April 12-14 Box Office Predictions

A quartet of new titles attempt to knock critically acclaimed superhero Shaza! out of the top spot this weekend, but that looks to be a tall order. We have comic book franchise reboot Hellboy, Laika Animation’s Missing Link, Regina Hall comedy Little, and college set romance After. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/03/hellboy-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/05/missing-link-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/06/little-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/07/after-box-office-prediction/

There is a great deal of uncertainty with how the newbies will perform this weekend. It seems highly likely, on the other hand, that DC’s newest crime fighter will retain the top spot. After premiering right in line with expectations, I have Shaza! dipping in the mid to high 40s and comfortably staying first,

Hellboy is a known brand, but it’s been a decade since the character was onscreen. Buzz seems very muted, but I’ll still say a high teens opening should be enough to nab it the runner-up spot. I’m shaky on it though.

Little has breakout potential, but I’m not willing yet to predict high teens. My lower teens estimate puts it in third and that’s just ahead of Missing Link, which I’m projecting will hit the lower debut end of other material from its studio.

After is a real head scratcher. The novel it’s based on has its fans. It opens on the smallest number of screens for the debuts (about 2000). I’m going pretty low with $3.7 million and that’s well outside the top 5. Yet the potential for it to surprise is real.

Pet Sematary could fall from second to fifth in its sophomore frame with about a 50% dip. That’s pretty normal for horror pics.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. Shazam!

Predicted Gross: $28.2 million

2. Hellboy

Predicted Gross: $17.4 million

3. Little

Predicted Gross: $14 million

4. Missing Link

Predicted Gross: $11.7 million

5. Pet Sematary

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million

Box Office Results (April 57)

As mentioned, DC had a nice weekend as Shazamhit its mark with $53.5 million, just ahead of my $52.5 million take. Sporting solid reviews, it should make a sizable chunk of change before The Avengers roll in at month’s end.

Pet Sematary posted a decent start in second with $24.5 million. It also had critical stamp of approval. The Stephen King adaptation fell quite a bit shy of my generous $34.7 million prediction.

The middling news for Dumbo continued. After a lackluster start, the elephant tale was third in weekend #2 with $18.2 million. My estimate flew higher at $22.3 million. The two-week tally sits at $76 million.

Us was fourth with $13.7 million in its third outing, falling behind my expectation of $16.6 million. However, the $20 million horror pic has amassed $152 million thus far.

Captain Marvel rounded out the top five with $12.4 million (I said $12.2 million) for $373 million overall.

Finally, the civil rights drama The Best of Enemies underwhelmed in sixth with just $4.4 million compared to my $5.9 million forecast.

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

After Box Office Prediction

Upstart distributor Aviron Pictures hopes to bring in young romantics this weekend with After. Based on a 2014 novel by Anna Todd, the college set drama casts relative unknowns Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (nephew of Ralph) and Josephine Langford. Jenny Gage directs with costars including Selma Blair, Peter Gallagher, and Jennifer Beals.

As mentioned, Aviron is a new player in the business. Their first effort, 2017 Halle Berry thriller Kidnap, exceeded expectations a bit. Their previous release before this – Serenity – was an embarrassing flop.

This may fall somewhere in the middle. Its approximate 2000 screens is the lowest of the four new releases this weekend. It might be lucky to hit $5 million and probably won’t. That’s nothing special at all, but its budget has to be fairly small.

After opening weekend prediction: $3.7 million

For my Hellboy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/03/hellboy-box-office-prediction/

For my Little prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/06/little-box-office-prediction/

For my Missing Link prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/05/missing-link-box-office-prediction/

Aquaman Movie Review

In movies nowadays, the superhero genre has become so popular that a rule now applies to well-known thespians. You can play a hero or then you act long enough to see yourself become the villain. Or vice versa. Patrick Wilson was a good guy in Watchmen and now he’s a bad guy in Aquaman. Willem Dafoe was the key villain in SpiderMan, but he’s an ally to the title character here. As for Nicole Kidman, she was Bruce Wayne’s love interest in Batman Forever. Now she’s Aquamom.

This is all in a feature-length experience that HBO’s “Entourage” treated with humor. The thought back then… who would really buy this comic book creation in his own two-hour saga? Director James Wan’s weird but often endearing take ups the ante by padding nearly an extra half hour. It sorta works. It does by knowing that it’s silly most of the time despite occasional meanderings into thinking it belongs in Lord of the Rings territory. While it doesn’t, some of the battle scenes approach that grandeur.

We’ve seen Aquaman before in the DC Extended Universe. He was introduced briefly in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which I still think is a little better than its reputation) and his role was expanded in the sub par Justice League. He gets the whole origin treatment here. In 1985, the Queen of Atlantis names Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) washes up on shore after a storm in Maine. She makes the acquaintance of the local lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison) and Splash style romantic sparks fly. Leaving her King hubby behind underwater, Atlanna and her new flame bear a son named Arthur and that little tyke eventually becomes the heavily tattooed punk rockish muscle man embodied by Jason Momoa.

As we witnessed in the previously mentioned pics, Momoa’s Aquaman becomes a mysterious superhero above water when not chugging beers with Dad. Atlanna, on the other hand, is long gone after being hunted down by her husband’s henchmen and returning below the surface so her new family isn’t harmed. She’s said to be dead.

Soon enough, Arthur is pressured to see Atlantis for the first time. His half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) is hell-bent on becoming the ruling Ocean Master. That means the destruction of Earth is on his to do list. Mera (Amber Heard) is the daughter of an Atlantean  King (Dolph Lundgren) allied with Orm. She disagrees with her father and along with Arthur’s old mentor (Willem Dafoe), they attempt to recruit our hero to become the King himself.

The family drama is a very familiar plot point in most movies in the genre – no matter which cinematic universe it takes place in. This is no exception. Orm is the Loki to Aquaman’s Thor, but he’s not near as memorable. Mera is the love interest and she has some humorous moments due to her unfamiliarity with our land. Those light moments reminded me of Gal Gadot’s acclamations to her fresh surroundings in Wonder Woman. And while we’re talking similar plot themes, this will remind you of Black Panther from time to time.

There’s only so much you can accomplish with this well-worn origin stuff, but James Wan conjures up a visually vibrant tale with an engaging lead. Momoa’s Aquaman is a bit of a Hulk like creation who seems impervious to harm. Frankly, the tension is a bit watered down because it seems like he could swat Orm off like a fly. Yet the action sequences are effective when they’re not too weighed down in confusing CG mayhem. The best one takes place in Italy when all the players remain dry. Aquaman is worth the watch, despite its flaws, as it builds plenty of worlds we’ll see again and with more details. This uses what seems like a record of title cards to tell us where we are as the plot moves along. Unlike other films where we might see “St. Louis” with The Arch in frame, they’re necessary here. Most of the places we visit come with acceptable levels of entertainment value.

*** (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Missing Link

The stop-motion animated adventure Missing Link hits theaters next weekend and it’s the latest effort from the studio Laika. Reviews have been sturdy for the Bigfoot tale featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis. Its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 91%.

When it comes to Oscar nominations for their material, Laika has quite the batting average… as in 100%. For their four previous efforts, they’ve also all lost to Disney titles. In 2009, Coraline lost to Up. ParaNorman came up short to Brave in 2012. In 2014, it was Big Hero 6 over The Boxtrolls. Two years later, Kubo and the Two Strings couldn’t emerge over Zootopia.

Could history repeat itself? Absolutely. While critical reaction is solid, Link has little chance at winning the Best Animated Feature award. And, yes, Mouse Factory competition is legit with sequels Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. There’s another sequel already released from DreamWorks – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – that also looks to nab a nod.

With five slots, there’s a chance Link could be the first Laika flick to miss a nomination. However, their track record is considerable and I wouldn’t count it out. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Little Box Office Prediction

Borrowing its plot themes from comedies such as Big and 13 Going on 30, the Will Packer produced pic Little debuts next weekend. Regina Hall stars as an overworked tech mogul who’s transformed into a teen version of herself. That 13-year-old self is played by Marsai Martin (of TV’s “Black-ish”) and the young actress holds an executive producer credit here (making her the youngest person ever to do so). Tina Gordon directs and Issa Rae, Justin Hartley, and Rachel Dratch costar.

Mr. Packer’s previous studio efforts like Girls Trip have turned into profitable ventures. Little hopes to bring in a sizable African-American audience and the chances of this over performing are real.

A gross in the mid to high teens is certainly feasible, but I’ll project low teens is where this ends up.

Little opening weekend prediction: $14 million

For my Hellboy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/03/hellboy-box-office-prediction/

For my Missing Link prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/05/missing-link-box-office-prediction/

For my After prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/07/after-box-office-prediction/

Missing Link Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (04/11): On the eve of its premiere, revising this down from $13.2M to $11.7M

The studio Laika is back with their brand of critically acclaimed animated films next weekend with Missing Link. The stop-motion adventure follows an explorer tracking a Bigfoot with Hugh Jackman voicing the explorer and Zach Galifianakis as the creature. Other recognizable faces behind the mic include Zoe Saldana, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Timothy Olyphant, and Matt Lucas. Chris Butler, who made the company’s 2012 effort ParaNorman directs.

All four Laika titles in the past decade have grossed between $12-$17 million for their starts. On the high-end, there’s 2014’s The Boxtrolls with just over $17 million. On the low-end is 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings with $12.6 million. I see no reason why Link wouldn’t fall in that same range.

Reviews have been positive as this currently stands at 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Of the new releases out next weekend, it actually opens widest on approximately 3500 screens (more than Hellboy).

I don’t believe this will top Boxtrolls, but a premiere between $13-$14 million is certainly possible.

Missing Link opening weekend prediction: $11.7 million

For my Hellboy prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/03/hellboy-box-office-prediction/

For my Little prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/06/little-box-office-prediction/

For my After prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/07/after-box-office-prediction/

Hellboy Box Office Prediction

Rebooting itself 15 years after its half demon anti-hero first appeared in theaters, Hellboy hits theaters next weekend. Based on the Dark Horse Comics that started in the early 90s, David Harbour of “Stranger Things” takes over the title role from Ron Perlman. Costars include Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, and Thomas Haden Church. Neil Marshall, best known for making horror pic The Descent, directs after Guillermo del Toro handled the first two installments.

In 2004, the original film adaptation took in $23 million in its opening frame and $59 million total domestically. It took on cult status quickly and that catapulted 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army to a $34 million start with $75 million overall.

Those numbers are nowhere in the MCU or DCEU range as of late. While certainly different in tone, Hellboy arrives during the second weekend of Shazam!, which should still be performing well and a month after Captain Marvel. The chances of this, which seems to be lacking buzz, getting lost in the shuffle is real.

I’ll predict that even though it arrives more than a decade since we’ve seen this character, Hellboy will experience the lowest premiere of the trio.

Hellboy opening weekend prediction: $17.4 million

For my Missing Link prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/05/missing-link-box-office-prediction/

For my Little prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/06/little-box-office-prediction/

For my After prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/07/after-box-office-prediction/