May 10-12 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (05/08): I am downgrading my Pikachu estimate from $74.8 million to $64.8 million and now giving Endgame a third weekend atop the charts

I’m predicting a photo finish as Avengers: Endgame gets legitimate competition in the form of Pokemon Detective Pikachu featuring the vocal stylings of Ryan Reynolds this weekend. We also have a pair of comedies marketed to the female crowd: Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson in the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake The Hustle and Diane Keaton cheerleading flick Poms. In more limited release, there’s the biopic Tolkien with Nicholas Hoult. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of the newcomers here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/30/pokemon-detective-pikachu-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/30/the-hustle-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/05/02/poms-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/05/04/tolkien-box-office-prediction/

About that photo finish… estimates for Pokemon are all over the map and they have been dropping a bit in recent days. I’ve landed with it having a debut in the mid 70s range. That puts it where I expect Endgame to be. If the record breaking superhero epic manages to top $68 million this weekend, it will achieve the second best third weekend of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That would match what it did this past weekend (more on that below).

I’m giving Pikachu an ever so slight edge to nab the #1 spot. We shall see if that changes as the week goes on.

As for the fresh comedies, The Hustle and Poms should get the three and four spots, respectively. I’ve downgraded both of my forecasts today, especially after seeing the disappointing gross of Long Shot.

Tolkien is only hitting a smallish 1300 screens and my $3.1 million projection leaves it outside the top five. Speaking of the five position, that could be interesting as The Intruder, Long Shot, and UglyDolls could all get it depending on their sophomore dips. I’ll give Long Shot a minor edge.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. Avengers: Endgame

Predicted Gross: $71.2 million

2. Pokemon Detective Pikachu

Predicted Gross: $64.8 million

3. The Hustle

Predicted Gross: $13.4 million

4. Poms

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

5. Long Shot

Predicted Gross: $5.5 million

Box Office Results (May 35)

Avengers: Endgame finally found a record it couldn’t smash this weekend, though I’m sure Disney isn’t too upset about that. In its second weekend, it grossed $147.3 million and that fell under my $153.6 million estimate. That’s also just under the $149 million earned by The Force Awakens in its second weekend, so it had to settle for runner-up record status. With $621 million in the bank, Endgame is already the #9 domestic earner in history. Even more impressively, the film is already #2 worldwide as it surpassed Titanic and is behind only Avatar.

All new titles came in under expectations. As predicted, thriller The Intruder performed the best in second with $10.8 million. While quite a bit under my $15.2 million estimate, it’s a solid performance considering it cost a scant $8 million to produce.

Long Shot with Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron couldn’t connect with audiences despite solid reviews. Its third place showing was only $9.7 million compared to my $13.1 million projection.

The news was even worse for the animated UglyDolls. It bombed in fourth with $8.6 million. I went higher at $13.8 million.

Captain Marvel rounded out the top five with $4.2 million (I said $5.9 million). Total stands at $420 million.

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

May 3-5 Box Office Predictions

As we all catch our breath from the astounding debut of Avengers: Endgame, the first weekend of May brings three new titles all vying for second place behind Tony Stark and company. They are the animated UglyDolls, Seth Rogen/Charlize Theron comedy Long Shot, and homeownership thriller The Intruder with a demented Dennis Quaid. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/23/uglydolls-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/24/long-shot-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/23/the-intruder-box-office-prediction/

All three films have legit chances at premiering in second. I’m skeptical about UglyDolls, even though the plush toys it’s based on are well-known. Long Shot has reviews on its side, but could be more of a slow builder. That leaves The Intruder and I do believe it could appeal to an older and African-American audience. Therefore I’ll say it becomes the silver medalist.

This brings us to the sophomore frame of Endgame. It broke basically every record there is over the weekend (more on that below). Predecessor Infinity War dipped 55% last year. This might be a tad more front loaded, but probably not by much. I’ll give it a 57% slide. That means another record should be in store as my estimate puts it over the best all-time second weekend, which is Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $149 million.

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

1. Avengers: Endgame

Predicted Gross: $153.6 million

2. The Intruder

Predicted Gross: $15.2 million

3. UglyDolls

Predicted Gross: $13.8 million

4. Long Shot

Predicted Gross: $13.1 million

5. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

Box Office Results (April 2628)

History was made this weekend as Avengers: Endgame rocketed past even the most lofty expectations and left record after record in its wake. The MCU epic took in an otherworldly $357.1 million, scorching my $289.6 million projection. That’s not only the biggest opening of all time… it’s $100 million more than previous holder Avengers: Infinity War from last summer. The question as to whether it eventually surpasses the $936 million achieved by all-time domestic earner The Force Awakens is real.

As if Endgame didn’t provide enough embarrassment of riches, Captain Marvel climbed to second (thanks drive-ins) with $8.3 million (I said $8.7 million) for $413 million overall.

The Curse of La Llorona was third with $8 million compared to my higher $10 million forecast. The two-week tally is $41 million.

Breakthrough was fourth with $6.8 million (I said $6.3 million). Total is $26 million.

Shazam! rounded out the top five with $5.5 million. I was generous at $7.4 million. It’s at $131 million.

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

Avengers: Endgame Movie Review

**There’s really no way to write a review of Avengers: Endgame without some minor spoilers. You may wish to read this post viewing…

The word “epic” can be overused by those who review movies like me, but it unquestionably applies to Avengers: Endgame. It’s epic in its running time (none of the other 21 MCU pics run three hours) and epic in the number of well-known thespians reprising their superhero and villain characters. It doesn’t seem feasible that so many characters could manage to coexist in this vast universe without seeming like a gimmick. If you happen to think predecessor Infinity War was overcrowded, you’ll get whiplash here. Truth be told, there are moments when this borders on playing like a greatest hits reel based on what’s preceded it during the last eleven years.

Yet Endgame figures out a rewarding way to stick the landing and honor the dozens of faces that we’ve spent billions of dollars visiting since 2008. At the conclusion of Infinity War, bad guy Thanos (Josh Brolin) had collected his precious Infinity Stones and decimated half the intergalactic population into dramatic looking dust particles. What’s left is mostly the core of the OG Avengers – Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). There’s others as Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) is the sole surviving Guardian of the Galaxy. And we have the two notable characters that were MIA last summer – Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

One might think this whole saga might be about the original band and some newer friends taking on Thanos. You would be wrong. Endgame has plenty of time bending tricks up its endless story arch sleeves. The first is an unexpected resolution that comes very early. However, that climax is just a set-up to further complications.

This is indeed a time travel movie in which the screenwriters almost sheepishly concede the contrived nature of such a device. The survivors set upon a course of multiple back in time ways to retrieve the Stones and bring back their loved ones. It doesn’t happen overnight and the lengthy nature of the plan coming together provides funny and poignant moments. Tony is off the grid with his beloved Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a new addition. Bruce is in full Hulk mode, but kindler and gentler. Thor is rounder and drunkenly grappling with his losses. Hawkeye is a full-blown vigilante. When the gang revs up their figurative DeLoreans, it gives us a chance to revisit lots of MCU personnel. And it’s a LOT of former players. Some are genuinely surprising. During this lengthy stretch, the film walks a fine line of not devolving into nostalgic sugar shock amidst the action sequences. By the final act, it rises above it.

We know the battle scenes will be well choreographed and well-directed (with the Russo Brothers handling duties once again). The final one is rather jaw dropping with the mixing of so many known quantities. Thanos is one of the stronger villains in MCU history and he remains so here, though there’s nothing fresh to add about his character. His daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan), on the other hand, continues her evolution as a fine addition to the roster.

The comic relief comes more from Thor as opposed to Ant-Man or Rocket and Hemsworth is up to the task. Captain America and Black Widow are given their emotional moments that we’re invested in from their backstories. To this writer, it’s Tony who’s always been the damaged beating heart of this franchise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe simply wouldn’t exist as it is without Downey Jr.’s brilliant work. That’s never changed. The quality of the movies he’s appeared in has. His performance has always been fantastic. If we’re ranking, I would put Endgame as an overall experience just under the first Avengers in 2012 and Infinity War. I can’t promise that thinking about all the shifting time plot points might raise as many questions as answers. I won’t deny that its emotional payoff is real and we have Downey and an amazing group of technicians bringing these comics to life to thank for it.

***1/2 (out of four)

April 26-28 Box Office Predictions

After the worst Easter weekend at the box office in a decade and a sub par 2019 overall, expect things to pick up considerably on Friday. In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a little something called Avengers: Endgame debuting and it appears poised to smash the all-time opening record. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/16/avengers-endgame-box-office-prediction/

The grand finale of this current MCU phase has been selling out theaters for weeks and anticipation for the multi billion dollar franchise epic is sky-high. In order to top the record holder, it will need to rise up over the $257 million earned one year ago by predecessor Avengers: Infinity War.

I believe it will do that with more than $30 million to spare as it injects needed life into the movie business. As you can imagine, no other feature dared to premiere against Iron Man and his pals. The Curse of La Llorona should fall to second after a decent debut. Captain Marvel could be the beneficiary of the rare drive-in effect as the MCU flick should be paired with Endgame in multiple venues. This helped Black Panther last year when it dropped only 4% thanks to Infinity War. DC’s superhero tale Shazam! should dip to fourth with Breakthrough rounding out the top five.

And with that, my projections for a potentially historic weekend:

1. Avengers: Endgame

Predicted Gross: $289.6 million

2. The Curse of La Llorona

Predicted Gross: $10 million

3. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

4. Shazam!

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million

5. Breakthrough

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

Box Office Results (April 1921)

As mentioned, the Easter frame was hardly hopping as many moviegoers decided to save their cash for Endgame. The Curse of La Llorona, as expected, posted the lowest start ever for a Conjuring Cinematic Universe title. However, its $26.3 million haul did scare up more than my $20.1 million projection.

Shazam! dropped to second after two weeks in first with $16.4 million, ahead of my $14 million forecast. The total is $120 million.

Faith based drama Breakthrough was no Heaven Is for Real in third with $11.2 million from to Friday to Sunday and $14.7 million since its Wednesday premiere. That’s quite a bit under my respective expectations of $16.9 million and $22 million.

Captain Marvel had a remarkable increase from the previous weekend with $9.1 million for fourth place. That’s well above my $6 million estimate as the MCU behemoth reached $400 million domestically, right in time for her Endgame appearance.

Little rounded out the top five with $8.3 million (I said $7.8 million) for $29 million in two weeks.

Finally, the DisneyNature doc Penguins fell flat with just $2.2 million for 12th place and $3.2 million counting its Wednesday jumpstart. I was higher at $3.5 million and $5 million.

That does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Avengers: Endgame Box Office Prediction

This current massively successful phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe draws to a close next weekend with the release of Avengers: Endgame. There’s an excellent chance that it achieves the largest opening weekend gross of all time with the grand finale. Endgame follows up directly with last summer’s Avengers: Infinity War, which is the current record holder with $257 million.

Anthony and Joe Russo return in the directors chairs with a core group of familiar heroes battling Josh Brolin’s Thanos. They include Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. That’s just scratching the surface, by the way. The events (spoiler alert if you’ve been in a year-long coma) of Infinity War dissolved numerous other beloved characters into dust including Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and the majority of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista) save for Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket. It’s quite likely you’ll see them again. And also in the roles we’ve seen them in before… there’s Gwyneth Paltrow, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Tessa Thompson, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Evangeline Lilly. Oh… and Letitia Wright and Sebastian Stan and Tom Hiddleston.

Whew. Back to the numbers crunching. When early tickets went on sale a couple of weeks ago, Endgame smashed every record in sight. Its YouTube trailer views are off the charts. Audiences know this is the culmination of what we’ve paid billions of dollars for over the past decade plus. Yes, there’s a three-hour runtime which is unprecedented for the MCU.

I have a feeling that won’t matter when it comes to reaching a premiere level we’ve yet to witness. No other movie is daring to compete against it and most holdovers will be earning $10 million and less. In other words, multiplexes will clear a ton of real estate for this.

Initial estimates put Endgame around $250 million, but the buzz has this inching upwards. I believe that’s a correct assumption. While I don’t believe this will hit $300 million (as the rosiest projections suggest), a gross just north of $285 million seems feasible. If it achieves that mark, the endgame here will indeed set records.

Avengers: Endgame opening weekend prediction: $289.6 million

April 19-21 Box Office Predictions

It’s Easter weekend at the box office and we have three new pictures opening. There’s The Darkness (The Curse of La Llorona), The Light (Breakthrough), and The Penguins (Penguins). Two of them will attempt to dislodge Shazam! from its two-week perch in the top spot. Yet this holiday frame will likely be known as “the one before Avengers: Endgame opened”. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/the-curse-of-la-llorona-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/breakthrough-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/10/penguins-box-office-prediction/

The Curse of La Llorona takes place in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, but it hasn’t really been marketed heavily as such. Therefore I believe it will easily have the lowest debut of the franchise, but still manage to top the charts.

Breakthrough has the potential to do just that with faith-based crowds. I do question whether it can manage to achieve what Heaven Is for Real accomplished five Easter’s ago ($29 million for its five-day gross). Debuting on Wednesday, I’ll say mid teens for the traditional weekend and low 20s when factoring in the extra days.

Penguins is the latest DisneyNature venture. The latest efforts in the series have earned between $4-$5 million for their starts. This opens on Wednesday as well, so I’ll put it a touch under. My $3.5 million Friday to Sunday projection ($5 million five-day) puts this outside my top five.

Shazam! should slide to third after two weeks in first position with Little coming in fourth. As for the five-spot, I’m saying Captain Marvel. It should experience a smaller percentage decline than Hellboy and Dumbo. That could be good enough to take it from sixth to fifth before she joins her superhero pals next weekend in Endgame.

And with that, my take on the holiday weekend:

1. The Curse of La Llorona

Predicted Gross: $20.1 million

2. Breakthrough

Predicted Gross: $16.9 million (Friday to Sunday); $22 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

3. Shazam!

Predicted Gross: $14 million

4. Little

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

5. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $6 million

Box Office Results (April 1214)

As expected, Shazam! retained its perch on top with $24.4 million, a bit lower than my $28.2 million prediction. The DC tale is sniffing the century mark after ten days with $94 million.

The Regina Hall comedy Little led four newcomers in second with $15.4 million, managing to exceed my $14 million projection.

The story of the weekend was the pitiful performance of Hellboy. The comic book based reboot bombed with just $12 million in third, under my $17.4 million take. This potential franchise pretty much ended before it began.

Pet Sematary was fourth in its sophomore outing with $9.7 million (I said $10.5 million). Total is $40 million.

I incorrectly had Dumbo outside the top five and it made $9.4 million to bring its tally to $90 million.

College romance After was eighth and topped most estimates with $6 million. I was much lower at $3.7 million.

Finally, Laika Animation has its worst opening by a lot. Missing Link, despite positive reviews, couldn’t find an audience. It took in just $5.9 million for ninth. I was considerably higher at $11.7 million.

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

The Depths of Hellboy

Over the past year and change, the superhero genre has been flush with massive successes such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and current box office champ Shazam!, which has dutifully met expectations. The upcoming Avengers: Endgame is looking to set the all time opening record in two weeks. Something was bound to eventually get lost in the shuffle and that turned out to be Hellboy this weekend.

The film rebooted the Dark Horse Comics franchise that debuted in 2004 with Guillermo del Toro behind the camera and Ron Perlman as the horn clad anti-hero. A 2008 sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, built on the grosses of its predecessor.

Neil Marshall took over directorial duties for the new Hellboy with David Harbour of “Stranger Things” cast as the title character. All along the way, the marketing campaign seemed curiously muted. It was as if Lionsgate might have known they had a dog on their hands. And they did. The review embargo didn’t lift until late this week. Rotten Tomatoes has been ripe with bad critical reaction with a 15% score. CinemaScore audiences haven’t been kind either with a lowly C rating.

On Sunday, the initial results have Hellboy in third place with just $12 million. Not only is that behind the second frame of Shazam!, it’s after the debut of the Regina Hall comedy Little. To put that in perspective, the 2004 Hellboy made $23 million out of the gate. The Golden Army took in $34 million. For both of those films, the opening weekends represented a hefty chunk of the overall earnings. In the case of the second installment, it fell hard in its sophomore frame due to another comic boom sequel premiering called The Dark Knight. With its toxic word of mouth, I expect this version to tumble at least 60% in weekend #2 and probably more.

If there’s any silver lining for the studio, it’s that the reboot cost a reported $50 million. That’s certainly low on the scale for this genre. Yet we can be sure this iteration of the character is a one-off. And we’ve found out what the depths of Hellboy are on a financial level and it’s not pretty.