Zombieland: Double Tap Box Office Prediction

The quartet of Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin return after a decade to fight the undead in Zombieland: Double Tap next weekend. The comedic sequel find Ruben Fleischer back directing and Bill Murray back playing himself. Newcomers in part 2 include Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, and Murray’s Ghostbusters costar Dan Aykroyd.

In October 2009, Zombieland helped usher in a resurgence for the living dead. With solid reviews, the pic took in $24.7 million for its start and closed at $75 million. The band is back together after all these years and the original’s reputation has stayed intact in the interim.

In 2019, we have seen numerous examples of sequels falling short of what came before. Double Tap could be immune from that, but I don’t see it outgrossing part 1 by any substantial margin. My hunch is that this comes in barely under the debut posted in 2009 as enough moviegoers will want to catch up with this gang.

Zombieland: Double Tap opening weekend prediction: $23.7 million

For my Maleficent: Mistress of Evil prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/10/08/maleficent-mistress-of-evil-box-office-prediction/

Justice League Movie Review

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a bit of a mess and it earned its reputation as such in many ways. However, I found myself seemingly in the minority of those who sort of dug it. Where it failed – it failed significantly. That includes the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor with his manic and bizarre take on the iconic villain. There were some narrative choices that were questionable. Yet when BvS worked, I felt it worked well and that included Ben Affleck succeeding as Batman.

Justice League is less cluttered. Zack Snyder, directing this DC Universe for the third time, captains a tighter ship with a shorter running time than what’s preceded it… and nearly all recent comic book adaptations for that matter. It is, of course, Warner Bros venture into Avengers territory. There’s a somewhat lighter tone that we first saw in the summer’s Wonder Woman stand-alone feature. The inclusion of The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) contribute to that. So does the fact that the unusually somber Superman (Henry Cavill) who brooded through much of Man of Steel and BvS is absent much of the time.

As you’ll recall, Superman was dead and buried at the BvS conclusion. Justice League opens with the world missing him and crime on the rise. Batman is doing his level best, but he needs a squad. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is still dealing with the loss she experienced in her own movie, but she’s game to help. They recruit the newbies only glimpsed upon in BvS: The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). It is their mission to thwart the Earth dominating plans of Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds), a motion capture evil alien. The League incorporates their powers to do so, but they know they must resurrect the Big S to complete the task.

The Avengers had the advantage of having introduced several of its core characters in separate entries. That doesn’t hold true here for half of the Justice League. Miller provides some decent comic relief, Momoa has a memorable moment or two and Fisher’s backstory is a bit blah. Their inclusion feels a little rushed and a little watered down.

Curiously the villain issue of BvS, while highly disappointing, was at least fascinating to witness in a rather bad way. Here the character of Steppenwolf isn’t really interesting at all. Many of these comic book adaptations have suffered the most from bland baddies and this is another.

League finds time to bring back Alfred (Jeremy Irons), Lois Lane (Amy Adams), and Clark’s mama (Diane Lane) in limited fashion. J.K. Simmons turns up briefly as the previously MIA Commissioner Gordon. It is Gadot who shines brightest, which is no surprise considering her rock solid solo spotlight just months prior.

In essence, Justice League feels ordinary too often. It’s got the same flaws as others in the genre. It has the same bright spots with certain performances. There’s action sequences that impress and others with dodgier CG. Call me crazy, but I admired BvS often for its occasional audacity and untidiness. With Justice, it joins a league of plenty others like it.

**1/2 (out of four)

Now You See Me 2 Box Office Prediction

Three summers ago, the magic caper Now You See Me came out of nowhere with a $29 million opening and eventual $117M domestic gross. This was probably never looked at by Summit Entertainment as a potential franchise, but those numbers mean sequel and Now You See Me 2 is out next weekend. Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Alfred (Michael Caine), and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) are all back, as are Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco. Lizzy Caplan and Harry Potter himself (Daniel Radcliffe) join the party. Jon M. Chu, whose varied credits include Justin Bieber: Never Say Never and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, takes over directorial duties from Louis Leterrier.

Unlike 2013, NYSM2 comes with expectations and also with stiff competition. Another sequel to a summer 2013 hit, The Conjuring 2, should have the leg up for opening weekend earnings and there’s also the high-profile Warcraft competing for eyeballs.

While I have the Conjuring follow-up slightly outdoing its predecessor out of the gate, I’ll predict this sequel comes in a bit under what the original accomplished for what will still be a pretty decent debut.

Now You See Me 2 opening weekend prediction: $24.1 million

For my The Conjuring 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/06/01/the-conjuring-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Warcraft prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/06/01/warcraft-box-office-prediction/

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Movie Review

Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is indeed Warner Bros answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a realization that more is more when it comes to bringing their stable of DC’s most famous superheroes to the same screen. Where Disney’s Avengers are often considerably lighter in tone, these caped crusaders bring the bleakness to their proceedings. The template set forth by Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and Snyder’s Man of Steel is present here with the additional responsibility to begin the forthcoming Justice League series. At two and a half hours, BvS does feel overstuffed from time to time. There are elements that just don’t work, but I came away believing its merits outweighed its flaws. More is more, from the Nigel Tufnel approved decibel level of its score and sound effects to a variety of subplots fighting against one another for a cohesive whole. It shouldn’t work as well as it does and that’s a compliment to the director and the actors (most of them at least).

The film picks up 18 months after Man of Steel, when Henry Cavill’s Supes defeated General Zod (Michael Shannon), who appears in a lifeless performance and I don’t mean that negatively. That throwdown with Zod and the casualties that resulted has caused some in the public and some in the government to question Superman’s role in society. This includes a Kentucky senator (Holly Hunter) who’s opened hearings into it. She is not, however, his most important detractor. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) is. Gotham City’s morose bachelor doesn’t believe Kal-El stands for Truth or Justice or the American Way. It leads to a royal rumble between them that marks the inaugural time we’ve seen these giants in tights together.

Due to the aforementioned Justice League features coming soon to a megaplex near you, we also are introduced to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and briefly to some others. Gadot shines enough in her limited role to make us curious for her stand alone pic. Then there’s Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who serves as our main antagonist. Eisenberg, who’s shined himself in certain roles, doesn’t here. His overacting and strange mannerisms (along with some doozies of dialogue) make him the weakest link here. Other supporting players from Man of Steel are back, including Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Clark’s beloved mama. Amy Adams’ Lois Lane is back as well and she’s grown better into her part the second time around. Jeremy Irons debuts as Batman butler Alfred. He doesn’t get much screen time and certainly won’t make you forget Michael Caine.

Henry Cavill continues his serviceable service as Superman. The best surprise is Affleck, who entered the unenviable position of following Christian Bale. He does a fine job as the beleaguered Wayne wrestling with his own demons (his parents murder is shown… again) and his distrust of the God like hero from Metropolis. I’m happy to report Affleck looks good in the Bat Suit and the screenplay even explains that lower register voice when he dons it.

BvS has a LOT of ground to cover between its action set pieces. The danger for this to feel fragmented and unfocused occasionally manifests itself, but it feels more united than it really has any right to. The main villain is a disappointment. Some of the special effects look suspect. Most look fantastic. Here we have a grim comic book tale that generally accomplishes its mission of being fairly decent dark entertainment. It also appears primed to achieve its studio’s mission statement: the birth of a franchise and keeping these icons flying on.

*** (out of four)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Box Office Prediction

Technically it may be a follow up to 2013’s Man of Steel, but next weekend’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is considerably more than that. This is Warner Bros kick off to a slew of Justice League and stand alone comic book adaptations that unloads the top characters in the DC Universe arsenal. It is the first pairing of the two most iconic superheroes on Earth, with Henry Cavill reprising his role as Supes and Ben Affleck becoming the fifth high profile actor over the last quarter century plus to don the Bat Suit (excluding Will Arnett’s voice over work in The LEGO Movie). Zack Snyder, who made Steel, returns to direct with that predecessor’s performers Amy Adams, Diane Lane, and Laurence Fishburne back. Jesse Eisenberg makes his debut as Lex Luthor (with hair!), Jeremy Irons is butler Alfred, and Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, soon to be in her own pic. Same goes for Jason Momoa as Aquaman, in addition to other cameos.

To say a lot is riding on Justice is quite an understatement. Its reported budget is at least $250 million and it’s had a vigorous marketing campaign that has lasted for months. The success of its future franchise entries are likely to be directly tied to its performance. Early speculation on its opening weekend possibilities are varied. While trailer reaction to February’s Deadpool and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War has been quite strong, there’s been a decidedly more mixed reception here. Some feel this might not reached the $132 million reached by Deadpool, which would be considered pretty disappointing. On the other hand, pre-release tracking is strong and outpacing both the Ryan Reynolds dirty superhero tale and Furious 7, which made $147 million out of the gate. This should, at the least, achieve becoming the highest Superman opening, topping Steel’s $116 million. It has a quite realistic shot at best March premiere if it manages to fly past the $152 million achieved by 2012’s The Hunger Games.

So where do I come out here? This is a tough call. I don’t see this making less than $125 million. I’m also skeptical that a gross matching or opening higher than, say, last year’s Avengers sequel at $191 million is a stretch (though you never know). My feeling is that this might open in range with the last two Dark Knight entries, which opened to $158 and $160 million, respectively. If it tops that, that would give it the distinction of largest start for a Bat flick. I’ll predict it comes just beyond those numbers.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opening weekend prediction: $166.4 million

For my My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 prediction, click here:

Oscar History: 2010

In my ongoing series of Oscar History posts, we arrive at what happened during the year 2010. This was quite a strong year for movies and, unlike other years, I can’t really quibble with the ten pictures that were nominated.

I can, however, differ with what won: Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech. While this was a very solid and entertaining picture, I would have definitely put at least three of the other nominees above it: Black Swan, Inception, and my favorite of the year, The Social Network. Other nominees were 127 Hours, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. 

Picture/Director matched up as Tom Hooper’s work in King’s Speech would win over Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), and David O. Russell (The Fighter). I may have found a spot for Christopher Nolan’s visually striking work in Inception. 

The love for The King’s Speech continued in Best Actor as Colin Firth was honored for his portrayal as King George VI. He triumphed over Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), and James Franco (127 Hours). It’s worth noting that Franco co-hosted the Oscars that year with Anne Hathaway. It wasn’t too memorable.

While his supporting players were showered with love, Mark Wahlberg was snubbed for his anchoring performance in The Fighter. Others worthy of mention: Leonardo DiCaprio in either Inception or Shutter Island and Robert Duvall for Get Low.

Natalie Portman was a bit of a no-brainer pick for her tour de force work in Black Swan in the Actress race, beating out Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).

I was a little surprised to see Bening’s Kids lead costar Julianne Moore left out. Franco’s co-host Anne Hathaway would’ve been a solid choice for her fine work in Love and Other Drugs. The Oscar voters rarely honor comedy, but they could have here with Emma Stone in her hit Easy A, as well.

Supporting Actor honored Christian Bale as Mark Wahlberg’s drug addicted brother in The Fighter. The other nominees were John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech).

I might have found room for either Andrew Garfield or Justin Timberlake in The Social Network. And keeping the snubbed comedy theme going, here’s an outside the box mention: Rob Corddry for his hilarious work in Hot Tub Time Machine.

The Fighter also won in Supporting Actress with Melissa Leo, who edged out her co-star Amy Adams. The other nominees: Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech, Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit, and Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom. The voters could have certainly nominated either Mila Kunis or Barbara Hershey for their roles in Black Swan.

And that’s your Oscar History of 2010, my friends. We’ll get to 2011 soon…

American Ultra Box Office Prediction

A lot has happened in the film careers of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart since they starred in 2009’s Adventureland. Eisenberg earned an Oscar nod for The Social Network, starred in 2013’s summer sleeper hit Now You See Me, and got himself cast as Lex Luthor in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Stewart furthered her star status with more Twilight pics and Snow White and the Huntsman. Now the pair reunite for American Ultra, an action comedy out next Friday. I am highly skeptical this movie will be among their big earners.

Ultra has a supporting cast that includes Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman, and Tony Hale. The pic seems to be flying a bit under the radar. Solid reviews could assist yet I wonder whether this manages to even post double digits in its opening. Ultra should have no trouble topping the $5.7 million debut of Adventureland (at least I think), but I will project it falls just under $10 million and likely fades fast.

American Ultra opening weekend prediction: $9.8 million

For my Sinister 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/sinister-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Hitman: Agent 47 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/hitman-agent-47-box-office-prediction/

The Superhero Movie Onslaught

From the release of Guardians of the Galaxy in August until the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron in May 2015, there will be nine months that pass between superhero/comic book based pictures. Starting next year and especially in 2016 and beyond, that’s going to change.

It’s almost hard to believe, but there are currently 30 – yes, 30 – superhero pics scheduled to debut between 2015 and 2020. Some – though likely not many at all – could fall to the wayside. And certainly more could be added to the calendar over the next six years.

Today, Marvel Studios announced “Phase 3” of their slate of films scheduled to be released until 2019 – culminating with the third and fourth Avengers pictures. Besides the Disney/Marvel releases, Warner Bros. and Fox have their own ambitious slates.

The 21st century has been absolutely dominated by the comic book adaptation in movie world. It started in 2000 with X-Men and has continued with the Dark Knight franchise, The Avengers, Guardians, two Superman reboots, two Spider-Man franchises, and various stand-alone features and their sequels and reboots focused on Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Daredevil, Hellboy, and others. And it’s only accelerating.

This is going to be tough to keep all these Iron Men, Guardians, Caped Crusaders, and newbies like Ant-Man, Wonder Woman, and Doctor Strange straight, so this movie blogger is providing you a handy guide for all of them coming out over the next few years – in order of currently scheduled release.

Here we go:

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Release Date: May 1, 2015

Joss Whedon returns to direct as Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow all return in the sequel to the #3 highest grossing film of all time. This will almost surely set a new record for all-time opening weekend, therefore defeating its predecessor.

Ant-Man

Release Date: July 17, 2015

Paul Rudd takes on the role of the title character with Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly costarring. Expect Ant-Man to find his way into later Disney/Marvel projects, possibly including later Avengers sequels.

The Fantastic Four

Released Date: August 7, 2015

After two successful but critically panned Fantastic Four pics earlier this century, director Josh Trank (Chronicle) takes over the reins of a budding new franchise for 20th Century Fox. The cast includes Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as the Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, and Jamie Bell as The Thing.

Deadpool

Release Date: February 12, 2016

A spinoff of the X-Men series, Ryan Reynolds is likely to play the character (he played him in the poorly received original 2009 Wolverine stand-alone flick).

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Released Date: March 25, 2016

Man of Steel director Zack Snyder returns with Henry Cavill’s Superman battling Ben Affleck’s Batman. Gal Gadot will make her debut as Wonder Woman before a later stand-alone pic and Jesse Eisenberg joins the mix as Lex Luthor.

Captain America: Civil War

Release Date: May 6, 2016

The third America flick will feature a prominent role for Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man with The Winter Soldier‘s Anthony and Joe Russo returning to direct.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Release Date: May 27, 2016

Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer is back (he also directed the first two installments of the original trilogy) as is the cast from 2011’s First Class, including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Suicide Squad

Release Date: August 5, 2016

This team of DC villains will be incorporated in the Warner Bros. movie universe that will eventually lead to the Justice League pics. Jesse Eisenberg is rumored to appear in this as well in his Lex Luthor role. David Ayer, director of Fury, is behind the camera.

Doctor Strange

Release Date: November 4, 2016

Sinister director Scott Derickson helms the adaptation of the Marvel comic with Benedict Cumberbatch just having signed to play the title character after negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix stalled.

Sinister Six

Release Date: November 11, 2016

A spin-off of the current Spider-Man franchise, this will focus on supervillains in the Spidey universe, reportedly including Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Rhino. Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard is on board.

Venom

Release Date: 2017

A stand-alone pic for the Spidey villain, it’s uncertain at this point whether Sony Pictures ends up going forward with this one.

Untitled Wolverine Picture

Release Date: March 3, 2017

The third stand-alone Wolverine flick will have Hugh Jackman clawing his way on screen and James Mangold, who directed 2013’s The Wolverine, returning.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Star Lord and company are back with James Gunn back in the director’s chair. The original from this summer grossed an astonishing $752 million worldwide (at press time).

Wonder Woman

Release Date: June 23, 2017

It’s about time a woman headlined one of these things! Gal Gadot will star after appearing as the title character in Batman v. Superman. No director attached at press time.

The Fantastic Four 2

Release Date: July 14, 2017

Fox is confident as they’ve scheduled this to follow-up summer 2015’s release.

Thor: Ragnorak

Release Date: July 28, 2017

The third entry in the franchise, Chris Hemsworth will reprise his role in between Avengers filming duties. No director attached yet.

Black Panther

Release Date: November 3, 2017

Disney/Marvel gives their first headlining feature to an African-American superhero. 42 and Get On Up star Chadwick Boseman was cast as the Panther today. The character will reportedly first appear in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Justice League Part One

Release Date: November 17, 2017

Essentially Warner Bros. version of Avengers, expect to see Cavill’s Superman, Affleck’s Batman, Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and likely Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in the mix. Zack Snyder will direct.

The Amazing Spider-Man 3

Release Date: 2018

No specific release date yet, other than sometime in 2018 and you have to wonder. Each Spidey flick has grossed less than its predecessor and this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a commercial and critical letdown. It’s not known for sure yet, but Andrew Garfield is likely to return as the title character.

The Flash

Release Date: March 23, 2018

After a probable debut in Justice League, The Flash gets his own stand-alone pic with Ezra Miller in the title role.

Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1

Release Date: May 4, 2018

This is where the Marvel universe is likely to go bananas – with rumors of your typical Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk) possibly mixing it up with Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, among others. This is gonna be huge.

Captain Marvel

Release Date: July 6, 2018

Details are scarce, but this will be Disney/Marvel Studios first stand-alone featuring a title character who is a female. Expect an A list actress to join at some point.

Untitled Fox Marvel Movie

Release Date: July 13, 2018

Once again – details are very scarce. However, there are rumors that this could be Fox’s “Avengers” type pic, incorporating the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Deadpool.

Aquaman

Release Date: July 27, 2018

After an expected debut in Justice League, “Games of Thrones” star Jason Momoa will portray the title character.

Inhumans

Release Date: November 2, 2018

Marvel/Disney will attempt and almost assuredly succeed with this development of a new Guardians/Avengers type franchise. Director/actor announcements will come later.

Shazam

Release Date: April 5, 2019

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will play the title character in this DC Comic adaptation.

Avengers: Infinity Wars, Part 2

Release Date: May 3, 2019

The continuation of the previous summer’s Marvel blowout – don’t be surprised if this marks the final appearances of Downey Jr’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’s Captain America, and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. This will be the end of Phase 3 for Disney/Marvel and we’ll have to wait and see what Phase 4 brings.

Justice League, Part 2

Release Date: June 13, 2019

The Batman/Superman/Green Lantern/Flash/Wonder Woman/Aquaman saga rolls on…

Cyborg

Release Date: April 3, 2020

Originating from DC, Warner Bros. will adapt this character with Ray Fisher in the title role. It’s rumored he’ll begin his appearances beginning with 2016’s Batman v. Superman and later Justice League flicks.

Green Lantern

Release Date: June 19, 2020

There was a badly received version starring Ryan Reynolds in 2011. Expect Warner Bros. to ignore that flick while reintroducing the character in Justice League prior to this stand-alone.

And there you have it – that’s a whole lotta superhero action scheduled to come your way over the rest of this decade.

Rio 2 Box Office Prediction

20th Century Fox is putting out the animated sequel Rio 2 next Friday which will attempt to unseat the Captain America sequel for the #1 spot after its mammoth record setting premiere. This is the follow-up to the 2011 hit which took in a solid $143 million domestically after its $39 million opening.

Featuring the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, will.i.am, and Jamie Foxx, among others, the big question is whether or not Rio 2 opens bigger than its predecessor. I’m uncertain. While Rio did respectable business, it didn’t exactly approach the levels of what Pixar or the Despicable Me series has been accomplishing.

Having said that, I’ll predict this sequel opens just slightly north of the original. My prediction will likely put at the #2 spot in a close fight with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Rio 2 opening weekend prediction: $41.7 million

For my Draft Day prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/04/06/draft-day-box-office-prediction/

For my Oculus prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/04/06/oculus-box-office-prediction/