and Guy Pearce.

Diesel is certainly a franchise man with three under his belt: Furious, xXx, and the Riddick pics (four if you count his voice work as Groot in the MCU). The $42 million budget is low for the genre and probably the catering cost for an Avengers epic. So while the pic hopes international grosses make it profitable, this could struggle stateside.

Outside of the aforementioned films, Diesel has had some disappointments. 2015’s The Last Witch Hunter was developed with sequels in mind, but sputtered with just under $11 million for its start. 2008’s Babylon A.D. couldn’t even reach double digits in its premiere.

With muted buzz, I expect Bloodshot to fire blanks with high single to low double digits. At least the headliner has his signature role on deck in short order.

Bloodshot opening weekend prediction: $9.6 million

For my I Still Believe prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/03/i-still-believe-box-office-prediction/

For my The Hunt prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/the-hunt-box-office-prediction/

For my My Spy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/my-spy-box-office-prediction/

I Still Believe Box Office Prediction

Two years after their faith-based drama centered on a song shocked box office prognosticators, the brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin are back with I Still Believe. This follow-up is also catering to Christian audiences and has a musical inspiration. A biographical story focused on singer Jeremy Camp, the pic finds KJ Apa playing him with a supporting cast including Britt Robertson, Gary Sinise, and Shania Twain.

The aforementioned feature from the Erwins was I Can Only Imagine and it certainly impressed moviegoers much. Released in the same mid March frame, Imagine took in an unexpected $17 million out of the gate and $83 million overall domestically. That was with a meager $7 million budget.

Believe hits IMAX screens next Wednesday with the traditional wide release on Friday. Faith-based flicks are hard to project and we have seen examples of over and under performances in recent times. Yet with the pedigree involved, I can easily believe this gets close or matches to what Imagine accomplished 2018. With the two extra days of release on the giant screen format, I’ll put it just under.

I Still Believe opening weekend prediction: $14.6 million

For my Bloodshot prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/04/bloodshot-box-office-prediction/

For my The Hunt prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/the-hunt-box-office-prediction/

For my My Spy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/05/my-spy-box-office-prediction/

March 6-8 Box Office Predictions

March ushers in two new releases with Pixar’s Onward featuring the vocal stylings of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt and the sports drama The Way Back with Ben Affleck. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the pair here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/02/27/onward-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/02/27/the-way-back-box-office-prediction/

The latest Pixar adventure is the first to be released outside of the summer or winter frames. This lends to some uncertainty about the opening range. Reviews are sturdy, but with many critics saying it’s not quite up to the level of their classics. Onward isn’t anticipated to hit the highest levels of the studio’s debuts either, but upwards of $50 million is still likely.

The Way Back could struggle to find an audience. I will say there’s a chance this could over perform with adult audiences and sports fans as Mr. Affleck has been making the rounds on ESPN and similar platforms. However, the probable scenario is a gross under double digits.

As for holdovers, The Invisible Man finally broke the 2020 horror glut and was quite visible with genre fans (more on that below). With solid word-of-mouth, this could avoid the hefty sophomore drop-offs that many scary pics experience (especially with no real competition for its audience). I’m predicting a slide of only around 40% and an easy runner-up showing.

Sonic the Hedgehog and The Call of the Wild should each dip in the mid 40s with the newly arrived Pixar competition. And with that, my top 5 take:

1. Onward

Predicted Gross: $54.3 million

2. The Invisible Man

Predicted Gross: $17.2 million

3. Sonic the Hedgehog

Predicted Gross: $9 million

4. The Way Back

Predicted Gross: $8.3 million

5. The Call of the Wild

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

Box Office Results (February 28-March 1)

As mentioned, we have seen a string of horror genre disappointments this year. Blumhouse changed that dynamic as The Invisible Man, coming off fine reviews, took in $28.2 million. While that didn’t match my $33.8 million estimate, the start quadruples its measly $7 million budget and I expect a healthy run ahead.

Sonic the Hedgehog was second with $16.2 million, a bit above my $14.9 million projection. In three weeks, the Sega based hit stands at $128 million.

The Call of the Wild placed third in its second outing with $13.3 million, a tad under my $14.5 million forecast. Tally is $46 million.

The anime superhero flick My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising expanded wide and was fourth with $5.7 million ($9.1 million overall). I incorrectly had it outside the top five.

The five spot belonged to Bad Boys for Life at $4.3 million (I said $3.6 million) as the sequel nears the double century mark with $197 million.

Birds of Prey was sixth with $4.1 million compared to my $3.2 million take. It’s made $78 million.

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

The Way Back Box Office Prediction

Director Gavin O’Connor is known for his sports dramas like 2004’s Olympic hockey recounting Miracle with Kurt Russell and the MMA pic Warrior starring Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. The filmmaker is back in the genre next weekend with The Way Back, which centers on Ben Affleck as a basketball coach struggling with addiction. Costars include Al Madrigal, Michaela Watkins, Janina Gavankar, and Glynn Turman.

O’Connor’s biggest box office opening came outside the genre in 2016 with his thriller The Accountant, which also starred Affleck. That pic surprised prognosticators with a debut of nearly $25 million. Miracle had the Disney marketing machine behind it (and a well-known story about a game that just celebrated its 40th anniversary). It made nearly $20 million. On the other hand, Warrior struggled with just over $5 million.

The Way Back, despite Affleck promoting it all over sports media, is not expected to be a breakout success. Solid reviews (not out yet) could help it achieve more than the expected  range of high single to low double digits. As of now, that general forecast appears likely.

The Way Back opening weekend prediction: $8.3 million

For my Onward prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/02/27/onward-box-office-prediction/