Blogger’s Update (01/16): Better than expected reviews are pushing my estimate from $38.6 million to $45.6 million
A quarter century after the original made Will Smith an action hero, he teams again with Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys for Life next weekend. This is the duo’s third collaboration playing cops battling European baddies and Michael Bay (who made the first two) is away from the director’s chair with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah taking over. Franchise players Joe Pantoliano and Theresa Randle are back and newcomers include Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, and Paola Nunez.
The MLK holiday frame caps off a busy few months for the Artist Formerly Known as Fresh Prince. Last summer, he had a huge hit with Aladdin. In the fall, he experienced a flop with Gemini Man and voiced the lead character in the decently performing family pic Spies in Disguise.
Back in the spring of 1995, the original Boys took in $15 million for its start with an eventual $65 million gross. Eight years later, Bad Boys II tripled that debut with $46 million with an overall tally of $138 million.
Seventeen years is a long break between entries and 2019 showed us that franchise fatigue was real in many cases. One example was Men in Black: International, which Mr. Smith steered clear from.
Mu guess is that part 3 won’t match its predecessor’s earnings and that’s even with the extra Monday due to the holiday. A decent comp could be Ride Along 2, which made $41 million over MLK four years back. That was under the $48 million that the first Ride hauled in. I’ll say Smith and Lawrence’s reported last ride hovers around the $40 million mark.
Bad Boys for Life opening weekend prediction: $45.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
The pitch is a rebooted cinematic version of the Charlie’s Angels franchise, but I suspect its opening gross will be far from perfect. Elizabeth Banks directs and costars with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in the three lead roles. The supporting cast includes Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, and Patrick Stewart.
In the early 2000s, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu brought the 1970s TV hit to the big screen with McG directing. The first entry in 2000 took in $125 million while the 2003 sequel earned $100 million.
Expectations are not as high this time around. While Stewart has been making the rounds (including an SNL hosting gig), I believe this could fall victim to the franchise fatigue we’ve already witnessed in 2019 with the Men in Black and Terminator series, to name a couple.
I would anticipate a #2 debut behind Ford v Ferrari and I question whether Angels can handle a start of over $20 million… or even $15 million.
Charlie’s Angels opening weekend prediction: $14.2 million
You won’t need one of those neuralyzer doohickeys to forget MeninBlack: International, which extends the rust developed from part two of the franchise on. Will Smith has moved on from this series to dealing with aliens in Netflix pics and being the man in blue in Disney remakes. Tommy Lee Jones has retired as well. So the Marvel Cinematic duo of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson from Thor: Ragnarok don the sunglasses in this reboot. Their chemistry was better with the MCU team and that movie had a funnier alien in the guise of Jeff Goldblum.
Hemsworth is the hunky Agent H, top operative at the U.K. MiB branch run by Liam Neeson’s High T. Thompson is essentially a fangirl of the super secretive force who’s been aware of their existence since childhood. She recruits herself to the suit and is assigned by Emma Thompson’s Agent O (reprising her MeninBlack3 part) to travel overseas and partner with her Thor. The plot involves stopping a nasty species that goes by the Hive. One of the baddies is an arms dealer played by Rebecca Ferguson that had an inter species love affair with H. Some of the other villains are kept secret for most of the running time, though you’ll see it coming from a galactic mile away. And there’s Kumail Nanjiani voicing the CG creation Pawny. He gets in a few mildly amusing lines.
F. Gary Gray has taken over directorial duties from Barry Sonnenfeld and he doesn’t have to top a high bar of its predecessors. 1997’s original was a fun summer blockbuster melding science fiction and comedy with genuine chemistry from the two leads. I struggle to recall anything about the first sequel. #3 was a slight improvement if only for Josh Brolin’s uncanny impression of a young Tommy Lee Jones.
I doubt many have much of an affinity for this franchise beyond what came 22 years ago. And while International does indeed trot the globe from Paris to London and Morocco and New York to Italy, it mostly feels flat.
Another creepy doll looks to hit the runner-up spot while ToyStory4 stays in first place this weekend as Conjuring Cinematic Universe entry AnnabelleComesHome debuts. We also have the high concept musical comedy Yesterday out and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both newcomers here:
It seems awfully risky in the summer of 2019 to project that a sequel will come close to meeting expectations. Not even ToyStory4 managed to do that (more on that below), but that’s where I’m at by saying Annabelle will gross in the high 20s for its Friday to Sunday earnings and high 30s when taking in the Wednesday and Thursday money.
As mentioned, Pixar’s fourth pairing of Woody and Buzz should have no trouble maintaining top position. ToyStory3 dipped 46% in its sophomore frame and I look for this to lose around half its volume.
Yesterday, in my view, once had breakout potential. However, so-so reviews don’t help. My estimate for The Beatles themed pic puts it just behind Aladdin in fourth place. TheSecretLifeofPets2 may stay put in fifth as I figure the drops for Child’sPlay and MeninBlack: International will be more severe.
And with that, my top five for the weekend:
Predicted Gross: $60.3 million
Predicted Gross: $27.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $38 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Predicted Gross: $9.7 million
Predicted Gross: $9.1 million
Predicted Gross: $5.7 million
Pixar scored yet another hit with ToyStory4. Yet the acclaimed sequel (arriving nine years after part three) unquestionably made less than anticipated at $120.9 million. While that’s $10 million over its predecessor, that’s a far cry from my $167.5 million forecast. And even if you think I was being generous, the floor for most projections was around $140 million. I wouldn’t feel too bad for Disney as they’re having a terrific year thus far.
The return of Chucky was met with ambivalence as Child’sPlay was second with $14 million compared to my $17.6 million prediction. Look for it to fade fast, especially with that other dastardly doll arriving Wednesday. The reboot only cost a reported $10 million to make so United Artists shouldn’t be too upset either.
Aladdin was third with $13.2 million (I said $13 million) and it’s up to $288 million in the coffers.
MeninBlack: International tumbled from first to fourth with $10.7 million, below my $13.1 million projection for just $52 million. This reboot, like DarkPhoenix before it, looks to come in under $100 million domestically.
TheSecretLifeofPets2 rounded out the top five with $10.2 million. I was higher at $12.6 million. The three-week tally is $117 million.
Finally, the Luc Besson action thriller Anna was a flop in ninth with $3.6 million. My prediction? $3.6 million! That almost makes up for being $40 million plus off ToyStory4! Ok maybe not…
Blogger’s Note (06/19): and it’s a significant one. Revising my Toy Story 4 estimate down from $191.5 million to $167.5 million.
It’s a toy fest at the box office this weekend as Pixar’s massive franchise and an iconic demonic doll look to populate the 1-2 spots on the charts. ToyStory4 and the reboot of Child’sPlay are the big debuts, as well as Luc Besson’s action thriller Anna. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
The question for the fourth iteration of Woody and Buzz is not whether it opens at #1, but whether or not it sets the all-time opening record for an animated feature. Unlike what we’ve seen in the past few weekends, this should not be a sequel that fails to meet expectations. In order to nab the record, it needs to top Pixar’s Incredibles2 from last summer. That sequel made $182 million out of the gate. I’m predicting ToyStory4 will outdo it by nearly $10 million.
I’m projecting that Child’sPlay will reach high teens and that should be enough to put it in second place. I figure enough horror fans can assist Chucky’s return to multiplexes to get it there (as long as they’re not all holding their money for next week’s AnnabelleComesHome).
The real battle could be for the third position. MeninBlack: International was a major flop. While I don’t see it plummeting over 70% like DarkPhoenix, a mid 50s (and maybe a bit more) dip is certainly feasible. That puts it in a horse race with TheSecretLifeofPets2 and Aladdin, which could benefit from drive-in pairings with ToyStory.
As for Anna, my lowly $3.6 million puts it outside the top five.
Here’s how I have it playing out:
Predicted Gross: $167.5 million
Predicted Gross: $17.6 million
3. MeninBlack: International
Predicted Gross: $13.1 million
Predicted Gross: $13 million
Predicted Gross: $12.6 million
While Will Smith’s genie in Aladdin is raking up the bucks, Sony was not granted their wish of a successful franchise reboot with MeninBlack: International. The film opened in first, but with a disappointing $30 million (on target with my $30.7 million projection). Don’t look for Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson to don the shades again – though you’ll probably see them revise their Thor characters again.
TheSecretLifeofPets2 dropped to second with $24.4 million (I said $23.4 million) as it sniffs the century mark at $92 million after two weeks.
Aladdin was third with $17.3 million, topping my $15.7 million forecast. It’s up to $264 million as it should cross $300 million domestically.
Rocketman was fourth and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The Elton John biopic took in $9.4 million and it’s at $52 million overall.
After its poor debut, DarkPhoenix tumbled to fifth with $9.3 million. I was more generous at $11.8 million. With just $52 million in ten days, this looks to be the first X-Men entry that won’t reach $100 million stateside.
The sequel and reboot fatigue manifested itself again with Shaft, which flopped in sixth with only $8.9 million, coming in far below my $16.8 million prediction.
LateNight expanded nationwide to so-so results in ninth place with $5.2 million, a touch more than my $4.5 million take.
Finally, zombie comedy TheDeadDon’tDie was 12th on just over 600 screens with $2.5 million compared to my $1.8 million projection.
A variety of new pictures debut or expand this weekend with franchise reboot MeninBlack: International, another franchise reboot Shaft, critically appreciated comedy LateNight, and not so critically appreciated comedy TheDeadDon’tDie hitting screens. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
With Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson taking over lead roles from Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, International hopes to bring in a new generation of alien crime fighter aficionados. Yet this could go the way of last weekend’s DarkPhoenix, which set a franchise low for an opening weekend. I predict that a low 30s haul will achieve that dubious mark, but it should have little difficulty hitting #1.
My mid teens estimate for Shaft should put it in third after the sophomore frame of current champ TheSecretLifeofPets2, which itself suffered from an acute case of sequelitis.
The rest of the top five should be filled by holdovers Aladdin and Phoenix, which I anticipate having a severe drop just like Godzilla: KingoftheMonsters did in its second weekend.
As for LateNight, it had a terrific limited release on just four screens this past weekend, but it could face some difficulties with its 1500 theater release. My $4.5 million forecast puts it outside the top five. Same for TheDeadDon’tDie, which I have at $1.8 million at its approximately 550 theater count.
And with that, my top five estimates for the weekend ahead:
1. MeninBlack: International
Predicted Gross: $30.7 million
Predicted Gross: $23.4 million
Predicted Gross: $16.8 million
Predicted Gross: $15.7 million
Predicted Gross: $11.8 million
It was not a good weekend to be a sequel as the two newbies placed 1-2, but with significantly less cash than their predecessors. TheSecretLifeofPets 2 was first with $46.6 million, well under my estimate of $65.2 million. That’s not even half of the $104 million achieved by its 2016 predecessor and with ToyStory4 on the horizon, it could fade quickly.
The X-Men franchise cratered as DarkPhoenix was second with $32.8 million compared to my $45.3 million projection. The previous lowest premiere in the series occurred in 2013 when TheWolverine made $53 million out of the gate. This fell more than $20 million under that. Studio Fox didn’t even bother sugarcoating it… it’s a serious flop. New owner Disney will need to figure out a new way to make this series of characters viable into the future.
Aladdin was third with $24.6 million (I said $26.5 million) for a three-week tally of $232 million.
Godzilla: KingoftheMonsters fell hard in its second frame with $15.4 million, under my $16.9 million prediction. It’s at $78 million.
Rocketman was fifth in its sophomore outing at $13.8 million (I said $14.9 million) for a ten day total of $50 million.
The Men in Black are back onscreen for the first time in seven years, but they look a lot different this time around. Subtitled International, this is a sequel/reboot of the franchise that ruled the summer 22 years ago. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are nowhere to be found. Instead it’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the lead roles with F. Gary Gray taking over directorial duties from Barry Sonnenfeld. The supporting cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Liam Neeson, and Emma Thompson (reprising her role from 2012’s MIB3).
Despite its two stars being part of this season’s behemoth Avengers: Endgame, audiences might be skeptical to revisit a two decade old series that they identified with Smith (currently headlining the hit Aladdin). Comparing the opening grosses of the MIB trilogy that preceded it is tricky. All three opened over holiday weekends with the first two over July 4th and the third over Memorial Day weekend. Their traditional Friday to Sunday grosses were consistent in the low to mid 50s. When factoring in the extra holiday additions, parts one and two got into the 80s with #3 nearing $70 million. It’s worth mentioning that each entry earned less domestically overall than the previous one.
MeninBlack: International, holiday or no holiday, looks bound for the lowest premiere yet in the franchise. I’ll say low 30s.
MeninBlack: International opening weekend prediction: $30.7 million