Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Box Office Prediction

The cavalcade of 2019 Disney live-action reimaginings continues next weekend with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The fantasy adventure is the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, which focused on the villainous title character from Sleeping Beauty. Angelina Jolie returns along with Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Newcomers to the fold include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Joachim Rønning (who recently co-directed the Mouse Factory’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) takes over for Robert Stromberg.

When it comes to comps for how Mistress might perform, that’s a tricky calculation. Since the release of part 1 five summers ago, there’s been eight Disney updates of their classic animated material. The last two from this summer (Aladdin and The Lion King) were massive blockbusters based on beloved 1990s pics. This spring’s Dumbo, on the other hand, premiered with a so-so $45 million.

What about Maleficent itself? It opened just under $70 million with a $241 million eventual domestic haul. Yet five years is a fairly long break between sequels and some of the kiddos who attended could take a pass here. That brings up the example of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. In 2010, Wonderland was the first significant reimagining in several years. It debuted to $116 million. Six years later, Looking Glass was a huge flop and earned in the mid 20s for its start. For a non Disney example, Snow White and the Huntsman kicked off with a robust $56 million in 2012. Four years, its follow-up The Huntsman: Winter’s War sputtered with a meager $19.4 million.

While I don’t anticipate the drop-off here will be quite as dramatic as the last two scenarios, I do feel Evil will come in markedly lower than its predecessor. I’ll predict low to mid 30s could be the range and that means around half of the bounty from half a decade ago.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opening weekend prediction: $32.3 million

For my Zombieland: Double Tap prediction, click here:

Sequelitis: A 2016 Story

Over Memorial Day weekend this year, Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass opened to an abysmal $33 million over the holiday weekend, immediately making it one of the biggest bombs of 2016. How poor was that opening? It’s the sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, which made $116 million in its first weekend (which was a three-day frame, not a four-day one). Looking Glass will be lucky to make $80M in its entire domestic run, nearly $40M under what Wonderland earned in its premiere weekend. Ouch.

Is there an easy explanation? Did Disney take too long with the six year hiatus between franchise entries? Perhaps. Did the negative tabloid publicity surrounding star Johnny Depp hurt? Maybe.

Yet another explanation is likely part of the equation. In 2016, moviegoers have seemed to catch a case of “sequelitis” and their symptoms have been affecting box office grosses for a number of pictures already this year.

Over that same Memorial Day weekend, X-Men: Apocalypse ruled the charts with a $79 million debut. That would seem impressive, except X-Men: Days of Future Past made $110 million over the same weekend just two years earlier.

This story has repeated itself repeatedly in recent months. Ride Along 2 was expected to build on its predecessor’s opening weekend. The 2014 original cruised to a $41M opening. The sequel: $35M. When all was said and done, the first Ride made $44M more than its follow-up.

Other comedies have suffered the same fate. 2001’s Zoolander actually only made $45 million in its initial run, but became a major cult hit in subsequent years. It’s long gestating sequel would surely earn more. It didn’t. Just $28M.

2002’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding became the unexpected smash of that year with $241M stateside. Part 2? $59 million (to be fair, this was on the higher end of many expectations, but still just 25% of what the first Wedding did).

2014’s Neighbors? $150 million. Last month’s Neighbors: Sorority Rising? It should top out at around $60M.

Barbershop: The Next Cut will make $55 million, under the $75M and $65M of its predecessors (though still not bad).

The action crowd has showed their ambivalence. London Has Fallen earned a just OK $62 million compared to Olympus Has Fallen‘s $98M.

2014’s Divergent made $150 million. 2015’s Insurgent: $130 million. This year’s Allegiant: a troubling $66 million.

Then there’s The Huntsman Winter’s War, which may not even reach $50 million. It’s the sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, which made $155 million.

Just this weekend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows took in $35 million in its debut, which is a shell of the $65 million that the first made two summers ago.

Faith based audiences propelled God’s Not Dead to a heavenly $60 million gross in 2014. Part 2? $20 million.

Kung Fu Panda 3 performed decently with $143 million, but couldn’t match part 1’s $215M or part 2’s $165M.

Seeing a trend here, folks?

There have been rare exceptions in 2016 so far. 10 Cloverfield Lane managed $72 million. Even though that’s below the $80M of Cloverfield, it’s still a solid gross and a profitable venture for its studio.

And Captain America: Civil War was widely expected to outdo the respective $176M and $259M earnings of the first two entries. This was due to it basically being The Avengers 3. It did and will top $400M domestically.

Coming this weekend: two more sequels will try to avoid the 2016 trend and both actually have a decent chance of succeeding. The Conjuring 2 is receiving positive reviews and its studio is hoping the goodwill left over from the 2013 original will propel it to similar grosses (I’m predicting it’ll make $42 million for its start, slightly above the first).

Now You See Me 2 is hoping to match the $29 million made by the 2013 original for its beginning. I’m predicting $24M.

If both of these titles come in below expectations, that may truly show that crowds are just plain sick and tired of seeing roman numerals and numbers behind titles. Looking over the remainder of the 2016 calendar, there’s a heap of sequels that could also struggle to match what came before them. They include:

The Purge: Election Year. Bridget Jones’s Baby. Underworld: Blood Wars. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Ouija 2. Bad Santa 2.

Even this month’s Independence Day: Resurgence is an iffy proposition to capitalize on the nostalgia factor from the 1996 original. It appears unlikely to match the $306M earned 20 years ago by the first one.

Next month’s Star Trek Beyond could have trouble matching the $228M made by part 2 in 2013.

Inferno, the third Tom Hanks thriller based on Dan Brown’s novels, is a question mark to match the $133M that Angels & Demons made in 2011 and certainly won’t approach The Da Vinci Code‘s $217M a decade ago.

When it comes to 2016 sequels, it might not all be bad news. Finding Dory (out June 17) shouldn’t have much trouble topping the $70M that Nemo made in 2003 (though whether it reaches its eventual gross of $380M is a mystery).

And July’s Jason Bourne should benefit from having Matt Damon return to the franchise after nine years away. It should manage to outpace the $113M made by Jeremy Renner’s The Bourne Legacy in 2012. However, could it approach the $227M earned by Damon’s last one, 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum? Probably not.

Perhaps these disappointing results for so many sequels will cause studios to give us more original programming, but don’t hold your breath. Next year is already packed with follow-ups and some of them already look like they could be in trouble.

For instance, it’s probably safe to assume Disney is sweating over the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean flick, Dead Men Tell No Tales. Same goes for Lionsgate with their final Divergent pic, Ascendant.

Some of the 2017 sequels that may not have much to worry about: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Fast 8. And, of course, Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Yet given the recent trends, who knows? No one thought Alice or Huntsman or Allegiant would do that poorly and it’s contributed to a bad… and maybe badly needed downturn for sequels in 2016.


Box Office Predictions: May 13-15

The second weekend of summer should bring further domination from Captain America and his Marvel friends and foes as Civil War will easily reign supreme in weekend #2. There are two new entries: Jodie Foster’s thriller Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts and the Blumhouse horror flick The Darkness. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts of each of them right here:

As I see it, Money Monster will likely settle for a third place showing with Mother’s Day and The Darkness fighting it out for the four spot.

Civil War had an impressive opening that still came in below many prognosticators (including this one) were saying… more on that below. These Disney/Marvel ventures typically drop in the mid-high 50s and I expect the same here (the first Avengers pic, it’s worth noting, dropped just 50%).

As for The Jungle Book, I expect a fairly small decline for it (as is typical with many pictures in the second weekend of May) and it should have no problem staying in the runner-up position.

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

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Predicted Gross: $76.8 million (representing a drop of 57%)

2. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $18.6 million (representing a drop of 24%)

3. Money Monster

Predicted Gross: $12.7 million

4. The Darkness

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

5. Mother’s Day

Predicted Gross: $4.7 million (representing a drop of 58%)

Box Office Results (May 6-8)

Summer 2016 started off as so many others have in recent years with Marvel ruling the charts as Captain America: Civil War took in $179.1 million. That’s good for the fifth largest domestic opening of all time, nestled between other MCU entries Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3. The debut is just fine, but also on the lower end of its expectations (I put it at $205.6M).

The Jungle Book fell to second after three weeks on top with $24.4 million, in line with my $23.5M projection for a total of $287M.

Perhaps the story of the weekend was Mother’s Day, which jumped 32% in its second weekend to $11 million (more than doubling my meager $5.1M prediction). Lesson to be learned: a movie called Mother’s Day (no matter how bad its reviews may be) is going to do well on Mother’s Day. Its two-week total is $22M and I would expect a pretty big dip next weekend.

The Huntsman Winter’s War was fourth with $3.9 million (I said $4.5M) for a weak $40M haul while Keanu rounded out the top five with $3.2 million (I went higher with $4.9M). Keanu‘s total is just $15M. Zootopia was sixth – also with $3.2 million and under my $4.8M prognosis for a $328M tally.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: May 6-8

Disney and Marvel once again stake claim to the first weekend of May’s box office spot as they have for six of the last eight years when Captain America: Civil War invades theaters this weekend. It is the first summer movie of the year and it stands an excellent chance at being the biggest of them all. You can read my detailed prediction post on it right here:

My $205.6 million opening weekend prediction puts it at #4 all-time, just below 2012’s The Avengers at $207M and above last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which bowed to $191M. The company it finds itself in between is appropriate as Civil War is essentially a third Avengers pic, with Iron Man, Black Widow, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and more joining Chris Evans’ title character.

As for holdovers, Disney should have no trouble at the #2 position as The Jungle Book will slip there after three weeks on top. Keanu, The Huntsman Winter’s War, Zootopia and Mother’s Day should make up the rest in a tightly bunched formation that I have with all around  $5M.

And with that, my top six predictions for the weekend:

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Predicted Gross: $205.6 million

2. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $23.5 million (representing a drop of 46%)

3. Mother’s Day

Predicted Gross: $5.1 million (representing a drop of 39%)

4. Keanu

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million (representing a drop of 48%)

5. Zootopia

Predicted Gross: $4.8 million (representing a drop of 14%)

6. The Huntsman Winter’s War

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million (representing a drop of 54%)

Box Office Results (April 29-May 1)’

As expected, Disney’s The Jungle Book slayed its competitors for a third weekend on top with $43.7 million (higher than my $37.9M estimate) for a grand total of $253M. The Mouse Factory’s mega-hit will finally be replaced by another Mouse Factory mega-hit this weekend.

And now for the non mega-hits. The Huntsman Winter’s Way remained in second with $9.6 million for a tepid total of $34M. It did manage to top my $8.1M projection.

Newbies did not fare well. Despite mostly positive reviews, Key and Peele’s comedy Keanu managed just $9.4 million in third, well below my generous $17.6M prediction.

The news was even worse for Mother’s Day (which got scathing reviews) which debuted in fourth with only $8.3 million (I said $14.7M).

Barbershop: The Next Cut rounded out with top five with $6 million – in line with my $6.2M estimate for a three-week take of $44M.

The video game inspired Ratchet & Clank disappointed in seventh with only $4.8 million, just under my $5.2M prediction. That meant Disney’s Zootopia (in weekend #8) was sixth with $5.3 million ($323M total) and I incorrectly had it outside the top six.

And that’ll for now, ladies and gentlemen! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: April 29-May 1

Three new entries populate the box office this weekend as the Key and Peele comedy Keanu, Jennifer Aniston/Julia Roberts dramedy Mother’s Day, and video game based animated pic Ratchet & Clank open. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

None of them are likely to knock Disney’s The Jungle Book off its perch at #1, which will be the third weekend on top for Mowgli and friends.

Keanu and Mother’s Day should nab the #2 and #3 positions. I have The Huntsman Winter’s War dropping to fourth and it should have a pretty hefty decline after its disappointing opening (more on that below).

I’m not expecting much out of Ratchet & Clank and have it fighting for fifth with the third weekend of Barbershop: The Next Cut and slightly losing that battle.

And with that, a top 6 predictions for the weekend:

  1. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $37.9 million (representing a drop of 38%)

2. Keanu

Predicted Gross: $17.6 million

3. Mother’s Day

Predicted Gross: $14.7 million

4. The Huntsman Winter’s War

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million (representing a drop of 58%)

5. Barbershop: The Next Cut

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million (representing a drop of 41%)

6. Ratchet & Clank

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

Box Office Results (April 22-24)

Disney’s The Jungle Book kept swinging along in its sophomore frame with $61.5 million, just above my $59M projection for a two-week tally of $192M. As mentioned, it should easily retain its #1 status next weekend before another Mouse Factory entry – Captain America: Civil War – does its thing in a few days.

The weekend’s major newcomer was also quite a high-profile flop. The Huntsman Winter’s War, the sort of prequel/sequel to 2012’s hit Snow White and the Huntsman, earned just $19.4 million (lower than my $26.3M estimate). With a reported $115 million budget, War couldn’t overcome toxic reviews and the absence of Kristen Stewart (aka Snow White). The pic may struggle to even reach the $56 million that Snow White made in its opening weekend. Ouch.

Barbershop: The Next Cut was third in its second weekend with $10.5 million, in line with my $11.2M prediction for a total of $35M.

Zootopia was fourth with $6.5 million, higher than my estimate of $5M for a $316M total.

Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss rounded out the top five with $6.2 million, ahead of my $4.9M projection for a three-week take of $49M (pretty low for one of her comedies).

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: April 22-24

Disney should have another fantastic weekend on top of the charts with The Jungle Book, which far exceeded expectations this past weekend for a swinging debut (more on that below).

That means this weekend’s major newcomer The Huntsman Winter’s War could be in for a rough road. You can find my detailed prediction on it here:

As I see it, the sort of prequel/sort of sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman will come in with under half of the $56 million made by its predecessor. That’ll put it firmly in second, but below expectations and far below Mowgli and company.

As for holdovers, I look for Barbershop: The Next Cut to lose not quite half its audience with Zootopia and The Boss rounding out the top five.

There is one other newcomer this week – Elvis & Nixon with Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey recreating the true life tale of The King visiting the 37th POTUS at the White House. There is yet to be a screen count for it, which makes predicting tough. Here’s my quick take: the film seems like an obvious choice for a Netflix or HBO premiere and not theatrical. I’ll say it makes $1.3 million.

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

  1. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $59 million (representing a drop of 43%)

2. The Huntsman Winter’s War

Predicted Gross: $26.3 million

3. Barbershop: The Next Cut

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million (representing a drop of 45%)

4. Zootopia

Predicted Gross: $5 million (representing a drop of 40%)

5. The Boss

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million (representing a drop of 50%)

Box Office Results (April 15-17)

It was a joyous week for Disney as Jon Favreau’s well-reviewed live-action remake of The Jungle Book took in an astonishing $103.2 million, way beyond my $74.6M projection. Just weeks after the studio made a killing with their animated animals of Zootopia, Mowgli and the CG animals here have given the Mouse Factory another smash. A sequel is already in development and it’s less than three weeks before their next blockbuster – Captain America: Civil War.

Barbershop: The Next Cut premiered in the runner-up spot with $20.2 million, under my $23.1M estimate. The Ice Cube three-quel came 12 years after the second installment and marked the lowest debut of the franchise (just barely below the $20.6M achieved by the original).

Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss dropped hard to third with $9.9 million compared to my $13.5M prognosis. Its two-week total is $4oM.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice also under performed my estimate with $9 million (I said $11.1M) for a total gross of $311M.

The aforementioned Zootopia was fifth with $8.1 million for a $307M total and I incorrectly had it outside my top five.

That’s because I gave too much credit to the Kevin Costner/Ryan Reynolds thriller Criminal, which tanked in sixth with $5.7 million. I said $9.3M.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

The Huntsman Winter’s War Box Office Prediction

Nearly four years after the original performed above expectations at the box office, the dark fairy tale sequel The Huntsman Winter’s War invades theaters next weekend and hopes to reach the levels of its predecessors. That could turn out to a fairy tale wish for Universal Pictures.

In the summer of 2012, Snow White and the Huntsman cast Kristen Stewart (still hot off the Twilight franchise) as the former title character with Liam Hemsworth costarring as the latter. Charlize Theron also was in the mix as the Evil Queen alongside Sam Chaflin and Nick Frost. Everyone with the exception of Stewart is back with Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain included this time around. Snow White director Rupert Sanders has been replaced with Cedric Nicolas-Troyan.

While reviews for the original were mixed, it blasted out of the gate with a $56 million opening weekend and $155 million eventual domestic gross. Yet its reviews practically look glowing compared to this follow-up. Snow White ended up with 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. Winter’s War currently sits at just 18%. Even audiences who went to see the predecessor gave it only a middling “B” Cinemascore grade.

This begs the question: are audiences clamoring for this sequel, which reportedly cost $115 million to produce? I suspect the answer is no. Winter’s War arrives during the second weekend of The Jungle Book, which should still be doing big business and two weeks before the juggernaut likely to be Captain America: Civil War. This could be somewhat lost in the shuffle.

I believe this will struggle to make even half of what Snow White made during its roll-out and will end up as a large-scale disappointment that many moviegoers won’t be bashful about sleeping on.

The Huntsman Winter’s War opening weekend prediction: $26.3 million


16 for ’16: Todd’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

With 2015 by the wayside, it’s time to focus on the upcoming releases for the New Year and that means listing my 16 most eagerly awaited features! Obviously, I’m going by pedigree alone pretty much and not buzz (I’ll note that Fantastic Four made my 2015 cut, if that tells you something).

2016 appears to be jam packed with both sequels and superhero pics. Just to give you an idea, here’s some sequels that didn’t make the cut: Zoolander No. 2, London Has Fallen, Ride Alone 2, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Rings, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The Huntsman Winter’s War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Purge 3, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Underworld 5, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Ouija 2, Bad Santa 2, and Inferno (the third Tom Hanks Robert Langdon flick). As for comic book related fare, X-Men: Apocalypse, Doctor Strange, and Gambit didn’t make the list of sweet 16.

Others that closely missed the cut: The Jungle Book remake from director Jon Favreau; The Magnificent Seven remake with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke; and Jodie Foster’s political thriller Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

So what DID make it? Here’s my alphabetical list:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Never mind that the trailer looks like a bit of a mess. And maybe ignore that Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was a major mixed bag. This “sequel” brings Ben Affleck’s Caped Crusader in to fight with Henry Cavill’s Supes with Wonder Woman joining the party as well, in addition to Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. The curiosity factor alone allows it to make this list. (March 25)


This fantasy adventure has some seriously impressive pedigree: it’s based on Roald Dahl’s book and the screenplay is written by the late Melissa Mathison, who penned E.T. The director? Steven Spielberg. ‘Nuff said. (July 1)

Captain America: Civil War

The second Captain America pic, 2013’s Winter Soldier, ranks high in pantheon of MCU titles and this third go round is basically a quasi-Avengers experience with Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, and our new Spider-Man Tom Holland joining the mix. (May 6)


Our third comic book adaptation sounds in many ways to be the most intriguing (save for one a little further down this list). Deadpool casts Ryan Reynolds (whose superhero movie history include a pretty bad Green Lantern flick) in this hard R rated pic infused with comedy and its trailers inspire hope. This is said to tie in with the X-Men franchise at some future juncture. (February 12)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Based on J.K. Rowling’s novel and from Harry Potter director David Yates comes this return to the world of wizardry that stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. Warner Bros. is anticipating at least a trilogy out of this. (November 18)

The Founder

From the director of The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks comes this biopic of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton. Don’t be surprised to see this one surrounded by Oscar buzz. (November 25)



Bridesmaids and Spy maker Paul Feig reboots the famous 80s franchise with Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, and current SNL castmates Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. (July 15)


Hail, Caesar!

Anything from the Coen Brothers is worthy of my anticipation and this 1950s Hollywood set comedy features George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes. (February 5)

The Nice Guys

A little over a decade ago, screenwriter/director Shane Black started off Robert Downey Jr.’s improbable comeback with the hilarious action comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang before move onto direct Iron Man 3. This 70s set action comedy looks extremely promising and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. (May 20)


Little is known about this sci-fi romance from The Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum. Yet it is headlined by mega-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. I’m in. (December 25)


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Force Awakens just became the biggest domestic grosser of all time (in under four weeks) and this December brings the first spin-off, taking place between episodes III and IV. It focuses on a team of rebels tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star and is directed by Gareth Edwards, who made 2014’s effective Godzilla reboot. This should rule the holiday season in 2016. (December 16)



Like the Coens, anything from Martin Scorsese is worthy of inclusion and this historical epic focused on Jesuit priests in Japan stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson. (No Release Date at Press Time)


Star Trek Beyond

J.J. Abrams has exited the franchise as director to concentrate on a different one while Justin Lin (maker of four Fast and Furious entries) takes over. Let’s see if he keeps the momentum Abrams brought fourth speeding along. (July 22)

Suicide Squad

This is my most anticipated comic book adaptation of the many in 2016. Fury director David Ayer gathers a group of super villains together to hopefully do some good. The cast includes Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto as The Joker. The trailer is terrific. (August 5)


Clint Eastwood follows up his cultural phenomenon American Sniper with this biopic of the pilot who famously landed on the Hudson, with Tom Hanks in the title role. Another pic that could be ripe for Oscar bait. (September 9)


Untitled Bourne Film

When Jeremy Renner stepped in for Matt Damon for this celebrated action franchise, audiences reacted with mostly ambivalence. So Damon is back, paired with Paul Greengrass, director of the winning second and third pics in the series. Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander costar. (July 29)


And there you have it! We’ll see you at the movies in 2016 and I hope this helped you a little bit…