From the directors of the BadMoms pics, Jexi dials into theaters next weekend and is hoping for a decent reception. The comedy stars Adam DeVine as a loner obsessed with his phone. When he gets an upgrade that includes Rose Byrne voicing the title character/feature, life begins to improve until the artificially intelligent being develops an obsession with him. Costars include Alexandra Shipp, Michael Pena, Justin Hartley, and Wanda Sykes.
I have a hunch Jexi will have a tough time connecting with filmgoers. As far as its effectiveness via trailer and TV spots, I’m getting a bit of a Stuber vibe. That comedy with Kumail Nanjiani stalled over the summer with just an $8.2 million opening weekend. And one could argue Nanjiani has more drawing ability than DeVine.
Considering that, I’ll say this will be lucky to reach that number and won’t do so.
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon team up for the action comedy TheSpyWhoDumpedMe, out next weekend. As the title suggests, Kunis finds out her ex is a CIA agent and she (along with bff McKinnon) become embroiled in international intrigue. Susanna Fogel directs with a supporting cast including Justin Theroux and Sam Heughan.
Kunis has had plenty of successes at the box office over her career in both leading and supporting parts. Most recently, 2016’s BadMoms was a sleeper hit ($113 million). However, sequel ABadMomsChristmas couldn’t match it with a $16.7 million debut and $72 million overall tally.
The trailers for Spy struggle to make it look like anything special. Its best hope is for a sizable female audience (the kind that made Ocean’s8 a big success last month). I’ll project a low to mid teens is the likely scenario here.
TheSpyWhoDumpedMe opening weekend prediction: $15.3 million
2016’s BadMoms took its concept of three frazzled matriarchs letting loose and rode that wave to high box office bucks. As far as its quality, I felt it was a rather mediocre exercise that often unsuccessfully blended raunchy with pathos. Yet moviegoers turned out so now we have ABadMomsChristmas, in which it turns out the bad moms from part 1 all have questionable ones themselves.
Our original trio is feeling the natural stress that comes from holiday planning. Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) decide to throw caution to the wind and not go crazy with the season’s headaches… other than the ones that their drunken mall trip hangovers might induce. Circumstances are altered when their mamas turn up. Christine Baranski is Amy’s control freak mom, Cheryl Hines is Kiki’s super clingy mom, and Susan Sarandon is Carla’s wild and distant mom.
The week leading to Christmas gives all three subplots time for arguments and making up, as well as Santa stripping shows and bonding over butthole waxing. That’s about as deep as we get from writer/directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, who are once again tasked with creating a shallow and surface level comedic dive into the female psyche.
ABadMomsChristmas doesn’t go full throttle with its cartoonish aspects and doesn’t earn the attempted sentimentality it tries toward the end. What’s left is a sequel with less laughs than the first and the bar wasn’t exactly high. Among the cast, Hines comes off the best because she’s at least convincing as she apes daughter Bell’s look and mannerisms.
It’s tough for comedy sequels to succeed because most of them aren’t planned and feel rushed to capitalize on the success of what came before. This is yet another example.
Last summer, Bad Moms was a breakout comedy that earned $23 million in its first weekend and went on to gross $113 million domestically. STXfilms has wasted no time in capitalizing with holiday themed sequel A Bad Moms Christmas, which opens next Wednesday. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn are back and this time around it’s their moms joining the mix in the form of Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are back handling directorial duties.
The quick turn-around on this follow-up likely means sequelitis will not creep in. Christmas could well serve as smart counter programming for females to the weekend’s giant release that is Thor: Ragnarok. The Wednesday debut will also give it a bit of a head start.
Due to the five-day roll out, the sequel may not quite match the $23 million achieved in its predecessor’s opening weekend. Yet it may get over that number in the Wednesday to Sunday earnings. I’ll estimate a high teens to low 20s premiere for the traditional weekend with mid to high 20s for the entire frame.
A Bad Moms Christmas opening weekend prediction: $18.7 million (Friday to Monday), $26.2 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Scarlett Johansson gets out of action mode and into comedy mode next weekend when Rough Nights lands in theaters. The R rated flick finds the starlet involved in a bachelorette party gone wrong. Costars include Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Demi Moore, and Ty Burrell.
Originally titled Rock That Body, the pic will attempt to bring a sizable female audience that made Bad Moms one of the surprise hits of last summer. There is competition in the form of the third weekend of Wonder Woman, which is likely to be banking in the low 30s for that frame.
Johansson could use some good box office fortune after the flop that was this spring’s Ghost in the Shell. Some estimates have Rough Night making around $25 million (higher than the $23 million achieved by Bad Moms out of the gate). I believe the level of competition and lack of buzz will result in a mid teens debut.
Rough Night opening weekend prediction: $15.1 million
The Wolf Pack of TheHangover came from the minds of writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and it kicked off a male-centric trilogy of frequent hilarity (at least the first one) where bros could be wild bros. This same duo now tries to do the same with frazzled and overworked matriarchs in BadMoms and the result is considerably more hit and miss. We don’t know the answer to this question, but perhaps if this pic had been penned by an actual mom, this may have been more insightful. As it stands, this is an often generic and frequently blander than it should be experience punctuated by occasional real laughs.
Amy (Mila Kunis) is a do everything and overworked mother of two with a husband not pulling his weight. When she catches him internet cheating and sends him packing, her already jam-packed agenda just expands. She finds a kindred spirit in Kiki (Kristen Bell) whose own hubby is lackadaisical in his duties and a free spirit in single mom Carla (Kathryn Hahn), who has a hands off approach with her teenager. Together, they form their own pack, rebelling against their kids school’s militant PTA leader Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). It culminates with Amy challenging her for the next PTA election.
BadMoms makes it point early – that youngsters today are too micro managed and coddled and that too much is often expected of them in class. The items of prohibited ingredients for the bake sale reads like a list of pretty much every one there is. The central trio here stick it to the (wo)man with their changed parenting style and learn that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Kind of like this movie.
Since this is from the dudes responsible for TheHangover, there is a bit of raunch to go with a surprising amount of blandness. The cast is all just peachy, but no one particularly stands out (Bell’s character is pretty under written, truth be told). Hahn is a talent and she’s essentially given the Melissa McCarthy Bridesmaids part, even getting to give a big ole pep talk at one point. There is a romantic subplot between Amy and a single dad (Jay Hernandez) that doesn’t really warrant much attention.
Will Moms look at BadMoms as a satisfactory excursion away from their crazy lives? I’m sure some will, but this never rose above a level of mediocrity for this non-parent. And if you say maybe you have to be a Mom to get it, remind yourself that it wasn’t written by one.
The 2016 fall movie kicks off in muted fashion (per usual) with two new entries debuting: sci-fi thriller Morgan and period piece romantic drama The Light Between Oceans. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:
I’m not expecting either to make much of a splash and I’m predicting Light will just outshine Morgan for the #3 spot. Labor Day weekend has shown in past years that holdovers often don’t lose much of their audience from the previous weekend. In fact, in many cases, its percentage can increase a bit.
This will probably not hold true for current #1 Don’t Breathe, which had a smashing weekend out of the gate (more on that below). Like most horror titles. it should lose a fairly hefty percentage of its opening weekend crowd. Yet it’s likely to remain #1, unless one of the newbies surpasses expectations or Suicide Squad holds even better than forecast. Kubo and the Two Strings likely will round out the top five, though Pete’s Dragon may challenge it for that spot.
As for my blog poll on the two newcomers – 45% believe my Morgan estimate is Just About Right with 39% saying it’s Too High and 16% saying Too Low. With The Light Between Oceans, 40% think it’s Too High, 33% Just About Right, and 27% Too Low.
And with that, my top 5 projections for the holiday weekend that includes Friday to Sunday and Friday to Monday estimates:
1. Don’t Breathe
Predicted Gross: $13 million (Friday to Sunday), $16.7 million (Friday to Monday)
2. Suicide Squad
Predicted Gross: $10.5 million (Friday to Sunday), $12.9 million (Friday to Monday)
3. The Light Between Oceans
Predicted Gross: $9.5 million (Friday to Sunday), $11.3 million (Friday to Monday)
Predicted Gross: $9 million (Friday to Sunday), $10.6 million (Friday to Monday)
5. Kubo and the Two Strings
Predicted Gross: $6.2 million (Friday to Sunday), $8 million (Friday to Monday)
Box Office Results (August 26-28)
Low-budget horror pic Don’t Breathe continued a solid season for the genre with a fantastic $26.4 million debut (over double my meager $12.4M projection). The critically heralded project, with a reported budget of only $9.9 million, opened beyond even the rosiest of expectations, ousting Suicide Squad from its three-week reign at #1.
Squad dropped to second with $12.2 million (a bit ahead of my $10.6M estimate) for a four-week tally of $283M.
Animated Kubo and the Two Strings actually rose a spot to #3 with $7.8 million in its sophomore frame (in line with $7.5M prediction) for a ten day gross of $24M. A much different animated tale, Sausage Party, was fourth with $7.5 million (I said $7.6M) for a $79M tally.
Opening softly in fifth was the Jason Statham sequel Mechanic: Resurrection with $7.4 million (a bit under my $8.5M forecast).
Following closely behind in sixth was Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, also with $7.4 million (I said $6.6M) for a $54M haul.
War Dogs slipped from third to seventh in its second weekend with $7 million (I said $7.4M) for a $27M overall gross.
Bad Moms continued its impressive run in eight place with $5.5 million (I said $5.4M) for a $95M total. Jason Bourne was ninth with $5.1 million ($4.6M prediction here) for a gross of $149M. Ben-Hur continued its disastrous run in 10th with $4.5 million (a bit below my $5.2M estimate) for a total of only $19M.
There were a pair of limited releases – one that opened OK and the other not so much. Southside with You, dramatizing the first date of first couple Barack and Michelle Obama, managed $2.8 million on 813 screens for 14th place (it’ll expand a bit wider this weekend). Boxing drama Hands of Stone stumbled with just $1.7 million (below my $3.2M projection) on 810 screens for 16th place.
And finally – on this sad day for movie fans – a little of the incomparable Mr. Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. May he rest in peace.