Blogge’s Update (02/16): It has been announced that Magic Mike’s Last Dance is significantly increasing its screen count from 1500 venues to over 3000 in weekend #2. Therefore I’m upping my estimate from $4 million to $5.5 million along with giving slight bumps to Avatar and Puss in Boots. Ant-Man remains unchanged.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe begins Phase Five as their 31st picture Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania looks to easily have the biggest debut since Avatar: The Way of Water. We also have low-budget British slasher Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey straying far from its Disney version out on Wednesday. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the duo here:
Keep in mind that this is a holiday weekend so my projections are for Friday to Monday. Ant-Man and the Wasp from 2018 built upon the premiere of the 2015 original – $75 million vs. $57 million. Quantumania should continue that trend with a four-day haul of over $100 million.
The rest of the top five should be holdovers and I have Magic Mike’s Last Dance sliding the furthest from 1st to 5th after a shaky start (more on that below). That said, Winnie is a potential spoiler. Reportedly shot for under $100k, it could capture the attention of horror fans and exceed my estimate of $3.5 million from Friday to Monday and $4.7 million when factoring in Wednesday and Thursday. I currently have it just outside the high five. Keep an eye on this post. That could change by lock time on Thursday.
Here’s how I envision the top 5 playing out:
1. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Predicted Gross: $109.1 million
2. Avatar: The Way of Water
Predicted Gross: $6.1 million
3. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Predicted Gross: $5.8 million
4. Magic Mike’s Last Dance
Predicted Gross: $5.5 million
5. 80 for Brady
Predicted Gross: $4.2 million
Box Office Results (February 10-12)
Moviegoers mostly stayed home this weekend and not just on Sunday for the Super Bowl and/or Rihanna concert. Everything came in a tad shy (or more than a tad in a couple of cases) of my predictions.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance was a muted #1 with $8.3 million. Warner Bros didn’t seem to have much faith in it as its release was on a scant 1500 screens. So while the per theater average surpassed predecessor Magic Mike XXL (2015), it fell far short in terms of actual gross. I said it would $10.7 million.
Avatar: The Way of Water rose a spot to second with $7.2 million, in line with my $7.5 million take as it hit $647 million. Per above, it should stay put in second this weekend.
The 25th anniversary re-release of Titanic couldn’t match my expectations. James Cameron’s first picture to become the highest grosser of all time added $6.7 million to its coffers. I thought it would be #1 and guesstimated $11.6 million. Don’t feel sorry for Leo and Kate. After a quarter century, it is now at a devilish $666 million stateside.
80 for Brady, with sturdy competition for the female demo with Magic Mike and Titanic, suffered in its sophomore outing with $5.8 million. I projected $8.1 million. The 54% plummet is a little troubling and it is now at $24 million after ten days.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish rounded out the top five with $5.5 million (I said $5.6 million) for $158 million overall.
Finally, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin was burned in weekend #2, falling from 1st to 6th. It plummeted 62% with $5.4 million (under my $5.9 million forecast) for a mere $23 million thus far.
Channing Tatum sashays back into multiplexes in his star making role with threequel Magic Mike’s Last Dance while Titanic re-releases on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:
In what could be considered an upset, I have Titanic edging Mike for the top spot. Here’s why. There are reports that the latter is only releasing on approximately 1500 screens. If that holds true, it would significantly impact its earning power. When I assumed Mr. Tatum would arrive in the typical 3000 venues, I had it making just under $18 million. I now have it notably under that projection.
That may clear the way for the Titanic re-release to be #1 (giving James Cameron the first place picture in eight out of the past nine weekends). Valentine’s Day audiences and the nostalgia factor could get it there.
As for holdovers, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin definitely came in at the lower end of its anticipated range (more on that below). I believe it could plummet from first to fifth with 80 for Brady and Avatar: The Way of Water each slipping only one spot. Cabin might even fall outside of the high five depending on the eighth frame dip for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
Here’s how I see the top 6 playing out:
1. Titanic 25th Anniversary
Predicted Gross: $11.6 million
2. Magic Mike’s Last Dance
Predicted Gross: $10.7 million
3. 80 for Brady
Predicted Gross: $8.1 million
4. Avatar: The Way of Water
Predicted Gross: $7.5 million
5. Knock at the Cabin
Predicted Gross: $5.9 million
6. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million
Box Office Results (February 3-5)
As mentioned, Knock at the Cabin had a fairly soft entry on the charts with $14.1 million. While it managed to knock Avatar from its seven-week reign on the throne, it fell far under my $23.6 million forecast. The glass half full? It cost a meager $20 million to make. The glass half empty? With a C Cinemascore grade, I foresee a sophomore plummet close to 60%. In the summer of 2021, Shyamalan’s predecessor Old managed to top Cabin with just under $17 million. Simply put, this should’ve done more considering it had less competition and better reviews.
80 for Brady had a respectable start in second with $12.7 million. Released a day after Tom Brady announced his retirement (again), the legend packed octogenarian comedy couldn’t match my $15.5 million take. It will hope for smallish declines in the weekends ahead.
Avatar: The Way of Water was third with $11.3 million, in line with my $11.8 million prediction. After its eighth outing, the gargantuan tally grew to $636 million.
Fourth place belonged to Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with $7.8 million (I said $8.9 million) for an impressive $151 million after seven weeks.
I incorrectly had the concert pic BTS: Yet to Come in Cinemas outside of the top five with no projection. It was fifth with $5.1 million.
A Man Called Otto was sixth with $4.3 million compared to my $4.8 million. The gross is a solid $53 million.
Finally, while I’m in predictin’ mode – Eagles 38, Chiefs 24. That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…
Sunshine causes lingering pain and brief moments of delight in M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin, a dark and grim adaptation of Paul G. Tremblay’s 2018 novel. The filmmaker’s weakest tendencies are present but don’t arise as often in the mostly one space setting. Clunky dialogue and bizarre character choices associated with Shyamalan are kept to a minimum. There’s no rapper bafflingly named Mid-Sized Sedan like in his predecessor Old. The apocalyptic theme is hardly new though it generates a respectable amount of tension.
It also gets to the point in scene one. Leonard (Dave Bautista) may look like a bouncer, but he teaches second grade. We learn this as he introduces himself to seven-year-old Wen (Kristen Cui) while she’s catching grasshoppers outside a vacation property in remote Pennsylvania. Wen is the adopted daughter of her two Dads Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge). Leonard insists on forcefully entering the cabin with three associates all sporting old school weapons. They’re not your typical home invaders: nurse Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and cook Adriane (Abby Quinn) have kind demeanors like Leonard. Only ill-tempered Redmond (Rupert Grint, all grown up from Harry Potter Weasley fame) seems comfortable breaking and entering.
Dad and Dad don’t welcome their presence and they’re tied up. Eric becomes concussed in the process (hence the sunlight hurting him). The quartet explains that the trio face a gut wrenching choice. They must sacrifice a family member in a short period of time. If they don’t, the world’s population will end in a series of catastrophes. Eric, Andrew, and Wen will survive and everyone else will perish. The hostages are understandably skeptical. Their detainers (who claim they’ve all experienced similar visions of devastation) aren’t afraid to display how serious they are. This includes news footage that shows they might be onto something.
The bulk of Cabin is reserved for us deciding whether Leonard and company are telling the truth. We do get flashbacks of Eric and Andrew’s relationship before and after they bring Wen into their lives. They feel somewhat superfluous yet they are fleeting interludes in the appreciatively brisk 100 minutes. Bautista is playing against type. You would think of him as a teacher in a silly comedy where he displays his bulk. This is far from that and his work is restrained in a positive way. All the performance are adequate. Shyamalan’s track record is spotty with child performances. He is responsible for guiding some great ones (think Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense or Spencer Treat Clark in Unbreakable). Cui’s is on the plus side.
I was a captive audience member for much of the stay. As it continued, I found this surprisingly anticlimactic (especially for something about the Earth maybe ending). Shyamalan has resurrected his career by self-financing his pictures and turning a tidy profit. While that’s admirable, he seems limited by the budget considering all that’s occurring outside the cabin. Like a mid-sized sedan, it’s dependable for awhile until it isn’t.
Nearly a quarter century ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s phenom The Sixth Sense scared up six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Director. It didn’t win any, but it established the filmmaker as a force at the box office. His fortunes have certainly ebbed and flowed in the 21st century with financial hits and misses. As far as awards attention, only 2004’s The Village achieved another Academy nod for its score.
Shyamalan’s latest is the apocalyptic thriller Knock at the Cabin with Dave Bautista headlining the cast. Based on Paul G. Tremblay’s 2018 novel, Knock‘s embargo is up today ahead of its Friday release. The results are pretty encouraging with a 71% Rotten Tomatoes score. At the low point in his filmography, he had a string of flopsand critical bombs (Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth) that racked up plenty of Golden Raspberry mentions.
Cabin is ahead of Shyamalan’s two predecessors Glass and Old as far as the RT meter. It isn’t as high (77%) as comeback vehicle Split from 2017. While Bautista is being complimented for his performance, I don’t see this being welcomed in any of the Academy races a year from now. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
**Blogger’s Update (02/01): I am adding a title to the top 5 that I previously didn’t have on Monday when I did my initial projections. The Chosen: Season 3 Finale is playing on over 2000 screens. As you may recall, the season premiere grossed nearly $9 million in December out of the gate. I’ll say the finale generates a little more than that and could challenge Avatar for the 3 spot. Changes are reflected below.
The seven-week reign of Avatar: The Way of Water at #1 should end in its 8th outing as February dawns at the box office. M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Knock at the Cabin and the octogenarian comedy 80 for Brady debut and look to place 1-2. My detailed prediction posts on them can be found here:
Beginning with 2017’s Split, Shyamalan experienced a career resurgence that could carry Cabin (generating solid word-of-mouth) to a low to mid 20s start. Getting close to $30 million is not out of the question. That number should be enough to top the charts.
80 for Brady looks to appeal to a female audience and older viewers. A Man Called Otto recently showed the demographic is ready for a return at multiplexes. With a robust marketing campaign and the involvement of Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, and Rita Moreno, I could absolutely see it over performing. My current mid teens forecast is worth keeping an eye on before Thursday (meaning it could rise).
As mentioned, Avatar: The Way of Water (while remaining above $10M) should finally relinquish its stranglehold in first.Fellow holdovers Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and A Man Called Otto should round out the top five and here’s how I see it looking:
1. Knock at the Cabin
Predicted Gross: $23.6 million
2. 80 for Brady
Predicted Gross: $15.5 million
3. Avatar: The Way of Water
Predicted Gross: $11.8 million
4. The Chosen: Season 3 Finale
Predicted Gross: $11 million
5. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Predicted Gross: $8.9 million
6. A Man Called Otto
Predicted Gross: $4.8 million
Box Office Results(January 27-29)
Avatar: The Way of Water cruised to a seventh frame atop the charts with $15.9 million (ahead of my $14.3 million take). The domestic haul is $620 million, but the story of the weekend is that it surpassed Star Wars: The Force Awakens to become the fourth largest worldwide grosser in history. That means James Cameron now has three of the top four (with Avatar and Titanic also in the mix).
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was runner-up with $10.4 million, surpassing my $9.2 million prediction. In six weeks, the animated sequel has amassed $140 million.
The surprise of the weekend was Pathaan, a Hindu language action spectacle that I incorrectly had outside the top five. It was third with $6.8 million and $9.4 million since its Wednesday bow. The PTA of nearly $10k was easily the highest on the charts.
A Man Called Otto was fourth with $6.6 million (in line with my $6 million projection) for $45 million overall.
M3GAN rounded out the top five with $6.2 million (I said $5.8 million) as the campy horror tale is approaching nine figures at $82 million.
Finally, Missing was sixth in its sophomore weekend with $5.6 million, a tad above my $5.1 million call. The ten-day total is $17 million (doubling its reported $7 million budget).
Universal Pictures is counting on audiences to take a Knock at the Cabin when it debuts February 3rd. The latest film from M. Night Shyamalan, it’s based on the 2018 novel by Paul G. Tremblay. A thriller blending horror elements, Dave Bautista is a believer in the imminent apocalypse holding a family hostage. Costars include Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, and Rupert Grint.
This looks to be the picture to knock Avatar: The Way of Water off its lengthy perch at #1 and should do so with room to spare. Shyamalan, after a career resurgence that kicked into high gear with Split, is one of the few filmmakers whose name can sell tickets (especially in this genre). This is his first R rated title since 2008’s The Happening. His predecessor Old (2021) opened in the summer of 2021 with just under $17 million.
Cabin, with less competition than Old had, should exceed that starting gross. A take of over $20 million is doable.
Knock at the Cabin opening weekend prediction: $23.6 million
In the turbulent months that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11, domestic audiences needed some escapism at the box office. In the Christmas season of 2001, they found it with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
By summer 2002, moviegoers turned out in record-setting droves for the first big screen treatment of an iconic superhero.
20 years later, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed as Spidey continues to dominate the charts. It all started with a memorable upside down kiss. Before we go there, there’s plenty more to discuss for the cinematic summer of two decades past.
As I do every season on the blog, I’m recounting the top 10 hits, other notable features, and flops from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. If you missed my post covering 1992, it’s right here:
When Adam Sandler remade Frank Capra, the result was another blockbuster for the star and a needed one after his previous pic Little Nicky was a rare commercial flop.
9. Minority Report
Domestic Gross: $132 million
The first and still only collaboration between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg is a prescient sci-fi tale and its reputation has grown since its release. It’s my personal favorite film of 2002.
Domestic Gross: 142 million
Riding high off the success of the previous summer’s The Fast and the Furious, Rob Cohen and Vin Diesel reunited for this over the top action flick. A sequel would follow three years later without Diesel’s involvement (Ice Cube starred instead), but Vin would return to the role in 2017.
7. Lilo & Stitch
Domestic Gross: $145 million
This Disney animated effort performed just fine (if not in the stratosphere of some 90s gems) and spawned numerous direct-to-video follow-ups. A live-action version is being planned.
Domestic Gross: $153 million
Critics might have thought it was a dog, but crowds lapped up this live-action/animated hybrid based on the very 1970s cartoon. Scoob and the gang would return two years later for part 2. Fun fact: James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame wrote the script.
5. Men in Black II
Domestic Gross: $190 million
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones teamed up again for the sci-fi comedic spectacle from Barry Sonnenfeld. This fell short of the original’s $250 million domestic haul and the reviewers weren’t impressed, but that didn’t prevent a third offering that will be discussed in my summer of 2012 post.
4. Austin Powers in Goldmember
Domestic Gross: $213 million
Mike Myers continued to flex his box office mojo alongside Beyonce, Michael Caine, and Mini-Me in this threequel that I believe surpassed the quality of predecessor The Spy Who Shagged Me.
Domestic Gross: $227 million
After the more mixed reaction that Unbreakable garnered, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs with Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix was more of a return to crowd favorite status. What followed was several pics from him that drew considerably more ambivalent to negative vibes.
2. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Domestic Gross: $302 million
$302 million is just dandy for nearly any movie, but this second prequel from George Lucas fell well short of the $431 million achieved by The Phantom Menace three summers prior. Many consider this the worst of the nine officials episodes. I’m one of them.
Domestic Gross: $403 million
When Sam Raimi’s spin on the webslinger kicked off the summer, it did so with the largest opening weekend of all time at $114 million (breaking a record that had just been set by the first Potter). Two sequels followed for the Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst trilogy and, as we all know, the character has never left us. Spider-Man: No Way Home recently brought all 3 Spideys (Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland) into its MCU Multiverse.
Now let’s move to some other notable titles from the season:
The Bourne Identity
Domestic Gross: $121 million
While outside the top ten, Paul Greengrass’s action thriller with Matt Damon as an amnesiac spy is more influential than the bulk of the flicks above it. Damon would return to the role three times.
The Sum of All Fears
Domestic Gross: $118 million
Right behind Damon is his buddy Ben Affleck who took over the role of Jack Ryan (previously played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) in the Tom Clancy adapted hit.
Road to Perdition
Domestic Gross: $104 million
His follow-up to Best Picture winner American Beauty, the Depression era crime drama from Sam Mendes cast Tom Hanks against type as a hitman with Paul Newman as his underworld boss. This only nabbed a Cinematography Oscar, but reviews were mostly strong. It also provides a juicy role for pre-007 Daniel Craig.
Domestic Gross: $67 million
Hanks wasn’t the only legend stretching in a villainous turn. Robin Williams memorably did the same as he was pitted against Al Pacino’s detective in this chilly thriller from Christopher Nolan (three years before Batman Begins).
Domestic Gross: $52 million
Adrian Lyne made a movie about another fatal attraction and Unfaithful earned Diane Lane an Oscar nomination as the cheating wife of Richard Gere.
And now for some movies that didn’t perform so well…
Reign of Fire
Domestic Gross: $43 million
This dragon centered fantasy arrived before Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale would be Oscar winners a few years later. Critics weren’t kind and the box office failed to generate much fire.
Domestic Gross: $40 million
John Woo’s financial win streak blew over with this World War II action drama headlined by Nicolas Cage that only managed 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.
K-19: The Widowmaker
Domestic Gross: $35 million
Seven years before her Oscar winning The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s 1960s set submarine thriller with Harrison Ford was a pricey disappointment.
Domestic Gross: $30 million
Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode are about to team up for the final (?) time in Halloween Ends in October. In 2002, this was the sequel to the successful Halloween H20 from 1998. This one was not so successful and it’s considered by many aficionados as the weakest of the whole franchise.
Domestic Gross: $30 million
One is a double Oscar winner and the other is one of greatest stand-ups of all time, but this cinematic pairing of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock in Joel Schumacher’s action comedy was met with a shrug.
Domestic Gross: $26 million
Ten years after Unforgiven won Best Picture after its summer release, Clint Eastwood’s mystery didn’t work for critics or crowds.
The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Domestic Gross: $4 million
Speaking of legendary stand-ups, Eddie Murphy reached a career low point as sci-fi comedy Nash stands as one of cinema’s most notorious flops. Its budget was a reported $100 million and that’s not a misprint above… it made an embarrassing $4 million.
Five years ago, Jordan Peele’s horror debut Get Out was a critical and commercial phenomenon that won the auteur an Oscar for Original Screenplay. It also nabbed nominations for Picture, Director, and Actor (Daniel Kaluuya). Two years later, Us drew a more mixed reaction (though similar box office numbers) and garnered no attention from the Academy This was despite Lupita Nyong’o getting Critics Choice and SAG nods.
On Friday, Peele’s third feature Nope unveils itself and the review embargo is up. Many critics are saying yep to seeing it with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 81%. Yet that’s under the 98% bestowed upon Get Out and Us‘s 93%.
A consistent theme in various write-ups is that Nope has the weakest screenplay of the trilogy, but the best technical aspects. You’ll note that all of Get Out‘s nominations were above the line mentions. Nope, if anything, could see the opposite. Best Sound appears to be a real possibility with Cinematography, Production Design and Visual Effects standing more remote chances.
Finally, there’s Keke Palmer. She’s said to be the standout in a cast that includes Kaluuya, Steven Yeun, Michael Wincott, and Brandon Perea. However, if Nyong’o couldn’t get recognized for her participation in Peele’s sophomore effort, it’s hard to imagine Palmer breaking through for this. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
In 2017, Vicky Krieps drew critical praise for her work opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread, but she did not gather any Oscar attention. Recently seen in M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, the actress headlines the historical revisionist biopic Corsage. Krieps plays Empress Elisabeth of Austria circa the late 1870s. From director Marie Kreutzer, the pic is receiving pleasing notices from its Cannes screening. The result is a 100% current Rotten Tomatoes score.
IFC Films has already picked distribution rights and I assume they’ll mount a campaign. The reviews are strong enough that Krieps could be at least on the radar screen for Best Actress. Production Design and Costume Design are possibilities as well.
The real question is whether this generates enough buzz to be in the mix a few months from now. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest is Old and it plays like a long Twilight Zone episode which rapidly puts its subjects in that time frame of their lives. If you’ve seen the trailer or TV spots, what you see is essentially what you get. The writer/director is responsible for putting this uninteresting group on a gorgeous beach. That’s in the figurative sense since he created them. It’s also in the literal way because Shyamalan casts himself as the driver who takes them there.
Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Prisca Cappa (Vicky Krieps) are on the verge of splitting up and they take their 6-year-old boy and 11-year-old daughter on a tropical excursion before they break the news. They know this is meant to be a short-lived paradise, but they get more than they bargained for. You know how parents say their youngsters act like teenagers before they should? It happens here.
The Cappas are taken to a secluded area of the island for R & R. Joining them are a surgeon (Rufus Sewell) and his snotty wife (Abbey Lee) and their 6-year-old going on 11…13…15 (eventually played by Eliza Scanlen). There’s a nurse (Ken Leung) and his wife (Nikki Amuka-Bird) that’s prone to seizures. In the latest example of eye rolling character choices, we also have a hemophiliac rapper (Aaron Pierre) who goes by the name of Mid-Sized Sedan. This might an even more cringe worthy use of a hip hop reference than James McAvoy’s MC skills in Split.
Once placed in the breathtaking locale, all the vacationers discover they’re aging approximately one year every half hour. This is, of course, first noticed with the children. The Cappa kids morph into Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff. Their elders fall prey to the typical signs of advanced age – disease, Alzheimers, low calcium content. Poor Mid-Sized Sedan never gets the chance to trade in for a cooler sounding vehicle name.
In Shyamalan’s best features (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs), the auteur created pretty interesting characters to place in his twisty tales. That is just not the case with this group. Even a coasting Shyamalan is reliable for a few thrills, but they don’t roll in too often.
Too much of Old is filled with his clunky dialogue. The kids talk like adults before they actually are a few hours later. The surprise developments toward the end (which aren’t all that shocking) hint at a larger picture. They may have been engrossing had we not been subjected to an hour and a half of watching this dull lot waste away. This could have made a nifty Twilight Zone episode because that program ran 30 minutes. In Shyamalan’s labored production, it feels closer to a year.