Horror should rule the box office with Halloween Ends debuting and Smile continuing its impressive run. Jamie Lee Curtis’s alleged final battle with Michael Myers is the only new release this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
Predecessor Halloween Kills from last year made considerably less out of the gate than its predecessor from 2018. Even with a simultaneous release on Peacock (same as Kills), I will give Ends a start in the mid to high 40s. That’s on pace with Kills.
Smile should easily hold the #2 spot after a very sturdy hold in its sophomore outing (more on that below). Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (after a unimpressive opening) may experience a high 30s second weekend fall while The Woman King and bomb Amsterdam round out the top five.
Here’s how I see it:
1. Halloween Ends
Predicted Gross: $47.6 million
Predicted Gross: $11.8 million
3. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Predicted Gross: $7.2 million
4. The Woman King
Predicted Gross: $4.1 million
Predicted Gross: $3 million
Box Office Results (October 7-9)
I expected Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile to take a bigger bite out of the charts and open in first place. That didn’t occur as the family friendly musical took in $11.4 million for second place. This is well below my prediction of $17.6 million.
That’s because Smile had a remarkable hold (especially for its genre) at $18.4 million. I was lower at $13.3 million. The low budget Paramount scare fest has amassed $50 million in ten days and looks like a solid contender to make nine digits domestically.
Despite the star power of Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and many more, David O. Russell’s critically lambasted Amsterdam was a dud with $6.4 million, under my $8.4 million take. Look for this see a drop in the mid 50s (at least) and sink fast.
The Woman King was fourth with $5.1 million (I said $4.7 million) and it’s reached $54 million total.
Don’t Worry Darling rounded out the top five with $3.5 million (I was right there with $3.4 million) for $38 million overall.
The culmination of this iteration of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) battling Michael Myers arrives on October 14th with Halloween Ends. Said to be Curtis’s final appearance in the 44-year-old franchise (though I’m sure Myers will manage to return in some form), David Gordon Green is back directing along with cowriter Danny McBride. It comes a year after Halloween Kills and four years behind Halloween which began the trilogy. It’s the 13th overall entry in the series overall. Costars include James Jude Courtney and OG Nick Castle doubling up again as the iconic slasher, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, and Kyle Richards.
2018’s Halloween was a juggernaut with a $76 million opening and $159 million eventual domestic haul. Kills still killed, but to a lesser degree with a $49 million start and $92 million overall take. Like its predecessor, Ends will be simultaneously available on Peacock.
In addition to the streaming option that could siphon away viewers, horror fans have had plenty to enjoy lately (Barbarian and Smile for example). That said, there’s obviously a built-in base here.
I do expect diminishing returns though not close to the disparity between 2018 and 2021. Mid to high 40s is where I see it and considering the reported $20 million budget, that’s a profitable cut for Universal.
Halloween Ends opening weekend prediction: $47.6 million
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:
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
Predicted Gross: $4.1 million
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.
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:
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.
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…
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:
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
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.
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:
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:
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:
Predicted Gross: $33.7 million
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.
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…