Deadpool may never appear in an Avengers film, but he costars with Nick Fury next weekend when TheHitman’sBodyguard opens. The action comedy brings together Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and looks to target the #1 spot over a rival competing for a similar audience. Patrick Hughes directs with Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek in the supporting cast.
It’s been a year and a half since the star power of Mr. Reynolds went way up with the aforementioned Deadpool. Since then, he’s appeared in supporting roles in Criminal and Life (both box office disappointments). Bodyguard, however, is his first headlining role since his winter 2016 blockbuster.
The pic could somewhat benefit from the dog days of August release and scarce competition – with one notable exception. Another action comedy with some big names – Steven Soderbergh’s LoganLucky with Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig – debuts against it and it’s getting solid reviews. Lucky could charm some viewers away, but the net result could be slightly lower numbers for both because they’re directly competing against each other.
I’ll say Bodyguard manages to come out on top with a debut in the mid to high teens, which should be good for the top spot.
TheHitman’sBodyguard opening weekend prediction: $16.7 million
Calvin Coolidge was our 30th President of the United States and he isn’t talked about too often in the general grand scheme of Presidential history. There will probably never be a biopic about President Coolidge, but he does receive the honor of having an alien named after him in Daniel Espinosa’s Life. The term mild-mannered comes up frequently in relation to the President. His extra-terrestrial namesake is nothing of the kind.
Life takes place entirely on the International Space Station (ISS) where a six-member crew is returning from a Mars mission. They’ve made quite the discovery: Matt Damon and they’re bringing him home with his disco music! Actually it’s a soil sample that turns out to be the first evidence of life outside Earth. School children are given the ability to name this historic being and the lucky winners hail from Calvin Coolidge Elementary – hence Calvin.
Jake Gyllenhaal is Dr. Jordan, who’s been stationed the longest and seems to have a slight case of space institutionalization. Ryan Reynolds is engineer Rory, who keeps the Reynolds patented wisecracks to a minimum. Dr. Miranda (Rebecca Ferguson) is the chief quarantine officer. Biologist Hugh (Ariyon Barake) is tasked with bringing Calvin out of his dormant status to life.
That turns out to be a bad idea because Calvin has only survival instincts in mind. The organism shows a mean streak when he wakes up and Life becomes all about the passengers on board clinging to their own.
Audiences have been treated (or in some cases subject to) a host of outer space themed pictures in recent years, from Gravity to Interstellar to The Martian to Passengers to name a few. Some of those titles had a hopeful tone about what lies beyond our planet. Life? Not so much.
The production design and technical elements are top-notch and the acting is just fine, even though no one really has a character to work with. Espinosa’s exercise is mainly an excuse to pay both loving homage and rip-off Alien, the granddaddy of this genre. In that sense, it does provide some genuinely scary moments and plenty of others that are just familiar territory. Life is competent if not memorable, which is also what some historians say about President Coolidge.
It’s been a robust March at the box office and it closes out with the wide release of two new offerings: sci-fi action pic Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson and Dreamworks animated feature The Boss Baby. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each here:
I foresee a close race between the newbies, giving Shell a slight edge. Neither is likely to unseat Disney juggernaut Beauty and the Beast from a third week atop the charts. Power Rangers should drop to fourth in its sophomore frame after a solid opening and I look for it to lose about 50% of its premiere audience. Kong: Skull Island should round out the top five.
Finally, The Zookeeper’s Wife with Jessica Chastain opens on approximately 450 screens at press time. Its reviews have been just so-so (58% currently on Rotten Tomatoes). I didn’t do an individual estimate post for it, but I’ll say $2.1 million, which probably puts it in 11th place.
And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:
1. Beauty and the Beast
Predicted Gross: $48.8 million (representing a drop of 46%)
2. Ghost in the Shell
Predicted Gross: $30.3 million
3. The Boss Baby
Predicted Gross: $28.6 million
4. Power Rangers
Predicted Gross: $20.1 million (representing a drop of 50%)
5. Kong: Skull Island
Predicted Gross: $7.9 million (representing a drop of 46%)
Box Office Results (March 24-26)
Beauty and the Beast continued its amazing run with $90.4 million in weekend #2, besting my $82.5M forecast. The Disney smash achieved the fourth highest second weekend in box office history and brought its total to $319M.
Power Rangers had a sturdy runner-up debut with $40.3 million, powering past my $33.8M projection. That number bodes well for potential sequels in this reboot of a franchise popularized in the 1990s.
Kong: Skull Island was third with $14.6 million compared to my $12.6M prediction. It’s made $133M in three weeks.
Space thriller Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds opened in fourth with a disappointing $12.5 million, below my $19.1M estimate. A host of similarly themed and better reviewed titles in recent years probably didn’t bode well for this in the long run.
Logan was fifth at $10.3 million (I said $9M) for a $201M tally. Its overall gross puts Logan as standing a solid shot at becoming the highest earning X-Men feature thus far. The record currently belongs to 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand at $234M.
Get Out was sixth with $8.8 million ($147M total) and I incorrectly had it outside the top 6.
That’s because CHiPs fell victim to poor reviews and word of mouth, opening in seventh place with just $7.7 million (I said $8.4M).
And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…
**Blogger’s Note (03/23): I am revising my CHiPs estimate down to $8.4 million based on lowered expectations and putrid reviews. That puts it in sixth place.
The moneymaking month of March rolls along at the box office as three new titles hit the marketplace. They are: reboot of 90s cartoon and movie series Power Rangers, Jake Gyllenhaal/Ryan Reynolds led outer space thriller Life, and CHiPs, a comedy based on the 70s/80s TV series. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:
I see Rangers having the most power of the newbies and it should land in second with Life coming in third. As for CHiPs, I see it edging out Kong: Skull Island in its third weekend for the four spot.
One thing seems certain: Beauty and the Beast should continue its monstrous run and dominate the charts once again after its record-setting debut (more on that below). I have Belle and company losing a bit over half its massive premiere audience.
And with that, a top 5 predictions for the weekend:
1. Beauty and the Beast
Predicted Gross: $82.5 million (representing a drop of 52%)
2. Power Rangers
Predicted Gross: $33.8 million
Predicted Gross: $19.1 million
4. Kong: Skull Island
Predicted Gross: $12.6 million (representing a drop of 55%)
Predicted Gross: $9 million (representing a drop of 49%)
Predicted Gross: $8.4 million
Box Office Results (March 17-19)
Beauty and the Beast set the all-time March opening weekend record and the sixth biggest debut of all time with $174.7 million, surpassing my $158.8M prediction. The Disney live-action rendering of their 1991 classic also scored an A Cinemascore grade and looks to dominate the box office easily next weekend before Ghost in the Shell could potentially give it a run for its money in its third frame.
Kong: Skull Island dropped to second with $27.8 million, in range with my $25.6M estimate. The ape tale has amassed $109M in ten days of release.
Logan was third in weekend #3 with $17.8 million. My guess? $17.8M! Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine has garnered $184M thus far.
Get Out was fourth with $13.4 million (I said $14.5M) to bring its terrific tally to $133M.
The Shack rounded out the top five with $6 million (I went with $6.3M) for a $42M total.
Finally, The Belko Experiment landed in seventh place with an OK $4.1 million, slightly ahead of my $3.2M projection.
**Blogger’s Note (03/23): I am revising down my box office estimate to $8.4 million names on putrid reviews and lowered expectations.
A film that has challenged my ability to properly use capital and lower case letters in its title, CHiPs opens in theaters next weekend. The buddy cop comedy is a more humorous take on the 1970s-80s TV series that starred Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada. Taking over their roles as California highway patrolmen are Dax Shepard (who also directs) and Michael Pena. Costars include Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Brody, and Shepard’s real-life spouse Kristen Bell.
Warner Bros. originally had this pegged as a late summer release before bumping it to March. I don’t foresee this approaching, say, Starsky and Hutch numbers from 2004. That was also based on a buddy cop series from the same era, but its headliners Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson had considerably more drawing power at the time than Shepard and Pena.
The good news for the studio: CHiPs comes with a reported budget of just $25 million. I believe this vehicle could achieve over half of that in its opening weekend. That would put it behind other newbies Power Rangers and Life, but it’s not too shabby.
CHiPs opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million (prediction changed from $13.2M)
Movies with outer space/alien themes have been quite the hot commodity as of late with blockbusters such as Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, and Arrival.Next weekend, Daniel Espinosa’s Life will try and join their ranks for what could be an uphill battle.
The pic pits a crew from the International Space Station against an alien creature who may have greater intelligence than they do. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson headline. This marks director Espinosa’s second collaboration with Reynolds after 2012’s Safe House.
Audiences have certainly had plenty of this type of material in recent years and I’m not sure the trailers and TV spots for Life stand out. It certainly appears unlikely to match the opening weekend grosses of the other genre titles listed above. On the other hand, the participation of Reynolds (hot off Deadpool) won’t hurt and a high teens to mid 20s lift off seems most probable. That should put it firmly in third behind the second weekend of Beauty and the Beast and premiere of Power Rangers.
Over the years, Ryan Reynolds has seen his share of hits in multiples genres from rom coms (The Proposal) to action flicks (Safe House). He’s also earned the kudos of critics for appearing in acclaimed indie product such as Woman in Gold, Buried, and Definitely, Maybe.
Reynolds has also had his share of flops, from R.I.P.D. to Self/less to name some recent ones. And while they weren’t necessarily big financial disappointments, he also had the distinction of appearing in two comic book adaptations that aren’t well-regarded: 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern. It was in Wolverine where he costarred with Hugh Jackman as Wade Wilson, better known as raunchy superhero Deadpool. Again, this wasn’t met with much approval from comic book lovers.
For years, Reynolds fought hard to make a version of Deadpool the way he wanted to and finally got his wish in 2016. The result? Well, the aftermath easily earns him a place among performers who had a sterling year. Deadpool opened in February to an astonishing $132 million and an eventual $363 million domestic haul. The pic is easily the actor’s largest grosser ever. It had the largest opening ever for an R rated feature and is second all-time for pictures with that rating (just behind The Passion of the Christ). Additionally, it is 2016’s current #5 earner. And he earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work.
So… yeah, the gamble paid off for Reynolds in a way that was unimaginable just a year ago. Naturally, we will see a sequel in 2018 yet Mr. Reynolds will have a busy 2017 as well. In March, he costars with Jake Gyllenhaal in the outer space thriller Life and in August he headlines action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard with Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman.
For 2016, the massive Deadpool juggernaut gave Reynolds his likely signature role and a different kind of superhero tale that was tremendous fun.