Strange World Box Office Prediction

The last time Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal played father and son, it was nearly 20 years ago in Roland Emmerich’s disaster epic The Day After Tomorrow. For the upcoming holiday, they’re family again in the Mouse Factory’s animated Strange World (out Wednesday November 23rd). Voicing a pair of explorers in the sci-fi themed adventure, Don Hall (who made Big Hero 6 and Raya and the Last Dragon) and Qui Nguyen direct. Other voices getting in on the action include Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, and Lucy Liu.

Disney is no stranger to releasing high profile product over the long Turkey Day frame. Sometimes that’s Pixar material or traditionally drawn fare such as this. Frozen remains the gold standard. It debuted to $67 million for the Friday to Sunday portion of Thanksgiving weekend with $93 million when counting Wednesday and Thursday. Other Disney releases like Moana and Coco made off with $82 and $72 million over their respective first five. On the other hand, The Good Dinosaur grossed just under $40 million from Friday to Sunday in 2015 with $55 million for the extended period. Perhaps the best comp is last year’s Encanto. It made $27 million for the three-day with $40 million for the five.

The buzz seems strangely quiet considering the studio pedigree. I would argue Encanto had more heat before it opened. Strange could manage only a second place start behind the third outing for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (which does give Disney a one-two punch for the weekend). This might open a little closer to Dreamworks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar from eight Thanksgivings ago at $25 million (Fri-Sun) and $35 million (Wed-Sun). It might even fall short of that.

Strange World opening weekend prediction: $19.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $26.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Devotion trailer, click here:

For my Bones and All prediction, click here:

For my The Fabelmans prediction, click here:

Summer 2012: The Top 10 Hits and More

My look back at the cinematic summers of 30, 20, and 10 years ago culminates with 2012. A decade ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe went from a successful franchise to the phenomenal juggernaut that it remains today. That’s due to the release of a little something called The Avengers. On a side note, it’s worth mentioning that the biggest grosser 30 years ago (Batman Returns), two decades ago (Spider-Man), and in this post all share comic book roots.

Before we get to Iron Man and company, I’ll recount the other features in the top ten moneymakers before covering additional notable titles and some flops. If you missed my write-ups about the seasons of 1992 and 2002, you can find them here:

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

Summer 2002: The Top 10 Hits and More

10. Prometheus

Domestic Gross: $126 million

Some three decades after Alien terrified audiences, Ridley Scott returned to the franchise. However, this was more of a mixed bag in terms of critical and audience reaction. The production design and Michael Fassbender’s performance were praised while the script drew its share of critics. Nevertheless Scott would be back in the mix five years later with Alien: Covenant. 

9. Snow White and the Huntsman 

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Hot off the Twilight franchise and hot off playing Thor in The Avengers, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth battled Prometheus costar Charlize Theron’s evil stepmom in this fantasy adventure. Reviews were so-so but it performed well enough to warrant a less appreciated prequel The Huntsman: Winter’s War in 2016.

8. Ice Age: Continental Drift 

Domestic Gross: $161 million

The fourth entry in the animated franchise featuring the vocal stylings of Ray Romano and John Leguizamo kept the grosses hot. Sequel Collision Course would follow four years later.

7. Men in Black 3

Domestic Gross: $179 million

The third teaming of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (with Josh Brolin playing a convincing younger version of him) earned $11 million less than 2002’s part II. That sequel made less than the 1997 original. The series was revamped in 2019 with Men in Black: International with none other than Chris Hemsworth, but audiences tuned out.

6. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Domestic Gross: $216 million

Ben Stiller and Chris Rock returned for the third time voicing their respective lion and zebra. Spin-off Penguins of Madagascar came out two years later while a proper fourth entry never materialized from DreamWorks.

5. Ted

Domestic Gross: $218 million

Moving from Fox’s hugely successful animated sitcom Family Guy the big screen, Seth MacFarlane’s story of Mark Wahlberg and his crude talking bear Ted was the breakout comedy of the season. Follow-ups A Million Ways to Die in the West and the Ted sequel were not as well received.

4. Brave

Domestic Gross: $237 million

The first Pixar film led by a female hero is also the inaugural studio entry (co)directed by a woman. It would go on to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.

3. The Amazing Spider-Man

Domestic Gross: $262 million

After not moving forward with a fourth title directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, the Spidey franchise was rebooted with Marc Webb behind the camera and Andrew Garfield donning the red. The dollars followed although reviews were mixed and a 2014 sequel was widely considered a disappointment.

2. The Dark Knight Rises

Domestic Gross: $448 million

While perhaps not quite reaching the heights of 2008’s The Dark Knight, the culmination to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy sent Christian Bale’s Caped Crusader off in stirring fashion and with hugely profitable earnings.

1. The Avengers

Domestic Gross: $623 million

Setting record after record upon release, the melding of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye transfixed filmgoers. It’s been Marvel’s world and we’ve been living in it ever since.

And now for some other pics worthy of discussion:

Magic Mike

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Steven Soderbergh’s saga of male exotic dancers was based loosely on Channing Tatum’s real life experiences. It turned him into a superstar while giving Matthew McConaughey a memorable showcase. The micro budgeted pic (a reported $7 million) spawned a 2015 sequel and there’s a third scheduled to hit HBO Max next year.

The Bourne Legacy

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Audiences weren’t clamoring for Jeremy Renner to replace Matt Damon in this franchise, but the stateside and overseas grosses were still pretty acceptable. That said, Renner’s tenure lasted this pic and this pic only.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Domestic Gross: $46 million

While it performed even better overseas, this British import with Judi Dench  was a sleeper hit stateside that begat a 2015 sequel.

Moonrise Kingdom 

Domestic Gross: $45 million

Wes Anderson scored with critics and crowds with this coming-of-age dramedy that premiered at Cannes and then found an audience in the weeks that followed.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Domestic Gross: $12 million

This indie drama from Benh Zeitlin was truly a little movie that could. Shot for under $2 million, it eventually nabbed Oscar nods for Picture, Director, Actress (Quvanzhane Wallis at age 9), and Adapted Screenplay.

They’re not all winners so let’s get into some critical and/or commercial failures from the period:

Dark Shadows

Domestic Gross: $79 million

Johnny Depp’s box office happy days were beginning to fade as his 8th collaboration with Tim Burton was perhaps the least memorable. This horror comedy failed to enlighten viewers.


Domestic Gross: $65 million

Action fans weren’t taken with this Peter Berg directed board game adaptation starring Liam Neeson and Rihanna with a bloated budget of over $200 million.

Total Recall

Domestic Gross: $58 million

And your action sci-fi fans weren’t signing up for Colin Farrell taking over for Arnold Schwarzenegger in this unneeded remake.

Rock of Ages

Domestic Gross: $38 million

Based on the Broadway musical, there was a deaf ear turned to this adaptation despite Tom Cruise getting solid notices for his performance. Lucky for him, he’d rule this current summer with Top Gun: Maverick. 

That’s My Boy

Domestic Gross: $36 million

Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg’s comedic partnership drew a 20% Tomatoes meter and ambivalence from usually devoted Sandler fans.

The Watch

Domestic Gross: $35 million

That wasn’t the only high-profile comedic flop as this sci-fi mashup with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill fared even worse in numbers and rotten reviews (17% RT).

And that’ll close it out, ladies and gents! It’s been a pleasure revising these cinematic seasons of days past.

Box Office Predictions: December 19-21

It’s a busy pre-Christmas box office weekend as The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and Annie all make their debuts. Additionally, the Reese Witherspoon drama Wild expands its theater count to approximately 850 screens. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each at the following links:

As you can see, The Hobbit should easily rule the weekend, however its Wednesday unveiling (unlike its two predecessors) should give it the lowest three day start of the franchise.

I expect Night at the Museum to open lower than its two predecessors, while Annie should see a lackluster beginning. Opening on less than a third of its competitors, Wild should manage a respectable sixth place debut.

As for holdovers, this weekend’s champ Exodus: Gods and Kings underwhelmed out of the gate and its drubbing from critics and moviegoers (a troubling B- Cinemascore) means it should suffer a hefty fall. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 should round out the top five.

With that, my top six predictions for the weekend:

1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Predicted Gross: $67.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $93.6 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Predicted Gross: $25.4 million

3. Annie

Predicted Gross: $17.6 million

4. Exodus: Gods and Kings

Predicted Gross: $9.7 million (representing a drop of 59%)

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Predicted Gross: $8 million (representing a drop of 37%)

6. Wild

Predicted Gross: $5.8 million

Box Office Results (December 12-14)

Its #1 opening was never really in question, but as mentioned above, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings disappointed with a middling $24.1 million premiere. This is much less than my projected $35.5M. Clearly the negative buzz hindered it and a steep fall (especially with Hobbit competition) seems inevitable.

The Hunger Games three-quel slipped to second with $12.6 million, a bit higher than my $11.4M prediction. It stands at $276M in four weeks and while that’s nothing to sneeze at, it will be the lowest domestic earner of the franchise to date.

Penguins of Madagascar continued its unimpressive run with $7.2 million, in line with my $6.9M estimate. Its total is at $58M.

The acclaimed Chris Rock comedy Top Five debuted fourth with $6.8 million, well under my generous $11.6M prediction. While I certainly gave it too much credit, this is a fairly solid haul for a picture than opened on less than 1000 screens.

Disney’s hit Big Hero 6 was fifth with $6 million (I predicted $5.4M). It’s grossed $185M to date.

And that’s all for now, my friends! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: December 12-14

The second week of December sees the debut of two new films as Ridley Scott’s Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings and Chris Rock’s acclaimed comedy Top Five enter the marketplace. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each here:

Despite very mixed reviews, Exodus should have no problem topping the charts. Top Five is likely to post a healthy debut opening on a relatively small 975 screens and should battle for the number two spot with three week reigning champ The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Family holdovers Penguins of Madagascar and Big Hero 6 should round out the “top five”.

And with that – my predictions for the weekend:

1. Exodus: Gods and Kings

Predicted Gross: $35.5 million

2. Top Five

Predicted Gross: $11.6 million

3. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Predicted Gross: $11.4 million (representing a drop of 47%)

4. Penguins of Madagascar

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million (representing a drop of 37%)

5. Big Hero 6

Predicted Gross: $5.4 million (representing a drop of 34%)

Box Office Results (December 5-7)

As expected, the first week of December was a quiet one before some of the holiday season’s heavy hitters drop. The Hunger Games stayed #1 in its third frame with $21.7 million, right on pace with my $21.9M estimate. The three-quel has earned $257M so far.

Penguins of Madagascar was second with $10.9 million in weekend two, below my $13.3M prediction. The animated Dreamworks tale has been a financial disappointment, earning just $49M so far. It’s unlikely to even reach $100M.

Another lackluster sequel in its 2nd weekend was third as Horrible Bosses 2 earned $8.4 million, a bit above my $7.2M projection. It’s made $35M at press time.

Big Hero 6 was fourth with $8.1 million – not matching my $10.5M estimate. The profitable Disney animated pic stands at $177M. In fifth was Interstellar with $7.7 million, in line with my $7.6M prediction. It’s total is at $158M.

Finally, the barely promoted horror flick The Pyramid opened ninth with $1.3 million. That’s not exactly impressive, but it did manage to top my estimate of $977,000.

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: December 5-7

The first weekend of December/post Thanksgiving frame is typically a sluggish one at the box office. Studios are waiting to release their December heavy hitters while it’s just leftovers to moviegoers to munch and catch up on. 2014 should be no exception, especially following a surprisingly lackluster Turkey Day weekend.

There are no new wide releases coming out. Only the barely marketed horror pic The Pyramid opens semi-wide on approximately 550 screens and I’ll predict it doesn’t even crack a million bucks. My official prediction is $977,000 – far outside the top five.

Additionally, this weekend usually means rather large drops for holdovers after the holiday weekend. Seeing that, I predict the top five not changing at all with their grosses being quite a bit lower.

My predictions for the weekend are:

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Predicted Gross: $21.9 million (representing a drop of 61%)

2. Penguins of Madagascar

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million (representing a drop of 47%)

3. Big Hero 6

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million (representing a drop of 44%)

4. Interstellar

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million (representing a drop of 52%)

5. Horrible Bosses 2

Predicted Gross: $7.2 million (representing a drop of 53%)

Box Office Results (Thanksgiving Weekend)

Katniss and company easily ruled the holiday weekend as Mockingjay – Part 1 took in $56.9 million over the Friday to Sunday portion, on par with my $57.9M estimate. Over the five day, it made $82.6 million, just under my $85.7M prediction. The third entry in the franchise stands at $225 million currently and while it’s doing just fine, it will be the lowest grosser of the series thus far.

Dreamworks animated Penguins of Madagascar posted an unimpressive opening with $25.4 million over the three day and $35.4 million for the five day. This is well below my $40.1M and $54.7M projections. Whether it was the direct competition from Big Hero 6 or something else, family audiences simply didn’t come out for this one on the expected level.

Its aforementioned competitor Big Hero 6 was third in weekend #4 with $18.8 million (Friday to Sunday) and $25 million (Wednesday to Sunday) – in line with my respective $17M and $24.8M estimates. The hit Disney ‘toon has amassed $167M at press time.

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar held up nicely in its fourth weekend with $15.7 million for the weekend and $21.9 million for the five day. This is considerably better than my projections of $10.9M and $15.5M. The space saga is at $147M and should still struggle to reach $200M.

Finally, Horrible Bosses 2 performed a giant belly flop. It managed an embarrassing fifth place debut with just $15.4 million for the three day and $22.7 million for the five. This is far under my respective estimates of $28.6M and $38.3M. Perhaps audiences had their fill of badly reviewed comedy sequels with Dumb and Dumber To. The sequel couldn’t even manage to earn in five days what the original made in three out of the gate ($28M). Not good.

And that’ll do it for now, friends! Until next time…

Thanksgiving Box Office Predictions: November 26-30

The term “leftovers” has some real meaning as sequels are likely to populate the top three slots of the Thanksgiving 2014 box office. Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2 will both attempt to unseat The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 for the top spot. You can read my detailed prediction posts on the two newcomers here:

As I see it, Hunger Games should manage to stay #1, despite the fact that it opened considerably below its two predecessors (more on that below). I expect a drop just over 50%, just like last year’s Catching Fire. Holdovers Big Hero 6 and Interstellar should round out the top five and experience small declines due to the holiday frame.

Since it’s a long holiday weekend, I’ll do the top five predictions for both the traditional Friday to Sunday weekend and extended Wednesday to Sunday five day:

1. The Hunger Games – Mockingjay – Part 1

Predicted Gross: $57.9 million (Fri to Sun), $85.7 million (Wed to Sun) – representing a drop of 52%

2. Penguins of Madagascar

Predicted Gross: $40.1 million (Fri to Sun), $54.7 million (Wed to Sun)

3. Horrible Bosses 2

Predicted Gross: $28.6 million (Fri to Sun), $38.3 million (Wed to Sun)

4. Big Hero 6

Predicted Gross: $17 million (Fri to Sun), $24.8 million (Wed to Sun) – representing a drop of 15%

5. Interstellar

Predicted Gross: $10.9 million (Fri to Sun), $15.5 million (Wed to Sun) – representing a drop of 30%

Box Office Results (November 21-23)

It was a fascinating opening for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. As expected, it managed the largest opening of 2014 with $122.6 million, easily besting the $100M that Transformers: Age of Extinction took in this summer. However, it was easily the lowest opening of the franchise by nearly $30M. This means it came in well below my generous $155.8M prediction. One must wonder if there’s some franchise fatigue here and it remains to be seen how the third entry in the series holds up in subsequent weekends.

Big Hero 6 was second with $20.1 million, a bit below my $22.4M projection. The Disney hit has taken in $135M so far and should find its way past $200M and more.

Interstellar was third with $15.3 million, just below my $16.3M estimate. The Christopher Nolan pic stands at $120M and is likely to struggle to reach $200M.

Dumb and Dumber To fell hard from the top spot with $14 million in its sophomore frame, below my $16M prediction. It’s earned $57M so far and is unlikely to reach $100M.

Gone Girl was fifth with $2.8 million, just under my $3.2M estimate. Its total is at $156M. Beyond the Lights was sixth in weekend #2 with $2.6 million, under my $3.3M projection. It’s made just $10M.

That’s all for now, folks! Enjoy your turkey and, hopefully, a movie!

Penguins of Madagascar Box Office Prediction

Dreamworks Animation rolls out a spin-off of their popular Madagascar franchise with Penguins of Madagascar, out Wednesday for the long Thanksgiving box office weekend. Featuring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, and Ken Jeong, Penguins will have some competition with the third weekend of Big Hero 6 still bringing family audiences in.

Still, the history of the Madagascar pictures is a profitable one. The original in 2005 debuted to $47 million on its way to a $193M domestic gross. The follow-up, 2008’s Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, opened with $63 million for an eventual $180M take. 2012’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted got off to a $60 million start and then a franchise best $216M overall gross.

Penguins is unlikely to reach the heights of the two last two entries out of the gate, but I’ll predict it tops the $50M mark for its Turkey Day five-day premiere.

Penguins of Madagascar opening weekend prediction: $40.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $54.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my prediction on Horrible Bosses 2, click here: