Cold Pursuit Box Office Prediction

As they say, revenge is a film best served with Liam Neeson in it and Summit Entertainment hopes that holds true next weekend with Cold Pursuit. The action thriller casts Neeson as a snow plow driver avenging the murder of his son with his particular set of skills. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland is behind the camera and costars include Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, and William Forsythe.

We are a decade past the star’s career resurgence with the sleeper hit Taken and its two sequels. What followed were $20 million plus openers like Unknown and NonStop. The sub genre of Neeson tough guy flicks, however, has seen its grosses dwindle in recent years. A Walk Among the Tombstones, Run All Night, and last year’s The Commuter all debuted in the low double digits to low teens range.

Reviews have been surprisingly strong and the Rotten Tomatoes score is at 93%. Several critics have praised an apparent well-placed sense of humor. Yet I’m skeptical that will give Cold Pursuit a hot premiere. I’ll predict this falls right in line with his later entries.

Cold Pursuit opening weekend prediction: $12.8 million

For my The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part prediction, click here:

For my What Men Want prediction, click here:

For my The Prodigy prediction, click here:

The Commuter Movie Review

Director Jaume Collet-Serra and his aging action star Liam Neeson collaborate for the fourth time with The Commuter. If you remember their 2014 effort NonStop quite vividly, good for you because I had forgotten much of it. That pic put Mr. Neeson in a precarious position on a long flight in which he was forced to commit potential crimes commanded by shadowy villains. Four years later, this one puts Mr. Neeson in a precarious position on a long train ride in which he is forced to commit potential crimes commanded by shadowy villains. If that makes you think The Commuter doesn’t exactly aim high, you’d be correct.

The trick with these movies is whether we can successfully put our brains aside and just enjoy the junk food genre offerings. This time around, the director and star don’t make it very easy for us. Neeson is Michael, an ex NYC cop turned life insurance agent for the last decade. He’s 60 (as he reminds us a few times) with a wife (Elizabeth McGovern) and son about to enter college. It’s tough for the family man to make ends meet and that’s thrown into chaos when he’s unceremoniously fired. Each day he makes a long commute home and on the day of his unexpected dismissal, more surprises follow. He’s approached on the train by Joanna (Vera Farmiga) and she offers an opportunity. There’s $100,000 for Michael if he can identify and place a GPS tracker on a passenger who goes by Prynne. Farmiga’s Conjuring hubby Patrick Wilson turns up as Michael’s old partner.

This is all tied to a murder investigation and Prynne is a witness. Joanna’s benefactors want Prynne eliminated and Michael is their ticket to make that happen. All this leads to Michael having to make a series of moral decisions while intermittently kicking an appropriate amount of baddie butt. We also are introduced to the train’s other passengers – some of whom are given perfunctory subplots while we await Prynne’s grand reveal.

The Commuter, quite frankly, is totally ludicrous and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The same could certainly be said of Unknown (the first Collet-Serra/Neeson joint) or NonStop. Yet I found both to be slightly more entertaining than this. The screenplay (which somehow took three people to write it) does too little to engage us with its silly plot and a couple of decently choreographed action sequences aren’t enough to save it. Neeson gives it his earnest and occasionally intense all. Bless his heart for not coasting as the story does.

** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: January 26-28

The month of January at the box office ends with one big new release and it’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure. The third franchise entry will look to finally dislodge Jumanji from its perch atop the charts. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

As you can see, I have Death not reaching the heights of its two predecessors. That said, even with a low 20s debut, it should be enough to allow it to become the first 2018 release to open #1 in 2018.

The other wide release is the expansion of Hostiles with Christian Bale. Despite stellar reviews, the once awards hopeful has been flying under the radar and posting lackluster per screen averages in its limited release. Current screen counts show it rolling out to 3000 screens. I’m a little skeptical it reaches that many (we’ll see on Thursday). If it does, I’ll peg its opening at $4.8 million and that leaves it outside the top five. If the theater count changes by Thursday, so will my estimate.

With competition rather light this weekend, holdovers should experience smallish declines with the seemingly unstoppable Jumanji, The Post and The Greatest Showman perhaps being the largest benefactors.

And with that, my top 5 projections for the weekend:

1. Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Predicted Gross: $22.8 million

2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Predicted Gross: $14.9 million

3. The Post

Predicted Gross: $9.4 million

4. 12 Strong 

Predicted Gross: $8.9 million

5. The Greatest Showman

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million

Box Office Results (January 19-21)

For the third weekend in a row, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle dominated the box office charts while newcomers posted better than expected results. The franchise reboot took in $19.5 million and I was right there with my estimate of $19.6 million. It’s taken in $316 million overall.

The Chris Hemsworth led true life military tale 12 Strong took the runner-up position with a decent $15.8 million, topping my $13.9 million. That’s a smidge above what was expected of it.

The story of the weekend may well be the over performance of Gerard Butler’s Den of Thieves, which surprised everyone with a robust $15.2 million debut in third… way above my $6.1 million projection. It actually had the highest per screen average of all the wide releases over the weekend.

The Post was fourth in its second weekend of release with $11.7 million, shy of my $14 million projection for a total of $44 million.

The Greatest Showman rounded out the top 5 with $10.6 million (I said $9.9 million) for a tally of $113 million.

Finally, I incorrectly had The Commuter inside the top 5, but it was seventh with $6.6 million (I said $7.6 million). It’s two-week total is $25 million.

And that does it for now as far as box office predictions…

However, if you missed my FINAL Oscar predictions (they’re out tomorrow morning), you can find them here:

Box Office Predictions: January 19-21

Blogger’s Note (01/18/18): I am revising my 12 Strong prediction from $17.9 million down to $13.9 million

Two new titles vie for action fan attention this weekend as military themed 12 Strong and heist themed Den of Thieves debut. You can find my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

12 Strong could potentially make a play for the top spot, but I suspect Jumanji will continue its dominance in first place. Looking over the post MLK weekend from years past, it’s not rare for holdovers to experience smallish declines. I suspect that will hold true for Jumanji and The Post.

Along those lines, The Greatest Showman should drop to fourth with The Commuter rounding out the top 5My $6.1 million estimate for Den of Thieves puts it outside my high five.

And with that – here they are!

1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Predicted Gross: $19.6 million

2. The Post

Predicted Gross: $14 million

3. 12 Strong

Predicted Gross: $13.9 million

4. The Greatest Showman

Predicted Gross: $9.9 million

5. The Commuter

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million

Box Office Results (January 1215)

Jumanji continued its remarkable run atop the charts over the four day MLK weekend with $35.1 million, edging past my prediction of $32.7 million. The smash sequel has amassed $291 million since its Christmas time debut.

There were plenty of new releases and expansions this weekend and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar hopeful The Post fared best in second with $23 million, in line with my $22.3 million estimate.

The Greatest Showman continued its stellar run with $16.1 million, singing beyond my $12.6 million prediction. It’s ready to join the century club as it stands at $98 million.

Liam Neeson took fourth with The Commuter as it opened with a fairly solid $15.8 million (I was a touch lower at $14.6 million).

One of the surprises of the weekend was the disappointing performance for critically acclaimed kiddie sequel Paddington 2, debuting in fifth with a mediocre $15 million. I had it pegged for a #2 premiere at $22.4 million. Oops.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was sixth with $14.6 million (I said $15.5 million) for $594 million total.

Insidious: The Last Key fell from second to seventh with $14.3 million compared to my $13.2 million estimate. It’s earned $50 million in its two weeks of release.

In eighth place, Proud Mary with Taraji P. Henson had a muted start with $11.7 million, well under my $18.5 million projection.

Pitch Perfect 3 was ninth with $7.3 million. My prediction? $7.3 million. Woot woot. The three-quel is also on the cusp of nine figures with $96 million.

I incorrectly had Darkest Hour outside the top 10, but it placed 10th with $5.4 million and $36 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Den of Thieves Box Office Prediction

Den of Thieves hopes to steal away some box office bucks next Friday. The heist thriller is headlined by Gerard Butler with a supporting cast including 50 Cent, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Pablo Schreiber. Christian Gudegast, who wrote the screenplay for Butler’s sequel London Has Fallen, directs.

Butler’s box office drawing power has been mixed since he broke out in 2007’s 300. Films ending in the words “has fallen” have performed well, as have The Bounty Hunter and Law Abiding Citizen. Others like Gamer and Gods of Egypt have not.

Thieves doesn’t look like a candidate to be a breakout. Action competition is a factor as 12 Strong opens the same day and Proud Mary and The Commuter will be in their sophomore frames.

I’ll predict this struggles to open in double digits and misses the mark.

Den of Thieves opening weekend prediction: $6.1 million

For my 12 Strong prediction, click here:

Box Office Predictions: January 12-15

It’s our third four-day weekend in four frames as the MLK holiday is Monday and there’s four new pictures debuting wide. They are: family geared sequel Paddington 2, Steven Spielberg Oscar hopeful The Post, Liam Neeson thriller The Commuter, and Taraji  P. Henson action flick Proud Mary. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

None are likely to dislodge Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle from its perch atop the charts. The MLK weekend typically sees minor drops from the previous one. As to which newbie garners the most cash… well, that’s an excellent question. I’m giving Paddington the slightest edge over The Post for the two spot. I also anticipate a healthy debut for Proud Mary over The Commuter, which could open outside the top 5 depending on the Star Wars hold.

As for the current #2, Insidious: The Last Key, it could fall to 7th after an impressive premiere (more on that below). Horror pics historically suffer more precipitous drops than other genres. Lots to consider on this unpredictable weekend and here are my top ten estimates for Friday through Monday:

1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Predicted Gross: $32.7 million (representing a drop of 12%)

2. Paddington 2

Predicted Gross: $22.4 million

3. The Post

Predicted Gross: $22.3 million

4. Proud Mary

Predicted Gross: $18.5 million

5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million (representing a drop of 35%)

6. The Commuter

Predicted Gross: $14.6 million

7. Insidious: The Last Key

Predicted Gross: $13.2 million (representing a drop of 55%)

8. The Greatest Showman

Predicted Gross: $12.6 million (representing a drop of 8%)

9. Pitch Perfect 3

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million (representing a drop of 28%)

10. Ferdinand

Predicted Gross: $6.5 million (representing a drop of 15%)

Box Office Results (January 57)

As expected, Jumanji vaulted over Star Wars in its third weekend to #1 with $37.2 million, easily outpacing my $29.1 million forecast for $245 million overall. The 90s reboot is performing fantastically and should continue its reign this weekend.

The other story of the weekend was the terrific performance of Insidious: The Last Key,  exceeding all expectations at $29.5 million in second compared to my meager $18.6 million estimate. It’s yet another success story for Blumhouse after a sizzling 2017.

The Last Key dropped The Last Jedi to third with $23.7 million, in line with my $24.8 million projection. Episode VIII has taken in $572 million.

The Greatest Showman continued its nice run in fourth with $13.7 million (I was lower at $10.6 million) for $76 million total.

Finally, Pitch Perfect 3 rounded out the top five with $10.2 million (I said $8 million) to bring its coffers to $86 million.

And that does it for now folks! Until next time…

Proud Mary Box Office Prediction

During last year’s Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Taraji P. Henson had the #1 film with her Oscar nominated Hidden Figures. In 2018, she’s back in the action thriller Proud Mary. The pic finds her cast as a Boston hitwoman from director Babak Najafi, best known for making poorly received sequel London Has Fallen. Supporting players include Billy Brown, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, and Margaret Avery.

While she’s best known for “Empire” television work, Henson’s big screen track record has been rather impressive with her roles in Figures, The Karate Kid remake, and No Good Deed.

Proud Mary could have the advantage of attracting some genre fans, as well as African Americans and females (a demographic often underserved with action flicks). I believe this could post a high teens debut, which would put it above direct genre competition The Commuter.

Proud Mary opening weekend prediction: $18.5 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my The Commuter prediction, click here:

For my The Post prediction, click here:

For my Paddington 2 prediction, click here:


The Commuter Box Office Prediction

It’s been nine years since Liam Neeson reinvented himself as everyone’s go to elder action star with Taken. The last couple of years have seen him focusing on other genres,  but he’s back in kick ass mode next weekend with The Commuter. This marks his fourth collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra after Unknown, NonStop, and Run All Night. Costars include Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga (presumably doing no conjuring work), as well as Sam Neill, Jonathan Banks, and Elizabeth McGovern.

Mr. Neeson’s first two pictures with this director came while he was still packing in audiences with the Taken franchise. That helped propel Unknown and NonStop to openings above $20 million. Run All Night (and another more recent Neeson action flick A Walk Among the Tombstones) both failed to reach the teens in their debuts.

The Commuter has received decent reviews so far and sits at 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, recent evidence has shown the star’s box office potency in the genre has waned. I’ll predict this reaches low to possibly higher teens for its four-day MLK weekend debut.

The Commuter opening weekend prediction: $14.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my The Post prediction, click here:

For my Paddington 2 prediction, click here:

For my Proud Mary prediction, click here: