The Lego Ninjago Movie Box Office Prediction

The second spin-off from 2014’s blockbuster (get it?) The Lego Movie, next weekend we have The Lego Ninjago Movie. It’s based on the popular toy line with a martial arts flavor. The animated action/comedy features the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, and Jackie Chan.

Ninjago will attempt to retain a good portion of the family audience and Lego lovers that populated The Lego Movie. That feature opened to $69 million in February 2014 with an eventual $257M domestic haul. First spin-off The Lego Batman Movie couldn’t quite match those numbers. It made $53 million for its start and ended up with $175M.

My feeling is that this will continue the downward trend, but still post respectable earnings. It will also have the benefit of having nothing in the way of major family audience competition for several weeks, so holdovers could be pleasing. As for its opening, Ninjago could find itself in a fierce battle for #1 with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s also worth mentioning that It will only be in weekend #3 and still posting big numbers.

The Lego version of Batman was off nearly 25% out of the gate from The Lego Movie. If you applied that here, we’re talking an approximate $40 million debut. That sounds just about right and perhaps a tad under.

The Lego Ninjago Movie opening weekend prediction: $38.6 million

For my Kingsman: The Golden Circle prediction, click here:

For my Friend Request prediction, click here:


Kingsman: The Golden Circle Box Office Prediction

British spies join forces with their American counterparts in Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the sequel to the 2015 action/comedy hit Kingsman: The Secret Service. Matthew Vaughn is back directing with returning stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Mark Strong. We also have some new but very familiar faces that include Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, and even Elton John!

Two and a half years ago, the original hit its mark with both critics and moviegoers. Opening to $36 million, The Secret Service went on to gross $128M overall domestically. With the relatively small gap between the sequel and its predecessor, I don’t see sequelitis kicking in here.

Circle could find itself in a real battle for the #1 spot with The Lego Ninjago Movie. Both pictures are expected to post debuts in the low to mid 40s. There’s also the third weekend of It to consider, as it still should be raking in plenty of cash.

I’ll project that the second go-round for the Kingsman (and now the Statesman) debuts about $7 million above the first.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle opening weekend prediction: $43.6 million

For my The Lego Ninjajo Movie prediction, click here:

For my Friend Request prediction, click here:

Oscar Watch: Roman J. Israel, Esq.

The reaction to the film itself was mixed, but Denzel Washington has increased his chances for an eighth Oscar nomination for Roman J. Israel, Esq. The legal drama is director Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2014 pic Nightcrawler (which is one of my favorite movies of the last few years). Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo costar.

As mentioned, reviews from its Toronto Film Festival screening have not all been positive (it’s at 71% currently on Rotten Tomatoes). Yet critics have singled out Denzel’s work here. His inclusion in Best Actor might be its only chance at Academy recognition. Gilroy could land an Original Screenplay nod (as he did for Nightcrawler), but that race is already looking busy.

Mr. Washington has won twice – for Supporting Actor in 1989’s Glory and lead in 2001’s Training Day. Just last year, he probably came very close to getting his third for Fences (he lost to Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea).

In my intital round of predictions last Thursday, I had the performer playing the title character here ranked 15th. He’ll be ranked higher in the second round on Thursday.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Breathe

Andrew Garfield goes for his second Best Actor Oscar nod in a row with Breathe, which has screened at the Toronto Film Festival. In it, Garfield plays a man diagnosed with polio who becomes a disabilities advocate. The drama marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, known most for giving life to CG creations in the Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes franchises. Other stars include Claire Foy and Hugh Bonneville.

Early reviews haven’t been too positive, but they’ve pointed out it wears its Oscar hopes on its sleeve. It’s been compared to The Theory of Everything, which did win Eddie Redmayne a statue. With Best Actor looking like it has some open slots (for now), a strong campaign could give Garfield nod #2 after last year’s Hacksaw Ridge. Yet the troubling reviews won’t help.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Box Office Predictions: September 15-17

Two new movies debut wide this weekend as It should continue its incredible run on top in its second weekend. The newbies are the Jennifer Lawrence horror thriller mother! and Dylan O’Brien/Michael Keaton CIA action flick American Assassin. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

I’m anticipating a close race for second between the newcomers with mother! just edging out Assassin. I look for both to post numbers in the low to mid teens.

And… now to It. I have much more below on its record breaking haul over the weekend which blew away even the most generous forecasts. The question now is how much it falls in its sophomore frame.

As I see it, It should drop around 55% or so according to similarly performing titles. However, the Stephen King adapted pic displayed remarkably sturdy holds over the weekend from Friday to Saturday to Sunday. I believe there’s a chance it doesn’t even quite dip 50%, but I will put it at about 52%.

My review of It can be found here:

The rest of the top five should consist of the underwhelming Home Again and The Hitman’s Bodyguard. 

And with that, my top 5 projections for the weekend:

1. It

Predicted Gross: $59 million (representing a drop of 52%)

2. mother!

Predicted Gross: $14.7 million

3. American Assassin

Predicted Gross: $13.2 million

4. Home Again

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million (representing a drop of 47%)

5. The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Predicted Gross: $2.6 million (representing a drop of 46%)

Box Office Results (September 8-10)

It happens and then some! You could see the potential for the horror pic’s opening weekend possibilities growing higher and higher prior to Friday. That said, it was hard to foresee just how huge it would be. It took in an astonishing $123.4 million… I was only $58M off with my $65.4 million estimate.

The film crossed into cultural phenomenon and must-see territory somewhere along the way. It deciminated records. The previous highest September debut held by Hotel Transylvania 2 at $48 million? It topped that by $75 million. The all-time horror opening record of $52 million by Paranormal Activity 3? Bested that by over $70 million.

It also scored the second largest R rated premiere ever behind Deadpool ($132M). As far as 2017 goes, it ranks third – meaning it debuted higher than Wonder Woman, SpiderMan: Homecoming and The Fate of the Furious.

Sometimes a picture manages to catch a wave of anticipation that few can see. It accomplished that and then some. Chapter 2 will be out in two years and expect lots of Stephen King remakes to go into production shortly.

There were other movies playing even if no one else really noticed. The Reese Witherspoon rom com Home Again couldn’t overcome its mostly poor reviews to serve as counter programming to the It juggernaut. It earned just $8.5 million for second, below my $11.3M projection.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard was third after three weeks on top with $4.8 million compared to my $5.4M prediction. It’s earned $64 million overall.

Annabelle: Creation was fourth with $4 million (I said $3.4M) as it nears the century mark with $96 million.

Wind River rounded out the top five with $3.1 million (I said $3.6M) to bring its total to $24 million.

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

Oscar Watch: The Current War

On paper, The Current War certainly looks like a potential Oscar contender. It comes from the Weinstein Company, a studio that knows how to get their pictures nominated. It’s a period piece drama featuring previous nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, as well as other recognizable faces like Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston. It’s director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2015 indie dramedy Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. 

War casts Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison and Shannon as George Westinghouse in their rivalry to determine whose electricity would power the world. Yet the buzz from the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend has dimmed its chances at Academy attention. There’s a small number of reviews available, but most of them have been negative and it’s at just 20% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Unless the Weinstein group figures out a way to make some nominating magic happen, it’s unlikely Current will factor into the race at all. Mr. Shannon, on the bright side, could get Supporting Actor attention for the far more well-received The Shape of Water. 

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…


Oscar Watch: The Mountain Between Us

Kate Winslet has received seven total Oscar nominations (with one win), so she pretty much belongs in the Meryl Streep category of almost any movie she makes will get automatic Academy speculation. OK, maybe not Divergent but most of them.

So when The Mountain Between Us got its Toronto Film Festival premiere this weekend, prognosticators were ready. The pic is a disaster pic/romance that casts Winslet as a plane crash survivor along with Idris Elba. They brave the wilderness while falling for each other.

Mountain is based on a 2011 Charles Martin bestseller and marks the English language debut of Israeli filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, who’s received two Foreign Language Picture nods. Sounds like a potential Oscar player, right?

Not so fast. Early reviews out of Toronto are mostly just so-so. It would appear its possibilities for Academy nods are now grounded. The good news for Winslet? She could still find herself in the mix for attention for nomination #9 for Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel later this year. And Elba stands a long shot chance in Supporting Actor for Molly’s Game.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: I, Tonya

Blogger’s Note Update (09/11/17): Neon has picked up the distribution rights for I, Tonya. Expect it to be released by year’s end for an Oscar push.

One picture skated into the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend with relatively small expectations. Yet Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya has turned into a major critical and audience favorite. Whispers of Oscar possibilities are getting considerably louder.

The title character is Tonya Harding, the infamous Olympic figure skater accused of masterminding an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. Margot Robbie is Harding and her performance is drawing many raves. Allison Janney portrays Tonya’s mom and she’s getting equal, if not more, attention.

Robbie has yet to be nominated for an Oscar in her short but fruitful career thus far. Prognosticators are also keeping an eye on her supporting turn in this fall’s Goodbye Christopher Robin. The packed nature of Best Actress has been discussed several times over the last few days on this blog. Even with fierce competition, early notices seem to indicate that Robbie could be a factor.

The Supporting Actress race looks less crowded as of now. Janney, a seven-time Emmy winner, would also be a newcomer for Academy attention. Her inclusion in that category is looking like a major possibility.

One potential hiccup: I, Tonya doesn’t have a distributor at press time and it’s not 100% certain it’s released before the end of the year. However, based on the sizzling buzz emanating from our neighbor to the north, look for that to happen rapidly.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Molly’s Game

Jessica Chastain has landed two Oscar nods over the years – for Supporting Actor in 2011’s The Help and in lead actress in 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty. Since then, she’s been in the mix but didn’t land nods for films such as A Most Violent Year and Miss Sloane.

Screening at the Toronto Film Festival yesterday, it appears Chastain is back in the fold once again for Molly’s Game. The pic marks the directorial debut of acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and tells a true life tale that features Chastain running a high-priced and eventually dangerous underground poker empire.

Reviews for Game have been mostly positive and it stands at 86% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Costars include Idris Elba and Kevin Costner, who appear to be long shots for Supporting Actor. If that changes, expect Elba to get the attention. The film itself is unlikely to play in Best Picture.

For Chastain, it’s a different story. Critical notices have noted she carries Game and could well find herself recognized in an extremely competitive Best Actress field. I had her listed in my initial round of early Oscar predictions last week and that will almost surely hold true this week.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: The Leisure Seeker

Paolo Virzi’s The Leisure Seeker has played at both the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals to mixed reaction. The road pic comedic drama features Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren as an aging couple embarking on a final trip.

First things first – the so-so critical reaction (63% currently on Rotten Tomatoes) will keep it far from seeking a Best Picture nomination. The already packed Best Actress race will eliminate previous winner Mirren from contention.

Sutherland, on the other hand, could be a different story. The 82 year-old thespian has been a fixture on the silver screen for decades and recently introduced himself to a whole new generation of moviegoers in The Hunger Games franchise. Yet he’s never been nominated for an Oscar.

It was just recently announced that Sutherland will receive a Lifetime Achievement award at next year’s ceremony. Perhaps some of the voters might consider it a cherry on top to give the actor his first official nod. Additionally, the Best Actor race (save for Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour) looks fairly wide open right now though that certainly may change.

Bottom line: Sutherland is probably a long shot, but the possibility of his inclusion is worthy of mention.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…