Music Biopics: The Name Game

A growing trend in movies for the past few years (and a bit beyond) is the musical biopic that incorporates one of the band or artist’s songs into the title. The latest example will come out this fall with Bohemian Rhapsody, the behind the scenes story of Queen.

2019 will bring us Rocketman with Taron Egerton as the legendary Elton John.

We’ve seen this trend in years past. For instance, the 1980s saw La Bamba about Richie Valens.

The 1990s gave us Angela Bassett in her Oscar nominated role playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

In 2005, we had Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy nominated turn as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning as June.

More recent ones have been in the hip hop world with Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.) and All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur). There’s also Get On Up with Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

So this got me thinking. What would be some other movie/song titles if certain iconic musicians got their biopic? For this blog post’s purposes, I tried to focus on artists where I feel a big screen treatment on them is at least feasible. In other words, while Rico Suave might be a spectacular title, I don’t envision two hours on Gerardo coming anytime soon.

There is already a Madonna flick reportedly in the works and it takes its name not from a tune, but from one of her tours – Blond Ambition. I suppose Material Girl or Like a Prayer could have worked, but Blond Ambition is just about perfect.

Some choices seem obvious. You gotta call the Bon Jovi story Livin on a Prayer, after all. And My Way seems like the natural fit for Frank Sinatra. And Born to Run for Bruce Springsteen. And there’s Piano Man for Billy Joel.

It doesn’t end there. Respect (Aretha Franklin) and Fire and Rain (James Taylor).

When it comes to some recently dearly departed legends, Prince presents a challenge because you can’t call it Purple Rain. And a number of his other massive hits don’t fit. When Doves Cry is probably the name the studio would go for considering it’s his biggest hit. Personally, I rather like the thought of My Name is Prince, taken from his Love Symbol album of 1992.

With Michael Jackson, Thriller would work but it’s hard to imagine Man in the Mirror not being the choice.

For David Bowie, Starman seems like the winner, but that’s also the name of a fairly well-known 1980s science fiction effort starring Jeff Bridges. That may not matter, but if so, Space Oddity or simply calling it Ziggy Stardust might fit.

Tom Petty? How about Free Fallin or Runnin Down a Dream. George Michael? Faith or Freedom. Whitney Houston? Tough one. Perhaps a studio would want I Will Always Love You. Maybe So Emotional works as well.

Some bands have more than one title that seem appropriate. Aerosmith has three great ones: Dream On, Sweet Emotion, or Walk This Way. With AC/DC – Back in Black or Thunderstruck.

Guns n Roses is an interesting one. Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic, but it was just the subtitle for the blockbuster Jumanji reboot. In this matter, you might have to go with their album name Appetite for Destruction, which is ideal.

Metallica could have For Whom the Bell Tolls or Enter Sandman. Nirvana might have Smells Like Teen Spirit as the studio choice, but I’m a little partial to Come As You Are.

I like Runnin with the Devil for Van Halen and I suppose Stairway to Heaven would be the choice for Led Zeppelin.

Let’s move off rock. How about Britney Spears? That may depend on what direction the studio goes. It could be Toxic or Stronger. Maybe Baby One More Time instead.

Stevie Wonder? Superstition or Sir Duke are possibilities, but I like Higher Ground.

With Bob Marley, maybe Get Up, Stand Up or One Love.

Circling back to hip hop, Fight the Power is the clear pick for Public Enemy and the same may hold true for Mama Said Knock You Out with LL Cool J.

And then there’s my favorite… the Rick James biopic Super Freak. Why hasn’t this been made already?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s see if any of these suggested titles end up playing out in the future. Maybe there will be surprises… Barbie Girl: The Aqua Story, anyone?

Box Office Predictions: June 30-July 2

It’s a busy weekend ahead as Despicable Me 3 looks to dominate the box office as the Will Ferrell comedy The House and critically acclaimed musical comedy crime thriller Baby Driver are out as well. There’s also a significant theater expansion for Sofia Coppola’s Civil War dramatic thriller The Beguiled. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on all four here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/despicable-me-3-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/the-house-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/21/baby-driver-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/26/the-beguiled-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable threequel will not reach the heights of its spin-off predecessor Minions, which opened to $115M two summers ago. I’m looking at a return in the high 80s.

The House appears primed for a second place debut (barely) now that Transformers: The Last Knight didn’t fare so well (more on that below). I have a strange suspicion that it could under perform, but it’s got Will Ferrell and is the only real straight up comedy out there so I’m going late teens.

Baby Driver (which rolls out early on Wednesday) could absolutely be a wild card with some breakout potential. It’s got great buzz among the cinephile community, but I’m not sure how much that will translate to robust earnings out of the gate. I have it slated for sixth.

The Beguiled had a terrific limited debut this past weekend and its 550 screen count has me estimating a $3.8M gross.

Holdover action should see a precipitous drop for Transformers with Wonder Woman likely having a smaller decline than Cars 3 considering the animated competition. The Last Knight could even be in danger of slipping to fourth or fifth if holds for the other two aren’t quite as pronounced as my prognoses.

And with that, let’s do a top 6 estimates:

1. Despicable Me 3

Predicted Gross: $88.7 million

2. Transformers: The Last Knight

Predicted Gross: $17.4 million (representing a drop of 61%)

3. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million (representing a drop of 42%)

4. The House

Predicted Gross: $13.8 million

5. Cars 3 

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million (representing a drop of 49%)

6. Baby Driver

Predicted Gross: $10.9 million (Friday to Sunday estimate), $15.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

Box Office Results (June 23-25)

Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth in the decade long franchise, posted the worst stateside numbers for the series thus far. The critically panned pic earned $44.6 million over the traditional Friday to Sunday weekend and $68.4 million since its Wednesday debut. That’s well below my respective estimates of $57.8M and $81.5M. The previous Transformers low belonged to the 2007 original, which made $70 million for its start. Lucky for Paramount, these flicks still are doing solid business overseas.

There was a photo finish for second place as Wonder Woman made $24.9 million for the runner-up spot. That’s a bit below my $27.6M projection and the DC title has banked $318 million. Cars 3 went from first to third at $24 million and I forecasted more with $30M. The Pixar sequel stands at $98 million.

Shark tale 47 Meters Down held up stronger in its sophomore weekend than I figured. Its $7 million was good for fourth place and I incorrectly had it outside my projected top 5.

The Mummy was fifth with $6 million, under my $7.4M estimate for a $68 million so far. At this point, it looks assured the Tom Cruise pic will not reach $100M domestically and probably earn around $80M.

Finally, Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me had a massive drop in weekend #2, falling to sixth with $5.8 million (I was higher with $8.4M). That’s a 78% plummet and it’s earned $38 million total.

And that does it for now, folks! I’ll be back with next week’s predictions when Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into multiplexes.

Box Office Predictions: June 23-25

There’s only one new wide release offering this week and that would be Transformers: The Last Knight, which is easily primed to debut at #1. You can read my detailed prediction post on it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/14/transformers-the-last-knight-box-office-prediction/

My prediction for it gives it the lowest traditional Friday to Sunday opening for the franchise yet. One reason is simple: Knight is out Wednesday so its extra two days will eat into the traditional weekend frame. The second reason is that I suspect this could be a series that’s losing steam. Still – the franchise is likely to impress overseas.

As for holdovers, Cars 3 looks to drop in the mid 40s in its sophomore weekend while Wonder Woman should continue its impressive holds in third place. The Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me is highly likely to experience a severe drop in its second weekend as even its first weekend gross was front loaded. The Mummy should round out the top five.

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend ahead:

1. Transformers: The Last Knight

Predicted Gross: $57.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $81.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. Cars 3 

Predicted Gross: $30 million (representing a drop of 44%)

3. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $27.6 million (representing a drop of 33%)

4. All Eyez on Me

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million (representing a drop of 68%)

5. The Mummy

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million (representing a drop of 49%)

Box Office Results (June 16-18) 

As expected, Pixar continued its streak of #1 hits with Cars 3 opening to $53.6 million, a bit under my $57.8M prediction. While this is a decent showing, it is the lowest of the franchise and the smallest summertime opening for the studio since 2007’s Ratatouille. With stronger reviews than its predecessor, it looks to have a rather solid hold next weekend before Despicable Me 3 hits screens the following weekend.

Wonder Woman continues to astound as it dipped just 29% in its third weekend to $41.2 million for second, outshining my $32.6M estimate. The DC juggernaut has taken in $275 million.

The Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me proved critic proof as audiences flocked to it. It made $26.4 million for third (topping my $22.4M prediction). As mentioned, it will probably suffer a precipitous fall in its second weekend.

The Mummy fell to fourth place with $14.5 million (a bit ahead of my $13.2M forecast) for a weak total of $57 million.

Shark thriller 47 Meters Down performed at the higher end of expectations with a $11.2 million debut, easily topping my $6.1M projection. Considering it was originally slated for just a VOD premiere last summer, this is a pleasing opening for Entertainment Studios.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was sixth and I incorrectly had it outside of that. The fifth entry in the Disney series made $8.9 million to bring its tally to $150 million.

The disappointment of the weekend was unquestionably Rough Night, the Scarlett Johansson comedy that couldn’t overcome middling reviews and non-existent buzz. It generated just $8 million (well below my $15.1M estimate) for seventh place. This marks the star’s second under performer this year after March’s Ghost in the Shell. 

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

Box Office Predictions: June 16-18

This should be one interesting weekend at the box office as four new titles make their debut: Pixar sequel Cars 3, Scarlett Johansson bachelorette comedy Rough Night, Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me, and shark attack thriller 47 Meters Down. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/07/cars-3-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/08/rough-night-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/09/all-eyez-on-me-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/09/47-meters-down-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, Cars 3 should easily take its place atop the charts (as pretty much all Pixar features do). However, my estimate for it puts it below both of its predecessors.

Wonder Woman displayed a remarkable hold in its sophomore frame (more on that below) and should hold the #2 spot over the influx of newbies.

If there’s one picture with breakout potential, it’s All Eyez on Me. Just two summers ago, we saw Straight Outta Compton greatly exceed all expectations when it grossed over $60 million out of the gate. Eyez doesn’t seem to have that kind of buzz going for it, but I’m predicting a sturdy third place showing.

That puts Rough Night in fourth with a rather ho-hum debut. It seems to be sliding down considerably from its original $25 million projections.

The Mummy stumbled in its premiere (more on that below as well) and I foresee a hefty dip in weekend #2 for fifth place.

Maybe it’s not wise to bet against audience love for sharks (The Shallows proved that last summer), but I’ve got 47 Meters Down earning the least among the fresh quartet for a sixth place showing.

And with that, my top 6 projections for the bustling weekend ahead:

1. Cars 3

Predicted Gross: $57.8 million

2. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $32.6 million (representing a drop of 44%)

3. All Eyez on Me

Predicted Gross: $24.4 million

4. Rough Night

Predicted Gross: $15.1 million

5. The Mummy

Predicted Gross: $13.2 million (representing a drop of 58%)

6. 47 Meters Down

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

Box Office Results (June 9-11)

As mentioned, Wonder Woman continued its terrific run by dropping only 43% (a noteworthy hold for its genre) to $58.5 million. This topped my $49.5M projection and brought its ten-day total to $206 million. The superhero flick stands a decent shot at overtaking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as the season’s hottest ticket.

Tom Cruise’s The Mummy was hindered by poor reviews and word of mouth with a second place opening at $31.6 million (a bit under my $34.7M forecast). While it’s doing better overseas, this will undoubtedly be a major disappointment stateside.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie was third in its sophomore frame with $12.1 million, under my $14.1M projection for a so-so overall gross of $44M.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was fourth with $10.7 million (I said $10.2M) to bring its tally to $135M.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was fifth and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It made $6.3 million and has earned $366M total.

That’s because critically acclaimed horror pic It Comes at Night had a soft showing with just $5.9 million in sixth (I said $9.5M). While reviews were strong, audience reaction has been negative and look for this to fade very quickly.

Finally, the combo of military themes and dogs gave Megan Leavey an 8th place debut with $3.7 million (I said $3.3M).

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

47 Meters Down Box Office Prediction

Another shark tale swims into theaters next weekend when 47 Meters Down debuts. Johannes Roberts directs the killer shark pic with Mandy Moore, Matthew Modine, and Claire Holt among the human chum.

The horror thriller has experienced an interesting journey to the big screen. Original distributor Dimension Films slated Meters for a VOD premiere in August 2016 before Entertainment Studios stepped in, bought the rights, and decided a theatrical release was in order.

Why the change? One has to surmise that last summer’s success of the The Shallows (perhaps coupled with TV’s Sharknado ratings) helped. Another benefit: star Moore has seen her visibility rise with her hit TV drama “This Is Us”.

How will this translate to its box office potential? 47 Meters Down should certainly rank fourth among the newbies out next weekend – well behind Cars 3, All Eyez on Me, and Rough Night. I’ll predict a floor of about $5 million with a ceiling of $8 million. My gut has it on the lower end of that scale.

47 Meters Down opening weekend prediction: $6.1 million

For my Cars 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/07/cars-3-box-office-prediction/

For my Rough Night prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/08/rough-night-box-office-prediction/

For my All Eyez on Me prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/09/all-eyez-on-me-box-office-prediction/

All Eyez on Me Box Office Prediction

The life and times of the iconic late rapper Tupac Shakur gets the big screen treatment next weekend when All Eyez on Me drops. Taking its title from his heralded Death Row album in 1996, the pic casts Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur with a supporting cast that includes Kat Graham, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, and Jamal Woolard (reprising his role as the Notorious B.I.G. that he played in 2009’s Notorious). Benny Boom, known mostly for making rap videos, directs.

All eyez may be on whether this manages to over perform and nab a possible third place showing over Rough Night. The chances of this coming anywhere near Straight Outta Compton territory (which made $60 million out of the gate) seems highly unlikely. However, a gross in the range of the aforementioned Notorious seems feasible. That film made $23 million over the long MLK weekend over eight years ago and $20 million for the traditional weekend.

That’s where I’ll put Tupac’s biopic, which puts it just over Rough Night for third place (and behind Cars 3 and Wonder Woman).

All Eyez on Me opening weekend prediction: $24.4 million

For my Cars 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/07/cars-3-box-office-prediction/

For my Rough Night prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/08/rough-night-box-office-prediction/

For my 47 Meters Down prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/06/09/47-meters-down-box-office-prediction/

17 For ’17: Todd’s Most Anticipated Movies of the Year

Happy New Year y’all and hope you’re enjoying your first day of 2017!

For my inaugural post of the year, I’m giving you 17 of my eagerly awaited pictures hitting screens this year. They’re listed alphabetically and represent some circles on the calendar for yours truly.

Here’s to a great year at the movies!h

Alien: Covenant

Release Date: May 19

The sixth installment of the Alien franchise is a sequel to 2013’s Prometheus, which received a deserved mixed reaction. Ridley Scott is back behind the director’s chair with Michael Fassbender returning and Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride among the supporting players. There is also expected to be an alien involved.

All Eyez on Me

Release Date: June 16

Benny Boom is known for directing many well-known hip hop videos, but this feature tells the tale of one of America’s finest rappers – Tupac Shakur. Newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. plays the late performer.

Beauty and the Beast

Release Date: March 17

Disney has found tremendous success with their live-action remakes of animated classics and this reworking of the 1991 Best Picture nominee is likely to follow suit. Bill Condon directs with Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast.

Blade Runner 2049

Release Date: October 6

Arriving 35 years after Ridley Scott’s heralded science fiction experience, Arrival director Denis Villeneuve brings back this noirish world with Harrison Ford back as Deckard alongside Ryan Gosling.

A Cure for Wellness

Release Date: February 17

Talented director Gore Verbinski has made some impressive pics – The Ring and the first Pirates of the Caribbean among them. He’s also had some not so impressive ones, including the Pirates sequels and The Lone Ranger. This psychological horror thriller looks like it could be a return to form.

The Dark Tower

Release Date: July 28

For many years, a number of filmmakers have attempted to bring Stephen King’s novel to the screen. It’s finally happened with Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba starring.

NO TRAILER AT PRESS TIME

Dunkirk

Release Date: July 21

Anything from Christopher Nolan has earned our anticipation and so it goes with this World War II effort featuring Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh.

Ghost in the Shell

Release Date: March 31

Based on the wildly popular Japanese comic book series, Scarlett Johansson headlines the sci-fi action thriller.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Release Date: May 5

Summer ’17 kicks off with Star Lord, Rocket, and Lil Groot back on screen after their acclaimed first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014.

Justice League

Release Date: November 17

Speaking of superheroes, DC has Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot – who has her own stand-alone pic this summer), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) joining forces.

Kong: Skull Island

Release Date: March 10

The giant ape is back for the first time in 12 years in this 1970s set blockbuster hopeful boasting a first-rate cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly.

Logan

Release Date: March 3

17 years after first creating his signature role, Hugh Jackman is Wolverine for (apparently) the final time.

The Mummy

Release Date: June 9

The Universal monsters reassemble in this reboot that stars Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, and lotsa hopefully cool CG.

Murder on the Orient Express

Release Date: November 22

This property based on the Agatha Christie Book was adapted successfully in the mid 70s by director Sidney Lumet. This time around, Kenneth Branagh is behind the camera with an all-star cast that includes Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Michael Pena and Michelle Pfeiffer.

NO TRAILER AT PRESS TIME

SpiderMan: Homecoming

Release Date: July 7

After making a nice impression in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland is the third actor to portray the title superhero. Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark costar.

Star Wars: Episode VIII

Release Date: December 15

The still untitled follow-up to The Force Awakens is pretty much unquestionably going to be 2017’s highest earner. Expect considerably more screen time for Mark Hamill’s Luke and sadly, Carrie Fisher’s final screen appearance as Leia.

NO TRAILER AT PRESS TIME

War for the Planet of the Apes

Release Date: July 14

Kong isn’t the only big-budget monkey business happening onscreen as the third installment of this franchise finds Andy Serkis’s Caesar returning and Woody Harrelson joining the mix.