Oscar Watch: Brittany Runs a Marathon

Perhaps this is more of a Golden Globes Watch when it comes to the new comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon. The pic features Jillian Bell as a hard partying single lady whose life is altered when she competes for the NYC Marathon. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival back in January to solid buzz. The Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 93% ahead of its release this weekend.

Bell has been a scene stealer on TV’s “Workaholics” and features such as 22 Jump Street. This appears to be her breakout starring role and some reviews have suggested it could be a minor hit if Amazon handles marketing correctly. While this holds little chance at Oscar recognition, it will be interesting to see if the studio mounts a campaign for Bell for Best Actress in Musical/Comedy at the Globes. She could follow in the footsteps of Amy Schumer in Trainwreck for a similar part that got nominated. That said, Brittany is definitely lower profile. My Oscar (or GG) Watch posts will continue…

Fist Fight Movie Review

Fist Fight is not worth it. It’s not worth the involvement of a decent cast that’s provided laughs in other projects. It’s not even worthy of that bloopers reel that you just know is coming once its 91 minutes thankfully concludes. Even they’re not very funny.

This is a loose remake of 1987 cult comedy Three O’Clock High, a fun little exercise that’s earned its status as an under appreciated flick. The common thread is the long buildup to an eventual brawl in a high school. However, this time it’s the teachers and not the students. In one corner, we have wimpy English teacher Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day). In the other, we have intimidating history instructor Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube).

These two educators are in the last day of school when a dispute leads Cube to challenge Day to its title at 3pm once the bell rings. The circumstances leading to it are not particularly relevant, though they certainly call into question why Cube’s character should be anywhere near a classroom. That’s common here. Most of the characters from faculty to the kids are dumb and constantly doing dumb things. Jillian Bell, who stole scenes in 22 Jump Street, is that teacher we’ve all had who does meth and wants to hook up with the seniors. This is one example of several where the script goes for extreme vulgarity and non-PC humor. Nothing wrong with that, but it rarely lands with its crass chuckles attempts.

Cube scowls his way through. Day plays up the always nerve-wracked weakling. Somewhere in here is an attempted message about bravery and not backing down to powers that be. If only some of the talent here could have been brave enough to punch up this lackadaisical screenplay.

*1/2 (out of four)

Baywatch Box Office Prediction

Will audiences be ready for Baywatch when it debuts over Memorial Day weekend?

The action/comedy is, of course, a reboot of the 90s TV show that ruled the syndication waves and improbably became one of the biggest programs across the world. This version of Baywatch has more intentional humor and it’s R rated. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron headline with Alexandra Daddario and Priyanka Chopra costarring. Seth Gordon, director of Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief, is behind the camera. And, yes, David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson are said to cameo.

Last month, Paramount moved the release date from Friday to Thursday so my estimate here is for its five-day haul over the holiday frame. Besides the brand familiarity, Baywatch‘s biggest asset is Johnson, who’s had a stellar track record as of late (he’s also been garnering publicity for apparent political aspirations in the future).

The studio is clearly going for a Jump Street vibe here. This would be fortunate to make the $57 million accomplished by 22 Jump Street in its first five days. I don’t think it will get there. Some moviegoers may be inclined to check out Jack Sparrow and the buzz here feels less substantial than for the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill series.

I’ll predict Baywatch hits high 30s to low 40s for a second place showing behind Pirates.

Baywatch opening weekend prediction: $39.4 million (Thursday to Monday prediction)

For my Pirates of the Caribbean, Dead Men Tell No Tales prediction, click here:


Fist Fight Box Office Prediction

Ice Cube and Charlie Day headline the comedy Fist Fight, which hits theaters over Presidents Day weekend. A loose remake of the 1987 cult pic Three O’Clock High, costars include Tracy Morgan (in his first film after his auto accident), Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, and Kumail Nanjiani.

Mr. Cube has had his share of laugh inducing hits and franchises over the years with Barbershop, 21/22 Jump Street, and Ride Along. Day is best known for TV’s “It Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the Horrible Bosses flicks.

Fight pits Cube as a teacher challenging his fellow educator to a schoolyard brawl. With its simple concept, known stars in the genre, and really zero competition when it comes to comedies (save for Lego Batman I suppose), I’ll predict this manages a mid 20s four day debut. It could even fight for the highest opening among the two others newbies (The Great Wall, A Cure for Wellness) over the holiday weekend.

Fist Fight opening weekend prediction: $25.1 million

For my The Great Wall prediction, click here:


For my A Cure for Wellness prediction, click here:


Summer 2015 Movies: The Predicted Century Club

The 2015 Summer Movie Season officially kicks off two weeks from today when Avengers: Age of Ultron blasts into theaters. It will compete for the largest domestic opening of all time (where it needs to beat its predecessor) and is highly likely to be the season’s highest earner. That got me to thinking – while Ultron is poised to gross $500 million or higher, it’s been the $100 million mark that studios still like to brag about. This prompted me to look at the past five summer flick seasons and how many pictures reached that milestone.

In 2010, it was 13 movies that reached the mark: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The Last Airbender, The Other Guys, Salt, Robin Hood, and The Expendables.

Things improved in 2011 with 18 films reaching the century club: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: First Avenger, The Help, Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Smurfs, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The low mark was the following year in 2012 with just 12: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, Men in Black 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Magic Mike, and The Bourne Legacy.

Yet the high mark came the following summer in 2013 with 19: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Heat, We’re the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, Now You See Me, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Hangover Part III, Epic, Pacific Rim, and This is the End.

2014 dipped with 14: Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, Lucy, The Fault in Our Stars, and Edge of Tomorrow. 

That averages out to 15 pictures earning $100M plus per summer over this decade.

So where do I have 2015 matching up? Not breaking records, but in good shape. My predictions for the year’s $100M earners is 16 and they are as follows (in order of release date): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four. 

Of course, there’s always sleepers. And there’s others that I could have predicted but think will fall short: the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit, horror remake Poltergeist, the film version of Entourage, the Adam Sandler video game inspired action comedy Pixels, the Vacation reboot, and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton are among them.

As predicted, summer 2015 should see its number of century club inductees on the slightly high end without reaching the heights of 2013. And as always, you’ll see box office predictions every Saturday from me on each and every one of ’em!

Box Office Predictions: July 18-20

We’ve got three new titles populating theaters this coming Friday: the Cameron Diaz/Jason Segel comedy Sex Tape, the horror sequel The Purge: Anarchy and Disney’s animated sequel Planes: Fire & Rescue. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:




These newbies could create a legitimate three-way race for the #1 spot. The main question is whether Sex Tape or Planes could exceed my expectations and knock current champ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from its perch? It’s certainly possible. Some could make the argument that the Purge sequel could over perform and compete, but I just don’t see that happening.

Ultimately I’m predicting the Apes will keep their considerable monkey business at #1 with the new entries coming in second through fourth. The well-reviewed Apes flick is likely to lose 45-55% of its audience in its sophomore frame. Transformers: Age of Extinction should fall to fifth.

And with that, my top five predictions for the upcoming weekend:

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Predicted Gross: $34.6 million (representing a drop of 52%)

2. Sex Tape

Predicted Gross: $29.1 million

3. Planes: Fire & Rescue

Predicted Gross: $25.4 million

4. The Purge: Anarchy

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million

5. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million (representing a drop of 53%)

Box Office Results (July 11-13)

As expected, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes dominated the weekend with a very solid $72.6 million haul – though it did fall a little short of my $77.2M projection. This is a great start for it and pretty much guarantees more franchise entrees in the near future.

Falling to second in weekend #3 was Transformers: Age of Extinction with $16.3 million, right in range with my $16.8M prediction. The fourth film in the Michael Bay series has earned $208 million so far. It will likely top out around $250 million and will easily be the lowest domestic grosser of the franchise.

Melissa McCarthy’s critically panned Tammy held up a bit better than I figured, placing third with $12.5 million – above my $10.7M estimate. The comedy has earned $56 million in two weeks.

In fourth was 22 Jump Street with $6.5 million, just outshining my $5.6M prediction. The sequel has earned $171 million. In fifth was How to Train Your Dragon 2 with $6 million. My prediction? $6 million! The animated sequel has earned a less than expected $152 million. Finally, Earth to Echo was sixth in weekend #2 with $5.4 million, in line with my $5.2M projection. Its taken in $24 million in two weeks.

And that’s all for now, friends!


Box Office Predictions: July 11-13

This coming weekend, there’s bound to be lots of monkey business at the box office as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens. It looks on course to absolutely dominate the weekend and you can find my detailed prediction post on it here:


As I will talk about in just a minute, the Fourth of July holiday box office was unimpressive and that’s being kind. Dawn is the only new entry coming and all the holdovers should have drops ranging from high 30s to mid 50s. Current #1 and #2 Transformers: Age of Extinction and Tammy should suffer the largest drops.

And with that, I’ll predict the top six for the weekend:

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Predicted Gross: $77.2 million

2. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Predicted Gross: $16.8 million (representing a drop of 54%)

3. Tammy

Predicted Gross: $10.7 million (representing a drop of 50%)

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Predicted Gross: $6 million (representing a drop of 43%)

5. 22 Jump Street

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million (representing a drop of 43%)

6. Earth to Echo

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million (representing a drop of 39%)

Box Office Results (July 4-6)

As mentioned, this was a bad Fourth of July at the movies. How bad? Adjusted for inflation, it’s the poorest performance in 27 summers. Ouch. Summer 2014 is currently running 20% behind last summer. Transformers: Age of Extinction held onto the top spot with $37 million, but it’s 63% drop is troubling and Extinction will certainly be the lowest domestic grosser of the franchise. It couldn’t match my $42.2M estimate. The robot extravaganza has earned $175 million so far.

Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy got off to a middling start with $21.5 million over the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $33.3 million since its Wednesday debut. This is below my respective estimates of $27.3M and $42.9M. Bad reviews and negative audience reaction (a troubling C+ on CinemaScore) likely contributed to its so-so premiere and it shouldn’t have the strong legs that many summer comedies develop.

In third was 22 Jump Street in its fourth weekend with $9.8 million, just above my $8.9M prediction. The blockbuster sequel stands at $159 million.

Landing with disappointing results in fourth was the horror flick Deliver Us from Evil with just $9.7 million over the traditional weekend and $15.2 million since Wednesday. It fell short of my respective estimates of $13.1M and $20.6M. Like most titles in its genre, expect this one to fall fast next weekend.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 made $8.9 million in weekend #4 for firth place, above my $7.8M projection. The animated sequel has brought in lackluster results and stands at $140 million so far, well below expectations.

Another kiddie pic debuted in sixth as I predicted with Earth to Echo earning a muted $8.3 million over the weekend and $13.5 million since Wednesday. This is just slightly higher than my estimates of $8M and $12.3M, respectively.

That’s all for now!

Box Office Predictions: July 4-6

Most years on the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we see a massive tent pole picture making its debut, but this year it’s different. Three new pictures – the Melissa McCarthy comedy Tammy, horror flick Deliver Us from Evil, and kiddie pic Earth to Echo all debut on Wednesday and will each attempt to compete with the sophomore weekend of Transformers: Age of Extinction. You can read my detailed predictions on the holiday newbies here:




While I’m predicting solid results for Tammy, OK results for Evil, and disappointing returns for Echo, it’s highly unlikely anything will manage to dislodge Transformers from the top spot. Therefore the Michael Bay robofest should be the first summer 2014 picture to stay #1 for two weeks straight.

And with that, my estimated top six for the fireworks frame (with five-day predictions for the new entries included):

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Predicted Gross: $42.2 million (representing a drop of 57%)

2. Tammy

Predicted Gross: $27.3 million ($42.9 million prediction from Wednesday to Sunday)

3. Deliver Us from Evil

Predicted Gross: $13.1 million ($20.6 million prediction from Wednesday to Sunday)

4. 22 Jump Street

Predicted Gross: $8.9 million (representing a drop of 44%)

5. Earth to Echo

Predicted Gross: $8 million ($12.3 million prediction from Wednesday to Sunday)

6. How To Train Your Dragon 2

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million (representing a drop of 42%)

Box Office Results (June 27-29)

Transformers: Age of Extinction was able to reach the biggest opening weekend so far in 2014 with exactly $100 million (leading some rival studios to question the accuracy of that number). This was right in the range of $98.6 million projection. While this is certainly a fine opening, there is a very good chance Extinction could end up being the lowest domestic grosser of the series thus far.

Staying in the #2 spot was 22 Jump Street with $15.8 million (above my $14.2M prediction) and the comedy hit’s three-week total stands at $140 million. Animated sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 was third in its third weekend with $13.2 million, right in line with my $13M estimate. The disappointing family flick has earned nearly $122 million and will fall far short of its predecessor’s $217M haul. Keeping with the sequel frenzy, Kevin Hart’s Think Like a Man Too dropped from first to fourth with a hefty 64% plunge and a gross $10.3 million (below my $13.8M prediction). Rounding out the top six were holdovers Maleficent with $8.3 million (I said $8.2M) and Jersey Boys with $7.7 million (I said $7.8M).

Until next time, my friends!

Box Office Predictions: June 27-29

There’s just one newcomer entering the multiplex this weekend – but it’s a big one. Transformers: Age of Extinction is expected by many (including this blogger) to post the heftiest opening weekend of 2014 so far. You can read my detailed prediction post on it here:


My estimate for Extinction is actually a big lower than that of others so we’ll see how I do come Monday of next week. As for holdovers, I’m expecting the current #1 Think Like a Man Too to drop over 50% in its second weekend while 22 Jump Street might not quite lose half its audience in weekend 3. That could definitely mean 22 Jump Street remains second while Man Too drops to third.

DreamWorks animated financial letdown How to Train Your Dragon 2 should be 4th in its third weekend while a battle for fifth could ensue between the second weekend of Jersey Boys and fifth weekend of Maleficent.

And with that – my predictions for the weekend’s top six:

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction

Predicted Gross: $98.6 million

2. 22 Jump Street

Predicted Gross: $14.2 million (representing a drop of 48%)

3. Think Like a Man Too

Predicted Gross: $13.8 million (representing a drop of 53%)

4. How to Train Your Dragon 2

Predicted Gross: $13 million (representing a drop of 47%)

5. Maleficent

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million (representing a drop of 36%)

6. Jersey Boys

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million (representing a drop of 41%)

Box Office Results (June 20-22)

As predicted, Kevin Hart’s Think Like a Man Too topped the box office charts out of the gate, but it didn’t match my expectation. It took in $29.4 million, below my $38.2M estimate. The sequel couldn’t match the $33 million opening of its predecessor which was a bit of a surprise. Still, with a meager reported budget of $24 million, Man Too is quite a success.

22 Jump Street dipped to second with $27.4 million, right in line with my $27.3M projection. The Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum comedy sequel has amassed an impressive $109 million in just ten days.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 continued to underperform with $24.7 million in weekend #2, well below my $32 million estimate. The animated flick has not met expectations with $94 million so far. It will probably not match the performance of its predecessor’s $217 million. Most prognosticators figured it would easily surpass that number.

Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys had a muted debut at fourth with $13.3 million – below my generous $18.9M prediction. While the pic received mostly decent reviews, adult audiences treated the Four Seasons biopic with ambivalence. Disney’s Maleficent held up well in its fourth weekend with $12.9 million, outpacing my $10.4M prediction. The Angelina Jolie flick has earned $185 million so far and should blast past $200M shortly.

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: June 20-22

Two new pictures enter the marketplace this Friday with the Kevin Hart led sequel Think Like a Man Too and the Clint Eastwood directed adaptation of the Broadway smash Jersey Boys. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each of them right here:



Depending on the percentage drops of sequels 22 Jump Street and How To Train Your Dragon 2, there could be a legitimate three-way race for the top spot among those “part two’s” and the second Think Like a Man. My prediction for Man is on the higher end of expectations and I’m estimating Jump Street loses about half its audience and Dragon only loses around one-third of its debut gross.

This should leave Jersey Boys opening in the four spot with Maleficent rounding out the top five.

And with that – my predictions for the weekend’s top five:

1. Think Like a Man Too

Predicted Gross: $38.2 million

2. How To Train Your Dragon 2

Predicted Gross: $32 million (representing a drop of 35%)

3. 22 Jump Street

Predicted Gross: $27.3 million (representing a drop of 52%)

4. Jersey Boys

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million

5. Maleficent

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million (representing a drop of 44%)

Box Office Results (June 13-15)

Well it’s not often that I miss a prediction by nearly $40 million dollars, but I’m embarrassed to report it happened this weekend. Simply put, How To Train Your Dragon 2 didn’t come anywhere close to what I believed to be its potential. Many insiders had pegged this as a candidate for summer 2014’s biggest grosser and I bought into it. It earned a just OK $49.4 million compared to my $88.7 million prediction. Ouch.

This allowed 22 Jump Street to post a terrific #1 opening with $57 million, just above my $53.1M projection. The goodwill left over from the 2012 original and rock solid reviews clearly contributed to its success.

Maleficent took the #3 spot in its third weekend with $18.5 million, barely outpacing my $17.4M estimate. The Disney hit had taken in $163M so far and looks to surpass $200 million when all is said and done.

Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow held up better in weekend #2 than I thought it would with $16.5 million for fourth, ahead of my $13.8M estimate. It’s taken in $57 million in ten days and has a shot of getting to $100 million.

This means last weekend’s #1 The Fault in Our Stars dipped further than my estimate with $14.7 million in its sophomore frame. I predicted $17.9 million. The John Green adapted weepie fell a steep 67%, but it’s already made $80 million in ten days and had a meager $12 million budget.

That’s all for now, folks. Until next time!