Bloggers Update (12/16): revising prediction up to $213.7M The Marvel Cinematic Universe is poised for the largest opening weekend of the pandemic era with Spider-Man: No Way Home out December 17th. In fact, it could debut higher than the current two record holders (Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Black Widow) combined. The 27th feature in the massive MCU franchise, this is officially the third entry in this Spider-Verse starring Tom Holland as the web-slinger (though he’s appeared in Avengers tales too). Jon Watts directs again and returning faces include Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, and J.B. Smoove. That’s not all. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is in on the action and villains of previous Spidey series come to the party. They include Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Foxx, Thomas Haden Church, and Rhys Ifans. There’s also the possibility of other Spider-Men turning up.
This has led to No Way Home having the distinction of being the event film of the year with the most moneymaking potential. It might be the fourth MCU title in 2021 (after Widow, Shang-Chi, and Eternals), but it’s easily the most breathlessly anticipated. Early ticket sales indicate we’ll see grosses not witnessed since 2019. Two and a half years ago, Spider-Man: Far From Home kicked off during the long July 4th weekend and earned $185 million. 2017’s Homecoming made $117 million over a traditional Friday to Sunday rollout.
The pre-Christmas unveiling should prove to be shrewd timing. Some estimates having this going north of $200 million. That would be music to the ears of an industry that needs it after almost two long years. I’m not quite ready to declare $200 million and I’ll hedge with just under it.
Spider-Man: No Way Home opening weekend prediction: $213.7 million
For the MCU superhero who spends the most time flying through the air, the two stand-alone Spider-Man pics often feel the most grounded. Looking back on my review of predecessor Homecoming, I used that same word and stated that it worked best in its scenes with Peter Parker out of the suit. It helps that Tom Holland is the most suited for the role over Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
Nearly anything would appear more down to earth after the gargantuan epics that were the last two Avengers movies (in which Spidey appeared along with the full and massive roster of heroes). In Far From Home, the scales seem significantly smaller for a while. When Endgame culminated (and stop reading if you haven’t seen it), Peter’s mentor Tony Stark/Iron Man had once again saved the world but lost his life doing it. This is the first MCU title since and the planet is still mourning the Avengers head honcho. It’s more personal for Peter and he’s looking forward to a European class trip over the summer. He wants to hang up the Spidey gear and concentrate on capturing the affections of his crush MJ (Zendaya).
So when Peter trots off to Venice with MJ, his trusty best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and other classmates, he does so after ignoring persistent phone calls from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Yet Fury is a hard man to scorn and he tracks him down. It turns out Mr. Stark saw Peter as his ultimate successor (he’s gifted his glasses which serve other purposes besides looking cool). And there’s work to do as havoc wreaking creatures called the Elementals are endangering the populace. Enter a new character that goes by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). He’s from another dimension (multi-verse if you will) and steps into the shoes of new mentor for our vacationing web slinger.
Naturally (and the trailers didn’t really hide this), Mysterio is not totally as advertised and that sets up more duties for Spidey when he’s just wishing for MJ’s love and some R & R. For the first half of Home, it feels light and even more so considering the stakes of Infinity War and Endgame. That’s not unwelcome as the chemistry between Holland and Zendaya is charming and appropriately awkward. Speaking of romance, Tony’s right hand man Happy (Jon Favreau) is back with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) eyeing him as her potential full time man.
The world, however, isn’t going to save itself and the second half is filled with the Marvel CG action set pieces we expect. Of course, they’re expertly crafted but they can’t help but feel a little smaller after the Avengers extravaganzas. There is some Doctor Strange style sequences that seemed more appropriate in that MCU offering.
Far From Home eventually hints at larger universes that we already know exist. Spidey will enter back into them and he’s fighting large scale battles here in the end. Just like Homecoming, the quieter moments work better and that especially applies to ones with Peter and MJ. The MCU does continue a winning streak of more than passable villains and Gyllenhaal seems to be savoring his crack at it. The MCU also has a trend of some sequels topping their originals (think Thor and CaptainAmerica). I’d actually put this a slight notch below its direct predecessor and that’s still enough to make this a suitably passable entry.
Spider–Man: FarFromHome opens on Tuesday next week with solid reviews in its corner. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, many critics are calling it an improvement on its direct predecessor – 2017’s Spider–Man: Homecoming.
When it comes to Oscar’s history with the Spider-Verse over multiple features, there is past and very recent occurrences. The first two editions of Sam Raimi’s Tobey Maguire trilogy garnered nods. 2002’s Spider–Man nabbed Sound and Visual Effects nominations. Its 2004 sequel won Visual Effects, in addition to Sound nods. Since then, the four live-action features (one more with Maguire, two with Andrew Garfield, and Homecoming) received no awards love. However, last year’s animated and acclaimed Spider–Man: IntotheSpider–Verse was the winner of Best Animated Feature.
FarFromHome is, of course, part of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. If the studio pushes for Oscar votes, their attention in 2019 is likely to focus on Avengers: Endgame. So even with sturdy critical reaction, I would anticipate this being the fifth non-animated Spidey pic in a row to go empty handed. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Peter Parker’s European vacation goes awry and Marvel looks to have its third massive 2019 blockbuster in a row when Spider–Man: FarFromHome opens next week over a long holiday weekend. The sequel to 2017’s Spider–Man: Homecoming finds Tom Holland returning to the title role after appearing in Avengers: InfinityWar and Avengers: Endgame in between. Jon Watts is back directing with familiar MCU faces Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, and Jon Favreau among the cast. Returnees from Homecoming include Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Jacob Batalon. Newbies to this cinematic universe are J.B. Smoove and Jake Gyllenhaal as main villain Mysterio.
The sequel should benefit tremendously from the MCU’s hot streak. Endgame and CaptainMarvel stand as the top two grossers of the year so far. Homecoming was well received two summers ago with a $334 million domestic haul. Advance word of mouth is strong.
Spidey flicks have a history of debuting over the July 4th frame. 2004’s Spider–Man2 also had a six-day rollout and earned $180 million in that time frame. Same goes for 2012’s reboot TheAmazingSpider–Man with $137 million from Tuesday to Sunday.
FarFromHome gets underway on Tuesday and I believe earnings approaching $200 million is doable. I’ll say this manages a bit under $100 million from the traditional Friday to Sunday frame with just under the double century mark over the holiday.
Spider-Man: Far From Home opening weekend prediction: $92.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $190.4 million
A convergence of current and former NBA stars and comedians gather for UncleDrew, out next weekend. The sports comedy that comes with prosthetic makeup aplenty is based on a title character first seen in Pepsi commercials with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving playing him. Other basketball notables in the cast include Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie. On the funny side – Lil Rel Howery, Nick Kroll, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, and Mike Epps. Charles Stone III, perhaps best known for making Drumline, directs.
UncleDrew hopes to bring in a sizable African-American crowd and lovers of the game it humorously covers. The pic could certainly achieve sleeper status with a gross in the high teens. It actually has a somewhat similar opening weekend range as Sicario: DayoftheSoldado, which debuts against it. The two newcomers should battle for third place between JurassicWorld: FallenKingdom and Incredibles2.
For now, I’m giving Drew a slight edge with a forecast between $16-$17 million.
UncleDrew opening weekend prediction: $16.4 million
For my Sicario: DayoftheSoldado prediction, click here:
Next weekend comes the first Christmas themed title as Almost Christmas presents itself in theaters. The pic comes from director David E. Talbert, maker of 2008’s First Sunday and 2013’s Baggage Claim. The comedic drama focuses on a dysfunctional holiday family gathering with a cast that includes Kimberly Elise, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, Danny Glover, Jessie Usher, Danny Glover, Nicole Ari Parker, Omar Epps, John Michael Higgins, and Romany Malco.
Christmas should benefit from both its release date and the fact that it could attract a sizable African American audience. One decent comp would be 2007’s This Christmas, which debuted to $17.9 million. A more unlikely comp would be 2013’s The Best Man Holiday, which shocked the industry with an opening of over $30M.
I’ll say Almost Christmas manages a merry start in the high teens range.
Almost Christmas opening weekend prediction: $18.3 million
It was a good day for Ice Cube in 2002 when Barbershop debuted to $20.6 million with an eventual $75M domestic gross. It was another good day when its sequel Barbershop 2: Back in Business opened with $24.2 million and a $65M overall haul.
Twelve years later, Barbershop: The Next Cut marks the third entry in the franchise with Mr. Cube returning alongside series regulars Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, and Sean Patrick Thomas. Regina Hall, Nicki Minaj, J.B. Smoove, Tyga, and Common also join the cutting crew.
The Next Cut continues the all of a sudden hot 2016 trend of comedy sequels to pictures released early in the 21st century. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 has posted decent numbers. Zoolander – No. 2? Not so much.
My feeling is that fans of this franchise will welcome its return, even if it’s been 12 years (not counting its 2005 spin-off Beauty Shop). I believe the possibility of this over performing is significantly greater than underperforming and have it opening just below what 2004’s sequel managed.
Barbershop: The Next Cut opening weekend prediction: $23.1 million