Hobbs & Shaw Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (07/31): My estimate has dropped from $82.6 million to $72.6 million

Two of the most popular characters from the venerable Fast and Furious franchise get their  own spin-off (the first of the long running series) with Hobbs & Shaw next weekend. The action extravaganza comes with a reported $200 million budget and is headlined by the title characters respectively portrayed by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. David Leitch (co-director of John Wick and sole director of Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2) is behind the camera. Costars include Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, and Helen Mirren (reprising her maternal role from 2017’s last entry The Fate of the Furious).

Despite the absence of Vin Diesel and other actors associated with the franchise that started 18 years ago, Hobbs & Shaw is likely to perform similarly to other pics in the canon. The largest opening was accomplished in 2015 with Furious 7 with a gross of $147 million. Tragically, part of the reason its start was significantly more than the others was due to the untimely death of Paul Walker and that picture representing his swan song. Follow-up Fate of the Furious two years later landed the second highest start of the eight features at $98 million.

This might fall a bit under those gaudy numbers and I think low to mid 80s is most feasible. That would put it in line or a just bit below the $86 million accomplished by Fast Five in 2011.

Hobbs & Shaw opening weekend prediction: $72.6 million

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious is our eighth – yes, eighth – installment of a franchise that it would have been ridiculous to imagine there being that many entries. We’re a long way from the original 16 years ago that was sort of a drag racing rip-off of Point Break, or Point Brake as I deemed it in my review. That said, a common thread among the series is its willingness to be knowingly ridiculous while weaving in endless monologues about the importance of family.

The formula took on a different tone in predecessor Furious 7, which admirably managed to deal with the death of franchise stalwart Paul Walker in its conclusion. In that sense, Fate ushers in a new chapter. New characters are introduced, old ones are rehashed, and the level of silliness is brought to a level not quite seen before. Yes, cars go fast here. However, part 8 owes more to James Bond flicks when they were less grim (think Roger Moore era with a quarter billion dollar budget).

As I’ve written in previous Furious critiques, plot is secondary but here’s what you need to know: Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has turned on his team. Sort of. He’s being forced to team up with criminal mastermind Cipher (Charlize Theron), who evades authorities in the air on an invisible plane. See what I mean? Isn’t that the kind of villain 007 might battle in the late seventies? Now on the wrong side of justice, Dominic and Cipher must go against Dom’s “family”, including wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and the familiar players played by Dwayne Johnson (whose goofy character is still good for some funny and bizarre moments), Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Kurt Russell, and more. Part 7’s main villain Jason Statham is more of a team player this time around and even Oscar winner Helen Mirren turns up as his mum. Statham is granted a fight scene towards the end where he has to be delicate with some cargo he’s carrying (you’ll see what I mean). The scene is genuinely humorous and quite well choreographed.

The plot is all an excuse for the massive action spectacles and globe trotting we’ve become accustomed to and we have it here in Cuba, New York City, and Russia. The climactic sequence set on Russian frozen tundra employs the usual expensive vehicles, but we also are treated to tanks and submarines. Remember the ice action in Pierce Brosnan’s Bond flick Die Another Day? Think that, but it’s not embarrassingly awful.

Our Furious sagas rise and fall on the ability for us to check our brains at the Universal logo. By the third act, I’d succumbed once again to its cheesy charms. Maybe one day this series will truly stall like it briefly did in 2006’s Tokyo Drift. Not yet though and that’s some kind of testament to its durability.

*** (out of four)

The Fate of the Furious Box Office Prediction

Universal Pictures’ billion dollar franchise keeps rolling along as The Fate of the Furious
parks into multiplexes on Easter Weekend. The eighth (yes, eighth) street racing action spectacle finds Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray taking over behind the camera. Fate finds the majority of thespians associated with the series returning – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacis, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, and Nathalie Emmanuel. We also have a pair of Oscar winners joining the mix with Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren, as well as Scott Eastwood (whose dad has won some Oscars). Of course, this is the first picture (excluding 2006’s Tokyo Drift) without Paul Walker, who died during the filming of Furious 7.

When Diesel and Walker returned to the franchise in 2009’s Fast and Furious, it sparked a box office resurgence that’s never let up. That fourth entry debuted to $70 million with an overall $155M domestic haul. Follow-up Fast Five in 2011 opened to $86 million ($209M eventual tally). 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 made $97 million out of the gate and $238M eventually. And 2015’s Furious 7 easily set the high mark with a $147 million premiere and $353M overall.

The grosses of Furious 7 were likely (and sadly) expanded due to it being Walker’s last on-screen appearance. Therefore it stands to reason that Fate probably won’t reach the heights of that predecessor. That said, this looks to be a franchise that is still going strong and it would be surprising if it didn’t post the second largest bow thus far.

I’ll predict the fate of this is an opening gross in the low to mid $120M range.

The Fate of the Furious opening weekend prediction: $122.7 million

For my Gifted prediction, click here:


Furious 7 Movie Review

The adrenaline fused junk food soap opera that is the Fast and Furious franchise has met with real life in its seventh installment, Furious 7. The pic faced the unenviable task of addressing the death of one its signature stars Paul Walker, who lost his life in a car accident in 2013. The filmmakers handle it in a delicate and touching way at the conclusion and manage to give fans of the franchise what they’ve come to anticipate from this multicultural action fest. It’s got everything you’d expect: ridiculous and often cringe inducing one liners, incredibly choreographed sequences with cars doing things they have no business doing, beautiful scenery on both the human and geographical scale, and lots of dialogue about family (which hits closer than normal considering the events with Walker).

The plot of these proceedings is always secondary, of course. Furious 7 actually picks up after the events of Tokyo Drift, the series third entry and its weakest. This would be after the death of team member Han and our new villain is Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the older brother of part 6’s dearly departed villain Owen. Deckard is out for revenge and that means he’s targeting the whole crew, led by Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Walker), and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who’s still suffering from her amnesia as a result of her near death in part 4. The other usual suspects return including Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Jordana Brewster. And there’s Dwayne Johnson back as Hobbs, the gloriously over the top federal agent who is responsible for some of the silliest bits of dialogue. One notable newcomer is Kurt Russell as a shadowy government agent and the veteran performer seems to be having a lot of fun.

Where the Furious movies succeed or fail depends mostly on the action set pieces and 7 has some dandies. The whole midsection set in Abu Dhabi gives us some real thrills, particularly a sequence involving a multi million dollar car crashing through multiple buildings. The eventual climax back in the homeland of Los Angeles involves predator drones, a pretty far cry from a franchise that used to be concerned with just car tricks. When part 5 was released, the Onion newspaper hilariously pontificated that its screenwriter Chris Morgan was actually a kindergartner. He continues to write these pictures and by my math, he’d be in fourth grade now. Sometimes it still feels as if an elementary student is writing the words here, but that’s not really the point. In Furious world, what counts is the adventure on the screen. And there’s plenty of excitement that James Wan (a new director to the series) conjures up here. It’s pretty simple. If you like this franchise, you’ll like what you see the seventh time around. And you might be a little surprised at how just a completely unsubtle series handles the loss of one its biggest stars with a subtle touch.

*** (out of four)

Hitman: Agent 47 Box Office Prediction

Based on a video game series, the action spectacle Hitman: Agent 47 hits theaters next Friday and it may be a prime example of a late August summer release that gets lost in the shuffle. The pic was originally meant to be a starring vehicle for Paul Walker before his death in 2013.

Stepping into the lead role is Rupert Friend, one of the stars of Showtime’s “Homeland”. The supporting cast includes Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, and Ciaran Hinds. While 20th Century Fox has been promoting Hitman with plenty of TV spots, I’m just not sure how this breaks through with other action fare like Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. out there.

As I see it, Hitman: Agent 47 would be very lucky to top double digits out of the gate and I don’t really think it gets too close to that.

Hitman: Agent 47 opening weekend prediction: $6 million

For my Sinister 2 prediction, click here:


For my American Ultra prediction, click here:


Furious 7 Box Office Prediction

This Friday, the eagerly awaited Furious 7 looks to pass a number of box office milestones: biggest opening so far in 2o15 and highest debut of the fourteen year old franchise. Conjuring director James Wan takes over the series from Justin Lin.

The last two entries of the Fast and Furious series have brought the franchise to new heights. 2011’s Fast Five opened to $86.1 million with a final domestic tally of $209 million. Two years ago, Fast & Furious 6 topped that with a $97.3 million premiere and a $238 million eventual haul.

As tragic as it is, there is little doubt that star Paul Walker’s untimely death contributes to a curiosity factor here. This will be the last screen appearance of the actor as series regulars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris return. Kurt Russell and Jason Statham also join the party. Reviews have been quite strong and it sits at 86% currently on Rotten Tomatoes.

Furious 7 needs to surpass the $95 million that Captain America: The Winter Soldier made last year to post the largest April opening of all time. As I see it, it will blast past that mark with relative ease to earn that designation and set the franchise record in the meantime.

Furious 7 opening weekend prediction: $117.4 million

Brick Mansions Box Office Prediction

The late Paul Walker headlines the action thriller Brick Mansions which debuts this Friday. This is one of the star’s final roles before his tragic auto accident that claimed his life in the fall of 2013 and it features a script from Luc Besson and costars Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA.

The marketing for Mansions has ramped up a bit in the last couple of weeks and it will be interesting to see how Walker’s presence translates into box office dollars. Truth be told, Mr. Walker was never much of a box office draw outside of the massive Fast and Furious franchise and there’s nothing much about this film’s TV spots that make it look noteworthy.

My gut feeling is that audiences will, for the most part, wait until the seventh Fast flick in 2015 to bid farewell to the late actor and Brick Mansions should have a debut in the low double digits.

Brick Mansions opening weekend prediction: $12.3 million

For my The Other Woman prediction, click here:


For my The Quiet Ones prediction, click here:


Box Office Results: May 31-June 2

It’s certainly not every weekend that you can describe the box office results as truly shocking. However, this weekend… they were truly shocking. 

This is for two reasons: the over performance of Now You See Me and the under performance of After Earth. No one figured the caper flick Now You See Me had a chance of making more than Will Smith’s sci-fi pic After Earth. That’s precisely what happened.

We begin where we should though and that’s with Fast and Furious 6 remaining in the top spot with $35.1 million, a tad below my $36M projection. The sixth F+F installment experienced a sophomore weekend decline right in line with other entries in the franchise.

This brings us to #2… Now You See Me. And that would be an epic failure of predicting on my part. I grossly underestimated the picture and predicted it’d open sixth with $14.2 million. Boy, was I wrong. Garnering a rock solid A- Cinemascore average, See Me took the runner-up spot with an impressive $29.3 million. Audiences clearly were in the mood for something original and different and this seemed to be just the ticket.

And now to the enormous failure of After Earth. The M. Night Shyamalan directed sci-fi pic starring Will and Jaden Smith earned brutal reviews and, as it turns out, audience ambivalence. I incorrectly figured Smith’s star power would propel the film to a #1 opening and a $39.1 million opening weekend. Again… boy, was I wrong! Placing third, Earth debuted with a very weak $27.5 million. Earning a tepid B Cinemascore grade, expect Earth to fade fast in subsequent weekends.

Star Trek Into Darkness took fourth with $16.7 million, edging out fifth place Epic at $16.6 million. I predicted a bit more for each at $18.5M and $17.7M, respectively. And continuing its disappointing results in sixth place was The Hangover Part III, which made $16.3 million in its sophomore weekend (I predicted $17.1M).


Fast and Furious 6

Gross: $35.1 million. Todd’s Prediction: $36 million.

Now You See Me

Gross: $29.3 million. Todd’s Prediction: $14.2 million.

After Earth

Gross: $27.5 million. Todd’s Prediction: $39.1 million.


Gross: $16.6 million. Todd’s Prediction: $17.7 million.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Gross: $16.7 million. Todd’s Prediction: $18.5 million.

The Hangover Part III

Gross: $16.3 million. Todd’s Prediction: $17.1 million.

So there you have it – not a great weekend for me predicting the new openers at all. I’ll try to do better next weekend. Tomorrow on the blog, I’ll have my opening weekend prediction for the Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy The Internship. Tuesday, my opening prediction for The Purge starring Ethan Hawke. And Wednesday, my usual Top Five predictions. Stay tuned!

The Fast and the Furious Movie Review

Being that the top two grossing opening weekends in Universal Pictures history is the last two installments of the Fast and Furious franchise, I felt it was time for yours truly to take a look at the series.

Yes, believe it or not, I have only seen the original F+F picture. That was twelve years ago and I barely remembered it. So what’s a blogger to do? Why go out and buy the first five flicks and review them all for your perusal. Hopefully, I’ll watch ’em in enough time to catch the sixth feature in the theater and blog about it as well.

Let’s begin with the franchise’s first entry, 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. Director Rob Cohen brings us into the world of California street racing when LAPD officer Brian (Paul Walker) goes undercover to solve a series of truck hijackings. This introduces him to a team of racers led by Dominic (Vin Diesel). His crew includes his girl Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), the one that doesn’t like Brian, the one whose dad is in jail, and, um, the other one. Of course, Brian also falls in love with Dominic’s sister (Jordana Brewster) in order for him to be emotionally invested.

Dominic’s crew is in a long-standing rivalry with an Asian street gang, led by Johnny Tran (Die Another Day‘s Rick Yune) and it is that crew that Brian initially suspects of being the perps. It just can’t be Dominic, especially after he explains his daddy issues to Brian in a male bonding moment.

Truth be told, The Fast and the Furious is no great of example of writing or, in my cases, acting. Walker is a bit of blank slate and Brewster is rather dull as well. The one with screen presence is definitely Mr. Diesel, as well as Ms. Rodriguez.

It’s worth noting that Fast seems directly influenced by an action pic that came ten years before it, Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break. Call this Point Brake, if you will. Only it’s not near as good.

Where Fast often succeeds is its well choreographed car sequences that certainly make it highly watchable. Director Cohen directs the pic with energy and style with a soundtrack that bumps with Ludacris and Ja Rule beats for the first half and mostly techno in the second half.

Is it enough for me say the original Fast is a good movie? Not really, but it’s close. I certainly get why legions of moviegoers enjoyed it. If I’m being honest, though, I spent the last few minutes of the film wondering two things:

1) In the climactic truck hijacking, how come there’s zero traffic on a freeway other than the hijacked truck and Brian, Dominic, and crew?

2) Isn’t Paul Walker’s character literally the worst undercover cop in the history of undercover cops?

Still, the o.g. F+F gets the franchise off to a serviceable start. Who knew that this modestly budgeted flick would become the biggest franchise in the world that doesn’t involve superheroes or is based on a wildly popular series of books?

**1/2 (out of four)

We’ll see what the gang is up to as my blog series continues shortly with 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Fast and Furious 6 Box Office Prediction

Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, and company take on the Wolf Pack in an epic showdown at the Memorial Day box office this weekend. It’s beginning to look like Fast will outpace The Hangover franchise.

I wrote extensively yesterday about the Wolf Pack’s chances at the multiplex this weekend and you can peruse that post right here:


As mentioned in the blog post, The Hangover seems like a franchise that’s losing steam. We are seeing the opposite with the Furious franchise. Let’s take a trip down franchise memory lane, shall we?

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Opening Weekend: $40.8M. Total Domestic Gross: $144.5M

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Opening Weekend: $50.4M. Total Domestic Gross: $127.1M

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Opening Weekend: $23.9M. Total Domestic Gross: $62.5M

Fast and Furious (2009)

Opening Weekend: $70.9M. Total Domestic Gross: $155M

Fast Five (2011)

Opening Weekend: $86.1M. Total Domestic Gross: $209.8M

You will notice that the last two Fast pics were enormous blockbusters. Fast Five not only was by far the franchise’s biggest grosser – it also earned critical respect unlike any other entry. The 2001 original had previously been the highest on Rotten Tomatoes at a decent 52%. Fast Five got 78%! Where does Fast&Furious 6 currently sit? 78%.

This all leads me to the conclusion that the sixth installment is likely to capitalize on the good will brought forth by its predecessor. Additionally, Fast 6 has the benefit of a four-day opening over a holiday weekend. If it performs similar to #5’s numbers with the extra day factored in, we could be looking at a gross of over $100 million for opening weekend.

What could stand in its way? One word: competition. The Hangover Part III and the second weekend of Star Trek Into Darkness are most certainly gunning for the same audience. This fact alone could mean that Fast 6 opens lower than expected.

However, I don’t believe it will. This franchise is red-hot at the right time and looks poised for an massive debut. I’m convinced it will be #1, landing the Wolf Pack a second place finish. Who would’ve thought this unexpected 2001 hit would turn into the franchise it is today? You gotta give Universal a lot of credit and I believe this weekend will keep the momentum going. By the way, #7 will be out next summer.

Fast&Furious 6 opening weekend prediction: $106.8 million

Tomorrow on the blog, look for my prediction for Epic, the animated feature that will attempt to get the kiddos to the theater this weekend. On Wednesday, my prediction for the Top Five including the second weekend of Star Trek Into Darkness.