The Hurricane Heist Box Office Prediction

The relatively new Entertainment Studios is hoping for another sleeper hit next weekend when The Hurricane Heist hits theaters. The disaster crime flick comes from director Rob Cohen (best known for making the original The Fast and the Furious and xXx) and centers on a group of bank robbers trying to pull off a job during a Category 5 hurricane. The cast includes Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, Melissa Bolona, and Ralph Ineson.

Made for a reported $35 million, Heist‘s best hope is that it will make some cash based on its concept (star power will not be a factor). There is plenty of competition out there as Red Sparrow and Death Wish will be in their sophomore frames and The Strangers: Prey at Night opens against it looking for similar audience members.

Last summer, the studio had an unexpected hit with the shark tale 47 Meters Down. It debuted to $11.2 million with a $44 million overall domestic haul. Ironically, that film’s director is behind the camera with The Strangers sequel it’s competing with. Meters had the advantage of having a shark in it (maybe one of the bank robbers should have been a great white) so I don’t really see Heist reaching its gross.

Interestingly, I keep going back to last fall’s Geostorm as an example of a disaster pic that outperformed expectations. That critically drubbed pic managed to gross $13.7 million out of the gate. Could Hurricane somehow blow away expectations? I doubt it.

For now, I’ll say this doesn’t reach double digits, but it could make more than my current expectations.

The Hurricane Heist opening weekend prediction: $5.6 million

For my A Wrinkle in Time prediction, click here:

For my The Strangers: Prey at Night prediction, click here:

For my Gringo prediction, click here:

The Choice Box Office Prediction

Next weekend brings your yearly dose of Nicholas Sparks adaptations as his 2007 novel The Choice comes to the screen. Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer headline with Maggie Grace, Tom Welling, and Tom Wilkinson costarring.

The romance seems destined to continue the trend of diminishing returns for Sparks fare. While 2012’s The Lucky One and 2013’s Safe Heaven each started out in the low 20s, 2014’s The Best of Me earned just $10 million and 2015’s The Longest Ride made $13 million out of the gate. I believe The Choice might even struggle to earn double digits and I’ll put it just under that.

The Choice opening weekend prediction: $9.6 million

For my Hail, Caesar! prediction, click here:

For my Pride and Prejudice and Zombies prediction, click here:

Taken 3 Box Office Prediction

Once again Liam Neeson is back in vengeance mode as Taken 3 makes its way to theaters this Friday. The 2009 original kicked off a new career for Mr. Neeson as an improbable action star and it’s paid major dividends for him.

No one expected the first Taken to perform as it did when it made $24.7 million on its way to a $139 million domestic haul. The 2012 sequel kept the momentum going with a $49.5 million premiere with an eventual gross of $145 million.

Forest Whitaker joins the mix this time along with returnees Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen (though not long for her according to the spoiler happy TV spots). One must wonder if audience anticipation will wane a bit this time around. While the second go round did outdo the first, it wasn’t considered as solid as the original. Moviegoers may be growing slightly weary of viewing Neeson’s special set of skills.

Nevertheless, while the third entry may end up being the lowest domestic grosser of the franchise, I still see it topping $30 million out of the gate and easily topping the charts next weekend.

Taken 3 opening weekend prediction: $32.8 million

For my Selma prediction, click here:

For my prediction post on Inherent Vice, click here:


Taken 2 Movie Review

In early 2009, Taken was an unexpected smash hit that gave Liam Neeson a second career as a badass action star. The film was a B-movie treat in which ex CIA agent Bryan (Neeson) used his “very particular set of skills” to retrieve kidnapped daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from Albanian sex traffickers.

Taken‘s box office success has led to this sequel nearly four years later. Original director Pierre Morel is out and the awesomely named Olivier Megaton is behind the camera, but original screenwriters Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen return to pen the script. The concept is simple: instead of Kim being taken, this time it’s Mom – Lenore (Famke Janssen). Years after their divorce, Bryan and Lenore are starting to become a bit “taken” with each other again – if ya know what I mean. Mom and daughter join Bryan in Istanbul where he’s just finished a job and it’s not long before the father of one of the guy’s Bryan brutally offed in the original looks to exact revenge. He’s played by Rade Serbedziga, who gets to growl his way through dialogue about avenging his perv boy son’s death.

Much of Taken 2 simply feels by-the-numbers and the action isn’t as impressive as in the first. One problem is that Neeson doesn’t get to show off that particular set of skills enough. Too much of the pic is filled with lackluster car chases, though Neeson does involve Kim in the most intense driving demonstration since that high schooler drove Leslie Nielsen and John Houseman in The Naked Gun. The fact that Kim is dating her first boyfriend and taking her driving test for the third time involves some suspension of disbelief since the actress playing her is 30 years old. I’ll chalk that up to the rapid aging process due to her stressful first “vacation” in the original.

Truth be told, Taken 2 will hold your attention for its brisk 90 minutes, but this a prime example of an unnecessary sequel. The film even forecasts a potential third Taken towards the end. After all, these endless henchman Bryan is offing will always have vengeful relatives. How much “taking” can one family take? Taken 2 suggests stopping at one abduction probably would have been enough.

** (out of four)