Bad Boys for Life Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (01/16): Better than expected reviews are pushing my estimate from $38.6 million to $45.6 million

A quarter century after the original made Will Smith an action hero, he teams again with Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys for Life next weekend. This is the duo’s third collaboration playing cops battling European baddies and Michael Bay (who made the first two) is away from the director’s chair with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah taking over. Franchise players Joe Pantoliano and Theresa Randle are back and newcomers include Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, and Paola Nunez.

The MLK holiday frame caps off a busy few months for the Artist Formerly Known as Fresh Prince. Last summer, he had a huge hit with Aladdin. In the fall, he experienced a flop with Gemini Man and voiced the lead character in the decently performing family pic Spies in Disguise. 

Back in the spring of 1995, the original Boys took in $15 million for its start with an eventual $65 million gross. Eight years later, Bad Boys II tripled that debut with $46 million with an overall tally of $138 million.

Seventeen years is a long break between entries and 2019 showed us that franchise fatigue was real in many cases. One example was Men in Black: International, which Mr. Smith steered clear from.

Mu guess is that part 3 won’t match its predecessor’s earnings and that’s even with the extra Monday due to the holiday. A decent comp could be Ride Along 2, which made $41 million over MLK four years back. That was under the $48 million that the first Ride hauled in. I’ll say Smith and Lawrence’s reported last ride hovers around the $40 million mark.

Bad Boys for Life opening weekend prediction: $45.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Dolittle prediction, click here:

Shaft Box Office Prediction

The third generation of the Shaft family debuts in theaters next weekend with Jessie Usher playing an FBI agent in the action pic. Arriving nearly 50 years after Richard Roundtree played John Shaft and almost two decades after Samuel L. Jackson played his nephew, both actors are present in the newest iteration. Tim Story (maker of the Ride Along pics) directs with a supporting cast including Alexandra Shipp, Regina Hall, and Method Man.

Reportedly made for a smallish $30 million budget, the studio behind Shaft would love to match the $21 million opening weekend debut of the 2000 Jackson led summer flick. Tracking puts in right in that range. However, we’ve seen reboots disappoint in 2019.

I’ll say this gets to mid to high teens and considering the price tag, that’s not too shabby.

Shaft opening weekend prediction: $16.8 million

For my Men in Black: International prediction, click here:

For my Late Night prediction, click here:

For my The Dead Don’t Die prediction, click here:

Glass Box Office Prediction

When it debuts over the MLK four-day holiday weekend, M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass will easily break into the number one spot. Questions about its potential ceiling are very real. The superhero thriller mixes the casts of two of the filmmaker’s best known works – 2000’s Unbreakable and 2017’s Split. That means James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark and Anya-Taylor Joy are along for the ride as well as Sarah Paulson joining this cinematic universe. No other movie opens wide against it.

Just over 18 years ago, Unbreakable was Night’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to his breakthrough smash hit The Sixth Sense. Audiences had a mixed reaction at the time, but it managed a five-day Thanksgiving haul of $46 million before a final domestic gross of $95 million. Its reputation has grown in many circles in time. Two years ago, Split served as a major comeback vehicle for the director with a $40 million start as it legged out to $138 million.

I believe the positive response for Split will earn this impressive results. It only helps that it’s still fresh in the minds of audiences, including the ending that set up this picture. Word-of-mouth will determine the rest.

Glass will not shatter this holiday weekend’s record, which is held by American Sniper at $107 million. Earning the #2 honors over MLK should be a breeze as that’s currently held by Ride Along at $48 million.

Prognostications have this nabbing anywhere between $50-75 million from Friday to Monday. I have a hunch the higher end of that range is the route to go.

*On the eve of its premiere, I’m downgrading from $72.1 million to $58.1 million

Glass opening weekend prediction: $58.1 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

Night School Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Update (09/27/18): My estimate has risen to $27.6 million to $31.6 million

One of the most dependable comedic actors at the box office teams with one of the hottest newer names when Night School opens next weekend. Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish headline the pic about a group trying to pass their GED exam. Malcolm D. Lee (who just directed Haddish in her breakout Girls Trip) is behind the camera. The supporting cast includes Rob Riggle, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Taran Killam, Romany Malco, and Keith David.

Hart has been a model of consistency in recent years when it comes to high earners. In addition to just coming off the massive blockbuster Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, he’s had a handful of $30 million plus openers including Think Like a Man, both Ride Along features, Get Hard, and Central Intelligence. The Think Like a Man sequel almost reached $30 million while About Last Night made $25.6 million for its start. The low-end of the spectrum is The Wedding Ringer with $20.6 million. As for Lee and Haddish’s Trip, it took in $31.2 million.

The collaboration of these talents should yield pleasing results and the likely #1 spot over its made competitor – the animated Smallfoot. I’m a little skeptical this reaches $30 million, though it certainly could. A gross in the mid to high 20s seems more probable.

Night School opening weekend prediction: $31.6 million

For my Smallfoot prediction, click here:

For my Hell Fest prediction, click here:

Fist Fight Box Office Prediction

Ice Cube and Charlie Day headline the comedy Fist Fight, which hits theaters over Presidents Day weekend. A loose remake of the 1987 cult pic Three O’Clock High, costars include Tracy Morgan (in his first film after his auto accident), Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, and Kumail Nanjiani.

Mr. Cube has had his share of laugh inducing hits and franchises over the years with Barbershop, 21/22 Jump Street, and Ride Along. Day is best known for TV’s “It Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the Horrible Bosses flicks.

Fight pits Cube as a teacher challenging his fellow educator to a schoolyard brawl. With its simple concept, known stars in the genre, and really zero competition when it comes to comedies (save for Lego Batman I suppose), I’ll predict this manages a mid 20s four day debut. It could even fight for the highest opening among the two others newbies (The Great Wall, A Cure for Wellness) over the holiday weekend.

Fist Fight opening weekend prediction: $25.1 million

For my The Great Wall prediction, click here:

For my A Cure for Wellness prediction, click here:

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence is not bad, which is more than you can say with some scripts that Kevin Hart has been saddled with over the last few years. From Ride Along (both of them) to The Wedding Ringer to Get Hard, the talented Mr. Hart has not seen much material that rises above the strictly mediocre. With a worthy comedic partner in Dwayne Johnson that he has an easy chemistry with, Intelligence may not be very intelligent but it’s got its share of genuinely amusing moments due to their partnership.

The film begins in 1996 when the two stars are high school seniors. Hart is Calvin. He’s the star athlete, resident heralded drama thespian, and runaway Most Likely to Succeed. Johnson is Robbie, whose figure is anything but rock solid. He’s bullied mercilessly by his fellow students and Calvin is the only guy who seems to show him any mercy.

Flash forward two decades as the two are up for the 20 year reunion. Calvin has become a bored accountant in a dead end job, still married somewhat unhappily to his high school sweetheart (Danielle Nicolet). Robbie is now the blandly named Bob Stone,  complete with a physique befitting the actor portraying him. He’s now in the CIA and being accused of being a rogue agent trying to sell secrets to the highest bidder.

What follows is a routine buddy flick where Bob/Robbie and Calvin must team up while chased by people who may or may not be bad guys. Amy Ryan gets the change of pace role of the government agency head pursuing them and Aaron Paul pops up as Robbie’s former partner. The threadbare plot of Central Intelligence is ho-hum at best, but it’s also not what it’s centrally about.

The pic rises and falls on the interaction between the leads and there’s some good stuff to be witnessed. Johnson has already proven his sense of humor (he seems well aware that his character in the Fast & Furious franchise is supposed to be funny). We also have some messages written in about bullying that’s presented slightly better than you might expect in this type of material. There’s some unexpected cameos from other well known comedy actors that are welcome. Director Rawson Marshall Thurber had a hit in 2013 with We’re the Millers, which I enjoyed. That effort had the benefit of hilarious supporting work from Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn and a whacky villain role for Ed Helms that accentuated the proceedings beyond its main stars. Central Intelligence doesn’t have that, but at least the two names above the title help deliver something a bit more worthy of their talents.

**1/2 (out of four)

Kevin Hart: What Now? Box Office Prediction

Kevin Hart has been busy at the box office in 2016. Ride Along 2 debuted in January with an overall gross of $90 million (shy of its predecessor, but not bad). This summer came Central Intelligence, his team-up with The Rock that marked his second highest grosser ever at $127 million (after the first Ride Along, which made $134M). While the comedian has broken through on the silver screen in a major way, he hasn’t forgotten his stand-up roots. That leads to Kevin Hart: What Now?, out next weekend, which presents his latest comedy tour with a show taped in 2015 in Philadelphia.

For comparisons sake, it’s been three years since Mr. Hart released his last stand-up pic theatrically. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain had a $10 million premiere with a $32M eventual domestic haul. Comedy concerts released in multiplexes are a rare breed, but there’s some hope this could outshine Explain. The most obvious reason is that Hart has become a much bigger movie star in the three years that have transpired. On the other hand, moviegoers know even more now that Now will likely be available for their viewing pleasure via streaming quite soon.

Add that up and I believe What Now? will manage to outpace Explain for a debut in the low to mid double digits.

Kevin Hart: What Now? opening weekend prediction: $13.5 million

For my The Accountant prediction, click here:

For my Max Steel prediction, click here:

2014: The Year of Kevin Hart

Continuing with my series of performers who had a big impact on film this year, part two of six brings us to Kevin Hart.

Not only is he one of the highest grossing stand-up comics around, this year proved he can truly headline at the multiplex as well. The biggest example came in January with the surprise hit buddy cop comedy Ride Along with Ice Cube. The pic amassed a fantastic $134 million gross and was #1 for four weeks. A sequel is already planned for January 2016.

February brought his supporting role in About Last Night which earned a respectable $48 million. In June came his sequel Think Like a Man Too, which topped out at $65 million (less than its predecessor, but still solid considering its $24M budget).

More than anything though, Ride Along made Hart a hot commodity and 2015 should keep the momentum going. January sees the premiere of The Wedding Ringer and in March, he teams up with Will Ferrell in Get Hard.

For my post on The Year of Shailene Woodley, click here:

For my post on The Year of Scarlett Johannson, click here:

For my post on The Year of Chris Pratt, click here:

For my post on The Year of Angelina Jolie, click here:

For my post on The Year of Michael Keaton, click here:

Ride Along Movie Review

When it comes to actors who have perfected the art of the scowl, Ice Cube is among the best. Whereas Will Ferrell and Gene Hackman are great cinematic yellers, Mr. Cube has displayed his knack for good scowling in numerous pictures – most notably the Jump Street franchise. He gets to scowl a lot at costar Kevin Hart in Ride Along.

Cube plays James, the hardened Atlanta detective. Hart is Ben, a wannabe cop currently pulling duty as a high school security guard. Ben is dating James’s girlfriend and he wants her brother’s blessing before he pops the question. James doesn’t believe he deserves her. He decides to kill two birds with one stone when he offers to take Ben on a ride along to prove he can’t hack it in the law enforcement world or in his family.

What follows is a series of very familiar buddy cop scenarios that are directed and written with little energy and zero originality. We have Bruce McGill as the police captain who likes to yell. The main villain is a mysterious arms dealer named Omar who’s played a paycheck cashing Laurence Fishburne. There’s the double crossing cops who are actually in cahoots with the villain. And, obviously, the central female character is going to be put in danger at some point.

Much of these by-the-numbers development that permeate the picture could be forgiven if it had enough genuinely humorous moments. There aren’t many at all. Kevin Hart is a ball of energy, but it doesn’t usually equate to laughs. Then there’s Cube. He’s proven on several occasions that he’s a solid actor whether in drama or comedy. And yet Cube is just left scowling for most of Ride Along‘s running time. With the material he has to work with here, the scowling is justified.

*1/2 (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: February 7-9

The Lego Movie should be poised to take the box office by storm next weekend and end the three week reign of Ride Along at the top spot. In fact, there are two other newbies entering the marketplace on Friday as George Clooney’s The Monuments Men and Vampire Academy both debut. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each here:

My estimates reflect a belief that Lego will open with very healthy results while The Monuments Men will have a middling premiere with a rather weak opening for Vampire Academy. The new pictures should occupy the top three slots with holdovers Ride Along and Frozen in a tight race for fourth place.

And, with that, my predictions for the upcoming weekend’s top five:

1. The Lego Movie

Predicted Gross: $54.2 million

2. The Monuments Men

Predicted Gross: $16.1 million

3. Vampire Academy

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

4. Ride Along

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million (representing a drop of 43%)

5. Frozen

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million (representing a drop of 25%)

Box Office Results (January 31-February 2)

The Super Bowl weekend brought an expected quiet frame at multiplexes. As predicted, Ride Along held #1 for its third weekend with $12 million, just above my $11.3M estimate. Disney’s Frozen, with its new sing-along version, was second with $8.9 million – below my $10.7M projection.

The Zac Efron comedy That Awkward Moment took third with an OK $8.7 million for its debut, barely above my $8M projection. The Nut Job was fourth with $7.2 million, right in line with my $7.5M estimate. Lone Survivor took fifth with $7 million (I had it outside the top five).

Where I went wrong was giving Jason Reitman’s Labor Day too much credit. The Kate Winslet/Josh Brolin drama managed only a seventh place debut with $5.1 million, well below my $8.8M projection.

As always, I’ll have early updates posted on the blog’s Facebook page Saturday with final results Monday. And on Sunday – I’ll have projections for all four openings over Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend: Robocop, About Last Night, Endless Love, and Winter’s Tale. Until next time!