December 9-11 Box Office Predictions

Audiences weren’t digging the leftovers in the first frame of December and it’ll get even worse this weekend. The top 5 could look awfully familiar with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on top for a fifth time before Avatar: The Way of Water looks to liven up multiplexes beginning December 16th.

There are only two semi-wide newcomers to speak of and I didn’t do individual prediction posts on either. Father Stu: Reborn is a recut version of this spring’s true life drama with Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson. It earned a not so heavenly but not terrible $20 million a few months back. This version is PG-13 and not R. I don’t believe it’ll clear $1 million and that puts it outside the top five.

Spoiler Alert, another true life drama and this one featuring Jim Parsons, expands to approximately 600 venues after opening in six theaters this past weekend. It generated a fair $13k per screen. Spoiler might be in line for a fifth or sixth place showing depending on Devotion‘s fall.

There’s a small chance that Violent Night, the Santa shoot-em-up with David Harbour, could elevate to 1st place after a decent debut (more on that below). However, I have it dipping in the higher 40s and if Black Panther doesn’t go beyond low to mid 50s, it should remain on top of the charts.

Meanwhile the battle for third could be razor thin between the third weekend of Disney dud Strange World and the fourth helping of The Menu.

Here’s how I see the top 6 playing out:

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

2. Violent Night

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

3. The Menu

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

4. Strange World

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

5. Devotion

Predicted Gross: $1.3 million

6. Spoiler Alert

Predicted Gross: $1.3 million

Box Office Results (December 2-4)

MCU sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made it four in a row with $17.5 million. That’s under my projection of $21.3 million as the 62% fall was rather steep considering the lack of competition. The total did rise to $393 million.

Violent Night dropped at the higher end of its range with $13.4 million, outpacing my $9.4 million take. The grisly Yuletide tale could manage to play well over the coming holidays.

Strange World continued the embarrassing returns for the Mouse Factory with only $5 million in its sophomore weekend. I was close with $5.2 million. That’s a mere $25 million in its first 12 days.

The Menu was fourth with $3.4 million (I said $3.1 million) as it’s made $24 million thus far.

Devotion had a turbulent 54% plummet in weekend #2 with $2.7 million. I estimated a bit more at $3.3 million. Overall gross is $13 million.

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

December 2-4 Box Office Predictions

After a historically weak Thanksgiving frame that left moviegoers hungry for other options, the first weekend of December should be rather quiet at multiplexes as well. The lone wide release is Violent Night with David Harbour as a gun toting Santa. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Night, even though I have it falling under $10 million, should slide into the runner-up position behind Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The MCU sequel looks to four-peat and should have no trouble doing so. A low to mid 50s drop would put it over $20 million. It’s likely to be #1 for five weekends until Avatar: The Way of Water arrives on December 16th.

After a disastrous opening (more on that below), Strange World should fall to third. With a weak B Cinemascore grade, the Disney animated flop could experience a plummet in the mid to high 50s. Who knows? Maybe even higher.

The four and five spots could be close between the second and third frames of Devotion and The Menu. Both should see dips in the mid 40s.

Here’s how I see the top 5 looking:

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Gross: $21.3 million

2. Violent Night

Predicted Gross: $9.4 million

3. Strange World

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

4. Devotion

Predicted Gross: $3.3 million

5. The Menu

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (Thanksgiving Weekend)

The Turkey Day holiday didn’t bring in the masses as the weekend fell under $100 million. That’s despite plenty of new releases for crowds to chew on.

Strangely enough, the biggest winner belonged to a streamer. Netflix doesn’t officially report numbers. They put Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the acclaimed sequel to 2019’s blockbuster, on just under 700 screens. Word is out that it did approximately $9.2 million from Friday to Sunday and $13.3 million since the Wednesday start. That per theater average of over $13k is easily the best of the bunch. Onion is scheduled to leave its venues tomorrow before it hits Netflix on December 23rd.

Now back to the movies that do report official tallies. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever easily stayed atop the charts with $45.5 million, besting my $37.9 million prediction in weekend #3. The 17-day total is $367 million.

The story of the holiday was the dismal Strange World performance. The Mouse Factory had a disappointing result over the summer with Lightyear. This made it look like a phenomenon. World took in an embarrassing $12.1 million from Friday to Sunday and $18.8 million in the five-day. I said it would manage $19.3 million and $26.7 million, respectively. Simply put, Disney animated efforts aren’t supposed to do those anemic figures.

I suppose technically Glass Onion was third, so the war saga Devotion was fourth. Despite mostly decent reviews, it was a flop considering the reported $90 million budget. The Friday to Sunday take was $5.9 million with $9 million when counting Wednesday and Thursday. I went higher with $7.2 million and $10.7 million.

The Menu rounded out the top five at $5.4 million (I said $6.4 million) to bring the two-week gross to $18 million.

Black Adam was sixth with $3.2 million, on target with my $3.3 million prediction. Total is $162 million.

Steven Spielberg’s awards hopeful The Fabelmans was on 638 screens and was seventh with $2.2 million ($3.1 million for the five-day). That’s under my guesstimates of $2.8 million and $4.1 million. While that’s easily the second best average of the newbies (after Onion), it’s still not too impressive. It will hope to develop legs during awards season.

The cannibalistic romance Bones and All wasn’t a recipe for success with an 8th place showing. The $2.2 million and $3.6 million three and five day earnings couldn’t match my $3.5 and $5.3 million projections.

Ticket to Paradise was ninth with $1.8 million (I went with $2.3 million) as the rom com is up to $65 million.

Fathom Event The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 and 2 was 10th as it dove 81% to $1.5 million. I was more giving at $2.4 million. In ten days, it’s made $13 million.

Finally, She Said was 11th after its poor premiere last weekend. With $1.1 million (I said $1.6 million), it’s at a lowly $4 million.

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

Oscar Predictions – Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

If you’d told me in the spring that Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was better suited for an Animated Feature Oscar nomination than Disney’s Lightyear or Strange World, I might’ve questioned your awards prognosticating abilities. With its embargo lifted prior to the December 21st theatrical bow, this appears to be the case.

The DreamWorks Animation sequel is being praised as equal to or better than the 2011 predecessor. You may remember that it’s originally a spin-off from the massive Shrek franchise. Joel Crawford (who last made The Croods: A New Age) directs as Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek return to voice the title kitty and his love interest. Other performers behind the mic include Harvey Guillén, Florence Pugh, Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, John Mulaney, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

Early reviews have this at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and that’s beyond the 86% that the first Boots earned (we are still at under 10 write-ups so it could come down). The aforementioned Shrek from 2001 is actually the first movie to win the Academy’s animated prize. In 2004, Shrek 2 was nominated but lost to Disney’s The Incredibles. The third and fourth tales of the jolly green monster didn’t make the cut. However, Puss in Boots was among 2011’s quintet. Rango took the gold.

This is a strange year in the Animated Feature race. Of Disney’s trio of hopefuls, only Turning Red appears safe for inclusion. The frontrunner is Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio from Netflix. The steamer’s Wendell and Wild and My Father’s Dragon could also get in. We have A24’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On and The Bad Guys (also from DreamWorks). I haven’t had Puss in Boots: The Last Wish in the top 10 of possibilities. After seeing the initial reaction, it definitely will make that jump. When I update my projections on Thursday, it could even enter the high five. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Strange World

Disney, be it through their traditionally animated works or especially Pixar, has had a stranglehold on the Best Animated Feature race at the Oscars. The category began in 2001. Of the 21 winners, 15 are from the Mouse Factory. That includes 9 out of the last 10 (the outlier is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).

The Disney domination appears fragile in 2022. Their adventure tale Strange World, focused on a legendary group of explorers, hits multiplexes over the Turkey Day weekend. Don Hall and Qui Nguyen direct with a voice cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.

With its review embargo up, the Rotten Tomatoes meter is at 72%. That’s pretty low for this studio’s product. The Pixar offering from earlier in the year, Turning Red, sits at 95%. Now that World has been seen, it appears Red is Disney’s strongest contender to take the Academy’s prize. In fact, Strange World could miss the top five altogether.

However, Red is expected to come up short to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio from Netflix. We were waiting to see if Strange could present a challenge. It will not and my Oscar prediction posts will continue…

November 25-27 Box Office Predictions

Hollywood is hoping audiences mix a trip to the multiplex in their holiday plans. We have a slew of new releases, but it should be a three-week old leftover topping the Turkey weekend charts. Disney’s animated Strange World, aerial adventure Devotion, cannibalistic romance Bones and All, and Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age awards hopeful The Fabelmans all debut or expand. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Let’s begin with a title you don’t see. Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is the eagerly awaited and well-reviewed follow-up to Knives Out, which opened over the same holiday three years ago. Netflix is the distributor and it will be before our streaming eyes for Christmas. Onion is hitting approximately 600 venues for a sneak preview from Wednesday to Sunday. It is not expected that Netflix will report its financials. That’s why you won’t find it in the top 10. If they do end up deciding to do so, I imagine it’ll do quite well (and be either third or fourth).

Back to movies where we expect box office grosses! Strange World is the Mouse Factory’s latest animated offering to be unveiled over Thanksgiving. Yet the marketing campaign has been weak. My high teens three-day and mid 20s five-day is very subpar for the studio. On the bright side, they’ll certainly have numbers 1-2 as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever should three-peat with a drop in the low 40s range.

Devotion could over perform if enough older moviegoers check in. I have it settling for a so-so third place in the high single digits for the traditional frame and low double digits for the Wednesday to Sunday portion.

The Menu should be fourth after an appetizing start (more on that below). I think it’ll only fall in the high 20s or low 30s for the sophomore outing. Bones and All could round out the top five. Its gory subject matter could prevent crowds from perusing its gruesome menu.

Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is out on just 600 screens. That limits the potential and I have a gut feeling it may fall short of expectations anyway. I have it pegged for 7th place as it hopes that Oscar buzz improves its earnings in later weekends.

Here’s how I envision the top 10 looking with 3 and 5 day estimates for the newcomers:

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Gross: $37.9 million

2. Strange World

Predicted Gross: $19.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $26.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

3. Devotion

Predicted Gross: $7.2 million (Friday to Sunday); $10.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

4. The Menu

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million

5. Bones and All

Predicted Gross: $3.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $5.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

6. Black Adam

Predicted Gross: $3.3 million

7. The Fabelmans

Predicted Gross: $2.8 million (Friday to Sunday); $4.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

8. The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 and 2

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

9. Ticket to Paradise

Predicted Gross: $2.3 million

10. She Said

Predicted Gross: $1.6 million

Box Office Results (November 18-20)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever didn’t quite drop as far as MCU predecessors Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or Thor: Love and Thunder, but it was still a steep decline. The sequel to 2018’s phenomenon slid 63% in weekend 2 with $66.4 million, under my $70.3 million projection. The ten-day tally is $287 million.

The Menu was the rare pic for the grown-ups that performed admirably. The culinary satire was runner-up with $9 million, a bit ahead of my $8.2 million prediction. Look for it for to hold well over Thanksgiving.

The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 and 2 had its core audience believing as the Fathom Events experience was third with $8.7 million (topping my $7.5 million estimate). Last December, Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers had a 71% plummet in its second weekend. Expect similar results here.

Black Adam was fourth with $4.6 million (I said $5.3 million) as the superhero pic is up to $157 million after four weeks.

Ticket to Paradise rounded out the top five at $3.1 million, below my $4.1 million prediction. The rom com has grossed $61 million.

Finally, She Said was a dud. Focused on the journalistic journey to expose Harvey Weinstein, it was a quiet sixth at $2.2 million. I went with $3.4 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Strange World Box Office Prediction

The last time Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal played father and son, it was nearly 20 years ago in Roland Emmerich’s disaster epic The Day After Tomorrow. For the upcoming holiday, they’re family again in the Mouse Factory’s animated Strange World (out Wednesday November 23rd). Voicing a pair of explorers in the sci-fi themed adventure, Don Hall (who made Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon) and Qui Nguyen direct. Other voices getting in on the action include Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.

Disney is no stranger to releasing high profile product over the long Turkey Day frame. Sometimes that’s Pixar material or traditionally drawn fare such as this. Frozen remains the gold standard. It debuted to $67 million for the Friday to Sunday portion of Thanksgiving weekend with $93 million when counting Wednesday and Thursday. Other Disney releases like Moana and Coco made off with $82 and $72 million over their respective first five. On the other hand, The Good Dinosaur grossed just under $40 million from Friday to Sunday in 2015 with $55 million for the extended period. Perhaps the best comp is last year’s Encanto. It made $27 million for the three-day with $40 million for the five.

The buzz seems strangely quiet considering the studio pedigree. I would argue Encanto had more heat before it opened. Strange could manage only a second place start behind the third outing for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (which does give Disney a one-two punch for the weekend). This might open a little closer to Dreamworks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar from eight Thanksgivings ago at $25 million (Fri-Sun) and $35 million (Wed-Sun). It might even fall short of that.

Strange World opening weekend prediction: $19.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $26.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Devotion trailer, click here:

For my Bones and All prediction, click here:

For my The Fabelmans prediction, click here:

Oscar Predictions – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hopes to land the biggest opening of 2022 when it debuts this weekend. Disney would also love to see the MCU sequel to 2018’s cultural phenomenon achieve the awards love that its predecessor got. It’s not out of the question that it could.

The review embargo is up today and the Rotten Tomatoes meter is an impressive 90% (under part 1’s 96%). Critics are praising the film’s treatment of the loss of its star Chadwick Boseman in 2020. There is some griping about it being overlong. Few reviews are saying it surpasses the original in terms of quality.

The first Panther was nominated for 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Still the only superhero pic to make the BP cut, it took 3 of 7 (Score, Production Design, Costume Design). The other nods were Original Song (“All the Stars” from Kendrick Lamar) and Sound Editing and Sound Mixing (these categories have since been combined).

All 3 races where it won four years ago could pop up this time around. Production Design and Costume Design seem like givens. Sound appears a fairly safe bet. Same with Original Song as Rihanna’s closing credits ballad “Lift Me Up” is a threat to win. Ironically, Mr. Lamar lost in 2018 to Lady Gaga and “Shallow”. Gaga could strike again with “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick.

Panther did miss Visual Effects four years back and there were grumbles about the quality. The general consensus is that Wakanda‘s effects are a step up. I don’t think it’s guaranteed to make the VE quintet. However, I do think it has the best shot of the MCU’s 2022 slate (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder are the others).

As for performances, I could see Angela Bassett nabbing some ink. Ultimately I don’t see a second nom materializing nearly 30 years after her first one for What’s Love Got to Do with It.

Now the major question – can Wakanda Forever get a BP nomination? Short answer is yes. Longer answer is more complicated. With Maverick, there’s already one sequel that looks pretty safe. We still have Avatar: The Way of Water and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery waiting in the wings. I think it’s logical to say we won’t see four sequels in BP. Three seems like a stretch. While I wouldn’t discount Wakanda in the big race, I believe the more feasible scenario is tech nods and possibly 5 to even 7 of them. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

2022 should be the year where Netflix makes significant waves in the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is its lead off hitter. The acclaimed filmmaker’s stop-motion passion project is out in select theaters next month with a streaming release on December 9th. Receiving a first look today at the London Film Festival, Pinocchio arrives a half decade after del Toro’s The Shape of Water took Best Picture (along with a directorial victory) and one year after his follow-up Nightmare Alley made the BP ten. Actors providing voiceovers include Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton.

Since I added Animated Feature in my predictions a few weeks back, I’ve had del Toro’s tale of the iconic puppet turned real boy listed in first place. Part of that is due to its maker’s track record. That’s not the only reason why. The other is that it might be a rare off year for Disney, who have taken the gold statue 15 out of 21 times. This summer’s Lightyear was a high profile flop that is likely to be omitted from the final five altogether. Turning Red from the spring achieved solid enough notices to make the cut, but I certainly don’t see it as an automatic winner. The Mouse Factory still has next month’s Strange World in their arsenal so we’ll see if that emerges as a major threat.

Several critics from the London screenings are proclaiming this Pinocchio to be great or near great. On the other hand, some reviews aren’t quite as effusive. I do think the early word-of-mouth is enough to take comfort in the #1 ranking. Yet I wouldn’t say it’s a slam dunk pick to take gold like, say, 2020’s Soul was. I would also keep an eye on Original Score with Alexandre Desplat composing. Visual Effects is also doable (if perhaps a stretch).

A nomination seems assured and Netflix could hold 60% of the nominees this year. Wendell and Wild, another upcoming stop-motion pic from Henry Selick, should get in. Either The Sea Beast or My Father’s Dragon could as well (though probably not both). The streamer got their first contender in 2019 with Klaus and then Over the Moon in 2020 and The Mitchells vs. the Machines last year. They’re 0 for 3 in wins. That may change with del Toro in the company mix. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Pinocchio

There could be a Pinocchio movie that contends for Oscars in 2022, but it’s not the one this post is focused on. Today marks the Disney Plus premiere of Pinocchio, the studio’s latest live-action remake of their iconic IP. The musical fantasy has some high profile talent with Robert Zemeckis directing and Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo, and Luke Evans appearing. Voice work is contributed by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (as the title character), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Keegan-Michael Key.

Some reviews claim it’s an OK watch, but plenty others have been quiet derisive. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 32%. Even without critical acclaim, the Mouse Factory’s live-action retelling of The Lion King managed a Visual Effects nod three years back. Don’t look for that to occur here as some of the buzz is quite dismissive of its overall look.

In November, Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animated version of the puppet turned real boy arrives on Netflix. We’ll see if it garners Academy chatter. This won’t. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition Box Office Prediction

After amassing over $800 million at the box office and becoming the third highest domestic grosser of all time, Disney and Marvel are looking to spin more bucks for Spidey on Labor Day weekend. That’s in the form of Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition. The revamped version contains 11 minutes of additional footage including more of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield donning the spandex alongside Tom Holland.

Over Labor Day 2021, the MCU made a killing when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings took in $94 million over the Monday to Friday frame. In 2022, Hollywood seems to be taking the holiday off. This could allow Marvel to hit #1 again with our webbed heroes. Fun is out on approximately 3000 screens and that wide release could allow for a seventh non-consecutive weekend atop the charts.

That said, I don’t expect this to top $10 million. The, um, less fun (?) iteration is already streaming and has been for some time. I don’t imagine a large audience will turn out for 11 extra minutes.

Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition opening weekend prediction: $7 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. prediction, click here:

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. Box Office Prediction

For my Jaws prediction, click here:

Jaws Box Office Prediction