Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron headline the improbable rom com LongShot, out in theaters next weekend. It marks the latest collaboration between Rogen and director Jonathan Levine after 50/50 and TheNightBefore (Levine’s latest was 2017’s Snatched). The film casts Theron as the U.S. Secretary of State who strikes up a romance with Rogen’s journalist. Costars include O’Shea Jackson Jr., June Diane Raphael, Andy Serkis, Alexander Skarsgard, and Lisa Kudrow.
Shot premiered in March at the South by Southwest Festival to favorable reviews and it stands at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. A comparison to TheNightBefore is tricky. That pic opened in November 2015 on the weekend before Thanksgiving and against the finale of TheHungerGames franchise. The result was just a $9.8 million start (it legged out well the following holiday weekend).
I believe LongShot will top that number, but perhaps with low teens as it hopes for minimal drops in subsequent frames. If so, this could fall behind the debut grosses of its competition – TheIntruder and UglyDolls.
LongShot opening weekend prediction: $13.1 million
Nearly two years after she broke through on the silver screen in a major way, Amy Schumer is back with Snatched next weekend. The action comedy teams the comedienne with Goldie Hawn, making her first film appearance in almost 15 years. This duo play a mother/daughter (which was the working title of the pic) on a vacation that goes all wrong. Jonathan Levine (who made 50/50 and TheNightBefore) directs and the supporting cast includes Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack, Wanda Sykes, and Christopher Meloni.
In the summer of 2015, Schumer’s Trainwreck rode a wave of great buzz to a $30 million debut and $110 million overall domestic gross. The fact that this is her follow-up should automatically get a substantial number of her fans out there. It also doesn’t hurt that Snatched is being unveiled on Mother’s Day weekend and it should serve as decent counter programming to the second weekend of GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol. 2 (in which Hawn’s longtime beau Kurt Russell costars).
Even with those clear pluses, I don’t feel the anticipation for this as there was for Trainwreck. I expect Snatched to grab a high teens to low 20s beginning.
Snatched opening weekend prediction: $21.1 million
For my King Arthur: Legend of the Sword prediction, click here:
The comedic team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (they were childhood friends) was first witnessed by mass audiences in 2007’s inspired Superbad. That pic was conceived by the duo when they were young and that teen spirit infused it with a refreshing authenticity. Their cinematic marriage has since shown their fondness for raunchiness and weed. Nothing has quite hit the effectiveness of their first collaboration. Some have come pretty darn close (PineappleExpress, ThisistheEnd) while others have come up a bit shorter (TheWatch, TheInterview, TheNightBefore). Most of their works have performed well or at least decently at the box office (TheWatch is a notable exception) and SausageParty is the kind of movie you get to make when studios let you do whatever you want. It ends up on the higher scale of their work.
Party gives us the rare instance of a truly R rated animated flick. Rogen and Goldberg’s affection for vulgarity is on full display and one suspects it was green stuff other than money that may have assisted in coming up with the concept. Here it is: the food and products in your local grocery store are alive and blissfully unaware of what happens to them after they walk out of the sliding doors. Rogen’s Frank is a sausage and Kristin Wiig’s Brenda is a bun and they’ve been waiting to connect once they break out of their respective packages. In their understanding, this will occur once they’re purchased by the Gods (who are actually just your everyday consumers) and enter the Great Beyond outside of Shopwell’s.
A returned jar of honey mustard (voiced by Danny McBride) tries to warn his market friends of what lies ahead when their dream of freedom is met. Many are skeptical and what’s often most surprising about SausageParty is its allegorical themes pertaining to religion and sex with some expected drug humor thrown in. It’s also chock full of bad puns (some quite hilarious) and plenty of the living products representing their stereotypes. The most obvious and amusing example? The villain of the establishment (voiced by Nick Kroll) is literally a Douche. We also have Sammy the Bagel, giving Edward Norton a chance to be funny and essentially do a Woody Allen impersonation and his ex-girlfriend Salma Hayek coming out of her shell as Theresa del Taco.
As mentioned, Goldberg and Rogen are free to do what they want here and SausageParty does have plenty of uproariously inappropriate moments. There are also times when their out there idea is funnier in concept than actual execution. Additionally, the final gag practically begs for a post-credits sequence that never materializes. Still, at a brisk 88 minutes, this Party is fresh enough for consumption of its creators fans.
Far from a Christmas comedy classic nor a lump of coal, The Night Before gives us a drug fueled holiday happening from the team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. They’ve penned better work in the form of Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This is the End and this is more on the level (though not tone) of the hit or miss humor of The Interview.
Before centers on three friends who have a Christmas Eve tradition of spending their time together after Ethan’s (Joseph Gordon Levitt) parents died. His supportive buddies are Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) and they’ve agreed that their 14th year of buddying up will be their last. Isaac is married and ready to become a first time dad and Chris is a famous NFL player. Their lives are moving on while Ethan remains aimless, especially after a recent breakup with the lovely Lizzy Caplan. The boys make sure their final excursion is hopefully a memorable one when Ethan scores tickets to the Nutcracker Ball, an NYC kick ass bash they’ve only heard about in mythological terms.
Getting there is a challenge for many reasons. Isaac’s wife (Jillian Bell, who stole scenes in 22 Jump Street and does here) gives him a night to let his freak flag fly and that means lots of narcotics. Chris gets caught up with the wrong woman and is preoccupied with impressing his newer celebrity friends. Ethan is struggling with the knowledge that life’s traditions are changing.
While The Night Before is centered on these sometimes not so wise men, some supporting players shine. This holds especially true for Michael Shannon’s drug dealer character, who seems to possess powers even more potent than his weed. Mindy Kaling amusingly turns up and there’s some fairly effective (if obvious) celebrity cameos sprinkled in.
The proceedings don’t really pick up steam until close to the hour mark and what comes before it is often ho (ho) hum. Ethan and Chris’s storylines are just OK and the biggest guffaws come from Isaac on his pharmaceutically fueled journey. One wonders how good this could’ve been if it focused solely on him. The Night Before has its laughs to be sure, but it’s on the lower end of what these writers have accomplished before.
The first week of December is traditionally a weak frame at the box office as the month’s heavy hitters have yet to roll out and moviegoers are mostly nibbling on Thanksgiving leftovers. This year figures to follow suit as only the Christmas themed horror comedy Krampus opens wide and I don’t see it performing too well. You can read my detailed prediction post on it here:
The post holiday weekend also usually means big drop offs for existing pics. The last two Hunger Games entries have fallen more than 60% on this weekend and current champ Mockingjay – Part 2 should do the same.
Disney’s animated features that debuted on Turkey Day weekend have typically fallen over 50% and that could true here with The Good Dinosaur.
And that could create a serious photo finish for the top spot. To add to the mystery: Creed opened to better than expected results and I foresee it having the smallest decline due to very positive word of mouth.
Krampus should land in the four spot with Spectre rounding out the top five. And here are those top five estimates for a fairly sleepy weekend:
The Good Dinosaur
Predicted Gross: $18.7 million (representing a drop of 52%)
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Predicted Gross: $18.5 million (representing a drop of 64%)
Predicted Gross: $16.4 million (representing a drop of 44%)
Predicted Gross: $7.1 million
Predicted Gross: $6 million (representing a drop of 52%)
Box Office Results (November 25-29)
Katniss and crew maintained their dominance as Mockingjay – Part 2 ruled Thanksgiving with $52 million over the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $75.9 million for the five day holiday frame. This was in line with my respective projections of $48.4M and $75.5M. The franchise finale stands at $198 million so far.
Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur had a so so premiere compared to what the company is used to with $39.1 million over the three day and $55.4 million for the long weekend. This is well under my predictions of $56.6M and $78.9M. It will need meager drop offs over the holidays to avoid potentially being Pixar’s smallest earner in its storied two decade existence.
With legitimate Oscar buzz, Creed tapped into Rocky nostalgia and made a magnificent $29.6 million (three day) and $42.1 million (five day), knocking out my estimates of $19.6M and $27.4M. The red hot word of mouth clearly brought this to heights that were unimaginable just weeks ago.
Spectre was fourth with $12.8 million (three day) and a five day tally of $18.2 million for a $176M overall gross. I was close with $13.1M and $17.7M.
The Peanuts Movie came in a bit below my forecast at fifth with $9.7 million and $13.6 million compared to my predictions of $11.1M and $15.3M. It’s made $116M.
The Night Before was sixth in its sophomore frame with $8.3 million and $10.7 million – right in line with my estimates of $8M and (bingo!) $10.7M.
Last and majorly least, critically drubbed Victor Frankenstein tanked with an embarrassing $2.4 million and $3.5 million since its Wednesday start. This put it in just 12th place and way below my generous $10.8 and $14.8M projections.
The Turkey Day weekend box office is upon us and we have three new holiday offerings joining the fray: Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, critically lauded Rocky spinoff Creed, and gothic horror tale Victor Frankenstein. You can read my individual prediction posts on each here:
Since the final Hunger Games pic opened to less than expected results (more on that below), I believe Dinosaur should roam to the top of the charts, though it could be somewhat close.
Solid buzz should put Creed solidly in third place, while I expect Frankenstein to struggle a bit in its opening. Holdovers like Spectre, The Peanuts Movie, and The Night Before should experience small declines as is typical over this holiday weekend.
And with that, I’ll do a top seven predictions that includes projections for both the traditional three day weekend and expanded Thanksgiving five day frame:
The Good Dinosaur
Predicted Gross: $56.6 million (Friday to Sunday), $78.9 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Predicted Gross: $48.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $75.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Predicted Gross: $19.6 million (Friday to Sunday), $27.4 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Predicted Gross: $13.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $17.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
5. The Peanuts Movie
Predicted Gross: $11.1 million (Friday to Sunday), $15.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
6. Victor Frankenstein
Predicted Gross: $10.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $14.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
7. The Night Before
Predicted Gross: $8 million (Friday to Sunday), $10.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
Box Office Results (November 20-22)
Katniss and company easily ruled the box office as Mockingjay – Part 2 debuted, but it undeniably came in with less than anticipated numbers. The fourth and final chapter of The Hunger Games franchise made $102.6 million compared to my $124.2M forecast. This is easily the lowest opener of the series and over $50M below the heights of what Catching Fire did two years ago. A nine-digit premiere is always pretty solid, but Lionsgate was likely hoping for a better result than this.
007 was second with Spectre taking in $15 million, on target with my $15.3M forecast. In three weeks, its total stands at $154M.
Snoopy and the gang were third with The Peanuts Movie making $13.2 million, in line with my $14.1M projection. Its three week tally is $99M.
Raunchy Christmas comedy The Night Before had a lackluster beginning with just $9.8 million, well below my $16.6M projection. Its best hope is for smallish declines as the holiday it focuses on draws closer.
The weekend’s other newcomer, thriller Secret in Their Eyes with Julia Roberts, settled for fifth with a muted $6.6 million. It did manage to top my $5.1M prediction.
In sixth, another Christmas comedy Love the Coopers made just $3.9 million in its sophomore frame, below my $5.4M guesstimate.
Finally, Oscar hopeful Spotlight expanded its screen count and took in $3.5 million for 8th place. It couldn’t match my $4.7M projection, but did have the second highest per screen average of any film in the top ten after Mockingjay.
The fourth and final installment of the wildly successful Hunger Games franchise debuts this weekend with Mockingjay – Part 2. Additionally, we have openers with the raunchy Christmas comedy The Night Before featuring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and thriller Secret in Their Eyes with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each here:
Jennifer Lawrence and company should very easily top the charts and I’ve predicted the second Mockingjay edition will just manage to top what part 1 opened at.
The real battle could be for #2 as holdover champs Spectre and The Peanuts Movie could compete for the runner-up spot with The Night Before. As for Secret in Their Eyes, this seems to be flying under the radar and I have it a close competition for the five spot with the sophomore weekend of Love the Coopers.
And with that, a top six predictions for the weekend:
Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
Predicted Gross: $124.2 million
2. The Night Before
Predicted Gross: $16.6 million
Predicted Gross: $15.3 million (representing a drop of 54%)
4. The Peanuts Movie
Predicted Gross: $14.1 million (representing a drop of 41%)
5. Love the Coopers
Predicted Gross: $5.4 million (representing a drop of 35%)
6. Secret in Their Eyes
Predicted Gross: $5.1 million
Box Office Results (November 13-15)
As anticipated, Spectre and The Peanuts Movie continued to dominate the box office, though the 24th 007 adventure held up a bit better and the Charlie Brown family pic dipped a little further than my projections. Meanwhile, all three new entries didn’t meet my estimates.
Spectre held the top spot for the second weekend in a row with $33.6 million, above my $30.4M prediction for a two week total of $128M while The Peanuts Movie earned $24 million for second place, under my $28.9M projection. Peanuts has made $82M so far.
Third place belonged to newcomer Christmas ensemble comedy Love the Coopers with a middling $8.3 million, under my $11.3M forecast. Ridley Scott’s The Martian was fourth in its seventh weekend with $6.7 million. My estimate? $6.7M! Gold star! That Matt Damon mega-hit stands at $207M domestically. The Chilean mining drama The 33 stumbled with just $5.7 million for fifth place, well under my generous $10M projection.
Finally, the football drama My All-American was DOA for an 11th place showing with only $1.3 million compared to my $3.8M estimate.
And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…