Uncle Drew Box Office Prediction

A convergence of current and former NBA stars and comedians gather for Uncle Drew, out next weekend. The sports comedy that comes with prosthetic makeup aplenty is based on a title character first seen in Pepsi commercials with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving playing him. Other basketball notables in the cast include Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie. On the funny side – Lil Rel Howery, Nick Kroll, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, and Mike Epps. Charles Stone III, perhaps best known for making Drumline, directs.

Uncle Drew hopes to bring in a sizable African-American crowd and lovers of the game it humorously covers. The pic could certainly achieve sleeper status with a gross in the high teens. It actually has a somewhat similar opening weekend range as Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which debuts against it. The two newcomers should battle for third place between Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2.

For now, I’m giving Drew a slight edge with a forecast between $16-$17 million.

Uncle Drew opening weekend prediction: $16.4 million

For my Sicario: Day of the Soldado prediction, click here:


LeBron James: My Perspective

It’s been an interesting last few days on my “movie” blog as I write of 90s R&B music and now I’m going even further outside my comfort zone of entertainment and talking about sports. Yes, I’m daring to venture in on the biggest sports story today. No, not the German dismantling of Brazil but LeBron James and what team he’ll be playing for in the 2014-15 season.

As I write this, developments seem to literally be changing minute to minute. That’s at least if you follow NBA writers on Twitter… which I do (and I’ve followed about a dozen that I hadn’t before in the last two days).

Let’s get to a few points that help explain my perspective off the bat:

1) I live in Ohio and have all my life.

2) I have been a Cleveland sports fan all my life – meaning the Cleveland Cavaliers have always been my team.

3) I am an ardent NBA fan.

Obviously this means I’m closely following The Decision: Part II as LeBron decides which team to play for. Does he stay with the Miami Heat where he’s won two championships in the last four years? Or does he take his talents back home to Northeast Ohio where he spent his first seven seasons and won no championships? Those questions alone might lead one to believe Miami is the sensible answer, but not so fast…

The Miami Heat are an aging team with Dwayne Wade a shell of his former self. According to reports, Chris Bosh may be seriously considering an exit to the Houston Rockets where he can be part of another “Big 3” (though most reports believe he stays if LBJ does). And the supporting cast surrounding LBJ, D-Wade, and Bosh is questionable and I don’t believe signing Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger changes that.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are younger and full of potential with point guard Kyrie Irving as a budding superstar and a #1 draft pick in Andrew Wiggins who could be one, too (time will tell).

There are supremely valid arguments for LeBron to stay in Miami or return to Cleveland. If you’re following this saga like me, you’ve read them all. You know the scenarios and pros and cons. And I won’t bore you rehashing them.

Just like four years ago, media speculation is at a fever pitch with rampant speculation. And like four years past, there are probably a handful of people on the Earth who know what’s going to happen. LeBron would be one (if he’s made up his mind). His agent is likely another. Anyone else who thinks they know is suspect.

The world will probably know of The Decision Part II by week’s end. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows?

Here is where I wanted to give my perspective from a diehard Cavs fan. There are those who believe it’s a betrayal for a Cavs fan to welcome LBJ back with open arms. And as it is with sports – people’s opinions can be steadfast, unwavering, and a little rough around the edges if you see it a different way than they do.

Perspective is important. I was angry when LeBron James left the Cavs. I was angry for two reasons:

1) The Cleveland Cavaliers are my team and we lost the best player in the world.

2) The ESPN spectacle in which LeBron announced the infamous Decision.

Note that I wasn’t mad at his decision for leaving for Miami. I was mad that my team was losing him and mad at the way he did it. Did I understand why he left? Of course and I said that immediately in the 2010 summer. For seven seasons, the Cavs failed to put a team around him that won a championship. Antawn Jamison is no Pippen to LBJ’s Jordan. Nor is Drew Gooden. An aging Shaquille O’Neal is no Abdul-Jabbar to LBJ’s Magic Johnson. And let’s face it – Mike Brown has proven then and more recently that his coaching is not exactly Pat Riley or Phil Jackson level.

LeBron James leaving for Miami made sense. As a Cavs fan, it kills me to say that. It’s true though. He was able to partner up with teammates that were an improvement to anything he had in Cleveland and be on a program run by Pat Riley, a genius of the sport. Does that change the extreme disappointment of losing the greatest player on my team? Of course not. It also doesn’t mean I’m not sensible enough to recognize it was a better opportunity for him to win a championship… which he did. Twice.

Four years later, the Miami Heat have changed. They may not have what it takes to be title contenders in their current formation. And the players that Cleveland has — ironically, because LBJ left — just might. Time will tell.

About the ESPN PR disaster that was The Decision… it hurt as a Cleveland fan to see him do that. It was inconsiderate. It was tacky. It was arrogant. I did a lot of inconsiderate, tacky, and arrogant things when I was 25. I’m not excusing it. I’m just saying I understand (as Chris Rock might put it).

You know what happened with my extreme hurt of how he handled The Decision? I eventually got over it. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t about to root for the Miami Heat and never did and never will. However, I certainly don’t harbor enough ill will anymore that I wouldn’t want the best player on the planet back on my team. That’s because I’m a Cavs fan and their fans should wish for the best. LeBron James is the best. LeBron James gives us the greatest chance to win a championship.

And that’s my perspective on the situation. Truth be told – I have no idea what LeBron is going to do. Neither do you. We will soon find out together. If he comes back, it makes sense. If he stays, it makes sense. I know what I’d like him to do. Yet if he doesn’t – I won’t be filled with the sadness that came four years ago.

Life’s too short, my friends.