Beast Box Office Prediction

Idris Elba faces single fatherhood and a murderous lion in the survival thriller Beast when it opens August 19th. It comes from Balthasar Kormakur, who recently directed nature related efforts Everest and Adrift. Costars include Sharlto Copley, Iyana Halley, and Leah Sava Jeffries. The selling point for the Universal Pictures pic is, of course, the big cat hunting Elba and family in the South African setting.

Beast should find itself in position for a #1 opening with Bullet Train in its third weekend. That said, the Japanese animated adventure Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero could certainly give it a run for its money.

Estimates have this as low as $10 million or in the $15 million range. Approaching or slightly exceeding the latter seems more likely as long as buzz is decent (early word-of-mouth is encouraging). Higher teens even seems doable, but I’m not ready to go into that mode as of yet.

Beast opening weekend prediction: $14.8 million

August 12-14 Box Office Predictions

There’s a trio of pics debuting or expanding this weekend, but they could all find themselves outside of the top five. A24’s slasher comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies hopes to build on its impressive NY/LA limited release while the Diane Keaton comedy Mack & Rita and survival thriller Fall premiere. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Bodies Bodies Bodies Box Office Prediction

Mack & Rita Box Office Prediction

Fall Box Office Prediction

Both Bodies and Fall are expected to hit around 1200 screens. That’s low and limits their range. Let’s start with Fall as its lack of promotion could find it failing to even make $1 million. I’m projecting $872,000 and that obviously leaves it well outside the high five (and ten for that matter).

Bodies is a bit tougher to figure out. In six venues in our nation’s two largest cities, it took in a robust per screen average of nearly $40k. Yet as I mentioned in my individual post, I’m skeptical that this plays well in the middle of the country. My $4.4 million estimate also leaves it on the outside looking in.

Mack & Rita also seems to be suffering from lack of awareness. I’m only going with $2.6 million as this should come and go in multiplexes quickly.

With the newcomers out of the way, that leaves holdovers to talk about. Sony’s Bullet Train with Brad Pitt opened right on track with reasonable expectations (more on that below) and it should have no trouble remaining in the top spot again. With minimal competition, it could slide in the mid 40s in the best case scenario. That said, if you look at action titles of early August past, a drop in the low 50s to mid 50s seems just as likely. DC League of Super-Pets should stay in second… with a caveat.

If Top Gun: Maverick continues percentage drops in the teens (and there’s no reason to think it won’t), it should re-enter the top 5. Nope could drop out altogether with Thor: Love and Thunder and Minions: The Rise of Gru battling it out for the 4 spot alongside Bodies Bodies Bodies. There’s even a chance Maverick could go from #6 to #2.

Here’s how I see the charts playing out and I’ll expand it to a top ten this time around:

1. Bullet Train

Predicted Gross: $14.1 million

2. DC League of Super-Pets

Predicted Gross: $7.2 million

3. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

4. Thor: Love and Thunder

Predicted Gross: $5.4 million

5. Minions: The Rise of Gru

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

6. Bodies Bodies Bodies

Predicted Gross: $4.4 million

7. Nope

Predicted Gross: $4.2 million

8. Where the Crawdads Sing

Predicted Gross: $4.1 million

9. Mack & Rita

Predicted Gross: $2.6 million

10. Easter Sunday

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

Box Office Results (August 5-7)

Bullet Train came in right where I thought it would with $30 million (my call  was $29.7 million). While it certainly didn’t exceed expectations, it’s a perfectly decent opening and its overseas grosses are solid. The B+ Cinemascore indicates a somewhat fair-weather reaction so it’s worth monitoring how it holds up. As mentioned, the lack of competition should help.

DC League of Super-Pets had a stiffer sophomore fall than I anticipated with $11 million compared to my $13.6 million take. The two-week total is a muted $44 million.

Nope saw a drop of over 50% once again with $8.5 million, in range with my $8.1 million prediction. The three-week tally is approaching nine digits at $97 million.

Thor: Love and Thunder was fourth at $7.7 million (I said $8.3 million) as the MCU sequel became the highest pic in the franchise by eclipsing 2017’s Ragnarok. Total is $316 million.

Minions: The Rise of Gru rounded out the top five with $7.1 million (I went with $6.9 million) for a $334 million haul.

Finally, the Jo Koy comedy Easter Sunday struggled in its start in 8th place with $5.4 million, just under my $5.6 million estimate.

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

Bullet Train Review

David Leitch has done this cartoonishly bloody and dripping with sarcasm business before with John Wick and Deadpool 2. In Bullet Train, having Brad Pitt loaded for the quipping is a plus. The trip is rockiest in the beginning leg, but picks up steam for quite some time. In the later stages, you may be asking why we aren’t there yet with the climax.

Pitt’s assassin who goes by Ladybug boards the title mode of transportation with simple instructions to boost a briefcase. Hurtling at breakneck speed from Tokyo to Kyoto, he soon finds that many other types who share his profession are along for the ride. This includes “twins” Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry). Their codenames may suggest Prince backup dancers, but they’re tasked with transporting the drug addled son (Logan Lerman) of a crime lord named White Death (Michael Shannon) back home. And they also want that briefcase.

Unlike Pulp Fiction where we are still collectively wondering what was in that case, we find out quickly here. Ladybug and his fruit monikered colleagues aren’t the only ones seeking it. There’s Prince (Joey King), who’s dressed not as a backup dancer but as a schoolgirl who fools many with her innocent appearance. Kimura (Andrew Koji) is a killer burdened with a young son in danger away from the tracks. There’s more – Zazie Beetz turns up as does Hiroyuki Sanada as Kimura’s elder (he’s called The Elder). Multiplatinum rapper Bad Bunny is The Wolf, who is avenging a family massacre that could have used cleanup from Harvey Keitel’s Winston Wolfe in the aforementioned Pulp. There’s cameos I won’t spoil. I will say they add little other than fleeting seconds of unexpected recognition.

Bullet Train gleefully revels in its violence. It kind of feels like a throwback to 90s excess that Tarantino’s landmark sophomore feature helped inspire. That’s not always a bad thing as the slicing and dicing is done with the visual flair we expect from Leitch. The screenplay from Zak Olkewicz is one of those where nearly every character is eventually connected. I found myself straining to care about those connections.  It takes a few minutes before Train gets up to speed. Yet Pitt’s considerable charisma and his support staff (particularly Henry and Taylor-Johnson) help alleviate a lot of those narrative bumps. So was the ride worth it? That’s debatable though I’d say there’s worse fates than taking it.

*** (out of four)

Oscar Predictions: Bullet Train

OK, no one’s saying that David Leitch’s Bullet Train was stationing itself for a Best Picture nomination. As for down the line tech nods, it’s at least worth discussing. The action comedy from the John Wick and Deadpool 2 maker stars Brad Pitt and is out Friday.

The review embargo has lifted and Bullet is currently at a middling 60% on Rotten Tomatoes. I would say the only races where nods seemed feasible were Sound and Visual Effects and I don’t envision either occurring. If the Academy were to ever put in a  category for Best Stunt Work (which isn’t a bad idea), the critical reaction indicates this might be in the mix. Absent that, don’t look for this Train anywhere near an awards show.

Leading man Pitt could, however, still find himself in the 2022 mix for Supporting Actor (we think it’s supporting) with Damien Chazelle’s Babylon. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

August 5-7 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (08/03): My projection for Easter Sunday has taken a downward turn. Instead of $8.2M, I’m now only projecting $5.6M and that puts it outside of the top five – with Minions: The Rise of Gru now getting the 5 spot.

Brad Pitt looks to conduct Bullet Train to a sizeable debut while the Jo Koy comedy Easter Sunday looks be a sleeper hit. They are the newbies as August dawns at the box office. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Bullet Train Box Office Prediction

Easter Sunday Box Office Prediction

There’s no question that Train (from John Wick maker David Leitch) will hit #1. It’s all about by how much. Some estimates have this in the $40 million range, but I’m skeptical. In the last couple of weekends, both Nope and DC League of Super-Pets have come in under expectations (more on those developments below).

While Pitt certainly has star power, I feel like buzz needs to pick up and fast for this to reach $40 million. Perhaps my projections will rise before Thursday evening. For now, I have Bullet a shade under $30 million.

As for current champ Super-Pets, a dip in the mid to high 30s seems likely and that should place it firmly as the runner-up.

The truly interesting competition could be for the #3 slot. Easter Sunday could surprise and vastly overperform and end up #2. Or it could be outside of the top five with below $8 million. I’m putting at $8.2 million in its basket and here’s where it could be awfully close. If Nope has another plummet close to 60% and Thor: Love and Thunder sees a mid to high 30s drop, the grosses for the trio could be separated by basically nothing.

That’s what I’m thinking will occur and here’s how I think the top 5 ends up looking:

1. Bullet Train

Predicted Gross: $29.7 million

2. DC League of Super-Pets

Predicted Gross: $13.6 million

3. Thor: Love and Thunder

Predicted Gross: $8.3 million

4. Nope 

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million

5. Minions: The Rise of Gru

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million

Box Office Results (July 29-31) 

The Warner Animation Group won’t be barking loudly about the earnings of DC League of Super-Pets as it came in the very low end of its range. With a muted $23 million, the animated superhero canine teaming of Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson is a disappointment (coming in well under my $33.6 million prediction). The only silver lining could be lack of competition for the month. That could mean meager declines until the bulk of kiddos go back to school.

Nope, as anticipated with its lackluster B Cinemascore grade, cratered in its sophomore frame with $18.5 million (a smidge ahead of my $17.5 million projection). Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror tale is up to $80 million, though it will come in well under his predecessors Get Out and Us. 

Thor: Love and Thunder was third with $13.1 million, besting my take of $11.4 million. The MCU four-quel has hammered home $301 million.

Minions: The Rise of Gru took fourth at $10.9 million (I said $10.3 million) to brings it haul to $320 million.

Top Gun: Maverick rounded out the top five at $8.4 million, right on target with my $8.3 million guesstimate. The airborne phenomenon achieved another milestone at $650 million. It will soon become the 7th largest domestic earner in history when it vaults over Titanic ($659 million) and Jurassic World ($652 million).

Finally, When the Crawdads Sing held up solidly in weekend #3 with $7.5 million (I went with $6.9 million). The mystery based on a bestseller is past the half century mark with $53 million.

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

Bullet Train Box Office Prediction

Sony Pictures is hoping moviegoers catch the Bullet Train when it debuts August 5th. The action comedy comes from John Wick maker David Leitch with Brad Pitt headlining as an assassin. The supporting cast includes Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Zazie Beetz, Logan Lerman, Bad Bunny, and Pitt’s recent The Lost City costar Sandra Bullock (in a role first slated for Lady Gaga).

The Japan set stunt fest is hoping to turn out an adult audience ready for original programming in a summer filled mostly with plenty of sequels and superheroes.

Since starting a franchise with Wick in 2014, Leitch followed up with Atomic Blonde. It was a box office disappointment that debuted with just over $18 million. Train should have no trouble getting past that number. However, it won’t reach the earnings of his last two pictures which were built-in franchise entries: Deadpool 2 and Fast and Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw. 

Nope was able to reach mid 40s and it had the advantage of Jordan Peele’s brand. This will rely mostly on Pitt’s star power. I’m curious to see how word-of-mouth is in the coming days and that could increase or decrease my projection. My hunch is that mid 2os is the floor and low 40s could be the ceiling. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes toward the lower end of that spectrum, and I’ll say high 20s to low 30s is where this lands.

Bullet Train opening weekend prediction: $29.7 million

For my Easter Sunday prediction, click here:

Easter Sunday Box Office Prediction