September 2-5 Box Office Predictions

Just like last year, the Marvel Cinematic Universe may land atop the charts over Labor Day weekend. This time around, it’ll be with considerably less money… as in, less than one-tenth of what we witnessed in 2021. Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition (with 11 minutes of extra footage) is scheduled for the widest (re)release of the holiday frame.

Steven Spielberg’s OG summer blockbuster Jaws also returns to cinemas. The only true newcomer is the Regina Hall/Sterling K. Brown satire Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul,, which is also available on streaming via Peacock.

My detailed prediction posts on each are accessible here:

Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition Box Office Prediction

Jaws Box Office Prediction

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. Box Office Prediction

Let’s start with Jesus as I have its $2.4 million projected Friday-Monday offering potentially falling outside of the top ten. There’s a slight chance it could surprise, but I doubt it.

There’s been a narrative developing for awhile that Top Gun: Maverick could manage to return to first position in its 15th week. During Labor Day, popular holdovers do often expand their gross from the previous frame. I expect that will be the case here. However, I do believe Spidey’s 3000 screens (some IMAX) should allow it to swing back to #1 after it originally debuted last December. This should leave the runner-up spot for Maverick or Bullet Train (they should be close). That’s a far cry from this same period in 2021 when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings decimated the all-time Labor Day record with $94 million.

Jaws is only on a fraction of the webbed superhero’s venues (about 1200) so the possibilities are limited. My estimate of $3.1 million would probably put it in seventh place.

Current champ The Invitation hardly impressed in its premiere (more on that below). With a troubling C Cinemascore grade, expect it to be one of the only leftovers that does see diminished returns. It should drop to at least fourth while the five spot could be close between DC League of Super-Pets and Beast. 

And with that, let’s do a top 7 outlook and keep in mind these numbers are for the four-day holiday:

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition

Predicted Gross: $7 million

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million

3. Bullet Train

Predicted Gross: $6 million

4. The Invitation

Predicted Gross: $4.6 million

5. DC League of Super-Pets

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

6. Beast

Predicted Gross: $4.1 million

7. Jaws

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (August 26-28)

I’ll go the obvious route… there weren’t many RSVP’s for YA horror tale The Invitation. This is the first time in 15 months that the #1 pic didn’t manage to make over $10 million. The Invitation stumbled with $6.8 million, below my $8.1 million forecast.

Bullet Train was second with $5.6 million (on target of my $5.5 million call) with an overall take of $78 million.

Top Gun: Maverick was third with $4.7 million (I went with $5.2 million) as the juggernaut has now gathered $691 million. The biggest hit of the year is on a glide path to topple Black Panther ($700 million) next and become the fifth largest domestic earner in history.

Beast had a hefty sophomore drop of 58% for $4.8 million and fourth place. That’s under my $5.7 million prediction. The subpar two-week tally is $20 million.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, as anticipated, plummeted in its second weekend (its genre is extremely front loaded). After a fantastic $21 million start, Hero fell 78% to fifth with $4.6 million (I was more generous at $5 million). After ten days, it’s taken in $30 million stateside.

DC League of Super-Pets was sixth with $4.1 million (I said $4.6 million) for $74 million in its 5 weeks of release.

Finally, George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing was a pricey dud for MGM. The Idris Elba/Tilda Swinton Djinn fantasy, with a reported $60 million budget, opened in 7th with a mere $2.9 million. I thought it could at least manage $4 million. The studio is certainly wishing they hadn’t spent what they did after that performance.

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

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. Box Office Prediction

As the wealthy First Lady and Pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch, Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown headline the satire Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. After originally premiering at Sundance in January, it’s out in approximately 1800 theaters and streaming on Peacock for Labor Day weekend. Adamma Ebo directs and costars include Austin Crute and Nicole Beharie.

The Focus Features title received mostly positive spins on the festival circuit and the Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 88%. Honk will hope for a solid African-American turnout, but this could have challenges finding parishioners. The most obvious is that the early September holiday weekend is one where moviegoers are often distracted with end of summer activities. I also haven’t seen much of a marketing campaign.

With Jordan Peele serving as executive producer, the answer to whether this gets to even $3 million could be nope. 

Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. opening weekend prediction: $2.4 million (Friday to Monday prediction)

For my Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff prediction, click here:

Spider-Man: No Way Home – The More Fun Stuff Edition Box Office Prediction

For my Jaws prediction, click here:

Jaws Box Office Prediction

They/Them Review

John Logan’s directorial debut They/Them tries to mix social commentary with the slasher genre. The result doesn’t feel sharp or incisive and it especially doesn’t provide many scares. Logan has written many a screenplay (from Gladiator to The Aviator to Skyfall) and it’s a little shocking how much of a misfire this blend ends up being.

A group of teens and young adults arrive at the Whistler Camp run by Owen (Kevin Bacon) and wife Cora (Carrie Preston). It’s billed as a conversion camp for the LGBTQ community though Owen insists the experience is all about finding your true self. Their educational methods are soon discovered to be on the bizarre and barbaric side with non-binary Jordan (Theo Germaine) as the most vocal critic. Another skeptic is Molly (Anna Chlumsky), a newly employed nurse at the facility. She’s the only member of the staff not drinking the Kool-Aid.

In addition to the horror of Owen’s work, there’s a potential Friday the 13th situation happening with a masked killer on the grounds. That part of the storyline is put on the back burner mostly until the third act and the eventual twists are pretty obvious.

For the majority of its length, They/Them struggles mightily with its tone. We have glimmers of camp (including a cringe worthy Pink singalong) and then a therapy session that goes for Get Out vibes and fails. Some of the performances are decent. A small subplot about deeply closeted high schooler (Anna Lore) and her budding romance with the more confident Veronica (Monique Kim) might have been interesting in a different movie.

Despite the clever title with a double meaning (they slash them), the picture itself never solves its own identity crisis. By doing so, it certainly does a disservice to the issues it tries to explore.

*1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Predictions: They/Them

At first glance, even writing an Oscar predictions post for They/Them might seem a little silly. The slasher pic set at a conversion camp premieres on Peacock tomorrow and reunites Kevin Bacon with the bloody genre 42 years after Friday the 13th. 

It doesn’t seem as silly considering it’s the directorial debut of John Logan. He also serves as sole writer for the project and he’s a three-time Academy nominee for his penned works: 2000’s Gladiator, 2004’s The Aviator, and 2011’s Hugo. 

Yet despite his scripting a trio of Best Picture nominees, reviews for this Blumhouse produced offering are mixed at best. The Rotten Tomatoes meter is currently at 50%. That makes this equation simple as They/Them will nab as many Academy mentions as Friday the 13th. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

May 13-15 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (05/12): Revising Firestarter down to $6.5 million

A different caped crusader set the 2022 opening weekend record with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness dominating the charts. It will reign supreme in its sophomore frame as only the Stephen King adapted horror reboot Firestarter debuts this weekend. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Firestarter Box Office Prediction

I’m giving Firestarter (also available via Peacock) the benefit of the doubt by putting it in double digits considering its genre often over performs. That should easily give it the #2 slot behind MCU’s mystical doc.

Look for The Bad Guys and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to slide a spot to 3rd and 4th. The five spot could be close between Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Everything Everywhere All at Once. 

The real question is how far Multiverse drops in its sophomore outing. The Strange sequel received mixed critical reaction that has carried over a bit with audiences. The B+ Cinemascore grade is among the lowest of the franchise. Only Eternals (B) was below it while 2011’s original Thor also received the B+ designation. Due to that factor, I could foresee a low to potentially high 60s range fall.

Here’s how I see the top 6 playing out:

1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $66.8 million

2. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

3. Firestarter 

Predicted Gross: $6.5 million

4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

6. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

Box Office Results (May 6-8) 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had the #11 largest domestic debut in history, positioning itself between fellow Disney sequels Avengers: Age of Ultron and Incredibles 2. Coming on the heels of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the MCU property amassed $187.4 million. While that didn’t get into top 10 all-time territory like I projected at $208.5 million, it’s still a marvelous haul (especially considering the 2016 original began with $85 million). For the reasons stated above, I do expect a larger than normal MCU decline in the mid 60s.

The Bad Guys, after two weeks in first, was second with $9.5 million. That’s in line with my $10 million estimate as the DreamWorks title has taken in $57 million thus far.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was third with $6 million, a bit under my expected $7.1 million. Overall gross is a sturdy $169 million.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore continued its underwhelming run with $4.2 million. I was on target as I said $4.3 million. Total is $86 million as it’s hoping to at least eek out $100 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once rounded out the top five with $3.5 million. I projected a little higher with $4.4 million, but its pleasing tally is up to $41 million.

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

Firestarter Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (05/12): Revising my prediction down to $6.5 million

Based on Stephen King’s 1980 novel and a reworking of the 1984 film adaptation starring a young Drew Barrymore, Firestarter hopes to heat up multiplexes on Friday the 13th. Ryan Kiera Armstrong fills Barrymore’s original role as a pyrokinetic kid with Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, and Gloria Reuben among the cast. Keith Thomas directs.

Coming from the Blumhouse label which has produced plenty of horror hits, this will be released simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock, which is still finding its way in the streaming universe. The first Firestarter 38 years ago was not a hot property at the box office as it grossed $17 million. It’s also fair to say that it isn’t considered a genre classic like other King penned cinematic properties.

Horror pics are dangerous to underestimate, but my hunch is that Firestarter may not reach $13 million. The worst case scenario could be a start in the high double digits, but I’ll say it gets a bit beyond that.

Firestarter opening weekend prediction: $6.5 million

For my Downton Abbey: A New Era prediction, click here:

Downton Abbey: A New Era Box Office Prediction

February 18-21 Box Office Predictions

The video game adaptation Uncharted with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg looks to rule the #1 spot over the four-day President’s Day weekend while Channing Tatum’s directorial debut Dog hopes for a solid second place showing. They’re the newbies coming on Friday and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

Uncharted Box Office Prediction

Dog Box Office Prediction

While reviews are mixed (50% currently on Rotten Tomatoes) for Uncharted, it should easily take a commanding lead for the POTUS frame. My low to mid 30s take puts it at about two and half times the gross of Dog, which finds Mr. Tatum in his first starring role in nearly half a decade.

As for holdovers, the long weekend should allow for smallish drop-offs. We’ve seen that play out previously during the mid February time period. Death on the Nile, following its mediocre start, might flirt with staying in double digits (I have it just under) with Spider-Man: No Way Home (that other Holland pic), Marry Me, and Jackass Forever filling out the rest of the chart.

Here’s how I envision the top 6 and these are estimates over the Friday to Monday holiday:

1. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $33.7 million

2. Dog

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million

3. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million

5. Marry Me

Predicted Gross: $6 million

6. Jackass Forever

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million

Box Office Results (February 11-13)

As mentioned, Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile (his follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express) went a bit off the tracks with $12.8 million. That’s shy of my $14.3 million projection and it’s less than half of what Orient accomplished out of the gate.

Jackass Forever dropped to second with $8 million. The 65% drop was the largest of the five picture franchise and under my prediction of $11.3 million. The prankster sequel stands at $37 million after ten days.

Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson couldn’t get audiences to fall for them as Marry Me debuted in third with $7.9 million. That didn’t match my expectation of $11.2 million. Its simultaneous Peacock streaming start might have caused many couples to simply view from home.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was fourth with $7.5 million (I said $7.1 million) for $759 million overall. The MCU smash is just $1 million away from Avatar and becoming the third largest domestic earner of all-time (obviously it will hit that mark this week).

Liam Neeson’s latest revenge thriller Blacklight performed in line with his other COVID genre tales Honest Thief and The Marksman. The fifth place tally was $3.5 million, in range with my $3.8 million estimate.

Finally, Moonfall took a giant step down to #8 and fell 70% with $2.9 million in its sophomore outing (I was a little more generous with $3.5 million). Sing 2 and Scream managed to leap it for the sixth and seventh spots. The putrid gross is just $15 million.

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

Oscar Predictions: Marry Me

Jennifer Lopez is back in rom com territory tomorrow with Marry Me, which debuts in theaters and Peacock streaming. It’s hoping to be a midsize Valentine’s Day frame hit. The reviews are in and they’re not half bad with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 60%.

You’d be correct in wondering why this material warrants an Oscar post. This is due to the soundtrack in which the star contributes numerous tracks. Some singles are already out such as “Pa’ Ti + Lonely” (a duet with her costar Maluma) and “On My Way”.

Universal could focus on either of them or other ditties for an Original Song push. If Lopez does manage to find herself in the mix, it would mark her first Academy nod. As you may recall, J-Lo was heavily favored to land a Supporting Actress mention two years ago for Hustlers and her omission was a surprise. There’s plenty of songs to come in the next year, but it stands to reason that she’ll be campaigned for her musical contributions. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

February 11-13 Box Office Predictions

It’s been pretty easy to predict each weekend’s #1 film for a while – a lot of Spidey, a one-week interruption by Scream, and Johnny Knoxville and his pranksters in Jackass Forever. That gets a little more complicated this time around as three new pics enter the marketplace: Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express follow-up Death on the Nile, the Jennifer Lopez/Owen Wilson musical rom com Marry Me, and the latest Liam Neeson revenge saga Blacklight. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio right here:

Death on the Nile Box Office Prediction

Marry Me Box Office Prediction

Blacklight Box Office Prediction

Let’s start with Blacklight. Had this Neeson led tale (his granddaughter gets taken in it) come out in February a decade ago, we might be having a different conversation. However, grosses for these genre exercises with the actor have dwindled over the past couple of years (see Honest Thief and The Marksman). Therefore my $3.8 million estimate puts it at the tail end of the top five.

Then there’s Marry Me. It’s shrewdly placed during Valentine’s Day weekend where couples could be searching out something to view on date night. They will have the opportunity to do so with Marry Me in the theater and on Peacock and that could eat into the earnings. I have it barely topping double digits, but will admit that it could over perform and even snatch the #1 spot.

Jackass Forever is the fifth feature in the 20-year-old franchise and the fifth to open at #1. Looking over previous sophomore frame dips for earlier pics, I was surprised at their low drops. For 2002’s Jackass: The Movie, it was 44%.  2006’s Jackass: Number Two fell 49% while 2010’s Jackass 3D was the steepest at 57% (it was coming off a massive $50 million premiere). Spinoff Bad Grandpa in 2013 only had a 37% decline. I’ll say Forever loses about 50% That could be good enough for anywhere from the 1-3 slot depending on how Nile and Marry pan out. There could be a photo finish for that two spot.

Murder on the Orient Express tracked a solid $28 million haul just over four years ago. Yet it didn’t leg out particularly well and I question whether audiences are truly excited for another dose of Hercule Poirot and his many suspects. I suspect it should still make around half of what its predecessor took in. That would get it to #1, but we’re in a situation where we could have three genuine contenders for the top spot.

Spider-Man should stay in the top five with Moonfall potentially dropping out. The Roland Emmerich disaster tale managed just a C+ Cinemascore grade to go with its weak opening. A sophomore fall in the 60% range appears likely.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a certain game between the Bengals and Rams taking place Sunday. We usually don’t see three high-profile releases on Super Bowl weekend and it’s fair to assume grosses will take a hit on that date.

Here’s how I see it shaking out for your top 6:

1. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $14.3 million

2. Jackass Forever

Predicted Gross: $11.3 million

3. Marry Me

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

5. Blacklight

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

6. Moonfall

Predicted Gross: $3.5 million

Box Office Results (February 4-6)

The Jackass franchise is five for five when it comes to opening #1 at the box office. Jackass Forever performed in line with estimates at $23.1 million, a touch ahead of my $21.8 million projection. It ranks fourth in terms of the quintet of debuts (just ahead of the original), but it’s certainly an impressive number given the circumstances.

As for Roland Emmerich’s disaster pic Moonfall… not so much. The big budget ($140 million) lunar saga cratered with only $9.8 million (I went higher with $12.8 million). As mentioned above, expect a precipitous drop in its sophomore frame.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was third with $9.5 million, swinging a bit above my $8.1 million take. The total has reached $748 million as it inches ever closer to 3rd domestically all-time (currently held by Avatar with $760 million).

Scream was fourth with $4.7 million (I said $4.4 million) and it’s scared up an overall tally of $68 million.

Sing 2 rounded out the top five with $4.2 million compared to my $3.6 million estimate. Total is $139 million.

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

Marry Me Box Office Prediction

It’s been 20 years since the heyday of Jennifer Lopez rom coms like The Wedding Planner and Maid in Manhattan, but the actress returns to the genre (with a heavy dose of music) on February 11th in Marry Me. Directed by Kat Coiro, Lopez stars as a spurned pop star who strikes up a romance with Owen Wilson. The supporting cast includes Maluma, John Bradley, and Sarah Silverman.

Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day weekend 2021 before the inevitable COVID delay, it will be available on Peacock streaming same day. Clearly hoping for a healthy female turnout, plenty of viewers could opt to RSVP from home rather than walk down the theater aisle.

J-Lo’s last foray into this territory was 2018’s Second Act, which debuted over a packed Christmas weekend to only $6.5 million (it legged out decently to nearly $40 million). I’ll project Marry Me manages to top that figure, but it still could struggle to reach double digits. I’ll say it just manages to.

Marry Me opening weekend prediction: $11.2 million

For my Death on the Nile prediction, click here:

Death on the Nile Box Office Prediction

For my Blacklight prediction, click here:

Blacklight Box Office Prediction