Historical drama The Current War has experienced a very bumpy road on its journey to the big screen. The film in September 2017 at the Toronto Film Festival with Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon starring as Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, respectively. Once looked at as an awards hopeful, it failed to electrify critics and it currently sports a dim 31% Rotten Tomatoes score. To add insult to injury, War was being distributed by The Weinstein Company and its co-founder’s legal issues put its release on hold.
That ends this Friday as Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s effort is out with trailers calling it the “Director’s Cut” (an odd choice considering only reviewers and Toronto goers saw it two years back). Costars include Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland (who’s appeared as Spider-Man several times since making this), and Nicholas Hoult.
Simply put, I see no little anticipation here and there’s plenty of actual Oscar contenders out in limited or wide release for adults to attend. There’s no screen count yet and that could alter my estimate, but I believe this will lucky to even reach $2 million.
The Current War opening weekend prediction: $1.7 million
Moonlight Oscar nominee Naomie Harris is a rookie officer up against dirty cops in next weekend’s racially tinged action thriller Black and Blue. It comes from Deon Taylor, who directed this summer’s thriller The Intruder. Costars include Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, and Reid Scott.
Late October is typically not a time period where new products post impressive debuts. Buzz is quiet and reviews are middling with a current 57% Rotten Tomatoes score. None of the cast members are much of a draw. Blue will be lucky to attract even the $7.6 million achieved last October by The Hate U Give. It had similar subject matter, but far better critical reaction.
I believe that means mid single digits is probable.
Black and Blue opening weekend prediction: $4.8 million
STX Entertainment is hoping that horror fans will spend some time in this Halloween season watching Countdown next weekend. The film (from director Justin Dec) centers on an app that predicts the timeline of people’s demises. The cast includes actors mostly known for TV work – Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Bateman, Tichina Arnold, P.J. Byrne, Peter Facinelli, and Anne Winters.
The techno scare fest could manage to lure in some younger viewers, but many of them could be attending their own costume parties. The final frame of October is traditionally a sluggish one at the box office when newcomers don’t post large debuts. A studio like Blumhouse might be able to market this effectively, but this seems to be generating little heat.
I believe the numbers clock here will stop at just over double digits.
Countdown opening weekend prediction: $10.7 million
Two high profile sequels look to displace Joker from its two-week perch atop the charts. Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil with Angelina Jolie and Zombieland: Double Tap, reuniting Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, and others after a decade are the contenders. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
My estimate for Maleficent puts it considerably behind the $69 million earned by its 2014 predecessor. It can be dubious to bet against Disney, but I just don’t see the excitement for this particular follow-up. There’s also family competition from the second weekend of The Addams Family, which performed well out of the gate.
I have Double Tap coming in a million dollars behind 2009’s part one. This sequel does stand a shot at rising above my projection, but a solid third frame for Joker could eat into its potential.
Speaking of, Joker continued its record setting October pace with easily the largest sophomore haul of the month in history. If it drops in the mid to high 30s, I believe it edges Mistress for top billing.
Will Smith’s Gemini Man flopped and a drop of over 50% appears likely. That would place it in high single digits for fifth place.
Here’s my take on the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $34.2 million
2. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
Predicted Gross: $32.3 million
3. Zombieland: Double Tap
Predicted Gross: $23.7 million
4. The Addams Family
Predicted Gross: $18.4 million
5. Gemini Man
Predicted Gross: $9.4 million
Box Office Results (October 11-13)
As mentioned, Joker dominated the weekend, dipping a meager 41% for $55.8 million (towering over my $44.8 million forecast). That brings its tally to $193 million with over $300 million in its sights.
The animated version of The Addams Family was strong in second with $30.3 million, ahead of my $27 million take. With Halloween around the corner, expect sturdy holds throughout the month.
Gemini Man fell victim to mostly poor reviews in third with $20.5 million, a bit under my $22.8 million prediction. I expect both versions of Will Smith to fade quickly from theaters.
Abominable was fourth with $6 million (I said $7 million). It’s earned a so-so $47 million.
Downton Abbey rounded out the top five at $4.8 million compared to my $4.4 million projection for $82 million total.
Lastly, the panned Adam DeVine comedy Jexi languished in ninth with only $3.1 million (I went with $3.5 million).
The quartet of Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin return after a decade to fight the undead in Zombieland: DoubleTap next weekend. The comedic sequel find Ruben Fleischer back directing and Bill Murray back playing himself. Newcomers in part 2 include Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, and Murray’s Ghostbusters costar Dan Aykroyd.
In October 2009, Zombieland helped usher in a resurgence for the living dead. With solid reviews, the pic took in $24.7 million for its start and closed at $75 million. The band is back together after all these years and the original’s reputation has stayed intact in the interim.
In 2019, we have seen numerous examples of sequels falling short of what came before. DoubleTap could be immune from that, but I don’t see it outgrossing part 1 by any substantial margin. My hunch is that this comes in barely under the debut posted in 2009 as enough moviegoers will want to catch up with this gang.
Zombieland: DoubleTap opening weekend prediction: $23.7 million
For my Maleficent: MistressofEvil prediction, click here:
The cavalcade of 2019 Disney live-action reimaginings continues next weekend with Maleficent: MistressofEvil. The fantasy adventure is the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, which focused on the villainous title character from SleepingBeauty. Angelina Jolie returns along with Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Newcomers to the fold include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Joachim Rønning (who recently co-directed the Mouse Factory’s PiratesoftheCaribbean: DeadMenTellNoTales) takes over for Robert Stromberg.
When it comes to comps for how Mistress might perform, that’s a tricky calculation. Since the release of part 1 five summers ago, there’s been eight Disney updates of their classic animated material. The last two from this summer (Aladdin and TheLionKing) were massive blockbusters based on beloved 1990s pics. This spring’s Dumbo, on the other hand, premiered with a so-so $45 million.
What about Maleficent itself? It opened just under $70 million with a $241 million eventual domestic haul. Yet five years is a fairly long break between sequels and some of the kiddos who attended could take a pass here. That brings up the example of AliceinWonderland and AliceThroughtheLookingGlass. In 2010, Wonderland was the first significant reimagining in several years. It debuted to $116 million. Six years later, LookingGlass was a huge flop and earned in the mid 20s for its start. For a non Disney example, SnowWhiteandtheHuntsman kicked off with a robust $56 million in 2012. Four years, its follow-up TheHuntsman: Winter’sWar sputtered with a meager $19.4 million.
While I don’t anticipate the drop-off here will be quite as dramatic as the last two scenarios, I do feel Evil will come in markedly lower than its predecessor. I’ll predict low to mid 30s could be the range and that means around half of the bounty from half a decade ago.
Maleficent: MistressofEvil opening weekend prediction: $32.3 million
For my Zombieland: Double Tap prediction, click here:
Blogger’s Note (10/10): My Joker estimate has risen from $39.8 million to $44.8 million. My Addams Family estimate is up from $21.7 million to $27 million. My Gemini Man projection has dropped from $24.8 million to $22.8 million.
After a record setting October beginning, Joker looks to repeat in the top spot with more significant competition in its sophomore frame. The contenders for the throne are Ang Lee’s action thriller GeminiMan starring Will Smith and the animated version of TheAddamsFamily. There’s also the Adam DeVine technological comedy Jexi, which will be lucky to hit the top five. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers right here:
I am on the lower end of expectations with Gemini and Addams. My respective projections in the mid 20s and low 20s puts them in second and third positions behind Joaquin Phoenix’s villainous character.
So how will Joker fare in the follow-up weekend? Looking to some decent comps, both Logan and Venom fell 56% in their second outings. It seems reasonable that this will drop that much. I don’t see it falling the 68% of, say, Watchmen. I’ll say 58-60% is most feasible.
Abominable looks to place fourth and my $3.5 million forecast for Jexi puts it behind DowntonAbbey in the five spot race.
And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:
Predicted Gross: $44.8 million
2. The Addams Family
Predicted Gross: $27 million
Predicted Gross: $22.8 million
Predicted Gross: $7 million
Predicted Gross: $4.4 million
Box Office Results (October 4-6)
Joker decimated the all-time October premiere record with a sizzling $96.2 million, rising above my $89.6 million projection. The Warner Bros stand-alone comic book pic was not affected by various controversies that preceded it and audience curiosity was clearly at a fever pitch.
Abominable dropped to second place with $11.9 million, in line with my $12.5 million prediction for a two-week tally of $37 million. That’s on the smaller end of the spectrum when it comes to Dreamworks Animation’s early autumn offerings.
Downton Abbey was third with $7.9 million (I said $8 million) for a bountiful $73 million haul thus far.
Hustlers was fourth with $6.3 million, just under my $6.7 million. The Jennifer Lopez hit is nearing the century mark at $91 million.
I incorrectly had It Chapter Two outside of the high five, but it was fifth with $5.3 million to float its gross to $202 million.
Renee Zellweger Oscar hopeful Judy expanded its theater count to over 1400 and was sixth with $4.5 million. I had it making a tad more at $5.9 million. Total is $9 million.