February 3-5 Box Office Predictions

**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).

Check out my new podcast at the following link:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/movies-at-the-speed-of-speculation/id1668006585

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

January 27-29 Box Office Predictions

2023 has gotten off to a pleasing start at the box office, but the last weekend of January should be rather quiet. Horror pic Fear is slated to be a wide release. I haven’t done an individual prediction post on it because I’ve yet to see a theater count. It would be surprising to see it in the top five. At the moment, I’m thinking it’ll be lucky to reach $2 million.

That means the chart should look very similar to this past frame with Avatar: The Way of Water spending a seventh weekend in first (very likely for the final time with Knock at the Cabin and 80 for Brady on deck). It might be the only feature to make over $10 million as I have dropping in the low to mid 30s for a low teens gross.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (after a great hold in its 5th life) should stay in second during its sixth. Holdovers A Man Called Otto, M3GAN, and Missing (after a slightly better than anticipated debut) appear poised to populate slots 3-5.

Here’s how I see it playing out:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

Predicted Gross: $14.3 million

2. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Predicted Gross: $9.2 million

3. A Man Called Otto

Predicted Gross: $6 million

4. M3GAN

Predicted Gross: $5.8 million

5. Missing

Predicted Gross: $5.1 million

Box Office Results (January 20-22)

A six-peat greeted Avatar: The Way of Water with a take of $20.1 million, a bit under my $23.9 million forecast. James Cameron’s sequel crossed the $2 billion mark worldwide and neared $600 million domestically at $598 million.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is showing its multiple lives as it impressed in second with a mere 18% drop. Earning $11.8 million in its fifth outing (I was lower with $8.7 million), the animated follow-up has amassed $126 million.

M3GAN was third in weekend 3 with $9.7 million, on pace with my $9.5 million projection. The campy horror effort hit $73 million.

Missing, the stand-alone sequel to thriller Searching, found some fans in fourth with $9.1 million, surpassing my $6.8 million prediction. Considering the reported $7 million price tag, this should turn a tidy profit.

A Man Called Otto rounded out the top five at $8.8 million (I said $9.3 million). In its second weekend of wide release, it dipped a commendable 31%.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: Weekend of January 20-22, 2023

After a solid MLK long weekend at the box office, tech thriller Missing (a stand-alone sequel to 2018’s Searching) hopes to keep the 2023 momentum going in multiplexes. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

As the only new wide release, I’ve got Missing making the top five. However, it may fall under four holdovers. Avatar: The Way of Water should have no trouble staying in first for the sixth frame. The battle for #2 should be far more interesting. If Missing over performs, it could get there.

I’ve got the earnings of M3GAN, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and A Man Called Otto separated by under a million. All three did well over the holiday. M3GAN is likely to suffer the biggest drop, but I’ve still got it clinging to #2 with Otto right behind and Boots in fourth.

Here’s how I see it looking for your high five:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

Predicted Gross: $23.9 million

2. M3GAN

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

3. A Man Called Otto

Predicted Gross: $9.3 million

4. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

5. Missing

Predicted Gross: $6.8 million

Box Office Results (January 13-16)

Friday the 13th and the rest of the weekend was not unlucky as Avatar: The Way of Water 5-peated wtih $39.8 million. That’s just below my take of $41.2 million as James Cameron’s massive sequel sits at $571 million.

M3GAN held up well in its sophomore frame in second with $21.6 million from Friday to Monday. Ahead of my $18.7 million projection, the campy horror hit is grooving to $60 million thus far.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish actually increased from the previous weekend in third at $18.9 million (slashing past my $13 million estimate). The animated sequel is now in nine figures with a lively $111 million.

Tom Hanks helped bring in adult moviegoers as A Man Called Otto expanded nationwide with a fourth place gross of $15.4 million (on target with my $15.9 million prediction). With an A Cinemascore grade, look for this to hold up well in the coming weeks. The tally is $21 million and growing.

Gerard Butler’s Plane took off in fifth with a decent $11.8 million (flying higher than my $7.2 million forecast). I suspect a drop at or close to 50% is where this lands next weekend.

Finally, comedic remake House Party did OK considering its lowly 1400 screen count. It was sixth with $4.6 million and that’s more RSVPs than my $3 million guesstimate.

That does it for now, folks! Until next time…

January 13-16 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (01/11): Considering its meager 1500 screen count and scant buzz, I’m revising my House Party prediction down from $6 million to $3 million. That puts it outside of the top 6.

The 2023 box office got off to an impressive start as studios hope the momentum continues over the four-day MLK weekend. A Man Called Otto expands and we have the Gerard Butler action flick Plane and comedy remake House Party landing. You can peruse my individual prediction posts on the trio here:

Otto, while technically not a newcomer, should perform the best of the newbies. It over performed in limited release this past weekend (more on that below) and could even make a run for #2 depending on the sophomore drop for M3GAN.

Speaking of that demented AI doll, a robust and clever marketing campaign propelled the PG-13 flick to a terrific start. Horror titles often experience hefty declines after their opening, but the holiday could mean a high teens (maybe even low 20s) gross is possible.

Neither M3GAN or Otto will prevent Avatar: The Way of Water from making it five in a row atop the charts. I’m thinking it manages high 30s to low 40s as it builds on the already half billion domestic haul.

As for Plane and House Party, I have both falling under double digits and that would leave them in 5th and 6th behind the fourth outing for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

Here’s how I see it playing out and remember that these forecasts are for Friday through Monday:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

Predicted Gross: $41.2 million

2. M3GAN

Predicted Gross: $18.7 million

3. A Man Called Otto

Predicted Gross: $15.9 million

4. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Predicted Gross: $13 million

5. Plane

Predicted Gross: $7.2 million

Box Office Results (January 6-8)

As mentioned, it was a healthy kickoff to the new year as Avatar: The Way of Water maintained first position with only a -32 decrease. That’s good for a fourth weekend collection of $45.8 million (beyond my $38.3 million prediction) as it’s amassed $517 million stateside.

M3GAN translated great buzz and sterling reviews to a $30.4 million premiere, dancing past my $24.8 million take. Universal ran a campaign that included memorable trailers and Tik Tok type vids of M3GAN’s crashing Times Square and media interviews. It paid off handsomely.

Universal had the third spot with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish earning $13.5 million, ahead of my $10.2 million projection. The animated sequel is up to $88 million with nine figures on deck.

Maybe grown-ups are ready to return to multiplexes! After plenty of awards bait adult features have disappointed in recent months, A Man Called Otto with Tom Hanks bucked the trend on a still limited 637 screens. The gross was $4.2 million and I incorrectly had it outside my top five.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was fifth with $3.5 million (I said $3.4 million) for $445 million total.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody was sixth with $2.4 million compared to my $2.1 million call. It’s at a ho-hum $19 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

House Party Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (01/11): Considering its meager 1500 screen count and scant buzz, I’m revising my House Party prediction down from $6 million to $3 million.

Warner Bros hopes audiences RSVP to the House Party reboot when it debuts January 13th. Directed by Calmatic (best known for music videos and commercials), Jacob Latimore and Tosin Cole star as best friends who hatch a plan to hold a blowout bash at the estate of LeBron James. The NBA superstar plays himself as do musical celebs like Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, and Snoop Dogg.

The 1990 original featured hip hop act Kid N’ Play (who appear here) and spawned two sequels. It was a surprise box office success that also drew critical kudos. This was originally slated for an HBO Max only premiere last summer before the studio shifted emphasis to theatrical output.

Rolling out over the long MLK weekend, Party could manage to over perform. There’s a real question which new release will make the most money with A Man Called Otto and Plane as the other contenders. The trio should all fall behind Avatar: The Way of Water and M3GAN. I’ll project this falls short of double digits earnings by a notable margin.

House Party opening weekend prediction: $3 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my A Man Called Otto prediction, click here:

For my Plane prediction, click here:

January 6-8 Box Office Predictions

The first full weekend of the new year sees deranged doll M3GAN dancing into multiplexes as she hopes to have a strong #2 showing behind Avatar: The Way of Water. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on 2023’s initial wide release right here:

I believe M3GAN will perform similarly to last fall’s Smile and a low to mid 20s premiere would cause Universal and Blumhouse to do just that. The trailers have generated lots of attention and the overall marketing campaign (like Smile) has been impressive. There’s a chance it could over perform my estimate, but I don’t see it threatening Avatar.

That’s because the James Cameron sequel achieved the third largest third domestic weekend of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the first Avatar. A fourth frame drop in the mid to higher 40s range should net it a mid 30s showing. Like M3GAN, I wouldn’t be shocked it goes higher.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish should easily be third after an encouraging sophomore outing with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody rounding out the top five.

Here’s how I think it’ll look:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

Predicted Gross: $38.3 million

2. M3GAN

Predicted Gross: $24.8 million

3. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Predicted Gross: $10.2 million

4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

5. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Predicted Gross: $2.1 million

Box Office Results (December 30-January 1)

2022 closed out and 2023 kicked off with Avatar: The Way of Water dominating the charts with $67.4 million. That’s right in line with my $65.8 million forecast. This third weekend was an important one for the long-in-development follow-up as it’s amassed $425 million stateside coupled with its gigantic worldwide earnings ($1.4 billion).

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish rose 35% from its debut at $16.8 million – in range with my $16.1 million prediction. The DreamWorks animated sequel hit $61 million as nine figures looks doable.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ascended to third with $5.1 million, a touch above my $4.5 million take. Overall haul is $438 million.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody felt the heat of a disappointing second frame in fourth. Dropping 16% with $3.9 million, I wrongly thought it might go up at $5.6 million. The meager ten-day tally is $14 million.

Babylon, after a disastrous start, continued the free fall with $2.6 million in fifth (I said $3.2 million). It’s made $10 million with a reported $80 million price tag.

Violent Night was sixth with $2.1 million. I was more optimistic at $3.1 million. The R rated holiday tale has scored a solid $40 million.

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

M3GAN Box Office Prediction

It’s nice to have a trailer that’s inspired countless memes – mainly from its demented title character doll busting creepy dance moves. M3GAN is the first wide release of 2023 and it appears poised to start the year off on a profitable note. The sci-fi horror pic comes from director Gerard Johnstone with a screenplay by Malignant scribe Akela Cooper. Jason Blum and James Wan serve as producers as the Blumhouse label looks to have another buzzy hit. Allison Williams headlines the cast and she’s no stranger to moneymaking fright fests that open early in the calendar year (2017’s Get Out). The supporting players include Violet McGraw, Ronny Chieng, and Brian Jordan Alvarez.

With a marketing campaign showcasing the alarming and humorous robotic pal, M3GAN may open on pace with other hit genre pics of recent times. I could see it debuting somewhere in between the $30 million from last January’s Scream reboot and the near $23 million that Smile took in during the fall. That’ll be enough to produce smiles and screams of joy for Universal.

M3GAN opening weekend prediction: $24.8 million

2022: The Year of Tom Cruise

As I do annually when the year winds down, it’s time to take a look at the performers who made significant impacts on the silver screen in the previous 12 months. I’ll do so with 6 of them in the coming days.

For 2022, that list has to begin with Tom Cruise. Before May, the biggest opening in the superstar’s near 40 years of headlining pictures was 2005’s War of the Worlds at $64 million. That’s right. Even though he’s consistently been one of Hollywood’s most bankable figures, there were no premieres north of $100 million. In fact, only three of his titles exceeded $200 million domestically: Mission: Impossible II, the aforementioned Worlds, and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

There was understandable skepticism when Top Gun: Maverick was finally green lit. Would crowds turn out for the sequel to a relic from the mid 80s? It arrived in multiplexes after many COVID delays some three years plus after filming wrapped.

What it did at the box office was astounding and very important in preserving the viability of the theatrical experience. This wasn’t a superhero franchise entry with the dollars already built in. Maverick brought out moviegoers who hadn’t ventured out to the multiplex in a couple of years. Some of them went for repeat viewings.

It nearly doubled Cruise’s previous best with $126 million over the Friday to Sunday of the Memorial holiday weekend and $160 million for the four-day. Then the money kept holding on. It even returned to 1st place over two months after its release for the Labor Day frame. All in all, Maverick soared to $718 million domestically and nearly a billion and a half worldwide. The ripple effect of its success is evident even in humorous ways. Another continuation of an 80s blockbuster coming soon sees Eddie Murphy back in his signature role. The title? Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley (!!!).

In the year where he turned 60, Tom Cruise experienced easily the largest hit and cultural phenomenon of his career. Millions of people saw the preview for next summer’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One play in front of it. It might be the most talked about trailer of 2022 that doesn’t involve a demonic doll dancing.

At a time when true movie stars are hard to come by, audiences turned to a reliable one in 2022. It was indeed his year. These posts will continue with another legend who turned 60 and got the role (multiples ones) of a lifetime…