Scream Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Note (01/13): On the eve of its premiere, I am upping the 4-day tally for Scream from $29.4 million to $36.4M

The fifth installment of the Scream franchise slashes its way into theaters on January 14th, hoping to bring in a sizable horror fan base. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, makers of V/H/S and Ready or Not, direct as they take reigns of the series from scare master Wes Craven (who helmed the first four and passed away in 2015). Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Marley Shelton, and Roger L. Jackson (as the iconic voice of Ghostface) reprise roles from previous entries. Newcomers include Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, Jenna Ortega, and Jack Quaid.

Nearly a quarter century ago, the low-budget original became a cultural phenomenon and revitalized the genre. Two sequels followed in quick succession in 1997 and 2000 while part 4 hit in 2011. It was a commercial disappointment – taking in only $38 million at the domestic box office (with a $19 million start).

Paramount and Dimension Films are hoping that nostalgia will bring audiences back to the fold. Fright fests, more than any other type of pic in 2021, proved immune to challenges faced in the COVID era in terms of solid openings. The third Conjuring and Candyman each premiered in the low to mid 20s range. Scream will have an extra day of earnings when factoring in the long MLK frame.

January is very desolate in terms of high profile debuts and Scream is by far the biggest one. It marks a major test for theaters as the Omicron variant sweeps across the country. If this fails to perform, don’t be surprised to see delays for upcoming releases. Even with that potential barrier and the underperformance of its predecessor, I envision this managing a mid to possibly late 20s haul when including Monday.

Scream opening weekend prediction: $36.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

2021 Oscar Shortlists: Reaction

It’s a big day for us Oscar prognosticators as the shortlists were revealed this afternoon. For the uninitiated, there are seven feature film races where the Academy releases contenders ranging from 10-15 nominees. For Original Score, Song, International Feature Film, and Documentary Feature – we are given 15 hopefuls. In Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects – the list is dwindled to 10.

Let’s walk thru them one by one and I’ll talk about some surprises and omissions!

Best Original Score

The 15 Contenders:

Being the Ricardos

Candyman

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Encanto

The French Dispatch

The Green Knight

The Harder They Fall

King Richard

The Last Duel

No Time to Die

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Commentary: 

Based on my latest Oscar forecast from December 15th, my five predicted nominees (Dune, The Power of the Dog, Spencer, Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth) all made the cut. So did my #7 (The French Dispatch), #9 (Being the Ricardos), and #10 (King Richard). The two omissions from my top 10: (6) Nightmare Alley and (8) Cyrano.

The biggest surprise might be the inclusion of Candyman. 

Best Original Song

The 15 Contenders:

“So May We Start” from Annette

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Right Where I Belong” from Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road

“Automatic Woman” from Bruised

“Dream Girl” from Cinderella

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“The Anonymous Ones” from Dear Evan Hansen

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

“Guns Go Bang” from The Harder They Fall

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“Here I Am” from Respect

“Your Song Saved My Life” from Sing 2

Commentary:

My only top 10 ditty from 12/15 not on this list is “Believe” from The Rescue. I will note that “Every Letter” from Cyrano just dropped from my 10 last week and that turned out to be the correct call. This race still likely boils down to Beyonce (“Be Alive”) vs. Billie (“No Time to Die”).

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

The 10 Contenders:

Coming 2 America

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Nightmare Alley

No Time to Die

The Suicide Squad

West Side Story

Commentary:

A race where Cyrano isn’t left out! Last week I had Spencer in fifth position and it falls out. Same goes for Being the Ricardos (7) and The Last Duel (10). This is a competition that could go for Dune, Gucci, or Tammy as I see it.

Best Sound

The 10 Contenders:

Belfast

Dune

Last Night in Soho

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

The Power of the Dog

A Quiet Place Part II

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Tick Tick… Boom!

West Side Story

Commentary:

My predicted five from six days ago (Dune, West Side Story, Belfast, No Time to Die, Tick Tick… Boom!) are intact as are my #6 (Matrix) and #9 (A Quiet Place Part II). Not so for the films I had at 7, 8 and 10: Nightmare Alley, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Last Duel). Fresh off its gargantuan box office, the Spidey mention shows potential strength at making the shorter shortlist.

Best Visual Effects

The 10 Contenders:

Black Widow

Dune

Eternals

Free Guy

Ghostbusters: Afterlife 

Godzilla vs. Kong

The Matrix Resurrections

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Commentary:

All 4 MCU movies from 2021 make it in as do three Warner Bros spectacles  (Dune, Matrix, Godzilla). I had Don’t Look Up placed fourth but it falls out. So does Finch which I rated seventh. This certainly increases the chances for Marvel to have at least two in the final five, but there’s Dune and then everything else in this race.

Best Documentary Feature

The 15 Contenders:

Ascension

Attica

Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry

Faya Dayi

The First Wave

Flee

In the Same Breath

Julia

President

Procession

The Rescue

Simple As Water

Summer of Soul

The Velvet Underground

Writing with Fire

Commentary:

It’s tough luck for my #9 (The Lost Leonardo) and #10 (Becoming Cousteau) as this fascinating race plays out between The Rescue, Flee, and Summer of Soul. 

Best International Feature Film

The 15 Contenders:

Compartment No. 6

Drive My Car

Flee

The Good Boss

Great Freedom 

The Hand of God

A Hero

Hive

I’m Your Man

Lamb

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Playground

Plaza Catedral

Prayers for the Stolen

The Worst Person in the World

Commentary:

Lamb and a Yak walk into the international competition, but the shocker of the day might be France’s Titane (which I had it 7th) not being mentioned. Same goes for #9 Memoria. This could be the category where Flee wins, but A Hero has been my #1. When I update my projections tomorrow, don’t be surprised if the rising Drive My Car from Japan takes over the top spot.

I’ll have fresh estimates in ALL feature categories posted tomorrow!

2021 Critics Choice Awards Predictions

As if the Golden Globe nominations coming tomorrow morning weren’t confusing enough to figure out, we also have the nods on the same day for the Critics Choice Awards. They’re frequently a reliable indicator of which way the Academy could go. However, there’s a caveat. While both branches choose ten pictures, the other races can fluctuate between 5-7 nominees. Generally Director and the lead acting races are seven while supporting and the screenplay derbies are six. The rest are a rather (needlessly unpredictable) mix. This show also contains some categories not seen in others like Best Ensemble, action, comedy, and sci-fi/horror pics, and Young Performer.

Here’s my best shot at projecting what the critics will do. The ceremony itself hits January 9th… the same day as the Globes. And as I did with the Globes, I’ll name runners-up and second alternates…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: The Last Duel

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Guillermo del Toro, Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Runner-Up: Adam McKay, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Jodie Comer, The Last Duel

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Second Alternate: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Nicolas Cage, Pig

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick Tick… Boom!

Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Nightmare Alley

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Ann Dowd, Mass

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Runner-Up: Marlee Matlin, CODA

Second Alternate: Rita Moreno, West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

Jon Bernthal, King Richard

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Jason Isaacs, Mass

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Jared Leto, House of Gucci

Second Alternate: Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza

Best Ensemble

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Don’t Look Up

Dune

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: King Richard

Second Alternate: Mass

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

C’Mon C’Mon

Don’t Look Up

King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Mass

Runner-Up: Being the Ricardos

Second Alternate: The Worst Person in the World

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

CODA

The Last Duel

The Lost Daughter

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Dune

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

Belle

Encanto

Flee

Luca

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Runner-Up: Raya and the Last Dragon

Second Alternate: The Summit of the Gods

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees:

Drive My Car

Flee

The Hand of God

A Hero

Titane

The Worst Person in the World

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Second Alternate: I’m Your Man

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: The French Dispatch

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Cyrano

Dune

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Spencer

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Editing

Predicted Nominees:

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

West Side Story

Runner-Up: Tick Tick… Boom!

Second Alternate: Licorice Pizza

Best Makeup

Predicted Nominees:

Cruella

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

House of Gucci

Spencer

Runner-Up: The Last Duel

Second Alternate: Nightmare Alley

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

Cyrano

Dune

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Runner-Up: The French Dispatch

Second Alternate: Belfast

Best Score

Predicted Nominees:

Dune

The French Dispatch

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Spencer

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Runner-Up: Don’t Look Up

Second Alternate: Cyrano

Best Song

Predicted Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Beyond the Shore” from CODA

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Every Letter” from Cyrano

Second Alternate: “Here I Am” from Respect

Best Visual Effects (note that it is unlikely that The Matrix Resurrections or Spider-Man: No Way Home screened in time for inclusion)

Predicted Nominees:

Don’t Look Up

Dune

Eternals

Finch

Free Guy

Godzilla vs. Kong

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Runner-Up: The Green Knight

Second Alternate: The Suicide Squad

Best Action Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Black Widow

Dune

The Harder They Fall

No Time to Die

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

The Suicide Squad

Runner-Up: Nobody

Second Alternate: Eternals

Best Comedy

Predicted Nominees:

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Don’t Look Up

Free Guy

The French Dispatch

Licorice Pizza

Red Rocket

Runner-Up: Cruella

Second Alternate: Zola

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Predicted Nominees:

Candyman

Dune

Finch

Free Guy

A Quiet Place Part II

Runner-Up: The Suicide Squad

Second Alternate: Titane

Best Young Performer

Predicted Nominees:

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Jude Hill, Belfast

Emilia Jones, CODA

Woody Norman, C’Mon C’Mon

Saniyya Sidney, King Richard

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Millicent Simmonds, A Quiet Place Part II 

Second Alternate: Demi Singleton, King Richard

This list means I’m projecting the following number of nominations for these movies:

12 Nominations

Dune

11 Nominations

Belfast, West Side Story

10 Nominations

The Power of the Dog

8 Nominations

King Richard

7 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, The Tragedy of Macbeth

6 Nominations

CODA

5 Nominations

Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

3 Nominations

C’Mon C’Mon, Cyrano, Free Guy, The French Dispatch, House of Gucci, The Last Duel, Mass, Spencer

2 Nominations

Cruella, Encanto, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The Lost Daughter, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

1 Nomination

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Being the Ricardos, Belle, Black Widow, Candyman, Drive My Car, Eternals, Finch, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Hand of God, The Harder They Fall, A Hero, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Passing, Pig, A Quiet Place Part II, Red Rocket, The Suicide Squad, Tick Tick… Boom!, Titane, The Worst Person in the World

Reaction (along with that for the Globes) up tomorrow!

Candyman (2021) Review

There’s a sequence in Candyman in a high school girls bathroom that plays like it belongs in a less meditative continuation of the franchise. While it’s certainly cleverly shot, the scene feels out of place with its bad sequel slasher vibe. It may well be the point of the tone that its filmmakers are satirically putting forth. After all, they jettison anything that transpired in the two inferior follow-ups to the 1992 original. That doesn’t mean the excursion works and it’s a nagging issue with the film as a whole. There’s no doubt that a lot of thought went into this melding of issues from racial discrimination to white privilege to gentrification to police brutality. What plagues it somewhat is that it seldom succeeds in getting under your skin.

Nearly 30 years ago, Bernard Rose’s Candyman (from a story by Clive Barker) shook up a tired horror genre filled with Freddy, Jason, and Michael sequels. There was gore to be had, but also plenty of subtext in its tale of the urban legend with a hook for a hand and a bevy of bees emanating from his torso. As the 1890s era tortured artist whose love for a Caucasian woman resulted in his own torture, Tony Todd created an iconic title character with more narrative meat on the bones than your typical weapon wielding terrorizer from that time. It was an arthouse movie and so is this (it’s even set in an arthouse for chunks).

This new version, as mentioned, serves as a direct restart. The Cabrini Green projects where part I was placed is no longer the notorious crime hub of Chicago. The gentrified and souped up property is now home to young and thriving professionals. This includes Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris). She’s an art gallery director and he’s a painter who’s stuck in a creative rut. Their collective work is contingent on the approval of the snooty types who make it their business to judge them (critics, gallery owners). One message seems clear – their assessment of an African-American artist’s work rises in their esteem if it’s more violent.

Anthony gets a burst of inspiration that is kickstarted by Brianna’s brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett). When he regales the couple and his boyfriend with the nearly forgotten account of the buzzy killer whose name shan’t be uttered five times in a mirror, it gets Anthony’s creative juices flowing. This leads him to investigate the crimes of Daniel Robitaille (Todd) and the crimes committed against him. Billy (Colman Domingo) is a longtime Cabrini tenant who is more than pleased to help with the backstory (he had his own dealings with Robitaille in the late 1970s). Anthony’s research results in a project that dares you to say Candyman’s name and await the consequences. This is when blood starts flowing.

Nia DaCosta directs her second feature with a screenwriting and production assist from Jordan Peele. The script incorporates the plot from 1992 with new twists. The primary one is that there’s not only one Candyman. We know this when Anthony’s past involvement in the saga is revealed and he begins showing symptoms of becoming him after a nasty bee sting. Side effects include often visually striking murders.

While DaCosta is just establishing her filmography, Peele is recognized for his melding of social issues with scare tactics (Get Out and Us are both superior examples of how to do it). In Candyman, there’s more of an appreciation for what it’s trying to do than what it ultimately accomplishes onscreen. Sort of like a painting that’s busy with ideas but there’s not enough time allotted for it to really hook you in. I admired the picture to a point though I left unconvinced the deeper dive was worth it.

**1/2 (out of four)

October 1-3 Box Office Predictions

An October filled with potential heavy hitters begins Friday with the release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Tom Hardy’s sequel to the 2018 comic book blockbuster. We also have spooky animated sequel The Addams Family 2 and Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Box Office Prediction

The Addams Family 2 Box Office Prediction

The Many Saints of Newark Box Office Prediction

One thing seems certain: the September long reign of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will cease with the arrival of Venom. I don’t envision it approaching the $80 million premiere achieved by its predecessor, but a high 50s forecast has it ruling the roost.

The two other newbies are also both available for home viewing (Addams for general rental, Newark on HBO Max). Addams should have no trouble snapping into the 2 spot. I’m projecting it earns a little more than half of the original’s $30 million.

Newark is a bit of a head scratcher. It stands to reason that many Sopranos devotees may have a Max membership and simply choose to view from their couch. I’ll say it gets close enough to double digits to just outdo Shang-Chi in its fifth frame (though it could be close).

After a muted debut, Dear Evan Hansen should drop in the low to mid 40s for a fifth place showing.

Here’s how I see the top 5:

1. Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Predicted Gross: $58.7 million

2. The Addams Family 2

Predicted Gross: $16.6 million

3. The Many Saints of Newark

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million

4. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million

5. Dear Evan Hansen

Predicted Gross: $4.2 million

Box Office Results (September 24-26)

As anticipated, Shang-Chi made it a September clean sweep as it remained #1 for the fourth weekend and became the highest grossing domestic earner of the COVID era. With $13 million (I overshot at $14.9 million), the impressive take is $196 million.

The musical drama Dear Evan Hansen couldn’t get most critics or crowds on its side. It underperformed with $7.4 million, falling shy of my $8.6 million prediction. Its A- Cinemascore rating could mean small declines ahead, but fans of the Broadway show may have already rushed to view it (just not as many as the studio hoped).

Free Guy was third with $4.1 million compared to my $4.5 million projection and it’s up to $114 million.

Candyman placed fourth with $2.5 million. My guess? $2.5 million! Total is $56 million.

Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho rounded out the top five in its sophomore frame with just $2 million (I said $2.8 million) for $8 million overall.

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

September 24-26 Box Office Predictions

Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings looks to make it a clean sweep at #1 for the month of September this weekend. The only competitor standing in its way is Dear Evan Hansen, the adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Dear Evan Hansen Box Office Prediction

The fact that Hansen is garnering mixed reviews has me questioning whether it reaches double digits. I’m guessing no and that should put it in the runner-up position behind Rings, which may only drop in the low 30s.

Holdovers will populate the rest of the five as we await some potential October behemoths starting with Venom: Let There Be Carnage and continuing with No Time to Die, Halloween Kills, and Dune.

Until then, expect a rather quiet end to this month at multiplexes. Here’s how I envision the top five:

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Predicted Gross: $14.9 million

2. Dear Evan Hansen

Predicted Gross: $8.6 million

3. Free Guy

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million

4. Cry Macho

Predicted Gross: $2.8 million

5. Candyman

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

Box Office Results (September 17-19)

Shang-Chi steamrolled the rest of the weak competition in its third frame with $21.6 million. That’s just above my $20.1 million projection as the MCU juggernaut has amassed $176 million thus far with $200 million easily in its sights.

Free Guy dipped a scant 9% for second place in its sixth weekend with $5 million (I said $4.2 million). It has crossed the nine digit mark at $108 million.

The weekend’s top newcomer was Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho with a ho-hum $4.4 million compared to my more generous $6.4 million estimate. Perhaps its intended older demographic opted to view it on HBO Max or, with its mixed reviews, not at all.

Candyman was fourth with $3.5 million, holding up better than my $2.6 million take. Total is $53 million.

Keeping with the horror theme, Malignant dropped 50% in its sophomore weekend with $2.7 million. That’s decent for its genre and it’s generated plenty of chatter (good and bad) that might have assisted in a curiosity factor. In two weeks, it’s made $9 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five.

That’s because Gerard Butler’s latest action thriller Copshop (despite a decent critical response) tanked with only $2.3 million in sixth. I went with $4.5 million.

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

September 17-19 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Note (09/16): I am revising my prediction for The Eyes of Tammy Faye. It appears to be in more of a limited release than I anticipated so my estimate goes from $3.4 million to $1.7M. That puts it outside of the top five and allows Candyman the five spot.

A trio of newcomers are out Friday, but none stand much of a chance at dethroning Marvel’s sizzling Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. We have Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho, Gerard Butler’s action thriller Copshop, and the Jessica Chastain led biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

Cry Macho Box Office Prediction

Copshop Box Office Prediction

The Eyes of Tammy Faye Box Office Prediction

I’m not projecting any of the newbies will hit double digits, but I’ll say Eastwood’s latest comes closest. I’m hedging a bit since Macho will stream on HBO Max. However, it should make enough to overshadow Copshop (though Butler has over performed in the past).

The Eyes of Tammy Faye is a tricky one since there’s no screen count available at press time. The pic is garnering Oscar buzz for Chastain. My estimate could fluctuate. For now, I have it in a battle with Free Guy for the four spot.

As mentioned, Shang-Chi should have no issue making it three weeks on top. A low 40s drop might put it just over $20 million.

And with that, my take on the top 5:

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Predicted Gross: $20.1 million

2. Cry Macho

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million

3. Copshop

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million

4. Free Guy

Predicted Gross: $4.2 million

5. Candyman

Predicted Gross: $2.6 million

Box Office Results (September 10-12)

It was a glorious weekend for Shang-Chi as it achieved the best sophomore frame of any feature during COVID. The MCU blockbuster took in $34.7 million, a tad below my $36.4 million prediction. The ten-day is up to an impressive $144 million. While Rings fell short of Black Widow‘s pandemic era best start, it held up considerably better for the follow-up.

Free Guy was second with $5.5 million as it crossed the century mark at $101 million. My projection? $5.5 million!

Despite plenty of internet chatter over the weekend due to its wild twists, James Wan’s horror flick Malignant stalled with audiences (though many may view it on HBO Max). It was third at $5.4 million, falling under my $7.6 million take.

Candyman held the four spot at $4.7 million (I said $5.1 million) as its made $47 million.

Jungle Cruise rounded out the top five with $2.3 million (I was right there at $2.4 million) and it sails in with $109 million overall.

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

September 10-12 Box Office Predictions

In the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas: I was way off! I’m speaking of the marvelous performance of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which smashed the Labor Day weekend all-time record. We’ll get to that in a second. The major release this weekend is James Wan’s latest horror offering Malignant. My detailed prediction post on it can be found here:

Malignant Box Office Prediction

There’s arguably been an over saturation in the market lately for scary pics. Malignant doesn’t seem to have much heat, but I have to give the reminder that this genre often over performs. I’ll still go with under $10 million and that would be good for second place.

Back to Shang-Chi. The acclaimed 25th MCU entry claimed the second highest COVID era debut (barely behind the other Marvel premiere from 2021 – Black Widow). Scarlett Johansson’s stand-alone title fell a steep 68% in its sophomore frame. I don’t foresee that occurring with Shang-Chi. With an A Cinemascore grade and it not being available on Disney Plus, a mid 50s dip seems more likely as it could foreseeably be #1 for the entire month of September.

Here’s how I see the top 5 shaking out:

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Predicted Gross: $36.4 million

2. Malignant

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million

3. Free Guy

Predicted Gross: $5.5 million

4. Candyman

Predicted Gross: $5.1 million

5. Jungle Cruise

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

Box Office Results (September 3-6)

Mark it down as one of my incorrect forecasts ever. I thought the challenges facing Shang-Chi (COVID and the fact that big movies don’t really come out at this time of year) meant a $58.9 million four-day gross. Whoops. Try $94.6 million! Its $75 million traditional three-day take, as mentioned, is just after the $80 million that Widow made. Simply put, this is another testament that theatrical only can still be a moneymaking venture and that’s music to industry ears. To put it in perspective, the previous Labor Day record was 2007’s Halloween at $30 million. Rings tripled that and then some.

On the flip side, I was a little too generous to the holdovers. Candyman earned $12.5 million in its sophomore frame (a bit under my $13.4 million projection). The horror sequel/reboot, after its better than expected start, is up to $41 million.

Free Guy was third with $11.2 million (I said $14.2 million) and it’s made $94 million as it hurls towards the century mark.

PAW Patrol: The Movie sat in the four spot with $5.3 million compared to my $6.7 million prediction. Tally is $31 million.

Rounding out the top five was Jungle Cruise with $5.1 million. Once again, I went with more at $6.9 million. It has sailed off with $106 million.

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

Malignant Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Note (09/09): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising from my prediction down from $10.2 million to $7.6 million**

The drawing power of director James Wan and a horror audience that’s had plenty to watch lately will be put to the test on September 10th with Malignant. The fright fest comes from a genre filmmaker who kickstarted the Saw, Conjuring, and Insidious franchises. Lately he’s been dabbling in other series as he helmed Furious 7 and Aquaman. The cast includes Annabelle Wallis (who starred in the Conjuring spin-off Annabelle), Maddie Hasson, George Young, and Mckenna Grace.

Originally slated for late summer 2020 before its COVID pause, the Warner Bros property will premiere simultaneously on HBO Max. As mentioned, moviegoers have been inundated with scare tactics in the last few months. This includes sequels to A Quiet Place, Escape Room and Don’t Breathe, a third Conjuring, another Purge, and the new Candyman. 

Malignant has a couple of disadvantages. It’s not based on a known property (though one could argue Wan’s original forays into his now well-known franchises weren’t either). The other is the over saturation of the market. My biggest concern is a lack of buzz and its availability at home. That said, horror fans continually demonstrate their willingness to show up.

The previous Conjuring experience also hit HBO when it landed at multiplexes and it took in $24 million. I have a feeling the prognosis for Malignant is that it may earn about half of that figure and maybe a little less.

Malignant opening weekend prediction: $7.6 million

September 3-6 Box Office Predictions

The Labor Day weekend brings us the 25th MCU entry with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It should have no trouble dominating the charts over the holiday, but it could also hit the lowest mark (or close to it) as far as openings go for the vaunted franchise. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Box Office Prediction

Every single Marvel entry has debuted in first place and this will certainly be no different. The Incredible Hulk holds the distinction of smallest start with $55 million. With the extra Monday factored in, my high 50s projection gets Rings just past it. My estimate would also give it the lowest traditional Friday to Sunday beginning.

Could my take be underestimating its potential? Absolutely. Reviews are solid and word-of-mouth should be strong. However, it may have a slight disadvantage due to unfamiliarity of its characters. We are in strange territory for Disney’s most valuable series. Labor Day is usually a time when studios do not release would-be blockbusters. Prior to this, the highest earner premiering picture over the weekend was 2007’s Halloween at $30 million. I wrote all about that here:

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Labor Day Box Office

One thing that is rather consistent over Labor Day is that the summer holdovers tend to hold steady. In fact, many increase their haul from the previous late August frame. I expect this to hold true for the family fare – Free Guy, PAW Patrol: The Movie, and Jungle Cruise. 

Candyman had a sweet opening (more on that below) and I don’t anticipate it losing 50% of its audience or more like most horror titles do. That is primarily due to the holiday. It could fall to the low teens. If so, it could find itself in a battle for #2 with Free Guy and Ryan Reynolds may have the slight edge. The four spot could be close between Patrol and Cruise. 

With all that, here’s how I have the Friday to Monday Labor Day box office shaking out:

1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Predicted Gross: $58.9 million

2. Free Guy

Predicted Gross: $14.2 million

3. Candyman

Predicted Gross: $13.4 million

4. Jungle Cruise

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million

5. PAW Patrol: The Movie

Predicted Gross: $6.7 million

Box Office Results (August 27-29)

Moviegoers were ready to call out the name Candyman again as the sequel/reboot opened at the most generous end of prognoses at $22 million. That bests my $17.3 million forecast. Nearly hitting its $25 million budget out of the gate, Universal has something to buzz about today. It also made history as Nia DaCosta is the first black woman to direct a #1 debuting feature.

Free Guy was runner-up after two weeks on top with $13.1 million, right on pace with my $13 million prediction. The total is $78 million as it zooms toward the century mark.

PAW Patrol: The Movie was third with $6.6 million (I said $6.1 million) for a decent two-week tally of $24 million.

Jungle Cruise took fourth with $5 million compared to my $4.6 million take. The Disney adventure is perched at $100 million and it’s no accident that the studio announced its sequel today.

Don’t Breathe 2 rounded out the top five with $2.8 million, on target with my $2.7 million projection. The horror sequel has made $24 million overall.

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