Director Guy Ritchie returns to the genre that made him known in the first place with crime comedy The Gentlemen next weekend. Matthew McConaughey headlines the pic that was already released in the United Kingdom on New Year’s Day to OK results. Costars include Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 75% with most reviewers claiming it doesn’t quite match the quality of earlier titles with similar plot themes.
Over 20 years ago, Ritchie burst onto the indie scene with his humorous gangster tale Long, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and followed it up with the successful Snatch. Later efforts in the genre like Revolver and RocknRolla failed to make a stateside impact. Over the past decade, the auteur has veered into blockbuster territory with the Sherlock Holmes franchise and last year’s massive hit Aladdin.
As for its lead, McConaughey is badly in need of a solid performer. His filmography over the past few years has been littered with bombs (Gold, The Dark Tower, White Boy Rick, Serenity, The Beach Bum).
I suspect that The Gentlemen won’t be it. That said, it should certainly make more than Revolver (which didn’t get a stateside wide release) or RocknRolla (which topped out at $5 million). My forecast has McConaughey and company just below or just topping double digits for its start. I’ll go with the former.
The Gentlemen opening weekend prediction: $9.6 million
When this blog started in the fall of 2012, Matthew McConaughey was coming off a solid two-year period which saw him headline the surprise legal drama hit TheLincolnLawyer and attract rave reviews for his supporting role in MagicMike.
Yet 2013 elevated the actor to a whole new stratosphere. His work in the acclaimed indie pic Mud garnered Oscar chatter. He had a memorable cameo alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s TheWolfofWallStreet. It ironically turned out that McConaughey’s scene partner in that film was his biggest competition for an Oscar. DallasBuyersClub would see the Texan playing Ron Woodruff, a real life AIDS patient in the 1980s. McConaughey’s work was praised and he took home the gold statue. His luck streak continued into the following year starring in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which stands as his largest grossing live-action feature.
Since then? Well, let’s just say the McConaissance has been interrupted. Or borrowing his most famous catchphrase from 1993’s DazedandConfused – it’s not Alright Alright.
This weekend, his stoner comedy TheBeachBum tanked at the box office. Its approximate $1.8 million opening is the worst release of the actor’s career. And it follows a pattern of now seven live-action duds (he did provide voice work in the animated pics Sing and KuboandtheTwoStrings). And to give a modicum of credit, he did skip the subpar sequel MagicMikeXXL.
At least Nicolas Cage had a string of action hits after his Oscar before delving into VOD territory. McConaughey hasn’t been so fortunate and he quickly needs a critical or commercial success to redeem things. His list of recent material is an unsuccessful and largely forgettable one. In three years, we’ve had:
FreeStateofJones, his summer 2016 Civil War drama that took in $20 million domestically against a $50 million budget. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was 46%.
TheSeaofTrees from later that summer. The drama wasn’t even released wide and didn’t make a million dollars (13% RT score).
True life crime drama Gold in January 2017. 42% RT. $14 million gross stateside.
TheDarkTower in summer 2017. The critically maligned Stephen King adaptation had a 16% RT rating and immediately ended the possibility of a franchise with earnings of $50 million.
Another based on actual events crime drama from last fall – WhiteBoyRick. 58% RT and $24 million gross.
Noir thriller Serenity from earlier this year. Barely promoted, it made an embarrassing $8 million total with a 23% RT score.
And now TheBeachBum, which won’t reach $10 million domestically either. It’s time for McConaughey’s people to find him some better stuff. His most memorable appearances lately have been in car commercials. If they can’t manage to do so, there’s always 2013.
Stephen King fans have been eagerly awaiting his series of Dark Tower novels arriving on the big screen. Most of his other heralded works have already made it before the cameras and some of them in multiple iterations. The challenge with bringing forth this particular series is said to be the dense nature of its material. And now that we have a cinematic version of TheDarkTower, I can report a number of decisions made in making it happen are indeed dense. That’s definitely not a compliment.
The picture is an abridged and often aimless experience begging for more backstory and clarity. It’s led by uninspired performances and routine shoot-em-up interruptions. Tom Taylor stars as Jake, a New York City preteen who has vivid dreams about a Man in Black trying to destroy Earth and a gunslinger trying to stop him. Jake’s family and friends think he’s coo coo, but the kid has some legit psychic power. There is a Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) otherwise known as Walter and he is trying to take over Earth’s domain and the domains of unseen others. There is a gunslinger (Idris Elba) otherwise known as Roland and he teams up with Jake to stop the apocalypse. They also share some Daddy issues.
What follows is a bit of a head scratcher. TheDarkTower hints at a much larger universe that at least sounds kinda interesting. Yet it’s not shown. It suggests a potentially action packed past for Roland, but that’s it. I get that the idea of the movie is to set up future chapters, but it’s hard to anticipate further ones when the first is so unfulfilling.
Taylor’s lead performance is rather dull. Elba has a physical presence, but there’s no meat on the bones of what should be a far more captivating figure. McConaughey can be a terrific actor, but that’s not what we witness. His Man in Black is meant (I think) to be a scary one. McConaughey doesn’t seem to get that. His level of menace displayed here is about equal to his Lincoln commercial work.
TheDarkTower has a 95 minute length that suggests even its makers knew they had a losing hand. It represents a limp start for a building of worlds. And it’s one that may never seen the light because this fails to get it off the ground.
Mid August at the box office comes with some star power as two new pictures open competing for the same audience: Ryan Reynolds/Samuel L. Jackson action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Steven Soderbergh’s heist action comedy Logan Lucky with Channing Tatum and Daniel Craig. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:
The newbies could find themselves in a battle for the #1 spot. Lucky is winning on the reviews side with a terrific 96% on Rotten Tomatoes while Bodyguard stands at 55%. However, my inkling is that Mr. Reynolds will edge out Mr. Tatum with a gross in the mid to higher teens with Lucky in the lower teens.
There’s also the matter of Annabelle: Creation, which got off to a strong start this past weekend (more on that below). If Bodyguard and Lucky both underwhelm, the demonic doll has a slight chance to repeat at #1. However, the horror prequel is likely to suffer a drop in the mid to high 50s. If it all pans out as I see it, we will have our fourth weekend of 2017 where no movie manages to top $20 million.
The rest of the top five should be filled out by holdovers Dunkirk and The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature in its second frame after a weak start.
Lastly, the Taylor Sheridan directed thriller Wind River with Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen is slated to expand to approximately 600-700 screens. It’s been performing well with critics and in limited release. If that screen count holds true, I’d peg it at $3.1 million this weekend.
And with that, my top 5 projections for the weekend:
1. The Hitman’s Bodyguard
Predicted Gross: $16.7 million
2. Annabelle: Creation
Predicted Gross: $14.6 million (representing a drop of 58%)
3. Logan Lucky
Predicted Gross: $10.5 million
Predicted Gross: $7 million (representing a drop of 36%)
5. The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
Predicted Gross: $4.5 million (representing a drop of 46%)
Box Office Results (August 11-13)
Annabelle: Creation scared up some solid business taking in $35 million (beating my $31.4M forecast) to easily place #1. The horror prequel fell just shy of the $37.1 million accomplished by its 2014 predecessor and keeps the Conjuring universe chugging right along.
Dunkirk remained in second with $10.8 million (I was a touch higher at $11.7M). It’s made $153M thus far.
Family audiences largely rejected The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, which debuted in third to just $8.3 million (under my $12.2M prediction). The sequel made less than half of the $19 million achieved out of the gate by the 2014 original. Opening on over 4000 screens, it had a per screen average of just over $2,000. On the bright side, parents who did take their kids to see it probably had plenty of room to roam about the theater. Ouch.
The Dark Tower went from first to fourth with $7.8 million (I said $7.6M). bringing its lackluster two-week tally to only $34M.
Girls Trip placed fifth with $6.4 million (I projected $7.2M) as it stands at $97M and should cross the century mark this week.
The Emoji Movie was #6, also with $6.4 million (I said $6M) for a $63M total.
Finally, Brie Larson drama The Glass Castle had a respectable debut in ninth with $4.6 million (I was close at $4.2M). On a relatively small 1400+ screens, it actually achieved the second highest per screen average of the top ten.
August rolled in like a lamb at the box office and three new releases this weekend will try and pick things up: horror prequel Annabelle: Creation, animated sequel The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, and Brie Larson led drama The Glass Castle. You can peruse my detailed individual prediction posts on each of them here:
Annabelle has received significantly better reviews than its predecessor, yet I still question its ability to open above it (the original was coming hot on the heels of The Conjuring). Still, my estimate for Creation has it easily topping the charts in the low 30s.
My lower teens estimate for Nutty by Nature (yeah you know me) should be good enough for second place considering expectations for holdovers and the weak debut of current #1 The Dark Tower (more on its opening below).
As for The Glass Castle, the current theater count is 1400 which is pretty low. Even though it’s based on a popular book from 2005, the marketing campaign seems rather quiet and I’ve got it outside the top five at $4.2 million. Note that this number could be revised up (and maybe down though doubtful) as the week rolls along.
Dunkirk may just fall one spot to third with Tower dropping to fourth. The five spot could be a battle between The Emoji Movie and Girls Trip. And with that, we’ll do a top 6 projections for this particular weekend:
1. Annabelle: Creation
Predicted Gross: $31.4 million
2. The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
Predicted Gross: $12.2 million
Predicted Gross: $11.7 million (representing a drop of 31%)
4. The Dark Tower
Predicted Gross: $7.6 million (representing a drop of 60%)
5. Girls Trip
Predicted Gross: $7.2 million (representing a drop of 37%)
6. The Emoji Movie
Predicted Gross: $6 million (representing a drop of 50%)
Box Office Results (August 4-6)
The long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower experienced four revisions down from my original prediction post which put it in the mid 30s (that seems like a long time ago). It soon became clear the pic wasn’t going to perform too well and that bore out with $19.1 million (my final prediction was $18.4M). That’s still good for first place, but it’s a pretty darn soft debut. Poor reviews and word-of-mouth took its toll. This was only the third weekend of the year (and first of the summer) to feature a #1 movie performing under $20M (though I’d anticipate more later in the month).
Dunkirk dropped to second after two weeks on top with $17.1 million (ahead of my predicted $15.5M) for a total of $133M.
The Emoji Movie was third in its sophomore frame with $12 million (I said $11.4M) to bring its two-week tally to $49M.
Girls Trip took the four spot with $11.4 million, a bit shy of my $12.9M projection to bring the sleeper hit’s total to $85M.
The Halle Berry thriller Kidnap had a decent little opening in fifth with $10 million, easily outpacing my $6.8M projection. Its double digit debut was certainly on the higher end of expectations.
For Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit, its performance was underwhelming. Despite very positive reviews, the 1960s set racial drama placed 8th with just $7.1 million compared to my $11.6M forecast.
Blogger’s Note (08/03): On eve of debut, revising Dark Tower down significantly
The month of August begins at the box office with three new releases hitting multiplexes: the long in the works Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Bigelow’s 1960s set racial drama Detroit, and Halle Berry’s oft delayed thriller Kidnap. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
Over the past week, I have considerably revised my Dark Tower estimate down from a mid 30s debut to now mid 20s. That should be enough to get it to #1, however.
Detroit is garnering highly positive reviews and could certainly over perform, but I’ve got it pegged in the low double digits with a likelihood it plays well through the month. That might be good for anywhere between third and fifth – depending on holdover activity for Emoji Movie and Girls Trip.
Kidnap could surprise (no one thought Berry’s The Call would do the business it did), but I’m not projecting much for it. My $6.8M estimate puts it outside the top five.
As for holdovers, Dunkirk should slide to second after two weeks on top. Animated movies typically suffer smallish drops in their sophomore weekend, but The Emoji Movie could be an exception to the rule after its dismal reviews and so-so B Cinemascore grade. Girls Trip should continue to impress in week #3.
And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend ahead:
1. The Dark Tower
Predicted Gross: $18.4 million
Predicted Gross: $15.5 million (representing a drop of 42%)
3. Girls Trip
Predicted Gross: $12.9 million (representing a drop of 34%)
Predicted Gross: $11.6 million
5. The Emoji Movie
Predicted Gross: $11.4 million (representing a drop of 54%)
Box Office Results (July 28-30)
Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dunkirk was the first pic since Wonder Woman to stay atop the charts for two weeks in a row as it grossed $26.6 million (under my $32.8M projection) for a two-week total of $101 million.
The Emoji Movie settled for second place with $24.5 million, a bit below my $28.4M forecast. As mentioned, poor reviews and word-of-mouth could keep this from performing well in subsequent weekends.
Girls Trip continued its fantastic run as the comedy of the summer with $19.6 million compared to my $17.3M estimate. Its earned $65 million thus far with the century mark firmly in its sights.
Charlize Theron’s spy thriller Atomic Blonde did rather underwhelming business with $18.2 million, on target with my $18.6M prediction. Mostly solid reviews couldn’t keep this from a mediocre start.
Spider-Man: Homecoming rounded out the top five with $13.2 million (I said $12M) for a $278M overall tally.
Blogger’s Note (08/03): Welp, the revising down continues on the eve of debut to $18.4 million
Blogger’s Note II (07/31): My estimate for The Dark Tower continues to trend downward. I am now revising down to $24.4 million for opening weekend.
Blogger’s Note (07/28): Just a day after posting my $34.6 million estimate, I’m beginning to sour a bit on the opening weekend. I’m revising down to $27.6 million and we’ll see if it continues to trend downward.
Stephen King’s acclaimed book series finally gets the big screen treatment when Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower debuts next weekend. The author eight novels combining elements of science fiction, horror, action, fantasy, and western themes first hit bookshelves 35 years ago, so there’s been decades of anticipation from its fans to see its adaptation. Idris Elba headlines as hero The Gunslinger with Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black. Costars include Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley, and Dennis Haysbert.
The release of The Dark Tower represents a bit of Stephen King renaissance at the box office as the long-awaited It opens in September. It’s been a while since two high-profile projects from the legendary writer have been teed up for release. A planned follow-up TV series (with Elba) is planned for later. Tower was produced for a reported $60 million (a relatively modest budget as summer flicks go).
It will be fascinating to see just how devoted the fan base is for this. As I see it, the opening could range anywhere from mid 20s to maybe mid 40s on the high end. Even though it’s not a totally fair comp (though genre mash-up elements are in common), I could see this debuting similarly to 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens, which started with $36 million at the same late July/early August time frame. From that same summer six years ago, Super 8 and its $35 million opening could be the same ballpark as well.
The Dark Tower opening weekend prediction: $18.4 million (REVISED PREDICTION)