A Quiet Place Part II Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (03/12): In what is becoming a new reality due to the COVID-19, the release of this film has been delayed indefinitely from its 03/20 opening. I’ll keep the prediction up, but certainly revisions are likely to be made once a future release date is secured.

Arriving two years after its predecessor made serious noise at the box office, A Quiet Place Part II hits theaters next weekend. The horror sequel to the acclaimed 2018 blockbuster sees John Krasinski returning as writer/director with his spouse Emily Blunt headlining. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are back as her children. New cast members include Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou.

The original struck a loud chord with audiences and critics with a $50 million opening. Part one legged out impressively for its genre with an eventual $188 million overall domestic haul. It even earned some awards attention with Blunt winning a Supporting Actress SAG trophy.

All horror titles not named The Invisible Man have faced a tough road at multiplexes in 2020. However, with the first feature fresh in their minds, audiences should turn out for this follow-up. The X factor is, of course, worldwide events and this is likely to be a recurring theme in my projections for the foreseeable future. The impact of the Coronavirus on the moviegoing public is playing out in real time. At present, I will say Part II makes a few million under what the first accomplished.

A Quiet Place Part II opening weekend prediction: $42.5 million

Anna Box Office Prediction

Luc Besson loves assassins and his latest action thriller Anna features another one in the form of Russian supermodel Sasha Luss. She stars in the reported $30 million budgeted pic with Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, and Cillian Murphy in the supporting cast. As mentioned, the director has played in the genre before with La Femme Nikita and The Professional. His recent filmography includes hits (2014’s Lucy) and big budget flops (2017’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets).

Expectations are low here. Its best hope could be for a bountiful European gross. The blockbuster earnings of Lucy were greatly assisted by its lead Scarlett Johansson. No such headliners exist here.

Rolling out on approximately 2150 screens, I think $5 million could even be too high of a mark.

Anna opening weekend prediction: $3.6 million

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Dunkirk Movie Review

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk has moments and plenty of them which are simply breathtaking. We expect the director of The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar to serve up a visual treat as he enters the war genre and he does. Yet I didn’t quite anticipate occasional moments of emotional resonance and the tight running time that keeps it moving at a brisk pace. This is an often epic experience in a truncated frame. That decision by the director and his editors allow Dunkirk to capture the fierce urgency of warfare told from three perspectives.

The film recounts the Battle of Dunkirk in Northern France in 1940. The British and their French allies are on the losing side of this particular conflict with the Nazis and evacuation plans are underway. Nolan chooses not to tell the events in a traditional or linear manner. Three stories are highlighted – by land, sea, and air. I list them in that manner because the land piece develops over a week’s time. Our action on the water happens in a day. The air portion is a matter of just an hour.

On land, we meet a number of soldiers desperately searching for escape while trying to help their wounded fellow countrymen. We also listen in on the strategies of the military higher-ups, led by Kenneth Branagh’s sturdy commander.

On the water, Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) answers the call to take his own boat to help pick up soldiers from the extraction area. He brings his son (Tom Glynn-Carney) and friend (Barry Keoghan) along with him. On their way to their destination, they come upon a lone soldier (Cillian Murphy) who is experiencing shock from a U-boat attack.

In the air, Tom Hardy’s Air Force pilot and two fellow fighters must furiously try to down Nazi planes bombing those waiting in the evacuation region, while keeping an eye on their own fuel.

All of this activity unfolds in just over 100 minutes in a picture you’d expect to run closer to three hours. Character development is at a minimum but that’s not a demerit. Dunkirk captures the hectic nature, uncertainty, and chaos of war. With Nolan at the helm and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema behind the lense, it’s also filled with beautiful imagery on a beach filled with soldiers, on the expansive ocean, and in the clouds. The screenplay gives us just enough focus on its characters to make certain situations emotionally resonant. This especially holds true with the sea portion and Rylance’s determined skipper and Murphy’s battle weary soldier.

The time jumping element is one that would make Tarantino proud. That aspect adds an often fresh perspective to the well-worn WWII genre and its glorious and inglorious tales. By its conclusion, we marvel at personal acts by humans caught up in impossible situations in the fog of battle. In a week, a day, and an hour, Dunkirk expertly shows it.

***1/2 (out of four)

Dunkirk Box Office Prediction

Christopher Nolan is one of the few directors whose name can bring in audiences and his box office power will be tested next weekend when Dunkirk lands in theaters. The World War II pic looks to appeal to action fans, as well as adult moviegoers looking for something beyond sequels and reboots. Reviews are embargoed until Monday, but early word of mouth is quite solid. There could be even be Oscar buzz for categories outside of the expected technical nominations it should nab.

The cast is a mix of relative unknowns (Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden) and more familiar faces (Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance). Early forecasts for its opening weekend potential have ranged everywhere from $30 million to possibly $60 million.

My feeling is that it will basically fall between that. Five of Nolan’s last six pictures have made over $45 million out of the gate (the outlier is 2006’s The Prestige). Of course, there’s the Dark Knight trilogy, which doesn’t serve as any sort of fair comparison. The better comps in the director’s filmography are 2010’s Inception and his last effort, 2014’s Interstellar. The former made $62 million and had the benefit of being Nolan’s follow-up to the phenomenon that was 2008’s The Dark Knight. The latter earned $47 million for its start.

I believe Dunkirk will experience a very similar opening to Interstellar with a great chance that it will experience smallish drop-offs in subsequent weekends and play well throughout the month of August.

Dunkirk opening weekend prediction: $44.7 million

For my Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets prediction, click here:


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Free Fire Box Office Prediction

This Friday, British action-comedy Free Fire hits theaters stateside after it’s already premiered in the U.K. Ben Wheatley’s effort debuted last fall at the Toronto Film Festival to decent buzz and it stands at 81% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Oscar winner Brie Larson (fresh off Kong: Skull Island) headlines along with Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Jack Reynor.

While the pic may garner some interest from fanboys based on its mostly positive word of mouth, the marketing campaign for Free Fire has been minimal. I don’t yet have a theater count for it, which makes this prediction a little tough (and I could revise it when that count is revealed).

Regardless, I see a low opening here and it’s best hope is likely gaining a cult following once it’s release for home viewing.

Free Fire opening weekend prediction: $2.3 million

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In the Heart of the Sea Movie Review

Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea is a periodically engrossing yet often curiously flat rendering of the true story that inspired Herman Melville’s famed novel Moby Dick. It begins in 1850 as the author (Ben Whishaw) visits Thomas (Brendan Gleeson), the last survivor of the Essex, a ship that was destroyed by a great white whale and leaving its crew stranded at sea. Thomas isn’t anxious to regale Melville of the survival tactics used 30 years prior. Yet he relents and he’s soon playing Gloria Stuart to Melville’s Bill Paxton.

We move to Nantucket circa 1820 as the whale oil trade is at its height and Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) is under the impression that he’ll get his first plum assignment as captain of the vessel. Politics thwarts this plan as that job goes to the more inexperienced George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), whose family are titans in the business. Speaking of politics, the screenplay occasionally (and rather needlessly) pouns the point home that the practice of slaughtering whales was a necessity 200 years ago.

Chase isn’t happy about being first mate and leaving his pregnant wife (of course she is) but he soon sets sail with Pollard and a crew that includes young Thomas (Tom Holland). There’s also a second mate portrayed by the talented Cillian Murphy, who is given incredibly little to do.

After several weeks of no luck on the mission, the Essex crew soon find themselves eye to whale eye with its pesky nemesis. Let the torment begin. In the Heart of the Sea doesn’t bother to flesh out its characters to any real degree. Hemsworth certainly looks the leading man part here and throws spears with the grace of his Thor hammer skills. His New England accent leaves much to be desired and he’s not the only one. Walker is rather dull. The best work belongs to the always solid Gleeson, who gets the most emotional material to work with.

Compliments are owed to the makeup crew and actors themselves that convincingly convey the wear and tear of the men stranded for months at sea. Howard has clearly set out to make an old fashioned story with new style CG effects. His old school sensibilities are actually more in tune with the mid-1970s than a century plus earlier. We actually don’t see the great white whale too often here… kind of like another great white dweller in Jaws. In the Heart of the Sea may be true and may have inspired a masterpiece work of art. However, that doesn’t mean that today it doesn’t feel pretty familiar and a bit like Jaws with less interesting people in the water.

**1/2 (out of four)

In the Heart of the Sea Box Office Prediction

It’s got an Oscar winning director and Thor starring in it, but chances are that next Friday’s In the Heart of the Sea is destined to be known as “the movie that opened the week before Star Wars“. In other words – it better make its money now.

Ron Howard directs the whale tale epic that inspired Moby Dick with Chris Hemsworth in the lead and Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker, and Ben Whishaw costarring. Early reviews are quite mixed (it stands at 67% currently on Rotten Tomatoes) and widespread acclaim could have helped.

While trailers and TV spots have been decent, it seems like Sea has been flying a bit under the radar for a pic of its scale and, as mentioned, it doesn’t help with the galactic Goliath that follows just a week later.

On this same weekend last year, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings took in $24 million. That, too, was an epic tale with an Oscar winning auteur and lead actor known for his superhero role (Christian Bale). Sea will be lucky to reach that number and I believe it will fall short of the $20M mark for a choppy start.

In the Heart of the Sea opening weekend prediction: $18.4 million

Oscar Watch: In the Heart of the Sea

It hasn’t really been looked at too seriously for Oscar attention and now next week’s In the Heart of the Sea has screened for critics. Ron Howard’s epic true story whale tale that inspired Moby Dick stars Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, and Brendan Gleeson.

For what once appeared as a major potential box office player, Sea seems to be flying under the radar. As mentioned, while it didn’t seem like much of an awards contender, it was always worth mentioning due to Howard’s track record. Plus you just never know… nobody expected Creed to become the legit contender that it certainly has.

Now that reviews are out – it’s safe to say that this will not be hearing its name called for Academy nominations. Both trade papers weren’t too kind. Opening a week before something called Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this could struggle at the box office as well (my prediction post will be up tomorrow, by the way). And today solidified what most of us suspected: there will be no wave of awards attention for Sea.

Transcendence Box Office Prediction

For cinephiles, this Friday’s Transcendence has been eagerly anticipated not just for Johnny Depp starring in it – but also because it marks the directorial debut of Wally Pfister. He is best known as the cinematographer behind all of Chris Nolan’s pictures, including The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception. The sci-fi thriller is headlined by Depp with a supporting cast including Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, and Nolan regulars Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy.

The participation of Depp makes this high-profile alone, but it’s worth noting he’s had a couple of flops in a row with Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger. The trailers for Transcendence have surprisingly been rather middling in my view and they don’t really reflect what the film is about. This could hinder its potential with its opening. Warner Bros. is releasing Transcendence the same weekend as Tom Cruise’s Oblivion last year. That title earned $37 million in its premiere and I’m sure the studio would love to see that number here.

Transcendence should easily nab the #1 spot next weekend but I don’t believe it’ll get quite as high as Cruise’s sci-fi entry. Low 30s seems the safe bet.

Transcendence opening weekend prediction: $30.8 million

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