Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne are a couple who bring in a trio of foster kids in next weekend’s comedy InstantFamily. The pic reunites Wahlberg with director Sean Anders, who made both of the successful Daddy’sHome features. Costars include Isabela Moner, Octavia Spencer, and Tig Notaro.
Family was originally scheduled to hit screens in February 2019 before Paramount pushed up the date. It will try to bring in family audiences on a weekend where FantasticBeasts: TheCrimesofGrindelwald opens directly against it and TheGrinch will be in its sophomore frame. That could certainly limit the potential for a robust debut, but the studio will hope that word of mouth carries it to a leggy run over the holidays.
I’ll predict a high teens teens premiere is what we’ll see as the currently unknown buzz will determine the rest of its fate.
InstantFamily opening weekend prediction: $19.4 million
For my FantasticBeasts: TheCrimesofGrindelwald prediction, click here:
Based on the well-known works of Beatrix Potter, Sony Pictures is hoping family audiences will hop to Peter Rabbit when it debuts next weekend. The mix of live-action and CG animation features the voices of James Corden in the title role along with Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, and Sia. Familiar faces physically present include Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, and Sam Neill. Will Gluck, maker of Easy A and the recent Annie remake, directs.
Rabbit could be in a solid position to attract kids and their parents now that box office juggernaut Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is finally winding down. Many are still familiar with the source material that first appeared in literary form in 1902.
I’ll estimate that the reported $50 million production makes a bit under $20 million out of the gate.
Peter Rabbit opening weekend prediction: $18.7 million
The first new wide release of 2018 is out next Friday when Insidious: The Last Key enters theaters. This is the fourth chapter in the franchise that began in 2011. Like Chapter 3, it’s a prequel to the events of the first two. In other words, no Patrick Wilson or Rose Byrne (the stars of the originals). James Wan, director and 1 and 2, produces with Adam Robitel behind the camera. Leigh Whannell, who’s served as writer for all of them, costars along with Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Josh Stewart, and Bruce Davison.
One factor that could assist The Last Key is the absence of horror flicks in the marketplace at the moment. That said, this franchise has been losing its luster. The 2011 original debuted to $13 million but legged out very nicely for its genre with an eventual $54 million gross. The 2013 sequel was the pinnacle with a terrific $40 million opening weekend and $83 million total tally. Chapter 3 in 2015 premiered to $22 million, but ended up as the lowest earner of the series with $52 million.
I don’t see a compelling reason why part 4 will rebound. For comparison sake, I could see this performing similarly to 2014’s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which opened in the first weekend of January to just over $18 million. Like this, that was an entry in a franchise whose steam had dissipated. That number seems to be where Key fits best.
Insidious: The Last Key opening weekend prediction: $18.6 million
X–Men: Apocalypse isn’t the only disappointing entry in the franchise, but it’s the only one directed by Bryan Singer that I’d classify as such. He directed the first two X entries in 2000 and 2002 and got the series off to a satisfying start. Singer would return in 2014 with DaysofFuturePast to mostly pleasing results. Apocalypse may have you feeling blue about where this series is at. The villain is shrug worthy, some of the actors seem to not be giving it their all, and some of the CG effects are questionable at best. It also makes the error of providing dull backstory material for characters we didn’t really need to know backstory for.
When Singer left the franchise for the first time in 2002, Brett Ratner took over with TheLastStand in 2006 and was crucified for his efforts. In fact, when Singer returned in 2014, much of FuturePast erased LastStand. Maybe Apocalypse is a bit of revenge for Ratner, because it’s worse than his X-perience. Quite a bit worse actually. Stand doesn’t quite deserve its bad reputation and Apocalypse does.
The whole proceedings get off to a shaky start with a prologue set in Egypt where the first believed mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac, in heavy and ugly makeup) is entombed by his enemies. Flash to centuries later and it’s 1983. When Apocalypse breaks out of his long slumber, he is hell bent on exacting revenge on the human race and showing off his many mutant abilities. He doesn’t comment on the awful 80s fashion, but it probably doesn’t make him any more fond of the people he seeks to destroy.
Fighting Apocalypse are many familiar X-Men, including Professor X (James McAvoy, still with hair for awhile) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). Meanwhile, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is laying low in Poland working in factory with lots of metal (oh the temptations!). He has a wife and daughter and a tragic family scene between them is actually rather well handled. While this trio of movie stars playing the most liked X characters get their screen time, Simon Kinberg’s screenplay also spends an unnecessary amount of ink on backstories for Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Storm (younger versions of them all). These are unsought subplots that feel like filler and not much else. We also get a young Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) storyline that should be more interesting than it is.
All in all, there’s simply nothing very exciting about Apocalypse. Lawrence seems downright bored and her performance reflects that. Oscar Isaac is a tremendously talented performer who’s utterly wasted in a one-note villain role. The 60s vibe worked in X-Men: First Class and the 70s era feel of Future Past was pretty cool. Here, the 80s references add little.
There’s a sequence early on when Jean and friends leave ReturnoftheJedi disappointed and says everyone knows that the third one in a series is always the worst. Was screenwriter Simon Kinberg trying to warn us? Apocalypse isn’t terrible, but it’s the low point of this series so far.
As has been discussed on the blog before, comedy is typically the genre that lends itself least to sequels. A major reason: most of ’em aren’t made with a planned follow-up in mind and therefore contrivances must be invented for them to exist.
This general rule applies to Neighbors2: SororityRising, which arrives two years after the success of the original. In 2014, the teaming of Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne vs. Zac Efron’s wild frat next door was a mostly effective raunchy pic with a couple of gags (air bags) that soared. $150 million domestic later, returning director Nicholas Stoller and his stars picked a pretty simple premise for another installment. Put a sorority there instead of a frat and watch similar hijinks ensue!
This happens when college freshman Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) goes to pledge at sororities and discovers they aren’t allowed to hold the wild bashes that their male counterparts are. So she enlists some other girls and Beastie Boys’s it beside the Radners (Rogen, Byrne) who are now expecting their second child. Kappa Nu is formed with an assist from Teddy (Efron), who’s still a bit salty from what went down when he inhabited the property. He’s also painfully still a man-child and the screenplay does get some decent mileage out of that (his changed friendship with frat bro Dave Franco is an example).
As with the first Neighbors installment, games of one upmanship (or upgirlship I guess) go down. The Radners are terrified because the house is in escrow as they’re set to become suburbanites and the new tenants might not appreciate the newly minted party pad. Shelby and her newfound sisters are determined to stay. And if that all sounds a lot like 2014, it is. Same story, different gender.
Rising gets a some solid chuckles out of exploiting the physique of both Mr. Efron and Mr. Rogen. The best moments come from our lead couple acting as de facto parents to Teddy, yet they’re few and far between. This is due to the familiar tale of Kappa Nu and their schemes that involve some serious felonies that the frat guys would’ve balked at.
There have been plenty of comedic #2’s far worse than this. The trio of Rogen, Byrne, and Efron do give it their all and don’t just go through the motions. Still – this one feels mostly uninspired despite the talent involved and keeps that general comedy sequel rule intact.
The Mutants are back in the multiplex as X-Men: Apocalypse hits screens this Memorial Day weekend. Bryan Singer (who directed the first two well-regarded entries in the original trilogy and 2014’s Days of Future Past) is back behind the camera with franchise regulars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Rose Byrne returning, in addition to Oscar Isaac and Olivia Munn.
The pic is likely to rule the holiday weekend, but it is worth noting that competition is fiercer than two years ago when Future Past debuted on the same weekend. In 2014, the only other newcomer was the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore dud Blended. This time around, it’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, another high-profile sequel.
This is the 8th X-Men franchise flick in the 21st century (counting the two stand-alone Wolverine features) and the best opening so far is ironically 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Despite being generally regarded as the worst of the X series, it premiered to $102 million over that year’s Memorial Day Weekend from Friday to Sunday with $122 million for the four-day holiday frame. Days of Future Past was second with a $90 million Friday to Sunday and $110 million Friday to Monday.
Apocalypse would love to match Last Stand‘s debut or exceed it and there’s another common bond between them. This is the third movie in the current trilogy that began with 2011’s X-Men: First Class and like Stand, it’s receiving the weakest reviews. First Class earned an 87% Rotten Tomatoes score. Future Past improved slightly with 91%. Apocalypse currently sits at just 53%. The somewhat negative word of mouth and more significant competition could cause this to gross under what Past managed. However, I don’t think it’ll be much under.
I look for Apocalypse to post a low to mid-80s start for the traditional three-day with a gross just eclipsing the century mark for the holiday weekend.
X-Men: Apocalypse opening weekend prediction: $82.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $100.4 million (Friday to Monday)
For my Alice Through the Looking Glass prediction, click here:
Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Rose Byrne are back experiencing homeowner drama in a hopefully funny way with Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, out next weekend. This time, it’s the ladies turn to wreak havoc on Mr. Rogen’s famiy with Chloe Grace Moretz leading the way. Nicholas Stoller returns to direct with Dave Franco and Ike Barinholtz back in supporting roles.
Two years ago, Neighbors turned into a major summer hit with a $49 million opening and $150 million domestic gross. A sequel was quickly greenlit and here we are today with the follow-up hoping to match its predecessor’s numbers.
It could be tough to do. There is some genre competition with Russell Crowe/Ryan Gosling’s The Nice Guys opening on the same day. Additionally, many comedic sequels open under the original in general. The fact that only two years has passed could help though. Reviews have been decent as it stands at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes, just under the 73% of the first.
I’ll predict Neighbors 2 rises to just under $40M, about $10M less than what came before it and it’ll probably manage to just reach triple digits when all is said and done.
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising opening weekend prediction: $38.2 million
For my The Angry Birds Movie prediction, click here:
After her terrific breakout role in 2011’s Bridesmaids, the filmography of Melissa McCarthy has nagged at me in one significant way. While her character in Bridesmaids was hilariously rough around the edges, what stood out was her innate likability. It’s a trait that was lacking in varying degrees in all her follow up work – Identity Thief, The Heat, and Tammy.
This situation is rectified in Spy, which teams McCarthy up for the third time with director Paul Feig after Bridesmaids and The Heat (they’ll collabo again next summer in the Ghostbusters reboot). Spy finds McCarthy playing more to her strengths and it’s a welcome sight. Yet it doesn’t totally mask that this effort is a fairly generic 007 genre spoof where the laughs are hit or miss.
McCarthy is Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst whose job consists mostly of assisting debonair agent Bradley Fine (a game Jude Law) by talking in his earpiece and helping him out of international intrigue jams. She’s head over heels for her assigned agent as well, which leads to a humorous fancy dinner scene with him where she’s a bit out of her element. Circumstances soon lead to Susan becoming a field agent responsible for tracking Rayna (Rose Byrne), who’s in possession of a nuke. Our newly minted spy must also work with rough and tumble agent Ford (Jason Statham, showcasing real comedic chops) who is far worse at his profession than he believes. His anecdotes about previous missions provide some of the larger laughs, such as when he had to reattach his arm with his other arm.
Spy follows the playbook of Bond spoof to a tee – various exotic locations, big and complicated action sequences, etc… McCarthy’s character, who gets to don various disguises, gives the actress the most she’s had to work with in a bit. The pic fits the bill as a lazy afternoon couch viewing experience and not much more.
One problem is that Feig has learned one unenviable trait from former colleague Judd Apatow. His movies are about 20 minutes too long and Spy’s premise doesn’t deserve the padded two hour running time. There is filler mixed with genuinely solid set pieces. Flaws aside, it’s nice to see McCarthy shine in a manner she’s not been afforded since her Oscar nomination for her standout part four years ago. I hope her material continues to improve.
Focus Features has had a nice little horror cash cow in the Insidious franchise and the third edition hits theaters Friday. Chapter 3 is a prequel and therefore original stars of its predecessors Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are nowhere to be found (in fact Byrne is busy this weekend with Spy).
Dermot Mulroney and Stefanie Scott headline with Leigh Whannell making his directorial debut after writing chapters 1 and 2. Insidious: Chapter 2 surprised prognosticators when it landed a $40 million debut in September 2013. It would be a bit of a shocker to see this follow up post that number, but you never know. I believe this will manage a start in the mid to high 20s, settling for second to Melissa McCarthy’s Spy.
Insidious: Chapter 3 opening weekend prediction: $26 million
Ever since Bridesmaids some four years ago, Melissa McCarthy has become a potent box office force and while her comedies have yielded financially pleasing returns, critics haven’t always been on her side – see last summer’s Tammy. This Friday’s Spy is a notable exception as it boasts a terrific 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The action comedy pairs her yet again with her Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig. The supporting cast includes Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law and Allison Janney.
McCarthy’s star power plus the critical love should lead to a very nice debut for Spy. As I see it, the question is whether or not it manages to top the $39 million earned by The Heat to create McCarthy’s largest domestic opening of all time. I am predicting it’ll just manage to get there and its solid word of mouth should continue its healthy run forward for the weeks to come.