Mile 22 Box Office Prediction

Mark Wahlberg is back in action mode and reuniting with director Peter Berg next weekend in Mile 22. The action thriller finds the star as the head of an elite CIA unit and the supporting cast includes John Malkovich, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey, and Lee Chae Rin.

This is the fourth Wahlberg/Berg collaboration and it’s the first not based on real life events after Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriots Day. Distributor STXfilms is hoping this will be the start of a new franchise with a TV series and sequel reportedly in development.

That, of course, could all depend on how this performs. The budget is only $35 million, which is quite low for a summer action release. Looking at other similar material from Wahlberg, Mile 22 would love to achieve the $24 million earned by something like 2012’s Contraband. Yet it could debut with something closer to the $14 million made by 2007’s Shooter. The $27 million made out of the gate five summers ago by 2 Guns is a reach in my opinion… that had the Denzel factor.

I’ll say a mid to high teens gross is the most likely scenario, meaning Mile won’t achieve the marker contained in its title.

Mile 22 opening weekend prediction: $16.7 million

For my Crazy Rich Asians prediction, click here:

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Summer 2008: The Top 10 Hits and More

We have arrived at part 3 of summer nostalgia looking over the cinematic seasons from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. If you missed my posts on 1988 and 1998, you can find them here:

This brings us to 2008. It was a vaunted superhero summer to be sure and there’s some humdingers for our flops. Here are the top ten moneymakers in addition to other notables and bombs.

10. The Incredible Hulk

Domestic Gross: $134 million

The second feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe found Edward Norton taking on the angry green giant from Eric Bana. While better received than Ang Lee’s Hulk, it was mostly met with a shrug and Mark Ruffalo would take over the part four years later in The Avengers. It stands at lowest earner of the MCU.

9. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Domestic Gross: $141 million

The follow-up to 2005’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe made less than half of what that picture achieved. Like Hulk, it may have placed in the top ten, but it was considered a bit of a disappointment.

8. Mamma Mia!

Domestic Gross: $144 million

The ABBA infused comedic musical was a major sleeper hit and its sequel hits theaters this Friday.

7. Sex and the City

Domestic Gross: $152 million

Fans of the HBO series turned out in droves for the big screen treatment. A sequel two years later yielded less impressive returns.

6. Kung Fu Panda

Domestic Gross: $215 million

Dreamworks Animation found itself a franchise with this animal fest led by Jack Black. Two sequels have followed.


Domestic Gross: $223 million

Yet another critically lauded effort from the money minting machine that is Disney/Pixar, this would take home Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.

4. Hancock

Domestic Gross: $227 million

Despite mostly negative reviews, this superhero effort proved Will Smith’s potency at the box office. Director Peter Berg has mostly moved to true life dramas with Mark Wahlberg.

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Domestic Gross: $317 million

Nearly 20 years after The Last Crusade, Harrison Ford’s iconic hero returned and teamed up with Shia LaBeouf. Critics and audiences had their issues with it, but Indy is slated to come back again in 2021 (when Mr. Ford will almost be 80).

2. Iron Man

Domestic Gross: $318 million

It’s crazy to think now, but the idea of casting Robert Downey Jr. as a superhero less known than Batman or Superman was considered risky business at the time. We know what followed… the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This started it all.

1. The Dark Knight

Domestic Gross: $533 million

The sequel to Batman Begins turned into a genuine phenomenon with Heath Ledger’s incredible work as The Joker and an experience that has influenced numerous franchises since.

And now for some other notables of summer 2008:

Get Smart

Domestic Gross: $130 million

Steve Carell experienced a box office bomb the summer prior with Evan Almighty. He got back into the good graces of audiences with this big screen rendering of the 1960s TV series alongside Anne Hathaway.

Tropic Thunder

Domestic Gross: $110 million

Ben Stiller’s comedy was a hit with crowds and critics. Robert Downey Jr. earned an Oscar nod for his work here and we see Tom Cruise as never before.

Step Brothers

Domestic Gross: $100 million

It didn’t make as much as Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s previous collaboration two summers earlier, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. However, this has achieved serious cult status in following years.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Domestic Gross: $75 million

Guillermo del Toro’s sequel managed to out gross its predecessor and it was another critically hailed comic book adaptation in a summer filled with them. A reboot of the franchise with David Harbour comes next year.

The Strangers

Domestic Gross: $52 million

This low-budget horror flick turned into a sleeper. A sequel was released this March.

This brings us to the flops…

The Happening

Domestic Gross: $64 million

M. Night Shyamalan had his first flop two summers earlier with Lady in the Water. This one focused on killer trees with a lackluster performance from Mark Wahlberg. Audiences were laughing at it more than frightened by it. The director has since rebounded with Split. 

Speed Racer

Domestic Gross: $43 million

This was the Wachowskis first picture since the Matrix trilogy and it fell far under expectations at the box office and with critics.

The Love Guru

Domestic Gross: $32 million

Mike Myers couldn’t make this creation anywhere near as iconic as Wayne Campbell or Austin Powers. Moviegoers simply ignored Pitka.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Domestic Gross: $20 million

Ten summers after the first adaptation of the FOX show did well at theaters, audiences didn’t want to believe in its long gestating sequel.

Meet Dave

Domestic Gross: $11 million

This sci-fi comedy was a massive bomb for Eddie Murphy, making a small percentage of its reported $60 million budget.

And that does it for my recaps of the summer! You can be sure I’ll be back next season covering 1989, 1999, and 2009.

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day marks the third collaboration between director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg recounting recent tragedies. After Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, their latest continues their work of solidly crafted dramas that fall far short of greatness. Yet there’s enough powerful material to make it recommendation worthy.

The picture recounts the Boston Marathon bombing and its manhunt for the two suspects that carried it out. It was that April 2013 day that marked the largest domestic terror attack since 9/11. Wahlberg is police sergeant Tommy Saunders, who’s on duty near the blast sites at the finish line. He’s witness to the horrific loss of lives and limbs and determined to see the attackers brought to justice.

Berg’s film tells not only the tale of law enforcement response, but also shows us the Tsarnaev brothers as they attempt to flee to enact more destruction in New York City. Older brother Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) is the mastermind while younger brother Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) is portrayed as a more Westernized stoner college kid who still believes strongly in their cause. It is in the time spent with them that provide a number of chilling moments, including their abduction of a college student as their make their escape. An interrogation scene with Tamerlan’s wife is also a dramatic highlight.

Patriots Day does a commendable job of showing many of the parties whose lives became intertwined by the day’s events. This includes some of the bombing victims as well as individuals calling the shots. John Goodman portrays city police commissioner Ed Davis, Kevin Bacon is the FBI special agent in charge, and J.K. Simmons is a sergeant in the suburb of Watertown where the manhunt culminates. They are all real life characters while Wahlberg’s is not. The lead actor is solid enough in the part, even though the pic may have more effective if the screenwriters had just stuck to the actual players.

Those with decent knowledge of these events may feel a lack of suspense, especially as we build toward the conclusion. The prologue spends some time with people the actors are playing and it made me ready to watch a documentary about their lives since. Overall, it’s worth the time to see this version which sticks mostly to the facts and reminds us of a city’s strength that gave way to an earned slogan.

*** (out of four)


Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Recounting the BP Oil Spill disaster of 2010 that was both a human and environmental tragedy, Deepwater Horizon spends a good deal of its running time concentrating on the competence of those workers on the enormous rig. Peter Berg’s dramatization of the events off the Southern coast of Louisiana finds Mark Wahlberg’s engineer Mike and Kurt Russell’s supervisor Jimmy trying their best at their positions while dealing with cost cutting corporate elements. It’s something many in the audience are likely to relate to and the pic coasts for a bit on simply being a story about people working.

Yet it’s the elements that arrive later during that massive explosion that give Deepwater its disaster flick cred. Had this not been a true story, I’m not so certain the visual spectacle that pervades the third act would’ve been as meaningful. The action sequences are well rendered if not particularly anything new from a run of the mill summer blockbuster.

We get to know more than just Mike and Jimmy. There’s John Malkovich’s BP “company man”. He’s the guy cutting corners and the actor himself is given a pretty decent monologue about it. There’s Kate Hudson as Wahlberg’s wife, watching the drama unfold from afar and Gina Rodriguez as a fellow crew member.

Horizon also features a lot of technical jargon that those without an engineering degree or knowledge of the industry could be lost with. It doesn’t really matter. The script does a perfectly serviceable if unspectacular job letting us meet some people whose everyday occupations put them in previously unseen peril.

*** (out of four)


Patriots Day Box Office Prediction

Patriots Day, out next weekend, marks the third collaboration between Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg recounting real-life dramatic events. It arrives only four months after their second. In January 2014, the duo teamed up for Lone Survivor, the war tale which grossed over $37 million in its first weekend of wide release with an eventual $125M domestic haul. In September of last year, they followed up with Deepwater Horizon (recounting the BP Oil Spill). It debuted to a less impressive $20 million and overall $66M gross.

Their latest focuses on events surrounding the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Besides the aforementioned personnel, costars include John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, and Kevin Bacon. Patriots opened in limited release in December, likely in order to merit Oscar consideration (of which it’ll probably receive little). Still, reviews have been mostly strong at 78% currently on Rotten Tomatoes.

So where will this fall numbers wise compared to Wahlberg and Berg’s previous efforts? I don’t believe it will match what Survivor accomplished but suspect it could eclipse Horizon. Debuting over the four-day MLK weekend, Day stands a very good chance at posting the highest opening of the six pictures coming out. That means I have it outpacing Ben Affleck’s Live by Night, which should serve as its most direct competition.

I’ll say it manages low to mid-20s out of the gate.

Patriots Day opening weekend prediction: $23.6 million

For my Live by Night prediction, click here:

For my Sleepless prediction, click here:

For my Monster Trucks prediction, click here:

For my The Bye Bye Man prediction, click here:

For my Silence prediction, click here:

Oscar Watch: Patriots Day

Just two months back, director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg collaborated on the timely Deepwater Horizon, which opened to decent box office numbers and reviews but little Oscar hope (save for some potential recognition in the Sound categories). Last night at the AFI Film Festival, their third team-up (the other was 2013’s Lone Survivor) was unveiled in the form of Patriots Day.

Another timely drama – Day focuses on the Boston Marathon bombing and the city’s law enforcement and political response to the tragedy. Wahlberg headlines a cast that includes John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and Michelle Monaghan. The reported response from the AFI crowd was overwhelmingly positive and early critical reaction puts it at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus? “It gets the job done.”

So where does this information put Patriots Day in the Oscar derby? I would say as an outside contender. I had yet to put the picture into consideration in my top 20 possibilities for a nomination, but it’s feasible that it could slide in towards the bottom next week. It certainly seems more likely for a nod than Deepwater. And don’t be shocked if Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross get some love for their score, which has already been singled out in some reviews.

Time will tell if this manages to become more of a realistic possibility as the weeks move along.

Deepwater Horizon Box Office Prediction

The last time that director Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg hooked up, their war drama Lone Survivor grossed a terrific $125 million domestically in early 2014. Nearly three years later, the pair have collaborated on Deepwater Horizon. This is another true-life tale focused on the 2010 BP oil rig explosion and the people who had to battle it. Costars include Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O’Brien.

With a reported budget of $156 million, Summit Entertainment better hope moviegoers flock to see the disaster pic… or they may have their own financial disaster on their hands. Early reviews have been mostly strong. It stands at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics particularly praising its technical aspects.

Lone Survivor earned $37 million in its first weekend of wide release. That is probably the highest of bars for Horizon. One difference is that Survivor benefited from strong military interest that simply won’t come into play here. Still, the combination of Wahlberg with this well-known story could be enough to get this to mid 20s, in range with the opening of Captain Phillips from three years back or Fury from two years ago.

Deepwater Horizon opening weekend prediction: $24.7 million

For my Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children prediction, click here:

For my Masterminds prediction, click here:

For my Queen of Katwe prediction, click here:


Oscar Watch: Deepwater Horizon

In just over two weeks, Peter Berg’s action packed retelling of the BP drilling rig explosion Deepwater Horizon hits theaters. Festival audiences in Toronto got their sneak peek at it yesterday and early reviews suggest it’s an audience pleaser that is likely to be a big hit.

Horizon teams director Berg with his Lone Survivor star Mark Wahlberg. The supporting cast includes Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O’Brien. Even with its positive critical notices, Horizon is not expected to be any sort of player in the major categories. Mr. Russell was singled out by a couple of writers, but a Supporting Actor nod would be a major surprise.

Where the pic could make an impact is in the two Sound races (Editing and Mixing), just like Lone Survivor did with its nominations. Visual effects is a possibility, but it’ll have a lot more competition in that particular category. The film’s large $156 million budget is said to contribute to it sounding and looking pretty amazing and voters could reward it in these technical competitions.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Lone Survivor Box Office Prediction

Peter Berg’s war drama Lone Survivor starring Mark Wahlberg hits theaters this Friday and it will attempt to reach solid box office numbers like Zero Dark Thirty did in this same weekend just last year.

The picture focuses on a true-life tale of U.S. Navy SEALS during a mission in Afghanistan with Wahlberg leading a cast that includes Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, and Taylor Kitsch. It was released in limited format in December to qualify for Oscar consideration and while reviews have been mostly positive (67% on Rotten Tomatoes), it appears unlikely to receive nominations.

As mentioned, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty opened on this very weekend a year ago and performed well with a $24.4 million debut. That film had a couple of things in its favor that Survivor does not: it was considered a major awards contender and it focused on a mission that audiences were extremely familiar with – the hunt for Bin Laden.

On the other hand, unlike Zero Dark, this has a big star headlining it whose action-related pics generally open well. In fact, on this same weekend two years ago, Wahlberg’s Contraband made $28.5 million over its four-day debut (it was Martin Luther King weekend that year). Last year, both Pain and Gain and 2 Guns managed to post openings north of $20 million.

There will be competition for male audiences with The Legend of Hercules, but I expect this to win out. My prediction reflects a feeling that it’ll debut a bit below Zero Dark Thirty, though not by much. Anything below $20 million would be a bit disappointing and this could go as big as high 20s. I’m sticking with low 20s though.

Lone Survivor opening weekend prediction: $21.7 million

For my prediction on The Legend of Hercules, click here:

For my prediction on Her, click here:

For my prediction on August: Osage County, click here: