Instant Family Box Office Prediction

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne are a couple who bring in a trio of foster kids in next weekend’s comedy Instant Family. The pic reunites Wahlberg with director Sean Anders, who made both of the successful Daddy’s Home features. Costars include Isabela Moner, Octavia Spencer, and Tig Notaro.

Family was originally scheduled to hit screens in February 2019 before Paramount pushed up the date. It will try to bring in family audiences on a weekend where Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens directly against it and The Grinch will be in its sophomore frame. That could certainly limit the potential for a robust debut, but the studio will hope that word of mouth carries it to a leggy run over the holidays.

I’ll predict a high teens teens premiere is what we’ll see as the currently unknown buzz will determine the rest of its fate.

Instant Family opening weekend prediction: $19.4 million

For my Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald prediction, click here:

For my Widows prediction, click here:

Daddy’s Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy’s Home was a rather unremarkable comedy that managed to elicit a few laughs and coast on the talents of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It also made a boatload of money and so we enter the territory of the likely unplanned sequel that often feels that way.

The concept, just as in part 1, is pretty simple. The 2015 original pitted softie stepdad Brad (Ferrell) against harder edged real dad Dusty (Wahlberg) vying for the kids attention. Part 2 finds them in a seemingly happy place as Co-Dads. That is until their papas travel to see them for Christmas. And wouldn’t you know it? They exhibit some of the opposite traits that caused Brad and Dusty their problems. John Lithgow is the squishy and overly attentive Brad dad and Mel Gibson is the alpha male and barely attentive Dusty dad. Their presence threatens to upend the recent harmony of their sons. As in the first, there’s an abundance of physical hijinks that follow… most of it directed toward Ferrell. Kids get drunk. They discover girls. Lots of father/son bonding and non bonding happens. The 1980s holiday relief anthem “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” gets more attention than it’s been granted in some time.

Like in the original Home model, the jokes here are mostly predicable and bland with a few genuinely funny parts sprinkled in. Anyone looking for sincere character motivations and real emotion in a Yuletide pic should look elsewhere. In fact, Gibson’s character is kind of an inexplicable monster when you stop and really think about it. It’s  not much worth doing so.

Daddy’s Home 2 isn’t bad and neither was its predecessor. It is utterly forgettable and a little more so than what preceded it. In my review of #1, I stated that when I think of Ferrell and Wahlberg together – my mind goes to the often inspired The Other Guys. I called Daddy’s Home “The Other Movie”. This is the other other one.

** (out of four)

Daddy’s Home 2 Box Office Prediction

Nearly two years after its predecessor was a major holiday hit, Daddy’s Home 2 looks to replicate that success next weekend. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are back, but this time instead of concentrating on their rival dad scenario – it’s their dads joining the mix in the form of John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. Sean Anders returns as director. Other costars include Linda Cardellini and John Cena.

When the original Daddy’s opened on Christmas Day in 2015, it exceeded expectations with a $38 million opening weekend and $150 million eventual gross. Many comedic sequels don’t match the performance of the original. I suspect that will be the case here. For one thing, the Christmas weekend is a huge one but this sequel chose a November release date. A Bad Moms Christmas will be in its second weekend for humorous sequel competition, as well as other heavy hitters like the sophomore frame of Thor: Ragnarok and the premiere of Murder on the Orient Express.

My estimate has part 2 opening with a low to possibly 20s gross. That may actually put it in third behind Thor and Murder.

Daddy’s Home 2 opening weekend prediction: $21.8 million

For my Murder on the Orient Express prediction, click here:

The House Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/29): On eve of debut, revising estimate against to $13.8 million

Bloggers’s Note (06/27): Revising estimate to $18.3M from $22.3M

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are a married couple who start up an illegal gambling establishment to pay for their daughter’s college in The House next weekend. It’s the directorial debut of Andrew J. Cohen, writer of the Neighbors pics and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Costars include Ryan Simpkins, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, and Jeremy Renner.

As far as leading roles go, Ferrell has had a good run lately as Get Hard and Daddy’s Home both debuted in the mid to high 30s range. The former had the benefit of costarring Kevin Hart. The latter benefited from a Christmas release. I don’t see The House reaching those numbers and I see it more likely to be in range (perhaps a bit less) with Ferrell’s The Campaign, which opened to $26 million five summers ago.

Considering its relatively low $40 million reported budget and if it receives decent buzz, this should be a nice size hit for Warner Bros.

The House opening weekend prediction: $13.8 million

For my Despicable Me 3 prediction, click here:

For my Baby Driver prediction, click here:

For my The Beguiled prediction, click here:

Why Him? Box Office Prediction

Audiences looking for laughs over the holidays have an option with Why Him?, the latest comedy from John Hamburg, director of Along Came Polly and I Love You, Man. The pic casts James Franco as an eccentric tech billionaire who doesn’t meet the approval of his fiancée’s pop Bryan Cranston. Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullaly, Griffin Gluck, and Keegan-Michael Key costar.

Him opens on Friday the 23rd, unlike three other big releases that debut on Wednesday, so my estimate is a simple four-day here. This could benefit from being the only new comedy out on a packed Christmas weekend (Office Christmas Party will be in its third weekend).

That said, reviews have been rather weak as it stands at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. Last year, Daddy’s Home cleaned up on the festive weekend with nearly $40 million out of the gate. Yet that one had the more bankable Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Why Him? might be lucky to do a bit over a third of that for its start.

Why Him? opening weekend prediction: $13.2 million (Friday to Monday)

For my Passengers prediction, click here:

For my Sing prediction, click here:

For my Assassin’s Creed prediction, click here:

For my Fences prediction, click here:

Box Office Predictions: January 22-24

Three new titles open Friday to challenge Ride Along 2, The Revenant, and Star Wars at the box office: Robert De Niro/Zac Efron comedy Dirty Grandpa, British horror pic The Boy, and YA thriller The 5th Wave. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

Any one of these newbies (especially Grandpa or The Boy in my view) could over perform, but as predicted I have this trio all debuting in the $11-$14 million range. I am also speculating that current champ Ride Along 2 (which didn’t match the gross of its predecessor) is likely to dip over 50%. That should leave The Revenant (fresh off receiving the most Oscar nominations) in a position to get to #1 after two weeks in the runner up position and Star Wars in a position to potentially remain in third.

And with that, my top six predictions for the weekend:

  1. The Revenant

Predicted Gross: $19.6 million (representing a drop of 38%)

2. Ride Along 2

Predicted Gross: $16.8 million (representing a drop of 52%)

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Gross: $15.9 million (representing a drop of 39%)

4. Dirty Grandpa

Predicted Gross: $14.6 million

5. The Boy

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

6. The 5th Wave

Predicted Gross: $11.4 million

Box Office Results (January 15-17)

As expected, the return of Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along 2 debuted atop the charts, finally knocking off Star Wars. Yet it didn’t earn quite as much as its predecessor did on the same weekend two years ago. The sequel posted $35.2 million, under my $45.5M prediction. Over the four day MLK day, it’s made $41M while the original made over $48M in 2014.

After a dozen Oscar nods, The Revenant held up remarkably well with $31.7 million, skyrocketing past my $21.4M estimate. Leo and the Bear clearly benefited immensely from the Academy buzz and its terrific total stands at $95M.

Star Wars finally fell closer to Earth after four weeks on top with $26.3 million (I said $23.9M) and its record setting total is at $858M.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi had a so-so start with $16.1 million for fourth place, well under my kind $29.3M projection. Its 4 day MLK haul: $19.2M. Not bad, but for a film that generated heavy publicity, it’s a bit underwhelming.

Daddy’s Home was fifth and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It made $9.5 million and sits at $131M.

The animated Arctic tale Norm of the North was sixth, premiering with a weak $6.8 million compared to my $9.3 estimate. Its 4 day MLK take? $9.3 million (of course).

And that’ll do it for now, my friends! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: January 15-17

The four week reign of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is likely to end this MLK weekend at three new entries join the box office fray: Kevin Hart/Ice Cube action comedy sequel Ride Along 2, Michael Bay’s true life military pic 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and Arctic animated kid flick Norm of the North. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

As I see it, Ride Along 2 shouldn’t have much trouble topping the charts and I’m projecting that 13 Hours will finish strong in the runner-up spot. That would push Star Wars and Golden Globe favorite The Revenant to third and fourth, unless Norm earns more than my estimate. Otherwise, I have it rounding out the top five.

And with that, my top five predictions for the weekend:

  1. Ride Along 2

Predicted Gross: $45.5 million

2. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Predicted Gross: $29.3 million

3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Gross: $23.9 million (representing a drop of 43%)

4. The Revenant

Predicted Gross: $21.4 million (representing a drop of 46%)

5. Norm of the North

Predicted Gross: $9.3 million

Box Office Results (January 8-10)

In what was a closer than expected battle for #1, Star Wars: The Force Awakens held for the fourth week in a row with $42.3 million (below my $51.6M prediction). The juggernaut also became the highest grossing domestic earner of all time and its total stands at $812M.

#2 belong to freshly minted Golden Globe winner The Revenant, which expanded nationwide to a terrific $39.8 million, bearing past my $33.2M estimate. The Leonardo DiCaprio wilderness tale exceeded expectations and with its likely Oscar nominations coming Thursday, it should be in for a solid run ahead.

Daddy’s Home was third with $15 million (a bit shy of my $16.8M projection) for a three week haul of $116M. The critically panned horror pic The Forest actually did pretty well in fourth with a $12.7 million debut (I said $8.7M). Look for it fade quickly, however.

I incorrectly had The Hateful Eight in fourth with $10.5 million, but it fell a troubling 59% to sixth place in its sophomore weekend with $6.4 million for a lackluster total of $41M. That allowed Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to keep chugging along in fifth with $7.1 million for a $73M total.

And that’ll do it for now, my friends! Until next time…

**OK, one last thing. This blog is about movies as you know, with an occasional dip into the world of music. As movies continue to inspire me everyday, so have legions of musicians that I’ve had the pleasure of listening to all these years. As a young child, I’ll never forget wearing out the record (yes, record) of “Let’s Dance” by one David Bowie (and there was truly only one David Bowie). As I got older, I came to truly appreciate and adore his entire catalog. What a brilliant artist he was. May he rest among the stars.


Box Office Predictions: January 8-10

Unless Leonardo DiCaprio’s awards contender The Revenant has a much bigger than anticipated debut, it should be weekend #4 atop the charts for record breaker Star Wars: The Force Awakens on this second 2016 frame. As I see it – Han, Leia and company should garner about another $50M+ to add to its astonishing total.

The Revenant is certainly the heavy hitter newbie this weekend and it should have no trouble posting runner-up status. The weekend’s other fresh offerings are horror pic The Forest and faith based sports drama The Masked Saint. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them all here:

The Forest should manage to place fifth unless some leftovers hold up better than my estimates while The Masked Saint may have to settle for an 11th place showing. Daddy’s Home and The Hateful Eight should populate the three and four spots.

And with that, my top five predictions for the weekend:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Gross: $51.6 million (representing a drop of 43%)

2. The Revenant

Predicted Gross: $33.2 million

3. Daddy’s Home

Predicted Gross: $16.8 million (representing a drop of 42%)

4. The Hateful Eight

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million (representing a drop of 33%)

5. The Forest

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

Box Office Results (January 1-3)

The Force continued to be incredibly strong as Star Wars three-peated with $90.2 million, a bit under my $98.7M projection. The acclaimed seventh episode of the iconic franchise has amassed $742M at press time and looks to become the highest domestic grosser in history on Wednesday – surpassing Avatar‘s $760M.

Daddy’s Home remained in second with $29.2 million, ahead of my $25.9M estimate for a terrific 10 day haul of $93M. The Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy has proven itself to be quite the breakout.

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight expanded wide and could not match my lofty expectations. Coming in behind his previous pics Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, the three hour pic grossed $15.7 million over the traditional three day weekend and $22.3 million since its wide Wednesday opening. While this is considerably under my $27.2M and $36.1M respective predictions, this is still a decent debut and it hopes to hold up well in subsequent frames.

The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Sisters continued its fine run in fourth with $12.7 million (outpacing my $9.2M estimate) for a three week total of $61M. It could manage to reach close to the century mark and maybe even top it.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip held up solidly in weekend #3 with $12 million for fifth, ahead of my $9.1M projection for a total of $67M.

The David O. Russell/Jennifer Lawrence collaboration Joy was sixth in its second weekend with $10.2 million, in line with my $10.7M estimate. Its just OK two week cume is at $38M.

In seventh was Oscar contender The Big Short, holding nicely at $9 million (above my $7.8M guess) for a tally of $33M. A potential Golden Globe win this coming weekend in the Musical/Comedy race could help continue its sterling performance.

Will Smith’s underwhelming Concussion was eighth with $7.8 million (I was in the ballpark with $8.6M) for ten days earnings of $25M.

Point Break held up stronger than my $5.4M estimate with $6.8 million for a still weak 10 day tally of only $22M.

Rounding out the top ten was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 at $4.6 million (I said $3.6M) for a $274M overall gross.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: January 1-3

2016 should come in just as 2015 went out with Star Wars: The Force Awakens continuing its historic record breaking run all over the globe. As I see it, I look for its third weekend to hover right around the $100M mark as it blasts forward with becoming the highest grossing domestic earner of all time.

The big opening this weekend is Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which debuted in limited release to scorching results. I look for it to come close to $30M over the three day weekend and reach mid 30s for its five day haul (it premieres wide on Wednesday), which should be enough to edge out the second weekend of Daddy’s Home. You can read my detailed prediction post on it here:

There are a host of Christmas holdovers in their second and third frames which should dominate the rest of the Top Ten (without November’s Hunger Games likely rounding out the list). The New Year’s weekend usually sees Christmas products experiencing smallish declines and this year should be no different. Point Break is likely to see the heftiest fall while I anticipate good holds for Joy, Concussion, and The Big Short.

And with that, my top ten predictions for the weekend:

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Predicted Gross: $98.7 million (representing a drop of 33%)

2. The Hateful Eight

Predicted Gross: $29.2 million

3. Daddy’s Home

Predicted Gross: $25.9 million (representing a drop of 33%)

4. Joy

Predicted Gross: $10.7 million (representing a drop of 37%)

5. Sisters

Predicted Gross: $9.2 million (representing a drop of 35%)

6. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million (representing a drop of 30%)

7. Concussion 

Predicted Gross: $8.6 million (representing a drop of 22%)

8. The Big Short

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million (representing a drop of 26%)

9. Point Break 

Predicted Gross: $5.4 million (representing a drop of 47%)

10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Predicted Gross: $3.6 million (representing a drop of 30%)

Box Office Results (December 25-27)

The Christmas holiday produced great results (and mediocre ones) for some newbies while Star Wars: The Force Awakens continued its domination and became the fastest pic to gross a billion dollars worldwide. Awakens took in $149.2 million, in line with my $151.6M estimate for a ten day domestic total of $540M. It looks to extend its #1 streak next weekend and beyond.

While the billion $ Star Wars action deservedly got the most press, the other big story of the weekend is the terrific performance of the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy Daddy’s Home. Despite lackluster reviews, Home scored with $38.7 million, more than doubling my meager $16.5M prediction.

Jennifer Lawrence and her go to director David O. Russell scored a decent opening with Joy. It placed third with $17 million, above my $14.9M projection. The comedic drama, which got mixed reviews, is highly unlikely to reach the grosses of the star and director’s previous outings, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.

The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy Sisters actually increased its gross during its sophomore weekend with $14.1 million for fourth, ahead of my $10.4M projection for a nice total of $37M. The other flick in its second weekend, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip placed fifth with $13.1 million, not matching my $16.7M estimate. It’s earned an OK $39M and looks to come in well below its three predecessors in the animated rodent franchise.

Will Smith experienced the worst wide opening of his career with the NFL themed Concussion at $11 million for sixth place, under my $13.8M projection. However, an A Cinemascore grade could portend low declines in coming weekends.

Adam McKay’s critically acclaimed Oscar hopeful The Big Short got off to a robust start at seventh place in wide release with $10.5 million over the three day weekend and $14.5 million since its Wednesday roll out (outshining my projections of $8.1M and $10.6M, respectively).

In eighth, action remake Point Break posted the lowest of the newbies with just $10.2 million, a bit under my $11M prediction. Look for it to fade fast.

Ninth place belonged to the sixth weekend of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 with $5.2 million (under my $6.5M estimate) for a total of $264M.

I didn’t post a prediction for the limited release of The Hateful Eight, but it managed to crack the top ten with $4.6 million for an explosive per screen average of $46K on just 100 screens. That bodes well for its wide release on Wednesday.

The emergence of Tarantino’s latest pushed Creed and The Good Dinosaur to 11th and 12th place showings. Creed took in $4.6 million (I said $5.8M) for earnings of $96M. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur made $3.7 million (I predicted $4.9M) for a total of just $105M. To put that in perspective, Dinosaur has made just $105M at press time. The current lowest overall grosser of Pixar’s 16 offerings is 1998’s A Bug’s Life at $162M at that was 17 years ago when ticket prices were considerably less. Dinosaur will be lucky to reach $120M. Ouch.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time and next year with brand spanking new 2016 box office predictions…

Daddy’s Home Movie Review

Daddy’s Home, the second teaming of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, is perfectly content to coast on its own innocuous brand of humor. This PG-13 laugher from a director and stars often known for R rated material takes its simple premise and often manages to squeeze the most out of it. That’s not saying a whole lot, but if you want a watered down and passable experience this holiday season, you could do worse.

The pic pits step dad vs. real dad as Ferrell’s Brad is a committed yet overly emotional radio executive raising two precocious kids with his wife (Linda Cardellini). He’s making headway with them in the step dad department until biological pop Dusty (Wahlberg) enters the picture. Dusty is a careless muscle bound character (who might be Special Forces) who still cares for his children at least as much as his abs. In fact, there are times when Brad reminds chiseled Dusty to put a shirt on, just like Steve Carell admonished him in Date Night. Soon our two leads are competing for their affection with ponies, playoff tickets to Lakers games (quite an unrealistic prospect currently), and tricked out tree houses with corporate sponsors.

Nothing in Daddy’s Home has much edge to it, even when it seems to be trying. We get supporting players like Thomas Haden Church as Brad’s sleazy boss and comic Hannibal Buress as a handy man who takes Dusty’s side in the dad wars. Both might’ve been more fun in a movie that wanted to push the envelope but that’s not what we have here.

Instead, Daddy’s Home drifts on the personality traits of Ferrell and Wahlberg that we usually see in their comedies. Director Sean Anders and his cowriters have no real fascination with exploring any real issues involved with absentee dads or the step fathers that coddle them. That screenplay frequently has the actors doing things that only make sense to move things along (Cardellini’s emotions in particular often veer wildly from segment to segment). The humor is wrung out of the opposite effect of what these two guys look like without their shirts on. Some of this material is undeniably amusing and often rather bland. The leads elevate it about as high as it can get.

When I think of Ferrell and Wahlberg together on the silver screen, it’ll be 2010’s raucous and quite hilarious The Other Guys that springs to mind. Daddy’s Home is the Other Movie, but it isn’t bad.

**1/2 (out of four)