Horror pics have faced a tough road so far in 2020 as The Grudge, The Turning, Gretel & Hansel, and Fantasy Island have all posted lackluster debuts. This weekend, I don’t see the trend stopping with Brahms: The Boy II. I do see it changing next Friday with The Invisible Man. From director Leigh Whannell (who recently made Insidious: Chapter 3 and Upgrade), this is an update of the H.G. Wells novel that was turned into a classic 1933 James Whale tale. Elisabeth Moss (who co-starred in last year’s Us) headlines a cast that includes Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, and Harriet Dyer.
This project was originally intended as a vehicle for Johnny Depp as part of Universal’s plans for a franchise that began with 2017’s The Mummy. When that pic brought in less than expected returns, the monster series was scrapped. The Invisible Man has undergone a significant transformation with Blumhouse co-producing. Per usual with that production company, the budget is tiny (a reported $7 million).
Early word-of-mouth is strong with screening members reporting a tense and effective crowd pleaser. Whannell appears to be a filmmaker on the upswing and Moss certainly has her fans from The Handmaid’s Tale and more.
I believe Invisible will be quite visible on the radar screens of genre moviegoers and break the streak of scary disappointments over the past few weeks. A gross of over $30 million might be the result.
The Invisible Man opening weekend prediction: $33.8 million
Released four years ago, horror pic The Boy managed to gross its budget in the first three days of release. Even though audiences and critics were generally unimpressed, we now have the sequel Brahms: The Boy II out next weekend. William Brent Bell is back in the director’s chair with Katie Holmes in the lead. Costars include Ralph Ineson and Owain Yeoman.
Originally slated for last summer and then December, Brahms looks to cater to fright fest fans who have shunned their offerings thus far in 2020. The Grudge opened to $11.4 million and that middling number was a high point. The Turning followed with $6.9 million and then Gretel & Hansel with $6.1 million.
The Boy made $10.8 million for its start in January 2016 with an eventual $35 million domestic gross. I just don’t see much anticipation for the follow-up and will predict it begins with just over half of its predecessor’s number. For horror enthusiasts, it looks like the following weekend’s The Invisible Man will be the first genre success of the year. Don’t count on Brahms to be much of one.
Brahms: The Boy II opening weekend prediction: $5.5 million
For my The Call of the Wild prediction, click here:
Fresh off its surprising Best Drama win last night at the Golden Globes, World War I epic 1917 appears to have the benefit of great timing as it opens wide Friday. We have three other newcomers in the mix with the Michael B. Jordan/Jamie Foxx legal drama Just Mercy, Tiffany Haddish/Rose Byrne comedy Like a Boss, and Kristen Stewart led sci-fi horror pic Underwater. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the quartet here:
1917 has performed impressively in two weeks of limited release and the awards cred should only help. My projection last week put in the mid 20s and I’ve revised up to low 30s. That would easily put it in first, ending the three-week reign of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Both Mercy and Boss could see grosses in the low double digits to low teens. I do feel both have the potential to over perform. That said, Mercy has lacked the Oscar buzz that 1917 has and Haddish’s previous comedic starring vehicle Nobody’s Fool did so-so with $14 million for its start. As for Underwater, despite a considerable reported budget of $80 million, this looks like a massive flop. My measly $5.4 million estimate leaves it well outside the top five and marks the second costly flop for Stewart in a row after Charlie’s Angels.
There might be shades of January 2018 happening with two particular holdovers. That’s when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle experienced much smaller declines than Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the two films switched positions. I expect that to occur now with The Next Level staying in second and Skywalker falling to third (though I have it about as close as can be).
And with that, my top 6 outlook:
Predicted Gross: $31.8 million
2. Jumanji: The Next Level
Predicted Gross: $17 million
3. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Predicted Gross: $16.9 million
4. Like a Boss
Predicted Gross: $12.4 million
5. Little Women
Predicted Gross: $10.3 million
6. Just Mercy
Predicted Gross: $9.8 million
Box Office Results (January 3-5)
2020 started off as 2019 closed with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in first. The ninth official episode of the franchise fell over 50% to $34.5 million, right on pace with my $34.4 million prediction. The total stands at $451 million.
Jumanji: The Next Level remained second with a considerably smaller dip at $26.2 million, a bit ahead of my $23.8 million projection. It’s up to $235 million and has another week of non threatening competition until Dolittle arrives.
Little Women had a terrific sophomore hold in third with $13.6 million (I said $12.1 million). The two week tally is $60 million as it seems destined to hit the century mark.
Frozen II was fourth with $11.8 million, in range with my $11.6 million forecast. The Disney behemoth is now at $450 million.
Finally, the year’s first wide release was The Grudge. The horror reboot was a dud with critics and audiences. The latter gave it an unprecedented F Cinemascore grade. Opening in fifth and making $11.4 million, it did manage to top my $10.2 million take. And considering it only cost a reported $10 million to produce, don’t feel too bad for Sony. Based on word of mouth, I expect it to fall off a cliff next weekend.
Blogger’s Note (01/02): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my Grudge estimate down to $10.2 million for a fifth place showing.
As 2020 comes before us on the box office front, the year should begin as 2019 ended with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Jumanji: The Next Level topping the charts. There is only one newcomer this weekend as horror reboot The Grudge debuts and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
We have seen scary movies perform very well in this weekend in recent history. However, I’m skeptical that The Grudge gets to the teens. That could put it in a battle for third place with the sophomore frame of Little Women and Disney’s Frozen II. I’m giving the newbie a slight edge.
For the returning sequels in the 1-2 positions, it will fascinating to see the drop of Skywalker in weekend #3. It didn’t match my Christmas expectations and a dip of over 50% seems quite feasible. The fall for Jumanji shouldn’t be near as pronounced as it should continue to leg out admirably like its 2017 predecessor did.
And with that, my vision for 2020’s first weekend:
1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Predicted Gross: $34.4 million
2. Jumanji: The Next Level
Predicted Gross: $23.8 million
3. Little Women
Predicted Gross: $12.1 million
4. Frozen II
Predicted Gross: $11.6 million
5. The Grudge
Predicted Gross: $10.2 million
Box Office Results (December 27-29)
There was no question that Star Wars would maintain its #1 perch atop the charts, but the ninth episode (with mixed reaction from critics and crowds) certainly didn’t hit my numbers. Skywalker made $72.3 million and that’s considerably below my $92 million estimate. In two weeks, it’s running just behind where The Last Jedi was at two years ago. However, I expect that to change this weekend when it loses more than half its audience.
Jumanji: The Next Level was second with $35.3 million, in line with my $37.5 million projection. The total is $175 million.
Frozen II was third with $16.8 million, a tad under my $18 million prediction as its gargantuan gross has hit $421 million.
Little Women had the honor of being the best performing Christmas opener in fourth place. The Greta Gerwig directed Oscar contender made $16.7 million over the traditional weekend and $29.2 million since its Wednesday start. That’s pretty close to respective estimates of $14.8 million and $28.7 million. Look for this one to hold well with solid word-of-mouth.
The animated Spies in Disguise opened in fifth with $13.3 million from Friday to Sunday and I was on target with a projection of $13.6 million. Since Wednesday, it’s made $22.2 million and I was more generous at $27.4 million.
Finally, Adam Sandler’s critically acclaimed Uncut Gems shone brightly in seventh with a better than expected $9.5 million over the regular weekend and $18.8 million since Wednesday. That’s well over my takes of $5.7 million and $11 million. Factoring in its limited release dollars, it’s up to $21 million.
And that does it for now, folks! Happy New Year and until next time…
Blogger’s Note (01/02): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my number down to $10.2 million
2020 begins at multiplexes in the same fashion as other recent years with a horror offering. This time around, it’s a remake of the 2004 supernatural pic The Grudge. And that Sarah Michelle Gellar hit was itself an update of a 2002 Japanese title in which Takashi Shimizu directed both. Nicolas Pesce is behind the camera now with a cast including Andrea Riseborough, Demian Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, and Jacki Weaver.
As mentioned, this is the genre that has typically kicked off the cinematic calendar lately. In 2019, Escape Room surprised prognosticators with a debut north of $18 million. Two years ago, Insidious: The Last Key unlocked a gross just under $30 million.
The Grudge is not expected to approach those figures, but horror flicks always have the capacity to surprise. Yet this could also fall victim to the unasked for franchise fatigue that has plagued several titles recently. A decent comp could be 2017’s Rings, which was also a reboot of a Japanese series. It opened to $13 million and that sounds about right here (and perhaps a tad under).
The Grudge opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
Blogger’s Note (07/13): Today the expected theater count of only 1500 was released for Unfriended: Dark Web. This alters my estimate from $8.1 million all the way down to $5.1 million.
Found footage horror sequel Unfriended: Dark Web is uploaded into theaters next Friday in a weekend filled with other high-profile sequels. From Blumhouse, a production company that specializes in turning low-budget genre fare into profitable hits, this is the follow-up to the 2015 effort that became a sizable performer. The original debuted to over $15 million and ended up with just over $32 million domestically. If that doesn’t automatically sound like cause for a sequel, keep in mind that part 1 was reportedly made for only $1 million.
Stephen Susco, best known for writing The Grudge and its part 2, makes his directorial debut. The stand-alone sequel’s cast includes Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel (best known as the creepy housekeeper in Get Out), and Rebecca Rittenhouse. Of the three sequels coming out next weekend, Dark Web will surely rank third behind Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and The Equalizer 2.
I also don’t expect it to pull the numbers of its predecessor and it will likely struggle to earn double digits out of the gate. That said, it’s a risk to underestimate Blumhouse. I’ll still say its opening is just about over half of what Unfriended accomplished.
Unfriended: Dark Web opening weekend prediction: $5.1 million