Blogger’s Note (05/24): I am revising my Kandahar prediction from $7.9 million to $4.2 million
Disney is hoping for a memorable holiday weekend as The Little Mermaid surfaces over the long frame. We have three other newcomers with Gerard Butler’s action thriller Kandahar, the father/son comedy About My Father with standup comic Sebastian Maniscalco and icon Robert De Niro, and the father/son comedy The Machine featuring standup comic Bert Kreischer and icon Mark Hamill. My detailed prediction posts on the quartet of newcomers can be accessed here:
There’s no doubt that Mermaid will bubble up to the #1 spot. The mystery is the number. While I don’t think it reaches the heights of other Mouse Factory live-action remakes like Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, I do think it exceed the 2019 Memorial Day take of Aladdin. That said – there’s a wide range of possibility and my estimate is admittedly on the higher end compared to some others.
The real battle might be for the runner-up position. Fast X came in below its predecessor F9 (more on that below). It also received the same so-so B+ Cinemascore grade. A drop to the mid or high 20s could put it slightly behind the fourth weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which held impressively in the second and third outings. I’m going to give Star-Lord and company the slight edge over Vin Diesel and his cinematic family.
Butler has shown the ability to get his action flicks past $10 million and into the teens, but I’m not seeing much buzz for Kandahar. I’ll say it just reaches fourth place over The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
As you can tell from the descriptions, About My Father and The Machine have a lot in common. Both are tests for their leading men Maniscalco and Kreischer in their first headlining roles. Comedies have struggled at multiplexes lately and I believe these will. I think Father has a bit more broad appeal and I’ll give it sixth with The Machine trailing behind.
And with that, here’s how I envision the Friday to Monday Memorial weekend:
1. The Little Mermaid
Predicted Gross: $132.1 million
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Predicted Gross: $26 million
3. Fast X
Predicted Gross: $25.4 million
4. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Predicted Gross: $7.6 million
5. About My Father
Predicted Gross: $6.2 million
Predicted Gross: $4.2 million
7. The Machine
Predicted Gross: $3.7 million
Box Office Results (May 19-21)
Fast X continued the diminishing returns of the franchise though its dip wasn’t too far off from F9. The tenth pic in the 22-year-old series made $67 million (F9 did $70M) and that’s right in line with my $67.8 million prediction. As mentioned, I look for a hefty fall coming up. Luckily for Universal, the overseas grosses are solid (they need to be considering the reported $340 million sticker price).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was second after two weeks on top with $32.4 million, on pace my with $33.5 million take. The three-week total is $266 million and, per above, I think it could stay parked in the runner-up position over the holiday.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie made $9.6 million for third compared to my $8.3 million forecast. The remarkable seven-week earnings are $549 million.
Book Club: The Next Chapter, after a poor debut, tumbled 55% in fourth with $3 million (I said $3.2 million). The rom com sequel has made a mere $13 million in ten days.
Finally, Evil Dead Rise was fifth with $2.4 million. My projection? $2.4 million! The horror pic has amassed $64 million in five weeks.
And that does it for now, folks! Catch my podcast… or Toddcast as I call it… by searching Movies at the Speed of Speculation on your favorite streaming platform. Until next time…
Vin Diesel and a sprawling cast of costars and cars are back in Fast X as the franchise hopes to reverse a downward trend. It is the only wide release this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
X hopes to mark a gross higher than the $70 million achieved my predecessor F9 two years ago. I’m projecting it won’t do so and stall slightly under in the mid to high 60s.
The rest of the top five should be holdovers all sliding a spot. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may drop in the mid 4os after an encouraging bounce back outing in its sophomore frame (more on that below).
The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Book Club: The Next Chapter (after a soft premiere), and Evil Dead Rise will likely be 3-5 for a top five consisting of 80% sequels.
Here’s how I see it:
1. Fast X
Predicted Gross: $67.8 million
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Predicted Gross: $33.5 million
3. The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Predicted Gross: $8.3 million
4. Book Club: The Next Chapter
Predicted Gross: $3.2 million
5. Evil Dead Rise
Predicted Gross: $2.4 million
Box Office Results (May 12-14)
The news wasn’t so hot last weekend for the MCU when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 started with nearly $30 million under what Vol. 2 achieved six summers ago. The narrative improved this weekend as part 3 dipped a scant 48% for $62 million (ahead of my $54.8 million take). That figure puts it just $3 million behind what part 2 made in its second go-round. The ten-day gross is $214 million and it’s up to half a billion worldwide.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie stayed in second with $12.6 million, a tad more than my $11.7 million forecast. The six-week haul is $535 million.
Book Club: The Next Chapter couldn’t get a read on its intended audience as it sputtered with $6.6 million in third. That’s roughly half of what its 2018 predecessor accomplished in its opening and trails my $10.8 million prediction.
Evil Dead Rise was fourth with $3.7 million (I said $3.2 million) for a commendable four-week total of $60 million.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret rounded out the top five with $2.5 million, on target with my $2.4 million call. While it had only a 22% decline over Mother’s Day weekend, the overall earnings are a mere $16 million after three weeks.
Finally, the Ben Affleck thriller Hypnotic was dumped into multiplexes and it showed. The sixth place showing was just $2.4 million. I didn’t even bother to do a projection for the doomed pic.
You can listen to my podcast wherever you like ’em by searching Movies at the Speed of Speculation. That does it for now, folks! Until next time…
Heroes from the MCU and DCEU join the large Furious family when Fast X speeds into multiplexes on May 19th. The tenth official feature in the franchise (11th counting spin-off Hobbs & Shaw) arrives less than two years behind F9. Those newcomers to the fold are Captain Marvel Brie Larson and Aquaman Jason Momoa. Another fresh face to the series is director Louis Letterier, best known for The Transporter and Now You See Me. The many returnees include Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, John Cena, Jason Statham, Sung Kang, Scott Eastwood, and Charlize Theron. Rita Moreno also joins the party.
Fast X is the penultimate pic with the (allegedly) final installment hitting in 2025. In 2015, Furious 7 had the high dollar peak when it premiered with $147 million and an eventual $353 domestic gross. Part of that franchise best performance was because it paid tribute to the late Paul Walker (who co-headlined with Diesel in four previous entries). In 2017, The Fate of the Furious started with $98 million and ended with $225 million. Predecessor F9 from 2021 managed $70 million out of the gate and $173 million overall.
One could argue that F9 was hindered two summers ago by the COVID pandemic. That could be proven if X is marked by a larger opening. My hunch is that it’ll kick off on pace with it and maybe even a little behind. That would give it the lowest series beginning (excluding the $60 million from Hobbs & Shaw) since 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Toyko Drift.
Make no mistake. We don’t watch the Fast and Furious movies because they have any resemblance to the real world. For a franchise that I cannot imagine was envisioned to reach nine entries deep, we can park our logic immediately and settle in for a thrill ride. Surprisingly it’s a formula that’s usually worked (certainly at the box office and often with the quality of the product). In F9, the luster has gathered rust. This is the first Fast feature since part 4 that I wouldn’t recommend as a guilty pleasure. We’ve reached the long-lost brother stage of the storyline. We also have characters blasting into outer space. So it’s time to stop being polite about what’s going on in this fading fantasy world.
Returning director Justin Lin (who made parts III-VI) and his cowriter Daniel Casey have swapped out ex-wrestlers turned thespians. Gone is Dwayne Johnson (a result of a feud with Vin Diesel), who brought a jolt starting in Fast Five. Tagging in is John Cena as the aforementioned and previously never mentioned sibling Jakob Toretto. As we are told in overdramatic and overlong flashbacks, he played a role in the late 80s racing death of his father. This doesn’t sit well with brother Dom (Diesel) and the two haven’t been on speaking terms since. Jakob reacts as most would with the family estrangement by becoming an international mercenary and obtaining a deadly computer system that will wreak global havoc. His employer is the son of a dictator (Thue Erstad Rasmussen) who’s working with part 8’s hacker bad girl Cipher (Charlize Theron).
The return of the banished brother causes Dom to interrupt his farm life seclusion with wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and their 5-year-old son. The band, including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris Bridges), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) reassemble for the forthcoming sequences where automobiles do things they have no earthly business doing. Also back are the thought to be dead Han (Sung Kang) and a trio of street racers from Tokyo Drift who are now (somehow) rocket scientists. Jordana Brewster (as Dom and Jakob’s sister Mia) hops a flight home. This is where I’ll address a sensitive issue. When Paul Walker died in 2013, the filmmakers were faced with the unenviable task of dealing with his character Brian who served as co-lead for the previous entries. They handled it deftly in Furious 7. However, in a saga that constantly beats the drum of helping your teammates, the explanation of Brian simply being retired and not taking part in the action strains credibility. We’re told he’s babysitting while wife Mia is away. I know it might seem silly to discuss credibility in a Fast flick, but it is an unfortunate minor distraction.
F9 takes too long to get its motor running. The 143 minute runtime (bogged down by those flashbacks of young Dom and Jakob) is a momentum stopper. Part of the intrigue involves a super powerful magnate (think more than fridge quality grade) that whips anything in its path towards it. It’s cool the first time we see the hurling. And then we witness it again and again. Cena has shown considerable comedic chops elsewhere. That magnetism is nowhere to be found here. Dwayne Johnson is missed as is Jason Statham as sparring partner Shaw. Theron, Kurt Russell as government agent Mr. Nobody, and Helen Mirren as Shaw’s mum are barely seen (though the latter’s brief appearance is kind of a hoot).
What we’re left with is a mopey family dynamic that the franchise didn’t need. Roman’s character brings self-reference to the screenplay, often commenting on the ridiculousness of everything – how come no one ever gets a scratch on them? As I said, that doesn’t matter much when we can mindlessly settle in and enjoy it. F9 doesn’t achieve that like the bulk of its predecessors. Put another way, my tank was half full for parts V-VIII and now it’s half empty. By the time Roman and Tej enter moonwalking territory, it should feel ludicrous in a positive way. Instead we’ve had to slog through over two hours of make it up as you go along nonsense to get there.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s theme ride based Disney adventure Jungle Cruise should have no trouble topping the charts as July rolls to August at the box office. It opens alongside the Matt Damon drama Stillwater and David Lowery’s medieval tale The Green Knight with Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on all of them here:
After a rather sluggish weekend where no newcomer topped $20 million, Jungle should easily cruise to that and more. Whether it tops $30 million is more of a question mark (especially with the Delta variant complicating matters). I’m putting it just under $30M while no other title should hit $10 million.
The jockeying for slots 2-5 could be interesting. Let’s get The Green Knight out of the way. While Lowery is an acclaimed indie filmmaker, I don’t see this having much initial crossover appeal. I have yet to see a theater count and my estimate of $3.4 million puts it well outside the top 5 (my estimate could change based on number of screens). **Blogger’s Update (07/28): the 2500 estimated screen count has revised my estimate for this up from $2.2M to $3.4M
Stillwater is a bit more of a head scratcher. It has solid reviews yet I can’t shake the feeling that this might have been better positioned for an autumn release. It could certainly open higher than my $5.2 million projection, but I also wouldn’t shocked if it went lower.
The position of Stillwater in the top 5 will be determined by the sophomore drops of Old and Snake Eyes and the fourth weekend performance of Black Widow.
Widow and Space Jam: A New Legacy have experienced hefty declines in their second frames. With mixed to negative reviews, I see no reason why Old and Snake Eyes won’t suffer the same fate. Both could see their fortunes fall in the mid 50s (that could be best case) or 60% or more. I’m thinking the latter. There’s a chance that Space Jam could stay in the high five if Snake Eyes dips in the mid 60s (I think it’ll be awfully close)
Here’s how I have all the action playing out:
1. Jungle Cruise
Predicted Gross: $28.4 million
Predicted Gross: $6.6 million
3. Black Widow
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million
Predicted Gross: $5.2 million
5. Snake Eyes
Predicted Gross: $4.7 million
6. Space Jam: A New Legacy
Predicted Gross: $4.5 million
Box Office Results (July 23-25)
Considering its low budget, the performance of M. Night Shyamalan’s Old isn’t necessarily bad news for Universal. However, it definitely came in on the low end of expectations with $16.8 million for a gold medal showing. I was more generous at $19.8 million. Word-of-mouth doesn’t seem very encouraging and I anticipate a sophomore drop in the 60% range.
There’s really no way to spin the Snake Eyes gross in a positive way for Paramount with its disappointing silver medal. The hoped for G.I. Joe reboot tanked with just $13.3 million compared to my $17.2 million projection. You could say it was a real American no show with audiences. With a budget in the reported $100 million range, this should easily put this franchise on the skids for some time.
Black Widow took the bronze in weekend #3 with $11.6 million (I went a little higher at $12.9 million). The MCU stand-alone feature has made $154 million thus far and will be one of the lowest performers of the MCU library.
Space Jam: A New Legacy plummeted from its #1 perch to fourth with a near 70 percent fall. The $9.5 million gross was way under my take of $15.8 million and the two-week tally is $51 million. There’s no chance the LeBron and Looney Tunes sequel will make $100 million stateside.
F9 was fifth with $4.8 million (I said $5.1 million) to bring its total to $163 million.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was sixth in its second outing with only $3.5 million (I went with $4.5 million) for $16 million overall.
Blogger’s Note (07/21): I am revising some predictions from my original Monday. Taking Old from $22.8 million down to $19.8 million; Snake Eyes from $21.2 million to $17.2 million; and Space Jam: A New Legacy from $14.8 million up to $15.8 million.
We could see a real battle for the #1 position this weekend as M. Night Shyamalan’s Old and the G.I. Joe reboot Snake Eyes both debut. I have both nabbing similar grosses and you can peruse my detailed write-ups on each right here:
My estimates have the pair landing in the low to mid 20s and I’m giving Shyamalan’s latest a slight edge. Truth be told, either one of them could over or underperform so this lends some genuine suspense to the forthcoming results.
Assuming both manage to reach high teens to $20 million, that should mean Space Jam: A New Legacy will drop to 3rd following its better than expected debut (more on that below) with a dip in the 50-55% range. Black Widow, after experiencing a larger than anticipated sophomore drop, should fall to fourth position. There could be a close competition for the five spot between Escape Room: Tournament of Champions and F9. I’ll say Vin Diesel and his merry band of racers triumphs since Escape might lose around half of the opening audience from its lackluster start.
And with that, let’s do a top 6 this time around:
Predicted Gross: $19.8 million
2. Snake Eyes
Predicted Gross: $17.2 million
3. Space Jam: A New Legacy
Predicted Gross: $15.8 million
4. Black Widow
Predicted Gross: $12.9 million
Predicted Gross: $5.1 million
6. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Predicted Gross: $4.5 million
Box Office Results (July 16-18)
In a surprise development, Lebron James and the Tune Squad dunked over Scarlett Johansson as Space Jam: A New Legacy opened ahead of projections with $31 million. That’s well above my $22.7 million estimate as the long in development sequel (which is also available on HBO Max) clearly brought in families and the nostalgic fans of the 1996 original.
Black Widow was anticipated to repeat at #1, but it fell to second with a massive 68% drop. The MCU stand-alone feature took in $25.8 million compared to my more generous $32.1 million prediction. The pic stands at $131 million as theater owners are griping about its simultaneous streaming showings on Disney Plus.
Horror sequel Escape Room: Tournament of Champions couldn’t emerge with an impressive start with $8.8 million. That’s about $10 million below what the 2019 original achieved and under my take of $11.4 million.
F9 held up better than I figured in fourth with $7.6 million (I lowballed it at $6.2 million). The four week tally is $154 million as it has become to second COVID era flick after A Quiet Place Part II to reach $150M+.
The Boss Baby: Family Business was fifth with $4.7 million (I said $5.2 million) and it stands at $44 million.
The seemingly endless slew of summer sequels continues this weekend with Lebron James facing the Toon Squad in Space Jam: A New Legacy and the horror follow-up Escape Room: Tournament of Champions. You can peruse my detailed predictions on both part 2’s right here:
Can either newbie manage to top Marvel’s Black Widow after its record setting opening? Quite unlikely. I look for #23 and his animated competitors to manage a low to mid 20s start (it will also be available on HBO Max streaming).
As for Tournament, the first Escape Room easily outpaced expectations with a near $20 million debut. However, I think low double digits to possibly low teens is the target here.
Black Widow brought us to new heights in the post COVID world (more on that below). A drop in the 60% would generally keep it in line with other MCU entries and that means it shouldn’t have much trouble staying atop the charts in its sophomore frame.
Holdovers F9 and The Boss Baby: Family Business should keep the top five sequel heavy as has been the case all season.
And with that, here’s how I think it all shakes out:
1. Black Widow
Predicted Gross: $32.1 million
2. Space Jam: A New Legacy
Predicted Gross: $22.7 million
3. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Predicted Gross: $11.4 million
Predicted Gross: $6.2 million
5. The Boss Baby: Family Business
Predicted Gross: $5.2 million
Box Office Results (July 9-11)
As anticipated, the two-week old record for F9 achieving the highest premiere in the COVID era was rather easily eclipsed by Scarlett Johansson’s stand-alone Black Widow saga. Yet its $80.3 million haul was on the lower end of projections. I forecasted slightly more at $83.3 million. Since The Avengers (2012) and the 18 MCU blockbusters that have followed, only Ant-Man and its sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp opened lower. However, we still are not in normal times and Widow is the first franchise entry to be simultaneously be available on Disney Plus (for a $30 fee). The studio was quick to point out that the streamer pulled in an additional $60 million through the distribution method.
Widow was the only fresh product in the marketplace as F9 dropped to second after two weeks parked in first. It made $11.4 million which was right on pace with my $11.3 million prediction. The three-week total is $141 million.
The Boss Baby: Family Business was third with $8.8 million (I said $8.6 million) for a ten-day tally of $34 million.
The Forever Purge held up better than I figured in weekend #2 with $7.1 million (I went with $5.1 million). It’s at $27 million overall.
Rounding out the top five was A Quiet Place Part II with $3.1 million compared to my $2.7 million projection. The horror sequel became the first COVID era title to reach $150 million domestically (something F9 and Black Widow will accomplish in short order).
After an unexpected year and a half long break between their comic book blockbusters, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back in theaters with the release of Black Widow. The Scarlett Johansson stand-alone title looks to break the two-week old record of F9 by achieving the largest post COVID debut thus far. My detailed prediction post on it can be found here:
Despite also being available (for $30) on Disney Plus, I do believe Scarlett and company will reach a low to mid 80s number out of the gate. That easily surpasses the $70 million that F9 accelerated to in late June. Unsurprisingly, Widow is the only new wide release out on Friday.
The rest of the top five will consist of sequel holdovers with F9 slipping to second and probably losing at least 50% of its sophomore frame audience. The drop might be slightly lower for The Boss Baby: Family Business while a 55-60% dip for The Forever Purge seems likely. A Quiet Place Part II should spend its final frame in the top five.
And with that, my take on the weekend that lies ahead:
1. Black Widow
Predicted Gross: $83.3 million
Predicted Gross: $11.3 million
3. The Boss Baby: Family Business
Predicted Gross: $8.6 million
4. The Forever Purge
Predicted Gross: $5.1 million
5. A Quiet Place Part II
Predicted Gross: $2.7 million
Box Office Results (July 2-5)
It may not have been your typical summer fireworks at the box office, but it was still booming for Hollywood considering what we’ve recently come out of. F9 easily took the top spot for the second weekend with $29.1 million over the four-day holiday frame. That’s just below my estimate of $30.1 million as the ninth saga in the series is up to $122 million.
The Boss Baby: Family Business started in second and in line with most projections at $19.6 million (a tad under my $21.7 million take). The animated follow-up (which was also streaming on Peacock) opened at a far cry from the $50 million of the original.
The Forever Purge showed some wear and tear to this franchise with $15.7 million in third. I was close at $16.1 million. That’s just over half of what 2016’s The Purge: Election Year made in the same July 4th period.
A Quiet Place Part II was fourth with $5.3 million (I said $5.5 million) as its loud total stands at $145 million.
Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard rounded out the top five and I incorrectly didn’t have it spotted there. The $3.8 million earned in its third go-round brings it to $32 million.
Finally, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway was seventh and I wrongly had it pegged at fifth (Cruella was 6th). The bunny hopped to $2.8 million and an overall $35 million tally.
My annual recounting of the cinematic seasons that preceded 30, 20, and 10 years prior continues on the blog today with the summer of 2001! It was a frame dominated by an animated jolly green giant that kicked off a massive franchise for its studio.
As is tradition, I’ll run through the top 10 domestic grossers as well as other notables pics and some flops. If you missed my post covering 1991’s May-August output, you can find it here:
Eddie Murphy returned as the doc who talks to animals in this sequel that managed to cross the century mark, but failed to approach the $144 million earned by its 1998 predecessor. This would mark the end of Eddie’s involvement in the franchise, but a direct to DVD third helping came in 2006.
9. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Domestic Gross: $131 million
Angelina Jolie (fresh off an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted) headlined the video game adaptation that, despite weak reviews, spawned a sequel and an eventual reboot with Alicia Vikander that will soon get its own follow-up.
8. The Fast and the Furious
Domestic Gross: $144 million
We first saw Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and those souped up whips 20 years ago. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or haven’t heard of The Rock), this begat a franchise which is still running strong today. F9 is currently the #1 movie in America in this series that has topped a billion bucks.
7. American Pie 2
Domestic Gross: $145 million
Universal quickly green lighted this sequel to 1999’s smash hit comedy. The gross out gags in part 2 (which resulted in another theatrical effort in 2003 and numerous direct to DVD entries) stands as the largest worldwide earner of the bunch.
6. Planet of the Apes
Domestic Gross: $180 million
Tim Burton’s reimagining of the 1968 classic didn’t result in the new franchise that 20th Century Fox hoped for. Critics had their knives out for Mark Wahlberg’s lead performance and the surprise ending that didn’t pack the wallop of Charlton Heston’s encounter with the Statue of Liberty. The studio would get their successful trilogy a decade later beginning with Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which will be covered in 2011’s blog post).
5. Jurassic Park III
Domestic Gross: $181 million
Joe Johnston took over directorial duties from Steven Spielberg is this threequel. Sam Neill was back in this dino-tale that (while profitable) failed to reach the heights of the first two commercially. A reboot 14 years later would get the series back in billion dollar good standing.
4. Pearl Harbor
Domestic Gross: $198 million
Michael Bay’s romantic war epic failed with reviewers but still approached $200 million domestically and $450 million worldwide. Its six Golden Raspberry nominations topped its four Oscar nods.
3. The Mummy Returns
Domestic Gross: $202 million
Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz returned for this adventure sequel to the 1999 hit that topped part 1 domestically by nearly $50 million. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would join the fun here and was rewarded with his spin-off (The Scorpion King) the next year. A third Mummy landed with disappointing results in 2008.
2. Rush Hour 2
Domestic Gross: $226 million
It was the best of times for director Brett Ratner and stars Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan as this action comedy built upon the grosses of the 1998 original. A third would follow six years later.
Mike Myers as the title character ogre, Eddie Murphy stealing scenes with his voice work as Donkey, and Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona proved that Disney wasn’t the only animation game in town. Shrek even competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in this DreamWorks game changer that resulted in three sequels and a stage musical.
And now for some other notables flicks from the summer that was:
The Princess Diaries
Domestic Gross: $108 million
Disney’s live-action fairy tale served as a breakout role for Anne Hathaway and a return to the studio for Julie Andrews for the first time since Mary Poppins. A 2004 sequel followed.
Domestic Gross: $96 million
With its own Sixth Sense style twist ending, this gothic horror pic with Nicole Kidman earned solid reviews and got genre fans to turn out.
Domestic Gross: $96 million
Shrek isn’t the only feature to spawn a Broadway treatment. So did this Reese Witherspoon hit which also resulted in a sequel and a third Blonde that is slated for May 2022.
Cats & Dogs
Domestic Gross: $93 million
Dr. Dolittle wasn’t the only animal game in town. This kiddie pic featuring featuring talking creatures also began a franchise.
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
Domestic Gross: $78 million
Long planned as a project for Stanley Kubrick (who passed away in 1999), Steven Spielberg directed this sci-fi visual feast with Haley Joel Osment. The film elicited strong reactions from critics and crowds (both positively and negatively). It may not have reached $100 million domestic, but it’s still a picture people like to debate about today and that’s more that can be said for most titles on this list.
Domestic Gross: $69 million
Hugh Jackman and John Travolta headlined this action pic which somewhat underperformed expectations. This is mostly known as the film that paid Halle Berry an extra $500,000 to go topless during a few seconds of screen time.
Domestic Gross: $57 million
Baz Luhrmann’s postmodern musical with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor scored 8 Oscar nominations and has its legions of fans that have endured over the past two decades.
Domestic Gross: $6 million
This crime drama is mostly known for its menacing supporting turn from Sir Ben Kingsley, who was rewarded with an Oscar nod.
Domestic Gross: $6 million
Terry Zwigoff’s dark comedy (based on a late 90s comic book) earned raves for its screenplay and for costars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi.
And now for some pictures that did not meet expectations:
Domestic Gross: $93 million
Yes, it may have approached $100 million, but this rom com starring Julia Roberts and featuring John Cusack, Billy Crystal (who cowrote), and Catherine Zeta-Jones didn’t come near what her previous blockbusters like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, and Runaway Bride managed.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Domestic Gross: $84 million
Disney’s animated sci-fi adventure was a letdown that didn’t recoup its reported $100 million budget domestically. A hoped for franchise with TV spin-offs and Disneyland ride attraction never rose to the surface.
Scary Movie 2
Domestic Gross: $71 million
This rushed horror spoof follow-up to the 2000 surprise smash couldn’t get close to the $157 million of the original. However, this didn’t stop several sequels from following that achieved greater success.
Domestic Gross: $38 million
Director Ivan Reitman and supernatural comedy sure worked well in 1984 with Ghostbusters. Not so much here in this DreamWorks flop with David Duchovny which earned less than half its budget in North America.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Domestic Gross: $32 million
Tomb Raider was an example of a video game adaptation that made money. Not so here with this rendering of the popular role playing fantasy series that didn’t score with audiences.
Ghosts of Mars
Domestic Gross: $8 million
It wasn’t a good day at the box office for this science fiction flop from director John Carpenter and Ice Cube.
Domestic Gross: $3 million
Moviegoers didn’t turn out for this comedy written and directed by Louis C.K. that originated from a sketch on The Chris Rock Show (who costars). Despite the failed run at the box office, it has since become a cult hit.
And that does it for 2001, folks! Look for my post about summer 2011 in the coming days…
Hitting theaters two weeks after F9 sprinted to the best opening weekend for films released post COVID, Black Widow looks to make that record short-lived. Originally slated for May 2020 before its pandemic delays, the 24th saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a stand-alone showcase for Scarlett Johansson’s Avengers character. Cate Shortland directs with a supporting cast including Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenie, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz.
Widow, sporting a budget of at least $200 million, marks the longest delay between MCU pics that we have seen in over a decade. This is the creme de la creme of franchises where 11 of the past 18 titles have made over $100 million (or much more) in their debuts.
As has been the case with all pictures in this uncertain era, there are challenges Widow faces that could prevent that. For starters, its studio made the choice to simultaneously make this available for Disney Plus streaming. $30 will allow you to view it from the comfort of your couch (a cheaper proposition if buying for the whole family). Widow also doesn’t have the benefit of falling between two gargantuan Avengers features. That certainly helped 2019’s Captain Marvel which soared to $153 million for its start.
While the MCU is generally review proof, the positive reaction from critics won’t hurt. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is at 85%. And Johansson’s character (while not in the stratosphere of Iron Man or Captain America) is a familiar presence from The Avengers, its sequels, and more.
I can’t help but wonder if the Mouse Factory regrets making the Disney Plus decision. This will be a test to see how many fans will choose the home option. That said, I do believe Widow will top the $70 million that F9 reached. While $100 million may be out of range, a gross of $75-$85 million seems doable and that’s where I’m landing. My projection puts this just under what Doctor Strange (2016) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) achieved.
Black Widow opening weekend prediction: $83.3 million