Dreamworks returns to the September animation game next weekend with Abominable. The kiddie adventure comes from director Jill Culton and features the voices of Chloe Bennet, Albert Tsai, Sarah Paulson, and Eddie Izzard. It premiered days ago at the Toronto Film Festival to mostly solid reviews and sports a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%.
As mentioned, September (especially the later part of the month) has been fertile ground for animated features. While the HotelTransylvania and CloudywithaChanceofMeatballs franchises have seen debuts above $30 and $40 million, there’s also been several with starts in the $20-$25 million range. This includes OpenSeason (which Culton also made), Storks, TheLegoNinjagoMovie, and last year’s Smallfoot.
That’s precisely where I see Abominable landing and probably on the lower end of that scale.
Abominable opening weekend prediction: $20.7 million
This was a weekend where TheLegoMovie2: TheSecondPart was expected to easily nab the #1 spot at the box office. That mission was accomplished, but it did so with much less money than any prognosticator figured. The sequel to the 2014 original took in $34 million and that was about $20 million less than expected. I had a feeling it would under perform and forecasted a $48 million debut. However, I never figured a mid 30s premiere.
For some context, the first Lego experience five years ago made $69 million out of the gate and eventually earned $257 million domestically. In 2017, first franchise spin-off TheLegoBatmanMovie debuted to $53 million ($175 million total). The first sign of trouble came a few months later when TheLegoNinjagoMovie came in far under estimates with $20 million in its opening weekend and a lowly $59 million stateside. Yet some attributed the poor Ninjago performance to its limited niche audience.
TheSecondPart marked a hopeful return to form for Warner Bros considering it was a direct sequel to a picture that made over $250 million. There is no doubt that the number produced this weekend could block future plans for the series. Its best hope ahead could be the President’s Day weekend as the studio hopes it will have a small decline. Any way you cut it, though, part two will seriously come in under its predecessor. We now have two LegoMovie collapses in a row and it will be interesting to see how Warner handles it.
The Lego franchise has made nearly half a billion dollars at the domestic box office for Warner Bros since 2014 and TheLegoMovie2: TheSecondPart will add to those coffers next weekend. It’s money hauls, however, have not translated to success with Oscar voters.
TheLegoMovie was critically acclaimed and seemed assured an Academy nod in Animated Feature four years ago. It was one of the most surprising snubs when it didn’t make the cut. There were two Lego pics in 2017 (TheLegoBatmanMovie, TheLegoNinjagoMovie). Neither of them managed to make the race that year.
While reviews for TheSecondPart are strong, several critics have said it doesn’t quite match the first part. Competition from animated sequels alone in 2019 (HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld, Frozen2, ToyStory4) is serious. Therefore it appears highly unlikely that this will be the year where Lego builds any standing with the awards crowd.
The Warner Animation Group hopes to build back up its near half billion dollar domestic franchise next weekend with the release of TheLegoMovie2: TheSecondPart. This direct sequel arrives five years after its hit predecessor, though there’s been two spin-offs in the meantime. Mike Mitchell, who made ShrekForeverAfter and Trolls, takes over directing duties from Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (they wrote the screenplay). Returning voices include Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett (he’s Batman), Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Will Ferrell. Familiar faces joining the voiceover party are aplenty. They include Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Brooklyn Prince, and thespians from the DC Cinematic Universe (Gal Gadot, Margot Robbie, Jason Momoa).
In February of 2014, TheLegoMovie earned $69 million out of the gate with an eventual stateside take of $257 million. Our first spin-off, 2017’s TheLegoBatmanMovie, achieved $53 million for its start and $175 million total. A few months later, TheLegoNinjagoMovie was a legitimate disappointment. It premiered with only $20 million and didn’t leg out well ($59 million).
As they were with the first part, reviews are positive as this stands at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Several critics, however, have noted it doesn’t quite match up to the original. While this should easily debut at #1, I’ll project that it falls short of the 2014 earnings. Topping $50 million is certainly possible, but I’ll go just shy of that number.
TheLegoMovie2: TheSecondPart opening weekend prediction: $48.6 million
This Friday, Warner Bros animation is out with TeenTitans! GoTotheMovies based on the Cartoon Network series. It’s a superhero spoof blending the characters of the show with notable icons from their catalog, including Nicolas Cage voicing Superman and Jimmy Kimmel as the Caped Crusader.
Early reviews are quite encouraging and it currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. It has the potential to be a summer sleeper that could appeal to kids and their parents. Will Oscar take note?
That could be a reach. Warner Bros has had a critically acclaimed output recently with their Lego series. However, TheLegoMovie, TheLegoBatmanMovie, and TheLegoNinjagoMovie all failed to garner recognition in the Best Animated Feature category.
We can pretty safely say that two 2018 releases are already in for nods: Wes Anderson’s IsleofDogs and Pixar’s superhero toon Incredibles2. And there’s plenty more animated material to come. Despite positive buzz, that could mean Academy voters could fail to remember the Titans in a few months.
Blogger’s Note (10/04/17) – I’ve changed predictions for nearly every film here… UPDATED PROJECTIONS REFLECTED BELOW
After a tight battle for #1 this past weekend between three pictures, there’s little no doubt as to what opens on top this coming weekend with Blade Runner 2049 hitting screens. We also have the Kate Winslet/Idris Elba disaster pic/romance The Mountain Between Us and animated My Little Pony: The Movie debuting. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
As mentioned, the glowing reviews for Blade Runner 2049 and the feeling of it being a bit of an event picture has me projecting a mid 40s opening. That should give it lots of space at #1 ahead of all competitors.
After that, it gets murky. I have Mountain slated at #2, but its middling reviews could be a hindrance to it reaching double digits (which I barely have it reaching).
When it comes to My Little Pony, my $8.2 million estimate is basically a middle ground figure as I could easily see it slightly over or under performing. That number puts it right in the mix of where It, American Made, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle might be. Bottom line: numbers 2-6 on the chart this weekend could be awfully close.
And with that, my top 6 projections for the weekend ahead:
1. Blade Runner 2049
Predicted Gross: $52.1 million
2. My Little Pony: The Movie
Predicted Gross: $10.9 million
Predicted Gross: $9.3 million (representing a drop of 45%)
4. The Mountain Between Us
Predicted Gross: $9.2 million
Predicted Gross: $8.9 million (representing a drop of 47%)
6. Kingsman: TheGoldenCircle
Predicted Gross: $8 million (representing a drop of 53%)
Box Office Results (September 29-October 1)
It is really the sole reason why this September’s box office was a record one and so it seems fitting that the horror flick nearly returned to the #1 position as the month ended. The pic earned $16.9 million (ahead of my $15.1M estimate) to bring its total to $290 million.
Yet it was Kingsman: TheGoldenCircle that barely remained on top as it also made $16.9 million (I said $17.6M) for a two-week tally of $66 million.
Tom Cruise’s AmericanMade debuted in third with a just OK $16.7 million compared to my $15.5M prediction. Its best hope is for smallish declines in future frames.
TheLegoNinjago Movie dropped to fourth with $11.6 million (I said $12.6M) to bring its disappointing total to $35 million.
Flatliners did just that in its premiere in fifth, earning a sleepy $6.5 million, on pace with my $6.3M forecast.
In its wider expansion, BattleoftheSexes underwhelmed in sixth with only $3.4 million, below my $5.2M estimate.
Blogger’s Note (10/04/17): I have revised my estimate up from $8.2 million to $10.9 million
Lest you confuse it with My Little Pony: The Seance or My Little Pony: The Rodeo perhaps, My Little Pony: The Movie gallops into theaters next weekend with a likely soft footprint.
Based on the Hasbro toy franchise that also spawned Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises, this one leaves out the action and is geared towards family audiences and little girls. The pic is an extension of a children’s animated show that airs on The Hub (which is apparently a thing… I’m probably not the target audience).
In addition to the voice actors who work on the TV series, there’s some familiar faces behind the voices including Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Liev Schrieber, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Pena, Sia, Uzo Aduba, and Taye Diggs.
Family audiences will have Ninjago in its third weekend for competition, even though it’s underwhelmed in its earnings. Yet it’s hard to see these ponies breaking out in any major way. I have doubts this will even reach double digits out of the gate.
My Little Pony: The Movie opening weekend prediction: $10.9 million
A record breaking September (thanks to a certain clown) draws to a close in a busy weekend with the two highest profile debuts being Tom Cruise’s American Made and sci-fi horror remake/sequel Flatliners. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:
They aren’t the only newbies this weekend. There’s the thriller ‘Til Death Do Us Part with Taye Diggs and Christian themed drama A Question of Faith. As of this writing, there are screen counts on neither. As I see it, both could potentially over perform, but I’ll say $2.8 million for Death and $1.2 million for Faith. Those numbers could change, but right now it puts both well outside the top 5.
There could be a real battle for #1. If American Made manages to debut in the high teens to low 20s, it should capture that spot. However, my mid teens estimated debut puts it in the runner-up spot behind the second weekend of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I expect Circle to experience a larger drop than the 49% one that its predecessor had. It should fall one spot to third.
With a considerably lower than anticipated opening, The Lego Ninjago Movie is likely to be fourth, though it may have a smallish decline due to lack of family options.
This brings us to the five spot. I am not expecting much out of Flatliners and the Emma Stone/Steve Carell Oscar hopeful Battle of the Sexes is expanding to over 1000 screens. I believe that could create a close race between them, though I’ll give Flatliners the edge.
And with that, I’ll do a top 6 predictions this weekend:
1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Predicted Gross: $17.4 million (representing a drop of 55%)
2. American Made
Predicted Gross: $15.5 million
Predicted Gross: $15.1 million (representing a drop of 49%)
4. The Lego Ninjago Movie
Predicted Gross: $12.6 million (representing a drop of 37%)
Predicted Gross: $6.3 million
6. Battle of the Sexes
Predicted Gross: $5.2 million
Box Office Results (September 22-24)
Kingsman: TheGoldenCircle took the gold this weekend with $39 million, a touch below my $43.6M projection. The sequel to the acclaimed 2015 sleeper hit didn’t receive the critical appreciation of the first, but it did manage to open slightly above its predecessor’s $36 million.
It dropped to second after two weeks on top with $29.7 million (I was right there with my $29.8M forecast) for a staggering tally of $266 million overall.
While Warner Bros has been celebrating the considerable accomplishments of Pennywise and The Losers, there was little to boast about with TheLegoNinjagoMovie. The animated feature opened to just $20.4 million in third – way below my $38.6M estimate. The studio better hope its non spin-off sequel to 2014’s TheLegoMovie gets the franchise back on track.
AmericanAssassin was fourth in its sophomore frame at $6.2 million (I said $6.9M) for $26 million total.
mother! rounded out the top five with $3.2 million for a meager $13M total and I incorrectly had it outside the top five.
That’s because I gave far too much credit to the horror pic Friend Request. I pegged it at $5.7 million, but it managed just $2 million for seventh place. One wonders if It is simply sucking the oxygen out of any genre competition (it’s part of the reason I have Flatliners rather low).
The two-week reign of Pennywise atop the box office looks to float away this weekend as three new pictures debut: Matthew Vaughn’s action/comedy sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle, animated action/comedy spin-off The Lego Ninjago Movie, and supernatural horror flick Friend Request. You can view my detailed individual prediction posts on each here:
There is some question as to whether Kingsman or Ninjago take the top spot. I’m estimating the former will outdo the latter by approximately $5 million.
The continued amazing grosses of It could mean that three movies will top $30 million this weekend, but that demented clown should be right on the edge of that gross with an anticipated drop of around 50%.
American Assassin should slip to fourth place and I have Friend Request managing to round out the top five, albeit with a muted debut.
And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend:
1. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Predicted Gross: $43.6 million
2. The Lego Ninjago Movie
Predicted Gross: $38.6 million
Predicted Gross: $29.8 million (representing a drop of 50%)
4. American Assassin
Predicted Gross: $6.9 million (representing a drop of 53%)
5. Friend Request
Predicted Gross: $5.7 million
Box Office Results (September 15-17)
It continued its startling run after its record breaking opening with $60.1 million in its second weekend, in line with my $59M forecast. The juggernaut has amassed an incredible $218 million in its ten days of existence.
AmericanAssassin with Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton was runner-up with a respectable $14.8 million, topping my $13.2M prediction. That might not be enough to justify a franchise, but you never know.
Darren Aronofsky’s instantly controversial mother! with Jennifer Lawrence sputtered in third with $7.5 million. I was considerably higher with a $14.7M projection. While critics were mostly kind (68% on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences rendered their verdict with both their money and CinemaScore grade (an F, which is practically unprecedented). Expect mother! to take a massive tumble this coming weekend as well with the toxic word-of-mouth.
Reese Witherspoon’s Home Again held up decently in its sophomore weekend at #4 with $5.1 million compared to my $4.5M estimate. The rom com has grossed nearly $17 million so thus far.
TheHitman’sBodyguard was fifth with $3.5 million (I said $2.6M) to bring its total to $70 million.
And that does it for now, ladies and gents! Until next time…
The second spin-off from 2014’s blockbuster (get it?) The Lego Movie, next weekend we have The Lego Ninjago Movie. It’s based on the popular toy line with a martial arts flavor. The animated action/comedy features the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Fred Armisen, Olivia Munn, and Jackie Chan.
Ninjago will attempt to retain a good portion of the family audience and Lego lovers that populated The Lego Movie. That feature opened to $69 million in February 2014 with an eventual $257M domestic haul. First spin-off The Lego Batman Movie couldn’t quite match those numbers. It made $53 million for its start and ended up with $175M.
My feeling is that this will continue the downward trend, but still post respectable earnings. It will also have the benefit of having nothing in the way of major family audience competition for several weeks, so holdovers could be pleasing. As for its opening, Ninjago could find itself in a fierce battle for #1 with Kingsman: The Golden Circle. It’s also worth mentioning that It will only be in weekend #3 and still posting big numbers.
The Lego version of Batman was off nearly 25% out of the gate from The Lego Movie. If you applied that here, we’re talking an approximate $40 million debut. That sounds just about right and perhaps a tad under.
The Lego Ninjago Movie opening weekend prediction: $38.6 million
For my Kingsman: The Golden Circle prediction, click here: