The Equalizer 2 Box Office Prediction

Denzel Washington is back in action mode when The Equalizer 2 is released next weekend. In his decades long career filled with numerous hits, this is actually the first ever sequel for the star. Antoine Fuqua is back directing and it’s the fourth collaboration between two after 2001’s Training Day (for which Washington won an Oscar), 2014’s The Equalizer, and 2016’s The Magnificent Seven. Costars include Melissa Leo, Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, and Bill Pullman.

When it comes to the action genre, few actors are as bankable as Denzel. The first Equalizer, which is based quite loosely a 1980s TV show starring Edward Woodward, made $34.1 million for its start and ended up at $101 million overall domestically. Two years later, The Magnificent Seven took in $34.7 million out of the gate and $93 million total. Nearly all of Washington’s titles in the genre in the past decade or so have achieved mid 20s or more in their premieres.

While The Equalizer 2 may face a challenge scoring a #1 opening over a very different follow-up (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), a high 20s to possibly low 30s roll out seems quite achievable.

The Equalizer 2 opening weekend prediction: $26.8 million

For my Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/10/mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-box-office-prediction/

For my Unfriended: Dark Web prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/11/unfriended-dark-web-box-office-prediction/

The Non-Sequel Actors

Next weekend sees the release of two high-profile sequels: The Equalizer 2 and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. The pair of part II’s have something rather interesting in common: they serve as the first sequels that their stars Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep have ever appeared in. Pretty surprising huh? Both have been mega-stars for decades and have never followed up on a character until now.

This got me thinking: what other major actors have never been in a sequel? And it’s not an easy list to cobble together.

Some actors are known for their cases of sequelitis. We know Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in a multitude of them, including Marvel Cinematic Universe pics and franchises ranging from Star Wars to xXx to Incredibles. He was John McClane’s sidekick in Die Hard with a Vengeance. And looking early in his filmography, 1990 saw him appearing in The Exorcist III and The Return of Superfly. There’s also Patriot Games from 1992 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 from 2004. Son of Shaft will be out next year. Dude loves his m****f***ing sequels!

Sylvester Stallone has made a career of out of them. Creed II will mark his 15th sequel by my count. There’s the Rocky, Rambo, and Expendables series and there’s also Staying Alive (which he directed and had a cameo in), Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the just released Escape Plan 2: Hades.

Eddie Murphy has returned in the following series: 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, The Nutty Professor, Dr. Dolittle, and Shrek. There could be a part II of Coming to America on the horizon.

Harrison Ford has the famous series like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the Jack Ryan pictures. There’s also More American Graffiti, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and last year’s Blade Runner 2049.

OK, back to thespians who don’t constantly appear in sequels. Leonardo DiCaprio? Well, who can forget one of his first roles as Josh in 1991’s Critters 3? 

Matthew McConaughey has a similar situation. Since he’s become known, no sequels (not even returning in Magic Mike XXL). Yet one of his first roles was in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. 

Unlike his 80s comedic counterparts Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and Steve Martin (all in plenty of them), I couldn’t immediately think of any sequel that John Candy did. Yet he provided a voice-over in the 1990 Disney animated follow-up The Rescuers Down Under. 

With Marlon Brando, I guess it depends on how you look at it. He refused to come back for a flashback cameo in The Godfather Part II. Yet he did appear in 2006’s Superman Returns… with a caveat. That footage was culled completely from his work nearly three decades earlier in Superman and it happened two years after his death.

So here’s the deal… it is really tough to come up with performers in the modern age who haven’t appeared in at least one sequel. However, here’s five of them and feel free to list others in the comments!

Warren Beatty

He’s famously picky about his projects and he’s never played the same man twice. There were rumors that he wanted to do another Dick Tracy, but it never materialized.

Annette Bening

Beatty’s wife has had a long and distinguished career free of sequels. She was originally cast as Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns but dropped out due to pregnancy.

Russell Crowe

The Oscar winner has yet to return to a role, though I’d certainly sign up for The Nice Guys II. P.S. – I do not count Man of Steel as a sequel.

Jodie Foster

She declined to return as Clarice Starling in 2001’s Hannibal after an Oscar-winning turn in The Silence of the Lambs ten years earlier. That was her biggest chance at a sequel and there are none before or after.

Jake Gyllenhaal

His first role was as Billy Crystal’s son in City Slickers, but he was nowhere to be found for part II or any other sequel. However, that long streak ends next summer with Spider-Man: Far From Home.

And there you go! As I said, feel free to chime in with your own non-sequel actors…

The Magnificent Seven Box Office Prediction

There are few actors out there who can truly open a movie, but Denzel Washington is one of them. He’s back on screen for the first time in two years with The Magnificent Seven next weekend. A remake of the 1960 classic with Yul Brynner (which itself was a reworking of 1954’s Seven Samurai), this Western re-teams Washington with his Training Day and The Equalizer director Antoine Fuqua. It also features the red-hot Chris Pratt, Training costar Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, and Haley Bennett.

Early reviews for Seven have been mixed, but this is likely to be a critic proof exercise that delivers an impressive debut. To give you some perspective on Washington’s star power, his last seven pictures have made over $20 million out of the gate (The Taking of Pelham 123, The Book of Eli, Unstoppable, Safe House, Flight, 2 Guns, The Equalizer). Three (Eli, House, Equalizer) have topped $30M and Safe House managed $40M. With its familiar title and the participation of Pratt (coming off summer 2014’s biggest hit Guardians of the Galaxy and summer 2015’s biggest hit Jurassic World), Seven could also join the plus $40M club. In fact, if this reaches over $43 million (the number that Washington’s 2007 pic American Gangster accomplished), it would mark his largest opening.

I believe it will accomplish that feat for a mid to high 40s debut and that would give it the #2 September premiere of all time.

The Magnificent Seven opening weekend prediction: $47.1 million

For my Storks prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/09/14/storks-box-office-prediction/

The Equalizer Movie Review

The Equalizer shares primarily its name only with the 1980s show it got its moniker from and much more with Taken and Denzel Washington’s own Man on Fire. Reuniting with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, the picture aims to be nothing more than finding clever ways for its star to violently kill bad guys. In that sense, Fuqua’s stylish work and Denzel’s restrained cool (at least in outward personality) often work here. Expectations for anything else than that should be tempered.

Our headliner is Robert McCall, who is unquestionably the Jack Bauer of hardware store employees. He spends his days there and his nights at a diner where he strikes up a friendly relationship with Teri, a teenage hooker with a heart of gold (Chloe Grace Moretz) who’s also an aspiring singer. Why the filmmakers didn’t give her a child with debilitating asthma or other medical ailment to complete the troika of movie cliches is unknown. Speaking of Russian numbers, five is the number of well connected mobsters from that country that McCall offs when he gets involved with Teri’s affairs. And that leads to a whole lotta Denzel bad assery for the pic’s padded two hour plus running time.

If you hadn’t guessed, McCall is no average hardware store employee. His background is only glossed over but there’s been involvement with Black Ops and the CIA. We get a scene with Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman that provides a little insight. Yet The Equalizer doesn’t spend much time on character development. After all, there’s vengeance to be doled out. McCall’s glory days of government service may have provided quite a satisfactory viewing experience. It would certainly be more insightful than the several minutes of screen time where McCall helps an overweight employee become a security guard.

Back to the vengeance. It’s no secret that Denzel does this kind of thing better than most. If not for his participation, this might be a direct to VOD release. The decision to make his character an indestructible killing machine saps a good bit of tension away. The Russian mobsters are no different than ones you’ve seen before. It comes down to this – if you thought Taken was pure action bliss, sign up. This is about on Man on Fire level for me: not one of Denzel’s more memorable entries, but OK.

McCall’s employment locale of Home Mart does provide him with some clever tools to dispense of his prey. One suspects, though, that if he’d worked at Burger King, it’d be no different. He would’ve figured out a method to decapitate baddies with a Whopper wrapper and dislodge tracheas with a chicken fry. He’s just that resourceful.

**1/2 (out of four)

My Love of Movies Part II: The Blog’s Second Anniversary

This week, Bill Murray spent an hour on Howard Stern’s radio show. Hearing these two true comedic icons shoot the breeze was an absolute pleasure. Filmmakers who try to recruit the indispensible Murray to even be in their movies have a tough time getting through to him. The actor is notorious for not having a manager or publicist or checking his cell phone (which he told Howard he has because his children only text and don’t answer calls).

At one point, the conversation turned to the late, brilliant film critic Roger Ebert and Murray told a fantastic anecdote about him. Earlier in his career, Murray was not known at all for dramatic work and Roger criticized him, stating that he should stick to comedy only. Years later, when Murray saw Ebert at an event, he quoted a famous critic for making that statement. Ebert didn’t know who would make such a claim since Murray was obviously a wonderful actor in any forum. Murray reminded Roger that it was him that said it years ago. As the actor recounted, Ebert gave him a look like, “Boy, was I wrong!” The Ebert conversation ended with Murray stating his love for the critic and Howard agreed. Bill Murray’s main point: Roger Ebert loved movies.

You see that deep affection for the world of cinema in the documentary Life Itself, which recounted Roger’s career and the last few months of his life. I’ve talked about it on the blog before when reviewing that documentary and in my post on the sad day that Roger died. My general feeling is this: you can tell when a person who writes about movies loves them and when they don’t. Let me make an important distinction – I’m not talking about loving a movie that you give four stars to and not liking a movie you award with two stars. I’m speaking of being able to determine whether or not a writer truly loves the craft they’re writing about. Roger Ebert did. Many more do. Other critics and bloggers seem to revel in trashing movies far too often, at least for my taste.

When I read a critic’s work or their blogs, I want to feel like they have a deep appreciation for the subject they spend so much time writing about. Frankly, it’s the main thing I strive to achieve on my blog – which will celebrate its 2nd anniversary officially on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve written my share of negative reviews. So does every other critic and blogger on planet Earth. Many pictures, simply, don’t measure up to expectations, are a rehash of previous material, are badly paced, etc…

Yet here’s my philosophy when it comes to writing about movies – every time those theater lights go down or (more often) I hit play on the Blu Ray or On Demand, I hope that I’m going to like what I see. I hope to have that satisfactory or even profound film watching experience that us lovers of cinema seek out again and again and again and again. I’ve had it recently with that Ebert documentary. I had it when Little Groot danced to the Jackson 5 in Guardians of the Galaxy. I had it watching the delicious twists and turns of David Fincher’s Gone Girl. I had it watching Leo DiCaprio on speaker phone suckering in a client in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. I had it watching Tom Hanks remind me that he’s one of the most astonishing actors in the world during the last five minutes of Captain Phillips.

And that was all in the last year! Now let’s go to just last night when I reviewed Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West. I’m a fan of his work – both “Family Guy” and 2012’s Ted. I found his sophomore directorial effort to be pretty darn disappointing. Guess what? I loved writing my review of that just as much as writing a highly positive post – the kinds I recently wrote for Her or Fruitvale Station. 

Now here’s the irony: two years ago when I began this little venture, I stated that I wouldn’t write movie reviews on the blog. Boy, was I wrong! Just like I’ve been wrong about many of my box office predictions that remain the most read entries on this site. For every time I nail a prediction (or close to nail) on The Equalizer or Gone Girl, I grossly underestimate the potential of Annabelle or grossly overestimate the performance of the Sin City sequel.

I’ve now been writing movie reviews for about 23 years since I was a preteen. It took my snap decision to start the blog to rediscover my love for that exercise. Yet the movie reviews are just one part of that aforementioned love of movies. There’s plenty more posts – whether box office related or Oscar prediction related. Hell, I’ve even found myself posting about music and TV more often than I could have imagined.

In the two years since the blog began and much to the assistance of WordPress, I’ve been able to discover other movie bloggers. They may have different writing styles than myself, but they have one thing in common: they love movies too. Joe Giuliano, who predicts box office results with freakish accuracy. Thy Critic Man, Daniel Prinn and Justine B, whose reviews are a joy to read. Trevor and Jason from boxofficeace.com and their fine podcast… I just wish they did it every week! And there’s many more.

As I said on my year anniversary of the site, I sincerely cannot thank you enough for reading this site. I would love writing this blog regardless, but it means a heckuva lot more knowing that eyeballs actually see it. I appreciate each and every one of the thousands of blog views and readers in 142 countries (!) who’ve read some of my 777 (!) posts. For those who take their time to check my box office predictions or read my Oscar forecast or peruse my reviews and so forth, I can tell you what I strive for everyday on this wonderful hobby of mine. The goal is for the reader to come away with this general feeling – that guy loves movies and writing about them. And if I’ve been able to direct you in the path of something great that you haven’t seen, that’s a feeling I cherish.

Back to the beginning:

Bill Murray. Roger Ebert.

For movie lovers like me and you, think about the joy that someone like Bill Murray has brought into your lives. Caddyshack. Ghostbusters. Groundhog Day. Lost in Translation and so forth. I’ll have that feeling of excitement soon when St. Vincent premieres. Maybe it’ll be great. Or maybe not, but I love anticipating finding out and I’ll love writing about it.

For movie writers and bloggers like me and some of you, think about how Roger Ebert’s work may have influenced you. I know damn well he influenced me. He helped teach me how to put that indescribable affection for this world of movies into words. Don’t get me wrong – I am no Roger Ebert and never will be. I’m just trying my best to put my perspective on movies before the reader and hope you enjoy it.

The thing about movies is this – as I described in an earlier post, it’s a Never Ending Story. There’s always more to discover. There’s always something new to write about. There’s always the joy of revisiting older titles and or rediscovering something about a favorite that you hadn’t noticed before. There’s always box office predictions to make for this blogger. There’s always Oscar predictions as the race takes shape.

And there is always, always, always the love that I hold for the subject I choose to write about and the joy that those making and writing about movies give to us, the audience. Whether it’s Bill Murray in front of the camera or Roger Ebert at that typewriter.

Mr. Ebert might be gone, but his words are here for us to enjoy forever. In the last year, we’ve been saddened to learn that Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman are gone. Yet their work will live on for us to savor – from Truman Capote to a British nanny to a cult religious leader to a therapist telling his pupil that “It’s not his fault” to the Big Lebowski’s socially awkward assistant to that inspirational teacher telling his students to “Seize The Day!” For us movie lovers, the medium gives us these special moments and performances and memories to seize on those days when we might need it.

And I’ll close by saying that it’s a real pleasure to write about it.

Box Office Predictions: October 10-12

Four new movies make their debuts on Friday at the box office – Robert Downey Jr.’s The Judge, the Steve Carell/Jennifer Garner family comedy Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the horror retelling Dracula Untold, and steamy thriller Addicted. You can find my detailed prediction posts on each one of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/05/the-judge-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/05/alexander-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/05/dracula-untold-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/05/addicted-box-office-prediction/

The question is: can any of them make current #1 Gone Girl disappear from the top spot? It’s certainly possible as The Judge, Alexander, and Dracula could all exceed my estimates and all stand at least a chance of opening atop the charts. Addicted, on a meager 800 screens, is highly unlikely to even crack the top five.

However, I believe Gone Girl will manage to stay #1, despite it serious competition. Annabelle, after a fantastic debut (more on that below), should suffer the same large fall in its sophomore frame that most horror titles do.

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

1. Gone Girl

Predicted Gross: $24.2 million (representing a drop of 35%)

2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Predicted Gross: $18.7 million

3. The Judge

Predicted Gross: $16.4 million

4. Annabelle

Predicted Gross: $14.8 million (representing a drop of 60%)

5. Dracula Untold

Predicted Gross: $14.4 million

**My Addicted projected gross of $4.5M should put it in eighth place.

Box Office Results (October 3-5)

The debuts of David Fincher’s acclaimed Gone Girl and Conjuring horror prequel Annabelle injected some much needed life into the box office and created the biggest October weekend of all time!

As predicted, Gone Girl took top honors with $37.5 million, just below my $39.6M projection. This is Fincher’s highest debut of all time and clearly audiences were ready for the much buzzed about adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel. I expect it to perform well in the coming weeks and it should easily blast past $100M.

I did not give that demonic doll Annabelle nearly enough credit as it opened just behind Girl with a magnificent $37.1 million – miles ahead of my small $21.2M prediction. This is easily the best horror opening of 2014 and bodes extremely well for that Conjuring sequel coming in October of 2015.

Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer fell to third with $18.7 million in weekend two, holding up better than my estimated $16.7M. The action thriller has earned $64 million in ten days and should have no problem passing the century mark.

The animated pic The Boxtrolls dropped to fourth with $11.9 million, in line with my $11.4M projection. The decently performing kiddie pic has earned $32 million in two weeks and should finish with around $65M.

The Maze Runner held up well in weekend three with $11.6 million – more than my $9.8M estimate. The new YA franchise has taken in $73M thus far and will also become a member of the $100M club.

Finally, Nicolas Cage’s Left Behind posted an unimpressive opening of $6.3 million, below my $7.6M prediction. Look for this one to disappear faster its lead actor’s hairline.

And that’s all for now, friends!

Box Office Predictions: October 3-5

The first box office weekend of October is bound to be a highly unpredictable one as three new pics enter the marketplace: David Fincher’s Gone Girl, the horror prequel Annabelle, and faith-based Nicolas Cage thriller Left Behind. You can read my detailed individual prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/09/28/gone-girl-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/09/28/annabelle-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/09/29/left-behind-box-office-prediction/

Here’s where the unpredictability comes in and it applies to all three new films…

Gone Girl is riding a wave of favorable reviews and it’s based on a very well-known 2012 Gillian Flynn novel. Yet movies like this can sometimes open decently and develop sturdy legs in subsequent weekends. My prediction for Gone Girl is definitely on the high end of expectations.

Annabelle, the prequel/spinoff of last summer’s hit The Conjuring, could easily surpass my prediction, which is definitely on the low end of expectations. It’s conceivable that these two newcomers could fight it out for #1, though my estimates do not reflect that.

Left Behind is another wild card. It is based on a series of well-known novels and its Christian themes could certainly give it a better opening than I’m predicting.

Add all that up and it equals a weekend where surprises would not be surprising. As for holdovers, I anticipate current #1 The Equalizer should lose about half its audience, with smaller declines for the animated The Boxtrolls and YA flick The Maze Runner.

And with that – we’ll do a top 6 predictions for the weekend:

1. Gone Girl

Predicted Gross: $39.6 million

2. Annabelle

Predicted Gross: $21.2 million

3. The Equalizer

Predicted Gross: $16.7 million (representing a drop of 51%)

4. The Boxtrolls

Predicted Gross: $11.4 million (representing a drop of 34%)

5. The Maze Runner

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million (representing a drop of 44%)

6. Left Behind

Predicted Gross: $7.6 million

Box Office Results (September 26-28)

It was a terrific weekend for yours truly with newcomers, while I didn’t give a couple of holdovers enough credit and gave another a bit too much.

As expected, Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer easily topped the charts with a rock solid $34.1 million, right in line with my $34.8M projection. The action thriller managed the fourth best September debut ever and the third best for star Washington.

YA hit The Maze Runner slipped to second with $17.4 million, holding up quite better than my $14.6M estimate. The budding new franchise has earned $57 million in ten days and is definitely a treat to pass $100M when all is said and done.

The animated feature The Boxtrolls took third with $17.2 million. My prediction… $17.2M! I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that one and this represents a decent opening for the pic.

In fourth, ensemble comedy This Is Where I Leave You made $6.8 million in week two, outpacing my $5.8M projection. It’s made an OK $22 million in ten days.

Fifth place belonged to Dolphin Tale 2 in its third frame with $4.7 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five.

That’s because I had the Liam Neeson actioner A Walk Among the Tombstones earning $6.1 million in weekend #2, yet it only managed $4.1M. This major disappointment has grossed only $20 million so far and should top out with only about $30M.

That’s all for now, friends. ‘Till next time…