American Made Box Office Prediction

Tom Cruise’s box office fortunes have taken a turn for the worse recently with two flops in less than a year – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and this summer’s The Mummy. The star will attempt to turn that around next weekend with American Made.

The true life crime pic reunites Cruise with his Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman and finds him playing Barry Seal, pilot turned drug smuggler for the Medellin cartel in the 1980s. Costars include Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jesse Plemons. Unlike his two previous pictures, Made is receiving positive reviews with a current 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

That positive word-of-mouth might help, but I could also see Made opening somewhat lightly with hopes of smallish declines in subsequent weekends. Unlike most of Cruise’s recent work, this isn’t an action or sci-fi project that audiences have become accustomed to seeing him in during recent years. Its box office potential should rely solely on his drawing power (which has waned) and the approving critical notices.

I’ll estimate that American Made generates a mid teens debut.

American Made opening weekend prediction: $15.5 million

For my Flatliners prediction, click here:

Box Office Predictions: November 4-6

The month of November begins at the box office with the infusion of some likely blockbusters to lift the current fall season out of its doldrums. We have three new pics that should populate the top 3 spots: Marvel’s critically acclaimed Doctor Strange, Dreamworks animated Trolls, and Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

There’s little doubt that Disney/Marvel will rule the weekend with their new superhero. The question is just how big it will be. My estimate gives it the 10th out of 14th largest opener for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, between Thor: The Dark World and the first Thor. 

While Strange should hammer all competition, I’ve got those frizzy haired Trolls capturing a sizable family audience for a sturdy runner-up showing.

As for Hacksaw, the well-reviewed pic could over perform, but I’ve got it slated for a low double digits debut (though it may play well throughout awards season).

When it comes to holdovers, I look for Boo! A Madea Halloween and Inferno (which bombed this past weekend; more on that below) to experience sizable dips and fall to fourth and fifth.

Here’s how the blog readers feel about my prognoses:

Doctor Strange – 47% Just About Right, 36% Too Low, 17% Too High

Trolls – 55% Just About Right, 26% Too Low, 19% Too High

Hacksaw Ridge – 65% Too Low, 27% Just About Right, 8% Too High

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Doctor Strange

Predicted Gross: $77.3 million

2. Trolls

Predicted Gross: $34.6 million

3. Hacksaw Ridge

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

4. Boo! A Madea Halloween

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million (representing a drop of 55%)

5. Inferno

Predicted Gross: $6.8 million (representing a drop of 54%)

Box Office Results (October 28-30)

In a seriously surprising box office upset, Boo! A Madea Halloween remained atop the charts for a second weekend in a row with $17.2 million, well ahead of my $12.7M projection. The Tyler Perry hit has amassed $52 million so far and looks to easily become the 2nd highest grossing Madea titled pic after 2009’s Madea Goes to Jail.

The upset is due to the massive under performance of Inferno, the third teaming of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard based on Dan Brown’s novels. The film absolutely tanked with just $14.8 million, less than half of my extremely generous $30.6M prediction. This franchise started a decade ago to great results with The Da Vinci Code and still produced decent results in 2011 with Angels & Demons. While Inferno is performing better overseas, you can bet this is the last time we’ll see Mr. Hanks cracking codes.

In another Tom led box office disappointment, Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back fell hard in weekend #2 with $9.5 million (I was higher with a $12.4M forecast). Its meager earnings stand at $39 million.

I fared a bit better with the rest of the top five. The Accountant was fourth with $8.4 million (I said $8.7M) for a $61 million total. Ouija: Origin of Evil was fifth with $7.1 million (I said $7.3M) for a $24 million tally.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: October 28-30

For the previous two weekends at the box office, we’ve seen a total of seven features roll out in wide release. As the final frame of October is upon us, we just have one to close the month out – Inferno. This is the third teaming of director Ron Howard with Tom Hanks in adapting Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels to the screen. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

While Inferno should have no trouble debuting at #1, just how much it makes is a legit question. I’ve got it pegged at just over $30M, though my blog readers tend to disagree with 64% saying my prediction is Too High. 23% think I’m Just About Right with 13% believing I’m Too Low.

As for holdovers, Boo! A Madea Halloween had a much larger than anticipated debut last weekend (more on that below). Similar Madea titles that opened in the same range dropped about 60% in their second weekend. Could Halloween dip a bit lower since, you know, this is Halloween weekend coming up? Perhaps, but probably not by much.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back should lose close to half its audience. Same for Ouija. The Accountant in weekend #3 has been experiencing good worth of mouth and its drop may not be quite as pronounced (I have it leaping over Evil).

And with that – the top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Inferno

Predicted Gross: $30.6 million

2. Boo! A Madea Halloween

Predicted Gross: $12.7 million (representing a drop of 55%)

3. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Predicted Gross: $12.4 million (representing a drop of 46%)

4. The Accountant

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million (representing a drop of 36%)

5. Ouija: Origin of Evil

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million (representing a drop of 48%)

Box Office Results (October 21-23)

In an unexpected box office twist, Tyler Perry outpaced Tom Cruise this weekend as Boo! A Madea Halloween scored a terrific debut with $28.5 million, more than double my meager $12.5M estimate. This marks the third highest debut for a Madea titled pic and ensures this character will be having other holiday fun (Thanksgiving’s probably next) into the future.

It was expected to top the charts, but Madea blocked that as Jack Reacher: Never Go Back debuted in second with $22.8 million (just below my $23.9M estimate). The Tom Cruise sequel suffered from middling reviews and it was following up a predecessor that isn’t exactly beloved. It should struggle to make the $80M earned by the first Reacher and it probably won’t.

Ouija: Origin of Evil didn’t scare up as much business as its predecessor, taking in $14 million for third place (I predicted $15.2M). With a lackluster C Cinemascore grade (same as the first one), it should fade fast, but may not have too calamitous a drop next weekend due to the Halloween holiday.

With all the newbies premiering, The Accountant slipped to fourth with $13.6 million. My prediction? $13.6M! At least I got something right this weekend! Its total stands at $47M.

The Girl on the Train was fifth with $7.1 million and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The thriller has grossed $58M in three weeks.

The Zack Galifianakis led comedy Keeping Up with Joneses had to settle for seventh place with a poor $5.4 million, well below my $10.1M forecast. It actually performed worse than the star’s comedy from earlier this month, Masterminds. 

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: October 21-23

It’s a particularly crowded weekend at the box office with four new wide releases hitting the multiplexes and another in semi-wide release. We have Tom Cruise’s action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, horror prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil, and the Zach Galifianakis led comedy (his second this month) Keeping Up with the Joneses. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

To add to the clutter, there’s also the faith-based drama I’m Not Ashamed, which debuts on around 500 screens. I’ve got it pegged at $2 million for its start.

So how will all this shake out? Well, it’s probable that the four newbies will all land in the top 5. I have Reacher rather easily winning the weekend with Ouija as the runner-up. The Accountant (which had a solid debut in the top spot this past weekend) could fall to third with Boo! and Joneses rounding out the top five.

Here’s how the blog readers see my picks for the newcomers:

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back: 50% Too Low, 41% Just About Right, 9% Too High

Ouija: Origin of Evil: 46% Just About Right, 27%, Too High, 27% Too Low

Boo! A Madea Halloween: 33% Too High, 33% Too Low, 33% Just About Right (how about that?!?!)

Keeping Up with the Joneses: 46% Too Low, 39% Just About Right, 15% Too High

Truth be told, this weekend is pretty unpredictable with all the fresh product coming our way. Let’s see what happens, but here’s how I have the top 5:

1. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Predicted Gross: $23.9 million

2. Ouija: Origin of Evil

Predicted Gross: $15.2 million

3. The Accountant

Predicted Gross: $13.6 million (representing a drop of 45%)

4. Boo! A Madea Halloween

Predicted Gross: $12.5 million

5. Keeping Up with the Joneses

Predicted Gross: $10.1 million

Box Office Results (October 14-16)

The numbers were quite good for Ben Affleck’s The Accountant as it scored a #1 opening with $24.7 million, easily topping my $17.6M prediction. Even though reviews were quite mixed, audiences liked what they saw it scored an A Cinemascore grade.

The Girl on the Train dipped to second in its sophomore weekend with a 50% drop to $12.2 million (a bit under my $13.4M projection). The Emily Blunt thriller has taken in $46 million thus far.

The stand-up comedy concert pic Kevin Hart: What Now? debuted in third with a decent $11.7 million, not quite matching my $13.5M estimate.

Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was fourth with $8.9 million (I said $8.2M) to bring its tally to $65 million. Deepwater Horizon rounded out the top five with $6.4 million (I said $6.8M) and it’s made $49 million.

Last (and least), Max Steel was met with a massive shrug from audience as it opened in 11th place with $2.1 million. I went a bit higher with $3.8M. Look for this one On Demand quite soon.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Box Office Prediction

Nearly four years ago, Tom Cruise had a decent performer in the form of Jack Reacher, based on a series of thriller novels by Lee Child. The pic opened to $15 million over the Christmas holiday in 2012 and eventually took in a solid $80 million.

Still, that gross was not enough to figure a sequel was automatically warranted. Yet here we are with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which re-teams Cruise with his Last Samurai director Edward Zwick and costars Cobie Smulders. The director of the its predecessor, Christopher McQuarrie, moved onto make the fifth Mission: Impossible and will reportedly do the sixth.

Whether this earns enough to see a third installment is questionable. Of Cruise’s last five pictures that he’s headlined, Reacher is actually the lowest grosser. The sequel will almost surely make more in its opening weekend, but it’s not exactly a fair comparison. Movies released over the Xmas weekend almost always open lower than they would over a typical weekend and develop longer legs in subsequent winter frames. So while the debut should be larger, I’m not sure it reaches $80M domestic in the long run.

I don’t see this getting much higher than mid 20s or much lower than $20M. My prediction essentially splits the difference.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back opening weekend prediction: $23.9 million

For my Ouija: Origin of Evil prediction, click here:

For my Keeping Up with the Joneses prediction, click here:

For my Boo! A Madea Halloween prediction, click here:

Sequelitis: A 2016 Story

Over Memorial Day weekend this year, Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass opened to an abysmal $33 million over the holiday weekend, immediately making it one of the biggest bombs of 2016. How poor was that opening? It’s the sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, which made $116 million in its first weekend (which was a three-day frame, not a four-day one). Looking Glass will be lucky to make $80M in its entire domestic run, nearly $40M under what Wonderland earned in its premiere weekend. Ouch.

Is there an easy explanation? Did Disney take too long with the six year hiatus between franchise entries? Perhaps. Did the negative tabloid publicity surrounding star Johnny Depp hurt? Maybe.

Yet another explanation is likely part of the equation. In 2016, moviegoers have seemed to catch a case of “sequelitis” and their symptoms have been affecting box office grosses for a number of pictures already this year.

Over that same Memorial Day weekend, X-Men: Apocalypse ruled the charts with a $79 million debut. That would seem impressive, except X-Men: Days of Future Past made $110 million over the same weekend just two years earlier.

This story has repeated itself repeatedly in recent months. Ride Along 2 was expected to build on its predecessor’s opening weekend. The 2014 original cruised to a $41M opening. The sequel: $35M. When all was said and done, the first Ride made $44M more than its follow-up.

Other comedies have suffered the same fate. 2001’s Zoolander actually only made $45 million in its initial run, but became a major cult hit in subsequent years. It’s long gestating sequel would surely earn more. It didn’t. Just $28M.

2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding became the unexpected smash of that year with $241M stateside. Part 2? $59 million (to be fair, this was on the higher end of many expectations, but still just 25% of what the first Wedding did).

2014’s Neighbors? $150 million. Last month’s Neighbors: Sorority Rising? It should top out at around $60M.

Barbershop: The Next Cut will make $55 million, under the $75M and $65M of its predecessors (though still not bad).

The action crowd has showed their ambivalence. London Has Fallen earned a just OK $62 million compared to Olympus Has Fallen‘s $98M.

2014’s Divergent made $150 million. 2015’s Insurgent: $130 million. This year’s Allegiant: a troubling $66 million.

Then there’s The Huntsman Winter’s War, which may not even reach $50 million. It’s the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, which made $155 million.

Just this weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows took in $35 million in its debut, which is a shell of the $65 million that the first made two summers ago.

Faith based audiences propelled God’s Not Dead to a heavenly $60 million gross in 2014. Part 2? $20 million.

Kung Fu Panda 3 performed decently with $143 million, but couldn’t match part 1’s $215M or part 2’s $165M.

Seeing a trend here, folks?

There have been rare exceptions in 2016 so far. 10 Cloverfield Lane managed $72 million. Even though that’s below the $80M of Cloverfield, it’s still a solid gross and a profitable venture for its studio.

And Captain America: Civil War was widely expected to outdo the respective $176M and $259M earnings of the first two entries. This was due to it basically being The Avengers 3. It did and will top $400M domestically.

Coming this weekend: two more sequels will try to avoid the 2016 trend and both actually have a decent chance of succeeding. The Conjuring 2 is receiving positive reviews and its studio is hoping the goodwill left over from the 2013 original will propel it to similar grosses (I’m predicting it’ll make $42 million for its start, slightly above the first).

Now You See Me 2 is hoping to match the $29 million made by the 2013 original for its beginning. I’m predicting $24M.

If both of these titles come in below expectations, that may truly show that crowds are just plain sick and tired of seeing roman numerals and numbers behind titles. Looking over the remainder of the 2016 calendar, there’s a heap of sequels that could also struggle to match what came before them. They include:

The Purge: Election Year. Bridget Jones’s Baby. Underworld: Blood Wars. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Ouija 2. Bad Santa 2.

Even this month’s Independence Day: Resurgence is an iffy proposition to capitalize on the nostalgia factor from the 1996 original. It appears unlikely to match the $306M earned 20 years ago by the first one.

Next month’s Star Trek Beyond could have trouble matching the $228M made by part 2 in 2013.

Inferno, the third Tom Hanks thriller based on Dan Brown’s novels, is a question mark to match the $133M that Angels & Demons made in 2011 and certainly won’t approach The Da Vinci Code‘s $217M a decade ago.

When it comes to 2016 sequels, it might not all be bad news. Finding Dory (out June 17) shouldn’t have much trouble topping the $70M that Nemo made in 2003 (though whether it reaches its eventual gross of $380M is a mystery).

And July’s Jason Bourne should benefit from having Matt Damon return to the franchise after nine years away. It should manage to outpace the $113M made by Jeremy Renner’s The Bourne Legacy in 2012. However, could it approach the $227M earned by Damon’s last one, 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum? Probably not.

Perhaps these disappointing results for so many sequels will cause studios to give us more original programming, but don’t hold your breath. Next year is already packed with follow-ups and some of them already look like they could be in trouble.

For instance, it’s probably safe to assume Disney is sweating over the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean flick, Dead Men Tell No Tales. Same goes for Lionsgate with their final Divergent pic, Ascendant.

Some of the 2017 sequels that may not have much to worry about: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Fast 8. And, of course, Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Yet given the recent trends, who knows? No one thought Alice or Huntsman or Allegiant would do that poorly and it’s contributed to a bad… and maybe badly needed downturn for sequels in 2016.


16 for ’16: Todd’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

With 2015 by the wayside, it’s time to focus on the upcoming releases for the New Year and that means listing my 16 most eagerly awaited features! Obviously, I’m going by pedigree alone pretty much and not buzz (I’ll note that Fantastic Four made my 2015 cut, if that tells you something).

2016 appears to be jam packed with both sequels and superhero pics. Just to give you an idea, here’s some sequels that didn’t make the cut: Zoolander No. 2, London Has Fallen, Ride Alone 2, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Rings, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Huntsman Winter’s War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Purge 3, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Underworld 5, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Ouija 2, Bad Santa 2, and Inferno (the third Tom Hanks Robert Langdon flick). As for comic book related fare, X-Men: Apocalypse, Doctor Strange, and Gambit didn’t make the list of sweet 16.

Others that closely missed the cut: The Jungle Book remake from director Jon Favreau; The Magnificent Seven remake with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke; and Jodie Foster’s political thriller Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

So what DID make it? Here’s my alphabetical list:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Never mind that the trailer looks like a bit of a mess. And maybe ignore that Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was a major mixed bag. This “sequel” brings Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader in to fight with Henry Cavill’s Supes with Wonder Woman joining the party as well, in addition to Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. The curiosity factor alone allows it to make this list. (March 25)


This fantasy adventure has some seriously impressive pedigree: it’s based on Roald Dahl’s book and the screenplay is written by the late Melissa Mathison, who penned E.T. The director? Steven Spielberg. ‘Nuff said. (July 1)

Captain America: Civil War

The second Captain America pic, 2013’s Winter Soldier, ranks high in pantheon of MCU titles and this third go round is basically a quasi-Avengers experience with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, and our new Spider-Man Tom Holland joining the mix. (May 6)


Our third comic book adaptation sounds in many ways to be the most intriguing (save for one a little further down this list). Deadpool casts Ryan Reynolds (whose superhero movie history include a pretty bad Green Lantern flick) in this hard R rated pic infused with comedy and its trailers inspire hope. This is said to tie in with the X-Men franchise at some future juncture. (February 12)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Based on J.K. Rowling’s novel and from Harry Potter director David Yates comes this return to the world of wizardry that stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. Warner Bros. is anticipating at least a trilogy out of this. (November 18)

The Founder

From the director of The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks comes this biopic of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton. Don’t be surprised to see this one surrounded by Oscar buzz. (November 25)



Bridesmaids and Spy maker Paul Feig reboots the famous 80s franchise with Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, and current SNL castmates Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. (July 15)


Hail, Caesar!

Anything from the Coen Brothers is worthy of my anticipation and this 1950s Hollywood set comedy features George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes. (February 5)

The Nice Guys

A little over a decade ago, screenwriter/director Shane Black started off Robert Downey Jr.’s improbable comeback with the hilarious action comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang before move onto direct Iron Man 3. This 70s set action comedy looks extremely promising and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. (May 20)


Little is known about this sci-fi romance from The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum. Yet it is headlined by mega-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. I’m in. (December 25)


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Force Awakens just became the biggest domestic grosser of all time (in under four weeks) and this December brings the first spin-off, taking place between episodes III and IV. It focuses on a team of rebels tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star and is directed by Gareth Edwards, who made 2014’s effective Godzilla reboot. This should rule the holiday season in 2016. (December 16)



Like the Coens, anything from Martin Scorsese is worthy of inclusion and this historical epic focused on Jesuit priests in Japan stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson. (No Release Date at Press Time)


Star Trek Beyond

J.J. Abrams has exited the franchise as director to concentrate on a different one while Justin Lin (maker of four Fast and Furious entries) takes over. Let’s see if he keeps the momentum Abrams brought fourth speeding along. (July 22)

Suicide Squad

This is my most anticipated comic book adaptation of the many in 2016. Fury director David Ayer gathers a group of super villains together to hopefully do some good. The cast includes Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto as The Joker. The trailer is terrific. (August 5)


Clint Eastwood follows up his cultural phenomenon American Sniper with this biopic of the pilot who famously landed on the Hudson, with Tom Hanks in the title role. Another pic that could be ripe for Oscar bait. (September 9)


Untitled Bourne Film

When Jeremy Renner stepped in for Matt Damon for this celebrated action franchise, audiences reacted with mostly ambivalence. So Damon is back, paired with Paul Greengrass, director of the winning second and third pics in the series. Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander costar. (July 29)


And there you have it! We’ll see you at the movies in 2016 and I hope this helped you a little bit…