Dune Box Office Prediction

Coming nearly a year after its anticipated arrival, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is out in theaters and HBO Max on October 22. The sci-fi epic, with a budget of at least $165 million, comes with high hopes from Warner Bros (so much so that Part One follows its title). Based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel (beloved by genre fans), this is its second adaptation behind the 1984 version helmed by David Lynch. Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 maker Villeneuve employs a sprawling cast including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem.

Critical reaction is mostly strong as it stands at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Dune is expected to contend for numerous Oscars including Picture and Director and multiple tech races. It could easily lead next year’s ceremony in terms of nominations. Reviews all seem to agree on one item: that it’s meant to be watched on the big screen. The studio has still stuck to its 2021 strategy of simultaneously premiering their product in multiplexes and HBO’s streaming service.

Sci-fi fans have been breathlessly awaiting Dune for years. This is nothing new to Villeneuve as the same could be said for 2017’s Blade Runner follow-up. However, it debuted to a disappointing $32.7 million and failed to reach $100 million domestically (despite similarly solid reviews).

Could the same fate await Dune? That’s definitely a possibility. Beyond its core audience (which is fairly sizable), this could struggle to find a younger crowd. We have seen this year that they are the driving force for pleasing returns in the COVID era market.

If No Time to Die could manage just $55 million and with the inevitability that some fans will opt for home viewing, I have a tough time envisioning Dune surpassing expectations. That’s about $40 million and I do believe the decent buzz and event picture status should put it right in that range of low 30s for the floor and high 40s for the ceiling.

Dune opening weekend prediction: $42.7 million

For my Ron’s Gone Wrong prediction, click here:

Ron’s Gone Wrong Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: Dune

The arrival of Dune at the Venice Film Festival has been a breathlessly anticipated one. Denis Villeneuve’s epic version of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel is one of 2021’s most buzzed about projects. And that’s after it held the same status in 2020 before its COVID delay. The $165 million futuristic tale held its Italian screening and the results are fascinating to behold.

Dune currently has an 85% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Some reviewers are calling it quite special and the kind of technical achievement that we witnessed 20 years ago with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In fact, there seems to be no question that it looks amazing. There was never much doubt that this would contend in several tech races including Visual Effects (where it should be the front runner), Sound (same), Cinematography, Editing, Costume Design, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, and Score.

Whether this breaks through in above the line races is less clear. The mixed to negative critical reaction is mostly focused on its narrative shortcomings. That’s why I feel Adapted Screenplay could be a reach (not to mention that it looks quite competitive anyway). My hunch at the moment is that Dune, primarily due to its technical wizardry, should still manage a Best Picture nod. If it does, I would say Villeneuve makes it in for his direction and that would give him nomination #2 after 2016’s Arrival. I will extend a caveat: if Dune is considered to be a box office disappointment when it comes out October 22, that could hinder its chances in the big dance.

As for the cast, Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson are being praised for their work. Yet I suspect none of the sprawling ensemble will hear their names among the final five.

My Oscar Predictions posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Box Office Prediction

Arriving just over 10 years to the day after its predecessor, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again dances into theaters next weekend, looking to be queen of the box office over other sequel competition. The 2008 original was based on a popular stage musical incorporating the music of Swedish super group ABBA and it turned into a behemoth at the multiplex. Returning cast members include Meryl Streep (in her first ever sequel), Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Stellan Skarsgard, and Dominic Cooper. Newbies include Lily James, Andy Garcia, and Cher. Ol Parker takes over directorial duties from Phyllida Lloyd.

Mamma Mia! held the distinction of being the highest grossing live-action musical of all time until 2017’s Beauty and the Beast topped it. It opened to $27.7 million and legged out quite well to a $144 million domestic total. The worldwide haul was a fantastic $615 million. Ten years is a significant gap between sequels, but the fan base seems likely to turn out and there’s little else marketing an older and female crowd. Two others sequels debuting over the weekend – The Equalizer 2 and Unfriended: Dark Web – are going for different demographics.

It seems reasonable to me that Again could debut about 20% higher than the first and it remains to be seen if it holds as well as part 1 in subsequent weekends.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again opening weekend prediction: $33.5 million

For my The Equalizer 2 prediction, click here:


For my Unfriended: Dark Web prediction, click here:


Avengers: Age of Ultron Movie Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron moves the Marvel Cinematic Universe onwards while answering the questions we’ve been pondering for years. How is the romantic relationship going between Hulk and Black Widow? What’s going on with Hawkeye’s wife and children out on their family farm?

Wait, what?

These two out of nowhere subplots are emblematic of a pervasive problem with the sequel to the 2012 mega blockbuster. When Joss Whedon made the original three years ago, it was hard to imagine him combining Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye into a cohesive and satisfactory experience. Did he ever though and it resulted in one of the greatest superhero tales to reach the screen. With Ultron, many of the fears that were assuaged the first time are present. Here, the struggle is real and Whedon can’t manage to recapture the magic the second time around.

The pic dives headfirst into Avengers action in Eastern Europe with our protagonists obtaining Loki’s old scepter and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) discovering its artificial intelligence capabilities. This results in the creation of Ultron (voiced by James Spader), a robotic monster hell bent on ending the world… you know, like all MCU villains. We’re also introduced to Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), characters played by different actors in last year’s in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Incidentally, Quicksilver was used much more effectively in the latter.

Of course, we have most of the Marvel crew back. Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow, who’s turned into one of the more interesting characters even though her aforementioned romance with Dr. Bruce Banner aka Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) seems to be a forced concoction to earn them more screen time. Same goes for Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, who isn’t one of the more interesting players and his previously unseen family history doesn’t help. And there’s Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Chris Evans’s Captain America, both coming off sequels that improved upon their predecessors. Not the case here. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon appear in more limited fashion. The girlfriends of Iron Man and Thor (Oscar winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman, respectively) are missing.

Where Ultron serviceably succeeds is its action sequences, including a humdinger battle between Hulk and Iron Man. The Marvel team obviously know how to make these glorious battle sequences and they acquit themselves fine here, though nothing matches the brilliance of the 2012 edition’s breathtaking climactic sequence. The issues I had are several and not just the needless subplots. Ultron is not an especially compelling villain. Many of the humorous quips fall flatter than normal. Even Downey Jr. (truly an example of the perfect actor in the perfect role) isn’t as fun this time around.

In a way, I found Age of Ultron comparable to the third Hunger Games entry, Mockingjay – Part 1. It’s necessary to view it so we can move on to the rest. With the MCU, that includes two more Avengers pics and forthcoming Thor and Captain America threequels. Ultron is “must see” viewing for that reason and that reason alone. Yet I hope what comes next elevates beyond the material we are given this time.

**1/2 (out of four)

Cinderella Box Office Prediction

This Friday, Disney continues their new trend of bringing some of their most known animated tales to life with Cinderella. Thor director Kenneth Branagh helms the production with Lily James in the title role and Cate Blanchett as The Wicked Stepmother. Helena Bonham Carter and Stellan Skarsgard round out the cast.

After two ho-hum weekends, Cinderella seems poised to shake the box office out of its slump. Reviews have been very strong and it currently stands at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. With hardly any competition, expect Disney to experience a strong weekend.

This past summer, Maleficent with Angelina Jolie (a Sleeping Beauty retelling) opened at $69 million on its way to a $241 million overall domestic haul. I feel Cinderella will come quite close to that number.

Cinderella opening weekend prediction: $67.8 million

For my Run All Night prediction, click here:


Top 25 Highest Grossing Actors of All Time: Nos. 25-21

Which stars are at the top of the mountain when it comes to overall domestic box office grosses? Well, this trusty blogger has your answers in my new series. This will be a five-part series revealing the Top 25 Highest Grossing Actors of All Time from #25 to #1.

When looking at the performers who make up the list, you’ll notice some very big names aren’t listed. Brad Pitt. Jim Carrey. Nicolas Cage. Denzel Washington. Why? Well, as you’ll see, it helps to be an actor involved in a successful franchise… or franchises. Therefore – some of the names may well surprise you.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

25. Tommy Lee Jones

Career Earnings: $2.4 billion

Franchises: The Men in Black series. The Fugitive/U.S. Marshals. *Jones also made one time appearances in ongoing franchises with Batman Forever and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Highest Grossing Picture: Men in Black – $250 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 8. The Fugitive, Batman Forever, Men in Black, Double Jeopardy, Men in Black II, Captain America: The First Avenger, MIB 3, Lincoln.

Lowest Grosser: House of Cards – $322,000

24. Stellan Skarsgard

Career Earnings: $2.5 billion

Franchises: The Marvel Universe (Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest/Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. *Skarsgard also appeared in Angels&Demons, the Da Vinci Code sequel.

Highest Grossing Picture: The Avengers – $623 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9. Good Will Hunting, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Mamma Mia!, Angels&Demons, Thor, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World.

Lowest Grosser: Boogie Woogie – $2,000

23. Helena Bonham Carter

Career Earnings: $2.5 billion

Franchises: The Harry Potter series. *Bonham Carter also appeared in Terminator: Salvation.

Highest Grossing Picture: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $381 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9. Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Terminator: Salvation, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Les Miserables.

Lowest Grosser: The Theory of Flight – $73,000

22. Orlando Bloom

Career Earnings: $2.5 billion

Franchises: The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Hobbit series.

Highest Grossing Picture: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – $423 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9. Black Hawk Down, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Troy, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Lowest Grosser: Main Street – $2,500

21. Julia Roberts

Career Earnings: $2.6 billion

Franchises: The Ocean’s series.

Highest Grossing Picture: Ocean’s Eleven – $183 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 11. Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, Hook, The Pelican Brief, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Valentine’s Day.

Lowest Grosser: Fireflies in the Garden – $70,000

That’s all for now! I’ll be back tomorrow with numbers 20-16!