To kick off my series on the people that made significant contributions in cinema for 2018, the first post is the easiest to choose from. In a year filled with many successful tales, BlackPanther is undoubtedly THE story. The Marvel Cinematic Universe saga took a superhero not nearly as known as others and the result was a surprising and smashing record breaker.
The man behind it is Ryan Coogler. A 32-year-old Oakland native, Coogler made his directorial debut with 2013’s acclaimed FruitvaleStation. Two years later, he invigorated another franchise with Creed. And in February of this year, Panther was unleashed worldwide. With Chadwick Boseman in the title role, Michael B. Jordan as one of the MCU’s most memorable villains, and Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright providing dynamic support, the film immediately struck a chord with moviegoers and critics. With a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score, Panther took in $700 million domestically at the box office.
Let us count the records, shall we? That’s the top hit of the year. It’s the third biggest domestic grosser of all time behind only StarWars: TheForceAwakens and Avatar. Obviously, that designation means it’s Marvel’s #1 earner. One year ago, if anyone had told you this would make more than Avengers: InfinityWar (which followed a few weeks later), you wouldn’t have believed it.
For Coogler, he’s made the biggest comic book adaptation ever in a century filled with them. The sky is the limit for him as he’s likely being offered every tent pole project in sight. He’s already struck a deal to direct the Panther sequel. Additionally, this stands an excellent chance to be the first pic of its genre to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.
In 2018, Coogler made history by making the #1 picture ever directed by an African-American and introduced a hero already beloved by all. He’s an unquestionable entry in the people that mattered onscreen this year.
An onslaught of holiday offerings begin this weekend as a trio of newbies swing into multiplexes. They’re likely to populate the top 3 spots and give a jolt to a typically sleepy post Thanksgiving box office frame. We have the critically acclaimed animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Clint Eastwood’s true-life dramatic thriller The Mule, and Peter Jackson penned dystopian adventure Mortal Engines. You can peruse my detailed individual prediction posts on them here:
Just as all six Spidey features have debuted at #1 over the past decade and a half plus, so shall Spider-Verse. It should do so rather easily with an estimated take in the upper 40s.
I do believe enough Eastwood fans will turn out for The Mule to be #2. It hopes to play well throughout the holiday season with adult moviegoers.
With a reported $100 million budget, Mortal Engines is shaping up to be a costly flop, though it should still manage a third place showing.
The rest of the top five should be some family leftovers and I’ll predict The Grinch manages to outdo Ralph Breaks the Internet, which has held the top spot for the past three weeks.
I also need to mention Once Upon a Deadpool, which premieres this Wednesday. As you may have read, this is a PG-13 version of this summer’s Deadpool 2 with 20 minutes of new footage. It’s slated to open on approximately 500 screens and I haven’t done an individual prediction post for it. It’s a real mystery as to how it performs, but I certainly don’t believe it will be in the top five. This could fluctuate for sure – but I’ll say it makes $4.2 million from Friday to Sunday.
And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend ahead:
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Predicted Gross: $43.4 million
2. The Mule
Predicted Gross: $17.6 million
3. Mortal Engines
Predicted Gross: $12.4 million
4. The Grinch
Predicted Gross: $10.8 million
5. Ralph Breaks the Internet
Predicted Gross: $9.7 million
Box Office Results (December 7-9)
It was expected to be a quiet weekend with no new wide releases out. It certainly was as Ralph Breaks the Internet topped the charts for the third time with $16.2 million, in line with my $16.7 million estimate. The Disney sequel has amassed $140 million so far. This was only the third weekend of 2018 where the #1 pic didn’t reach $20 million and it’s certain to be the last.
The Grinch was second with $15 million (I said $14.2 million) for an overall tally of $223 million.
Creed II was third at $9.9 million – right there with my $10.1 million prediction. It’s approaching the century mark at $96 million in three weeks.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald made $6.9 million for fourth (I said $6.2 million). The wizarding world sequel’s gross is at $145 million.
Bohemian Rhapsody rounded out the top five with $6.1 million (I projected $5.9 million) for $173 million. $200 million could be in its sights if it continues to hold well.
Before an onslaught of holiday titles enter the marketplace, it looks to be a sleepy weekend at the box office as no wide releases open. That means November leftovers should continue to populate the top five.
I don’t see the rankings from the past frame changing with Ralph Breaks the Internet slated for a three-peat. While the post Thanksgiving weekend often sees large drops, that should ease a bit here with most titles dropping in the 30s.
Truth be told, it’s a lackluster weekend before nearly a dozen Christmas offerings arrive in the two weeks following.
Here’s my take on the top 5:
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet
Predicted Gross: $16.7 million
2. The Grinch
Predicted Gross: $14.2 million
3. Creed II
Predicted Gross: $10.1 million
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Predicted Gross: $6.2 million
5. Bohemian Rhapsody
Predicted Gross: $5.9 million
Box Office Results (November 30-December 2)
Ralph Breaks the Internet easily ruled the roost for the second weekend in a row as nearly all titles dipped a tad below my projections. The Disney sequel made $25.5 million (I was higher at $28.7 million) for a two-week tally of $119 million.
The Grinch was second with $17.9 million (I said $20 million) as it crossed the double century mark with $203 million.
Creed II placed third in its sophomore outing with $16.6 million compared to my $18.2 million estimate. Total gross is $80 million.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was in fourth position at $11.3 million (I said $12.1 million) for $134 million overall.
Bohemian Rhapsody got the five-spot with $8 million, in line with my $7.8 million prediction. The Freddie Mercury biopic is up to $164 million.
Instant Family was sixth with $7.1 million (I said $7.9 million) for earnings of $45 million.
Finally, horror fans propelled low-budget The Possession of Hannah Grace to a better than anticipated showing in seventh with $6.4 million, doubling my $3.2 million forecast.
When a little underdog of a movie named Rocky came out 42 years ago, a litany of Roman numeral titled sequels wasn’t foreseeable. Fantastic box office returns and a surprising Best Picture Oscar win changed that dynamic. 1979’s RockyII was eagerly awaited and served as nothing much more than a retread of its predecessor. It was a dull copy at that where the main difference was its hero Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) besting rival Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).
Creed came out in 2015 and it had underdog status itself. The concept of shifting the focus to Apollo’s illegitimate son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) and his prowess in the ring seemed a little lame upon its announcement. However, like Rocky, the picture exceeded expectations with energetic direction from Ryan Coogler, fine work from Jordan, and an emotional storyline with Rocky’s cancer diagnosis. Stallone was even nominated again for an Academy Award.
Financial success has brought those Greek digits back. CreedII has a deeper well to drain from as far as plot compared to RockyII because of the further follow-ups. Coogler isn’t behind the camera anymore as he took on the phenomenon that was BlackPanther. Steven Caple Jr. takes over the reins while Stallone shares script credit (something he didn’t do three years ago).
1985’s RockyIV is the entry that the second Creed taps for material. As you’ll recall, this was the saga where Balboa fought fierce Russian competitor Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) while seemingly punching out Communism too. Part four was cheesy, very much of its time, and highly enjoyable. It’s also the one where Drago delivered a fatal blow to Apollo after the energetic “Living in America” performance of James Brown.
Adonis gets an opportunity to avenge his father here. Drago’s son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) is an up-and-comer with his sights on the now heavyweight champion. His pops Ivan sees it as revenge after mother Russia shunned him following his loss to Balboa. The daddy issues don’t end there. Creed is now engaged to singer Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and she’s expecting. Rocky is estranged from his son as Adonis often fills that void.
The Italian Stallion isn’t thrilled with the prospect of Creed/Drago II, considering Apollo died in his arms. And we know that training montages will keep the drama unfolding. We don’t have a Xerox like situation with this sequel. It does follow the path of #4 in numerous ways, including a Soviet set main event.
Ivan Drago was a man of few words in ‘85 and he still is. His back story of abandonment from his wife (Brigitte Nielsen, who cameos) and countrymen has the potential to be compelling, but it’s given the short shrift. Jordan is still excellent in the title role, as is his chemistry with Thompson. Stallone’s character arch here is considerably less captivating than the last time around. This franchise is shifting away from him to Adonis and you feel it.
Like Creed, the ring action is more realistic than anything in the Rocky tales, where punches landed with a percentage of around 110%. Caple Jr. does decent work filming them, though not to the level of what Coogler accomplished.
CreedII is a superior direct sequel than RockyII. The common thread is that neither are particularly memorable or necessary. To add to the clichés that permeate this series (sometimes in supreme guilty pleasure ways), it’s not a knockout. If you’re a true fan, though, it certainly won’t break you.
As is traditionally the case, the post Thanksgiving weekend should be a quiet one for new releases as audiences should continue to feast on leftovers. The only newcomer is horror pic The Possession of Hannah Grace and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
I’m not expecting much from Possession with my meager $3.2 million forecast. That would leave it outside the top 5 and most likely in the bottom rungs of the top 10. That means the top half of the top 10 is likely to stay the same – with some potential flip flopping occurring.
Ralph Breaks the Internet may lose close to half its audience in its sophomore outing and that would easily place it first once again with a gross in the high 20s. That drop would put it in line with the post Thanksgiving sophomore frames of Frozen, Moana, and Coco – all Disney titles that debuted over the long holiday.
The battle for #2 could be a little more interesting. In 2015, Creed dipped 49% in its second weekend (which also was a post holiday one) and I think this will roughly follow suit. If that occurs, I expect The Grinch will continue its smallish declines as we move closer to Christmas. That could allow the surly green guy to move into the runner-up position.
In 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them plummeted a steep 59% in its third weekend and sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald could be facing the same fate. That said, remaining in fourth place shouldn’t be a problem.
For the #5 slot, I believe Instant Family could manage to jump Bohemian Rhapsody by a razor-thin margin as it looks to have a minor dip compared to other pics.
And with that, my top 6 projections for the weekend upon us:
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet
Predicted Gross: $28.7 million
2. The Grinch
Predicted Gross: $20 million
3. Creed II
Predicted Gross: $18.2 million
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald
Predicted Gross: $12.1 million
5. Instant Family
Predicted Gross: $7.9 million
6. Bohemian Rhapsody
Predicted Gross: $7.8 million
Box Office Results (November 23-25)
Ralph Breaks the Internet, as expected, ruled the Turkey Day frame with $56.2 million for its Friday to Sunday haul and $84.7 million from Wednesday to Sunday. The Disney sequel managed to surpass my respective estimates of $54.4 million and $79.8 million. As mentioned, this should have no trouble being #1 at the box office for probably the next two weekends.
Creed II also opened with highly impressive results in second with the largest live-action Thanksgiving debut of all time. The boxing sequel made $35.5 million over the traditional weekend and $56 million for the five-day gross. This was above my respective projections of $31.4 million and $45.3 million. Opening larger than its predecessor, it appears poised to top the $109 million overall gross of 2015’s Creed.
The Grinch was third with $30.3 million (I was right there at $30.1 million) to brings its three-week total to an opposite of grumpy $180 million.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald went from first to fourth with $29.3 million (I went higher with $34.8 million). It’s taken in $116 million thus far and should come in well under the $234 million made by its predecessor.
Bohemian Rhapsody was fifth with $14 million (I said $14.1 million) for $152 million overall.
Instant Family held up nicely after a so-so debut in sixth with $12.3 million (I said $12.7 million). The Mark Wahlberg/Rose Byrne dramedy eased just 15% to bring its two-week tally to $35 million. I expect this to continue to play well into the holiday season.
It was bad news for Lionsgate as the latest Robin Hood reboot (with a reported $100 million price tag) was DOA in seventh with $9.1 million for the three-day and $14,2 million for the five-day. That’s on the mark with my $9.7 million and $14.1 million take on it. Expect this to fade fast.
Widows was 8th in its sophomore frame with $8.2 million, shy of my $9.5 million estimate for $25 million total.
Green Book expanded nationwide with middling results in ninth place with $5.5 million over Friday to Sunday and $7.4 million for the five-day. It did get over my predictions of $4.5 million and $7.4 million. Its studio will cross their fingers that the A+ Cinemascore grade allows it to have sturdy legs.
A Star Is Born was 10th with $3 million (I went with $4 million) and it’s nearing double century territory with $191 million.
Blogger’s Note (11/20): On the eve of their debuts, I have respectively increased and decreased projections for CreedII and GreenBook
Well it’s Turkey Day weekend at the box office and that always makes for a crazy frame to predict the numbers we shall see over the long holiday! We have four newcomers debuting and/or expanding to the masses: Disney animated sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, follow-up to the 2015 punchy blockbuster Creed II, the latest Robin Hood tale with Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx, and Oscar hopeful Green Book. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the quartet here:
There’s little doubt that the Mouse Factory should rule the charts with return of Ralph. It’s a familiar position for the studio as they’ve opened Frozen and numerous Pixar pics over Thanksgiving.
Creed II certainly has breakout potential. I have it performing very similar, however, to its predecessor three years ago on the same weekend. That estimate would put it in fourth behind family offerings Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in weekend #2 and The Grinch in weekend #3.
This particular holiday often sees holdover experience extremely slim declines as moviegoers take the weekend to sample leftovers. Both Instant Family and Widows debuted under expectations (more on that below), but I have them both holding quite sturdily.
I’m not looking for the newest Robin Hood to score many points with audiences and have it slated for a lowly seventh place start.
Green Book expands to around 1000 screens and it’s quite a question mark. It’s getting serious awards chatter, but its limited release numbers this past weekend were not too impressive. I still think it can reach double digits for the five-day roll out and that leaves it in ninth place considering all the competition.
With every newbie debuting on Wednesday and all the returnees attempting to be stay afloat, my typical top 5 forecast becomes a top 10 this time around! Here they are:
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet
Predicted Gross: $54.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $79.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Predicted Gross: $34.8 million
Predicted Gross: $31.4 million (Friday to Sunday); $45.3 million
4. The Grinch
Predicted Gross: $30.1 million
5. Bohemian Rhapsody
Predicted Gross: $14.1 million
6. Instant Family
Predicted Gross: $12.7 million
7. Robin Hood
Predicted Gross: $9.7 million (Friday to Sunday), $14.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Predicted Gross: $9.5 million
9. Green Book
Predicted Gross: $4.5 million (Friday to Sunday), $6.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
10. A Star Is Born
Predicted Gross: $4 million
Box Office Results (November 16-18)
All new releases seemed to come in a bit under the forecasts and that started with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. As anticipated, it easily topped the charts at $62.1 million, but that’s about $12 million less than its predecessor from two years ago and under my $70.1 million take.
The Grinch fell to second with $38.5 million in its sophomore frame. I was right there at $38.6 million. It’s made $126 million so far as it should continue to play well into the season.
Bohemian Rhapsody was third with $16 million (I went higher at $19.5 million). It’s three-week tally is $128 million.
Instant Family, despite good reviews and the star power of Mark Wahlberg, was fourth with a middling $14.5 million. I was considerably higher at $19.4 million. The silver lining could be a very solid hold coming up.
And despite great reviews, heist thriller Widows disappointed in fifth with $12.3 million (I said $15.8 million). Like Family, it hopes to level out over the holiday.
Three years ago, the biggest surprise of Oscar night was Sylvester Stallone losing Best Supporting Actor to Mark Rylance in BridgeofSpies. The legendary performer was nominated for his seventh portrayal of Rocky Balboa in Creed, nearly 40 years after Rocky won Best Picture.
Creed was an unexpected critical and box office smash with a knockout score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Oscar attention was reserved for Stallone only. CreedII opens on Wednesday and reviews are out. The tale of the tape indicates a mostly satisfying if predictable experience that serves as a follow-up to RockyIV. The Tomato meter currently sits at 72%.
While its predecessor was heralded for Stallone’s work, early critical reaction here is more focused on Michael B. Jordan’s return in the title role. Yet any awards attention he receives will be for his supporting role in BlackPanther, I suspect.
Bottom line: CreedII may please fans of the franchise. Like the Rocky sequels, don’t expect awards voters to punch ballots for it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…