Oscar Predictions: The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is out tomorrow and looks to rule the Easter holiday frame. While big money is about to flow through the pipeline, reviews are more of the mixed variety. The Illumination Entertainment animated production of the Nintendo property sits at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is the 13th feature from the studio. Of the previous dozen, only one (2013’s Despicable Me 2) has managed a Best Animated Feature mention. Illumination’s titles generate coins, but not nominations. That doesn’t look to change with Mario and Luigi’s new adventure. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions – Minions: The Rise of Gru

Illumination Entertainment will rule the Fourth of July weekend at the box office when Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters on July 1st. This is the fifth entry in the franchise that began a dozen summers back with Despicable Me and the first in five years.

Some early reviews are out and they’re mostly indicating it’s a decent if unspectacular chapter of the series. With 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s higher than the two previous pics – 2015’s Minions (55%) and 2017’s Despicable Me 3 (59%). Of course, Gru‘s number will soon rise or fall as more critics weigh in.

2010’s Despicable Me (81%) and its 2013 sequel (75%) fared better, but only part two received awards attention. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Original Song with Pharrell’s inescapable “Happy”. Due to Disney’s Frozen and the equally omnipresent “Let It Go”, it lost both.

Based on early buzz, I see no path for Gru to find its way to the Animated Feature derby. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Minions: The Rise of Gru Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/30): On the eve of its premiere, upping my Minions estimate from $78.4M to $86.4M

Illumination and Universal Pictures should light up the Fourth of July weekend at the box office with Minions: The Rise of Gru. The sequel to the 2015 spinoff prequel and the fifth overall entry in the Despicable Me franchise, Kyle Balda directs with Steve Carell returning to voice the title character. Other performers in the booth include Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, and Alan Arkin. How’s that for eclectic? I’m pretty sure this marks the first collaboration between Van Damme and Andrews.

This series has proved to be a financial windfall for its studio. All four previous pics have made over $250 million domestically. Minions took in $115 million out of the gate seven summers back with $336 million overall. Immediate predecessor Despicable Me 3 from 2017, while still a hit, wasn’t as high. It premiered with $72 million and ended up with $264 million.

Three years was previously the longest wait between films. The five year gap is a bit risky as some of its fans are simply older. We’ve also seen a very recent example of an animated disappointment with Pixar’s Lightyear. 

That said, I suspect Gru will rise to the occasion with a four-day holiday haul in the $75-85 million range. I’m starting out on the lower end of that scale, but my estimate could go up in the days ahead.

Minions: The Rise of Gru opening weekend prediction: $86.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

Oscar Watch: The Grinch

Over the weekend, Illumination Entertainment’s The Grinch dominated the box office with a mid 60s debut. The animated pic continues a string of pleasing grosses for the studio that houses the lucrative Despicable Me/Minions franchise.

Could that mean The Grinch finds its way into the mix for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars? It’s doubtful. For starters, reviews have been mixed as it currently sits at 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. The race is also filling up with Incredibles 2 and Isle of Dogs with probable reserved spots and the upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet looking to nab one. I feel that other wide release pics like Early Man and Smallfoot could also be potential contenders.

Most importantly, while Illumination produces blockbusters, that success hasn’t translated into nominations. Only Despicable Me 2 got one, with better reviewed titles like The Secret Life of Pets and other Despicable efforts left out.

Bottom line: the studio’s Grinch reward will come from its earnings and not awards ceremonies. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Box Office Predictions: July 7-9

There’s only one new major release this weekend hitting multiplexes, but it’s a big one in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming. This is the third iteration of the beloved web slinger with Tom Holland inheriting the tights after his cameo in Captain America: Civil War. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:


Spidey should easily rule the charts this weekend and my prediction puts it a couple million above what the original accomplished 15 years ago.

As for holdovers, Despicable Me 3 had a somewhat disappointing debut (more on that below) and I look for it to lose nearly half its audience in the sophomore frame.

Baby Driver, on the other hand, was quite a breakout hit and word of mouth is strong. Its drop-off shouldn’t be as pronounced. Wonder Woman and Transformers look to round out the top five.

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

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Predicted Gross: $117.8 million

2. Despicable Me 3

Predicted Gross: $36.3 million (representing a drop of 49%)

3. Baby Driver

Predicted Gross: $13.6 million (representing a drop of 34%)

4. Wonder Woman

Predicted Gross: $9.9 million (representing a drop of 37%)

5. Transformers: The Last Knight

Predicted Gross: $7 million (representing a drop of 58%)

Box Office Results (June 30-July 2)

Illumination Entertainment’s Despicable Me 3 earned an estimated $72.4 million, which easily placed it first. However, this was easily $10 million below most of the lowest guesstimates. I projected a higher haul at $88.7M.

Edgar Wright’s critically acclaimed Baby Driver greatly exceeded expectations with a $20.5 million Friday to Sunday gross and a cool $29.5 million since its Wednesday opening. This blew away my respective predictions of $10.9M and $15.8M and proved that audiences are hungry for programming in the summer that isn’t a sequel or reboot.

Transformers: The Last Knight slipped to third with $16.8 million (in line with my $17.4M forecast) for a $102M total.

Wonder Woman was close behind in fourth with $15.7 million (I said $14.5M) to bring its massive earnings to $346M.

Cars 3 rounded out the top five with $9.6 million (I was higher at $12.1M) for a $120M overall gross.

The poorly reviewed Will Ferrell/Amy Poehler comedy The House was DOA in sixth place, earning only $8.7 million for its start (I said $13.8M).

Finally, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled expanded its theater count and took in $3.1 million compared to my $3.8M prediction.

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

Despicable Me 3 Box Office Prediction

Illumination Entertainment’s blockbuster animated franchise is back on screen next weekend as Despicable Me 3 debuts. The series returns the voices of Steve Carell and Kristin Wiig, as well as Trey Parker, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews, and Jenny Slate.

The Despicable flicks began in 2010 when the original debuted to $56 million and a $251 million eventual domestic haul. The 2013 sequel reached higher with an $83 million premiere (8th largest animated opening ever) and $368 million overall. Two summers ago, the spin-off Minions opened to an amazing $115 million (good for 3rd animated debut all-time) and $336 million overall.

Will part 3 continue the upward swing as far as openings go? Probably not. As I see it, kids and their folks will still come out in droves.  Illumination would love to see this open with the $104 million achieved by last summer’s The Secret Life of Pets and it’s certainly possible. However, I foresee a start roughly on par with part 2 and maybe a bit higher. My forecast gives it the 8th biggest animated opening, supplanting its predecessor.

Despicable Me 3 opening weekend prediction: $88.7 million

For my The House prediction, click here:


For my Baby Driver prediction, click here:


For my The Beguiled prediction, click here:


Minions Box Office Prediction

Two summers ago, Despicable Me 2 rocketed out of the gate over the July 4th weekend with a better than expected $83.5 million over the three day traditional weekend and $143 million over the holiday frame. Its eventual domestic gross of $368 million would be good for fourth on the list of 2013 earners.

With that glorious performance fresh in mind, it’s anticipated that Minions, out Friday, should have a stealthy opening. The 3D animated pic is a spinoff of Universal’s venerable franchise that should easily tide fans over until Despicable Me 3 hits screens in the summer of 2017.

Lots of familiar faces populate the voices behind the characters, including Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan and Geoffrey Rush. Reviews have been mostly positive as it stands at 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, which exactly matches the number posted by DM2. There will be competition as Pixar’s Inside Out continues to post robust numbers, but family audiences should have no trouble fitting these cute little Minions in their schedule.

I would anticipate the film debuting to just under the $100 million mark and the possibility certainly exists that it could top that magic century mark. Whether or not it reaches the eventual gross of its franchise predecessor remains to be seen.

Minions opening weekend prediction: $96.4 million

For my Self/less prediction, click here:


For my The Gallows prediction, click here:


Summer 2015 Movies: The Predicted Century Club

The 2015 Summer Movie Season officially kicks off two weeks from today when Avengers: Age of Ultron blasts into theaters. It will compete for the largest domestic opening of all time (where it needs to beat its predecessor) and is highly likely to be the season’s highest earner. That got me to thinking – while Ultron is poised to gross $500 million or higher, it’s been the $100 million mark that studios still like to brag about. This prompted me to look at the past five summer flick seasons and how many pictures reached that milestone.

In 2010, it was 13 movies that reached the mark: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The Last Airbender, The Other Guys, Salt, Robin Hood, and The Expendables.

Things improved in 2011 with 18 films reaching the century club: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: First Avenger, The Help, Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Smurfs, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The low mark was the following year in 2012 with just 12: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, Men in Black 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Magic Mike, and The Bourne Legacy.

Yet the high mark came the following summer in 2013 with 19: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Heat, We’re the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, Now You See Me, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Hangover Part III, Epic, Pacific Rim, and This is the End.

2014 dipped with 14: Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, Lucy, The Fault in Our Stars, and Edge of Tomorrow. 

That averages out to 15 pictures earning $100M plus per summer over this decade.

So where do I have 2015 matching up? Not breaking records, but in good shape. My predictions for the year’s $100M earners is 16 and they are as follows (in order of release date): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four. 

Of course, there’s always sleepers. And there’s others that I could have predicted but think will fall short: the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit, horror remake Poltergeist, the film version of Entourage, the Adam Sandler video game inspired action comedy Pixels, the Vacation reboot, and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton are among them.

As predicted, summer 2015 should see its number of century club inductees on the slightly high end without reaching the heights of 2013. And as always, you’ll see box office predictions every Saturday from me on each and every one of ’em!