The Suicide Squad Box Office Prediction

Putting the “The” in front of the title isn’t the only change for The Suicide Squad as the DC Comics adaptation hits theaters August 6th. Arriving five years after Suicide Squad, James Gunn (best known for making both Guardians of the Galaxy pics for the MCU) takes over directing duties from David Ayer. Will Smith is nowhere to be found though Margot Robbie reprises her role as Harley Quinn. Other returnees include Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Jai Courtney. New cast members in the mix are Idris Elba, John Cena, Sylvester Stallone, Peter Capaldi, Michael Rooker, and Pete Davidson.

The tenth feature in the DC Extended Universe series, the film will be a test of just how much audiences wish for a return engagement in this particular subsection of the franchise. In 2016, Suicide Squad (despite mostly poor reviews) exceeded expectations with its opening weekend. It grossed a frontloaded $133 million out of the gate with an eventual domestic haul of $325 million. In the spring of 2020, spin-off Birds of Prey, centered on Robbie’s character, was a different story. Prey made a full $100 million less than Squad for its start at $33 million with an $82 million overall stateside gross.

The Suicide Squad, like all Warner Bros product in 2021, will open simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max’s streaming service. The studio has seen some positive results this year with that strategy including Godzilla vs. Kong (nearly $50 million in its five-day Easter debut) and Space Jam: A New Legacy at a better than expected $31 million.

Gunn’s Squad tale will not approach what was achieved five years ago. Yet I do suspect it will outdo the low 30s made by Prey. Hitting $50 million is achievable, but Delta variant complications and the availability of HBO Max could put it under that figure in the low to mid 40s range.

The Suicide Squad opening weekend prediction: $41.8 million

Oscar Watch – Space Jam: A New Legacy

Lebron James will not become the first NBA superstar to score a Best Actor nomination and no, his former teammates Shaquille O’Neal (Kazaam) and Kyrie Irving (Uncle Drew) didn’t do so. #23 headlines the long in development sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy this Friday and reviews only have the live-action/animated mix at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes.

There is, however, one category where Oscar attention is at least feasible and that is Visual Effects. Even some of the negative critical posts mention the solid special effects. The original Jam 25 years ago couldn’t manage to get in the VFX derby. Back then, there were only three nominees and 1996’s winner was Independence Day over Dragonheart and Twister.

Could the expansion to five give LeBron’s iteration a shot? Doubtful. Warner Bros. already has three stronger hopefuls with Godzilla vs. Kong, Dune, and the fourth Matrix and it’s questionable whether much of a campaign would be done here.

Bottom line: Legacy could make the shortlist of possibilities for inclusion at the end of 2021. I would be surprised if it makes the starting lineup. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

2021 Oscars: A Mid-Year Report

We have somehow reached the midpoint of 2021 and that means it is time to take stock in the Oscar contenders that have been released or screened so far. In short, we are talking about fairly slim pickings.

That is not rare. The bulk of the Best Picture nominees are typically unveiled between September-December of a given year (or in the case of 2020 – January or February of 2021 as well). For the previous Academy Awards, not one of the 8 BP contenders were distributed in the first half of the year. However, 3 of them (The Father, Sound of Metal, Promising Young Woman) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020. Another (Sound of Metal) was screened all the way back in September 2019 during Toronto’s festival.

As a reminder, Oscar rules were altered moving forward starting with next year’s ceremony. There will be a fixed number of 10 BP nominees (thank goodness). As I see it, the 2021 Sundance Fest gave us three potential hopefuls in the big race: Sian Heder’s Coda, Rebecca Hall’s Passing, and Fran Kranz’s Mass. 

Coda and Mass, in particular, seem like real possibilities. The former, in addition to a Picture nod, could see itself as a contender for Emilia Jones in Actress and Marlee Matlin in Supporting Actress. The latter sports a quarter of performers (Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd, Reed Birney) that could find themselves in the mix. Passing, while more of a long shot for BP, features Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga and they will likely be campaigning.

How about movies that didn’t go the Sundance route? The obvious one is In the Heights from Jon M. Chu. The musical garnered glowing reviews when it premiered in theaters and on HBO Max last month. However, its surprisingly lackluster box office grosses may hinder its chances. Time will tell.

There are already three released animated features that could make the final five: The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon. I think the first two have strong chances while Raya is more of a question mark. Flee, which screened at Sundance, was critically hailed and it could find itself competing here and in Documentary Feature.

As for other docs, keep an eye out for Summer of Saul (which actually releases tomorrow) and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

And when we look at below the line categories, there’s Cruella. Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling are two derbies where it could not only be nominated, but prevail. I also wouldn’t completely count out Coming 2 America for the same categories. The Sound race is open for A Quiet Place Part II. Godzilla vs. Kong is a hopeful in Visual Effects.

Bottom line: expect nearly all of 2021’s Best Picture players to see their release dates in the next six months. At least two could come from Sundance with Heights hoping its box office fall doesn’t sink its chances.

The Blockbuster Is Back: A Not So Quiet Return

When my intense interest in all things movies (including box office returns) began at a young age, the concept of the blockbuster was a fairly rare thing. Many classified it as a feature earning over $100 million domestically. When I became a teenager in 1992, there were only seven pictures that reached the milestone in that calendar year. When I turned 16 in 1995, there were six. The list expanded to 11 in my 18th year.

$100 million being a significant benchmark isn’t what it used to be. In fact, if a MCU extravaganza only grossed that number, it would be considered a massive flop. The number of films blasting past nine digits in recent times speaks for itself. In 2015, there were 29. 2016 brought 30. There were 33 in 2017 and 34 in 2018. The 2019 number was 31.

And then… COVID-19 happened and that previous consistency fell by the wayside. Theaters were shuttered or open in limited capacity for the bulk of 2020. That meant the number of domestic releases last year that topped $100 million were… 2. Both premiered before the coronavirus changed our world as we know it: Bad Boys for Life and Sonic the Hedgehog. 

Studios occasionally put out big movies that otherwise would have surely reached the mark like Warner Bros with Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984. However, the challenges affiliated with the virus prevented that.

Over the last several weeks, we see the country opening back up in lots of different ways. We will see an important example occur tonight. A Quiet Place Part II is poised to become the first movie in a year and a half to gross $100 million. Godzilla vs. Kong is sitting at $99 million and could also achieve that designation by the weekend. In short order, the number of blockbusters will have matched what we saw in 2020.

As the summer box office rolls along, there are other contenders that should or could do the same. F9 (which is over $200 million already overseas) and Black Widow are obvious ones. In the Heights, out today, is garnering Oscar chatter and glowing reviews and it could ride that buzz to hefty grosses. There’s also The Suicide Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Jungle Cruise, and Hotel Transylvania: Transformania. 

The September-December frame brings other surefire contenders and possibilities: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Dune, No Time to Die, Halloween Kills, Eternals, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Top Gun: Maverick, Encanto, West Side Story, Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Matrix 4, Sing 2 among them.

Bottom line: there likely won’t be 30 plus $100 million makers in 2021. Yet the eventual number will far exceed what we witnessed in 2020 where multiplexes were a quiet place. Not anymore.

May 28-31 Box Office Predictions

In what is bound is to be the biggest box office weekend so far in the COVID-19 era, the Memorial Day frame marks the unofficial kickoff of the summer season at multiplexes. There are two genuinely high-profile debuts with John Krasinski’s horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II with Emily Blunt and Disney’s live-action remake Cruella with Emma Stone in the title role. My detailed prediction posts on the pair can be found here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/11/a-quiet-place-part-ii-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/19/cruella-box-office-prediction/

As I have said a lot recently, we are in unfamiliar territory. This is the first time in a long time where we have two major releases out in the same holiday weekend. Just as entities are opening up everywhere, the same can be said for theaters. I believe AQPII can top $40 million over its four day premiere with Cruella managing low to mid 20s. There is the lingering suspicion that either or both can outdo my estimates.

The rest of the top five will be filled with holdovers and they may experience smallish declines given the holiday. And with that, my top 5 projections from Friday to Monday for a weekend that Hollywood has been eagerly anticipating:

1. A Quiet Place Part II

Predicted Gross: $43.6 million

2. Cruella

Predicted Gross: $22.7 million

3. Spiral

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

4. Wrath of Man

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

5. Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Gross: $1.6 million

Box Office Results (May 14-16)

As anticipated, it was the calm before the potential storming back of big grosses over this past frame. Spiral repeated at #1 in its sophomore outing with $4.5 million. It held up rather well for its genre ahead of my $4 million prediction. The overall gross for the gross out Saw sequel is $15 million.

Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man remained in second with $2.9 million. My estimate? $2.9 million! Total is $18 million.

Third place belonged to Angelina Jolie’s Those Who Wish Me Dead at $1.9 million compared to my $1.7 million take. The two week tally is $5 million.

Raya and the Last Dragon was fourth with $1.6 million, just under my projection of $1.7 million for $48 million.

Godzilla vs. Kong rounded out the top five with $1.4 million. I incorrectly had it outside my top five. At $96 million, the monster mash is inching ever so close to becoming the first $100 million domestic earner in the COVID era.

Finally, Demon Slayer was sixth at $1.3 million (which was my estimate) and it’s at $43 million overall.

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

May 14-16 Box Office Predictions

It’s been a minute since we have had four new releases to ponder, but that’s the situation this weekend as theaters continue to open their doors. The ninth pic in the Saw franchise Spiral, Angelina Jolie’s thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead, the Zack Snyder directed zombie fest Army of the Dead, and tech suspense flick Profile all open on Friday. My detailed prediction posts on the quartet can be found here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/05/spiral-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/06/those-who-wish-me-dead-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/army-of-the-dead-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/profile-box-office-prediction/

Spiral should have no trouble scoring a #1 premiere. The question is: what kinda Saw bucks are we talking? I think this could certainly over perform (word of mouth is decent), but my estimate puts it in line with the last entry in the series – 2017’s Jigsaw. 

The runner-up slot should go to Ms. Jolie and her joint venture with Warner Bros/HBO Max. However, unlike the recent Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat, a start north of $10 million (and certainly $20 million) seems unlikely.

Blogger’s Note: Dead prediction downgraded to $3.8 million

Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man should fall to third after its opening met expectations (more on that below). I anticipate his latest action tale to lose a bit more than half its audience.

Here’s where things get a little interesting. Army of the Dead is the first Netflix release to open on a fairly wide screen count (at least 600). If that holds, the potential for a $2-$3 million haul is feasible. It could even do more. What’s unknown at this juncture is whether the streaming giant will actually report its grosses. They haven’t in the past in their limited theatrical runs, but we are venturing into new territory. With this question unanswered, I’ll be doing a top five that includes Army and one that does not.

As for Profile, it’s hitting a large 2000 screens. Yet I suspect its low profile and my predicted $1.2 million forecast could prevent it from making the top five in either scenario.

And with that, here’s my two versions of this weekend’s top five:

1. Spiral

Predicted Gross: $16.1 million

2. Wrath of Man

Predicted Gross: $3.9 million

3. Those Who Wish Me Dead

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

4. Army of the Dead

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

5. Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Gross: $1.4 million

***If no Army grosses, Raya would move up to #4 and I’ll say Demon Slayer is fifth with $1.3 million

Box Office Results (May 7-9)

As mentioned, Wrath of Man took the pole position and met expectations with $8.3 million. How much did it meet them? It certainly met mine as my projection was $8.3 million!

Demon Slayer dropped to second with $2.7 million, on par with my $2.9 million estimate. Its three-week tally is $39 million.

Also in its third frame, Mortal Kombat was third with $2.4 million compared to my $2.7 million take. Overall gross stands at $37 million.

Godzilla vs. Kong was fourth with $1.9 million (I said $2 million). The monster mash continues to inch toward the century mark at $93 million.

Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon flew off with another $1.9 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It has earned $43 million.

Finally, the Billy Crystal/Tiffany Haddish dramedy Here Today showed zero staying power as it opened in seventh with $1 million. I was a bit more generous at $1.5 million.

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

Those Who Wish Me Dead Box Office Prediction

Bloggers Update: Prediction downgraded to $3.8 million

Angelina Jolie tries to heat up the box office on May 14 with the simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release of Those Who Wish Me Dead. The thriller casts Jolie as a fire warden attempting to protect a young boy whose father was murdered by assassins. Taylor Sheridan, director of Wind River and co-creator of the hit series Yellowstone, serves behind the camera. Costars include Finn Little, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal, and Tyler Perry.

Warner Bros. has had successes recently with their strategy of putting their product on the big screen and thru HBO’s streaming platform. This resulted in impressive openings for Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat over the past two months. This one could be a tougher sell due to it not being part of a known franchise.

Dead will need to rely on an adult crowd turning out and Jolie’s star power. One recent comp is The Little Things with Denzel Washington. Also a Warner/HBO venture, the thriller opened domestically with $4.8 million. More theaters have opened their doors since and capacity has increased. That leads me to think that Jolie’s latest could exceed that gross, but perhaps not by much. If my estimate holds, Dead should place second next weekend behind Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

Those Who Wish Me Dead opening weekend prediction: $3.8 million

For my Spiral: From the Book of Saw prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/05/spiral-box-office-prediction/

For my Army of the Dead prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/army-of-the-dead-box-office-prediction/

For my Profile prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/profile-box-office-prediction/

May 7-9 Box Office Predictions

The first full weekend of May at the box office brings us the Guy Ritchie directed action thriller Wrath of Man starring Jason Statham and Billy Crystal’s comedy Here Today with Tiffany Haddish. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/28/wrath-of-man-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/29/here-today-box-office-prediction/

Considering the precipitous drops that Demon Slayer and Mortal Kombat experienced in their sophomore frames (more on that below), Statham’s latest should have no trouble topping the charts in the $8-9 million range. The 1000 theater count for Here Today should limit its potential, but I do have it managing to round out the top five.

Slayer and Kombat are unlikely to see the 70+ percentage falls in their third weekends and place 2-3 with Godzilla vs. Kong at fourth. And with that – here’s how I see the top 5 playing out:

1. Wrath of Man

Predicted Gross: $8.3 million

2. Demon Slayer

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

3. Mortal Kombat

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

4. Godzilla vs. Kong

Predicted Gross: $2 million

5. Here Today

Predicted Gross: $1.5 million

Box Office Results (April 30-May 2)

As mentioned, both Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer fell hard after their $20 million plus premieres the previous weekend. Demon Slayer vaulted to first with $6.4 million compared to my $6.2 million estimate for a $34 million ten day total.

Kombat dipped to 2nd with $6.2 million (well under my $9.1 million projection) and it also stands at $34 million.

Godzilla vs. Kong was third at $2.8 million (I said $2.9 million) for a five-week tally of $90 million. It could still manage to hit the century club and it would become the first COVID release to do so.

The critically drubbed horror pic Separation opened in fourth with $1.8 million, a bit below my $2.3 million take.

Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon was fifth with $1.3 million (I went with $1.6 million). Total is $41 million.

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

April 30-May 2 Box Office Predictions

It’s been a long time coming since my weekly top 5 box office predictions (the middle of March in 2020 to be precise), but I am happily returning to the format today! As proven by the larger expected debuts of Mortal Kombat and Demon Slayer over the previous weekend (as well as the huge returns for Godzilla vs. Kong), it is time to get back in the game!

There is only one new wide release this Friday and it’s the fright flick Separation. To view my detailed prediction post for it, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/25/separation-box-office-prediction/

Horror movies always have the opportunity to outdo expectations, but I’m not anticipating much here. My $2.3 million estimate puts it in a battle with Godzilla vs. Kong for the #3 spot and I’ll give the iconic monsters an edge.

The story of last weekend was seeing two pics (Kombat and Demon) gross over $20 million in their starts. You have to go all the way back to January 2020 for the last time we saw two newbies debut north of that. Kombat made off with $23.3 million (ahead of my $17.5 million forecast) while Demon took in $21.1 million (considerably more than my $10.7 million projection).

I do foresee both of them having precipitous drops in their sophomore frames. Godzilla vs. Kong, for instance, fell a steep 57% in its second outing and I believe the dip for Kombat could be over 60%. As for the anime hit Demon, that’s a genre in which stateside audiences may have rushed to view it. A drop around 70% would not be a surprise. That means no movie may top $10 million as we close April out.

That said, signs of a box office reemergence are all around and it is with pleasure (for the first time in over one year) that I give you my top 5 estimates for the weekend ahead!

1. Mortal Kombat

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

2. Demon Slayer

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

3. Godzilla vs. Kong

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

4. Separation

Predicted Gross: $2.3 million

5. Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Gross: $1.6 million

Mortal Kombat Box Office Prediction

Fresh off their massive success with Godzilla vs. Kong, Warner Bros is back in theaters and streaming on HBO Max with the release of Mortal Kombat on April 23. The film is, of course, an adaptation of the hugely profitable gaming franchise. It’s also a reboot of the film series that began in 1995 to potent box office returns and a 1997 sequel (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation) that couldn’t live up to the first. Therefore the series has been dormant nearly a quarter century.

Simon McQuoid makes his directorial debut (and James Wan as a coproducer) with a cast featuring Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, Chin Han, and Hiroyuki Sanada. While it seems like every major motion picture has experienced major delays due to COVID-19, this one was only pushed three months from an original January release date.

As mentioned, its studio has found a formula that works in recent months with their simultaneous multiplex and HBO Max drop dates. Godzilla vs. Kong set the COVID times record with a much better than anticipated $32 million traditional opening weekend and nearly $50 million for its five-day Easter frame rollout.

Mortal Kombat may not have quite the appeal of those two monsters mashing, but it certainly has a built-in fanbase that will prefer to see it in the theaters. Its R rating (the first two flicks were PG-13) could be a minor hiccup, but I doubt that will have too much effect. It can’t hurt that there’s a new generation of video game players and their parents who are familiar with it.

I look for Kombat to punch in with a little more than half of what GvK accomplished and that means high teens is the range I’m forecasting.

Mortal Kombat opening weekend prediction: $17.5 million

For my Demon Slayer prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/04/20/demon-slayer-kimetsu-no-yaiba-the-movie-mugen-train-box-office-prediction/