Sausage Party Movie Review

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 (Pineapple Express, This is the End) while others have come up a bit shorter (The Watch, The Interview, The Night Before). Most of their works have performed well or at least decently at the box office (The Watch is a notable exception) and Sausage Party 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 Sausage Party 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 Sausage Party 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.

*** (out of four)

Sausage Party Box Office Prediction

It’s a banner year for animated movies at the box office (excluding the freezing out of Ice Age: Collision Course), yet a very different one opens next weekend with Sausage Party. The 3D animated flick comes from the minds of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and it is definitely not meant for the little ones.

Supermarket produce comes to life in the very hard R comedy that features a whole lotta familiar voices other than Mr. Rogen’s. They include Kristin Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek. Made for a quite reasonable $30 million, this has been a passion project for Rogen and company and took years to get produced. Early reviews have been strong – it holds a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (no word yet on whether actual rotten tomatoes are featured in this).

If there’s one genre where not a whole lot of data exists – adult animated pics would be one of them. 1996’s Beavis and Butthead Do America opened to $20.1 million and 1999’s South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut earned $11.3 million. Word of mouth could certainly help here but in the end, I envision this performing similarly to some other Rogen features. This is The End earned $20.7 million in its initial weekend and this summer’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising disappointed with $21.7 million. That seems like a reasonable range for this Party and I’ll put it at just below $20M.

Sausage Party opening weekend prediction: $19.4 million

For my Pete’s Dragon prediction, click here:

For my Florence Foster Jenkins prediction, click here:

Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses of All Time (10-6)

We have now reached Top Ten of the Top 25 Highest Grossing Actresses in box office history.

And now, numbers 10-6 before we reach our finale tomorrow…

10. Jennifer Lawrence

Career Earnings: $2.3 billion

Franchises: The Hunger Games, X-Men

Highest Grossing Picture: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) – $424 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 9 (The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle)

Lowest Grosser: Garden Party (2008) – $10,000

Overall Rank: 57

9. Anne Hathaway

Career Earnings: $2.3 billion

Franchises: The Princess Diaries, Rio, Alice in Wonderland

Highest Grossing Picture: The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – $448 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 10 (The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, Get Smart, Valentine’s Day, Alice in Wonderland, Rio, The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables, Rio 2, Interstellar)

Lowest Grosser: Song One (2015) – $32,000

Overall Rank: 52

8. Sandra Bullock

Career Earnings: $2.4 billion

Franchises: Speed, Miss Congeniality

Highest Grossing Picture: Minions (2015) – $336 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 8 (Minions, Gravity, The Blind Side, The Proposal, The Heat, Speed, A Time to Kill, Miss Congeniality)

Lowest Grosser: Who Shot Patakango? (1992) – $2,000

Overall Rank: 47

7. Emma Watson

Career Earnings: $2.6 billion

Franchises: Harry Potter

Highest Grossing Picture: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) – $381 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 10 (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, This is the End, Noah)

Lowest Grosser: Colonia (2016) – $15,000

Overall Rank: 32

6. Elizabeth Banks

Career Earnings: $2.7 billion

Franchises: Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect

Highest Grossing Picture: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) – $424 million

Number of $100M+ Earners: 8 (The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The LEGO Movie, Pitch Perfect 2, Seabiscuit, The 40 Yr. Old Virgin

Lowest Grosser: Ordinary Sinner (2003) – $4,000

Top 5 manana!


Summer 2015 Movies: The Predicted Century Club

The 2015 Summer Movie Season officially kicks off two weeks from today when Avengers: Age of Ultron blasts into theaters. It will compete for the largest domestic opening of all time (where it needs to beat its predecessor) and is highly likely to be the season’s highest earner. That got me to thinking – while Ultron is poised to gross $500 million or higher, it’s been the $100 million mark that studios still like to brag about. This prompted me to look at the past five summer flick seasons and how many pictures reached that milestone.

In 2010, it was 13 movies that reached the mark: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The Last Airbender, The Other Guys, Salt, Robin Hood, and The Expendables.

Things improved in 2011 with 18 films reaching the century club: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: First Avenger, The Help, Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Smurfs, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The low mark was the following year in 2012 with just 12: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, Men in Black 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Magic Mike, and The Bourne Legacy.

Yet the high mark came the following summer in 2013 with 19: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Heat, We’re the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, Now You See Me, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Hangover Part III, Epic, Pacific Rim, and This is the End.

2014 dipped with 14: Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, Lucy, The Fault in Our Stars, and Edge of Tomorrow. 

That averages out to 15 pictures earning $100M plus per summer over this decade.

So where do I have 2015 matching up? Not breaking records, but in good shape. My predictions for the year’s $100M earners is 16 and they are as follows (in order of release date): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four. 

Of course, there’s always sleepers. And there’s others that I could have predicted but think will fall short: the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit, horror remake Poltergeist, the film version of Entourage, the Adam Sandler video game inspired action comedy Pixels, the Vacation reboot, and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton are among them.

As predicted, summer 2015 should see its number of century club inductees on the slightly high end without reaching the heights of 2013. And as always, you’ll see box office predictions every Saturday from me on each and every one of ’em!

2013: The Year of James Franco

James Franco seemed to be the Waldo of 2013 in film – the man was everywhere. No season of the year passed without a Franco appearance in something. And his omnipresence extended beyond the silver screen and branched out to video parodies and cable TV events.

It started off in March with the release of his most high-profile project, Oz the Great and Powerful. Disney’s prequel to 1939’s The Wizard of Oz from Sam Raimi may not have been well regarded by critics (or, for that matter, this blogger) but it earned a very impressive $234 million domestically.

Just a couple of weeks later came Spring Breakers from director Harmony Korine which cast Franco as Alien, a gangsta rapper. The role earned Franco raves from critics and the pic is already on its way to becoming a cult classic.

Summer brought us This is The End, the post apocalyptic R-rated comedy in which Franco, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and other played themselves. It was a winner with critics and audiences alike and was a comedic high point this year, earning over $100 million domestically.

Last month was Homefront, in which the actor played a meth kingpin battling Jason Statham. This movie has failed to connect with audiences.=, but maybe Mr. Franco just wanted to appear in a flick written by Sylvester Stallone.

Here’s what I love about Franco and here’s why he earns a final spot in this blog series: the dude is unpredictable. He could have easily coasted on his handsome looks and probably headlined rom coms and the occasional action pic for the rest of his career. It’s damn clear he isn’t down with that. You’re just as likely to see Franco pop up in a supporting role in an indie flick as you are in a comedy or drama or anything else for that matter. He gets an Oscar nomination for 127 Hours and then stars in a blockbuster pic Rise of the Planet of the Apes and then costars in stoner comedy Your Highness.

While Franco was everywhere on screen this year, this applied to the small screen and computer screen as well. He got the good sport award by subjecting himself to a Comedy Central Roast.

And even more hilariously, Franco and Pineapple Express buddy Rogen did a shot for shot parody of Kanye West’s ridiculous “Bound” video that is one of the funniest things I saw all year. Check the side by side comparison if you don’t believe me.

Franco is showing no signs of slowing down. So far it looks like 2014 will bring Good People, a thriller with Kate Hudson, True Story, a drama with Jonah Hill, and a cameo appearance in the Veronica Mars movie.

This concludes my six-part series on performers who had a major impact on cinema this year. So thank you to Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Melissa McCarthy, and James Franco for the memories!

Box Office Results: June 14-16

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a terrific box office prediction by yours truly!

Yes, I will pat myself on the back this weekend because the radar was clicking with Man of Steel. While most prognosticators went with between $80-$100 million, I boldly predicted the Superman reboot would gross $124.3 million. Estimates put it at $125.1 million. Gold star!

Zack Snyder’s Steel got mixed reviews, but its A- Cinemascore grade indicates audiences were pleased with what they saw.

I did go a bit high on the all-star comedy This is The End. It earned $20.5 million over the weekend and $32.8 million over its five-day take (it opened Wednesday). My estimates were $25.2M and $38.6M, respectively. Still, that’s a pretty solid opening – especially considering it cost only $32M to make.

The rest of the top five: Now You See Me was third was $10.3M (I guessed $11.5M), Fast and Furious 6 was fourth with $9.4M (I said $10.5M), and The Purge had an enormous drop in its second weekend with $8.2M (I said $13.2M).

That’s all for now folks! I’ll have predictions for both of next weekend’s openers, Monsters University and World War Z, up on the blog very soon!

Box Office Predictions: June 14-16

In will undoubtedly be the return of Superman in Man of Steel that rules the box office this weekend. The only question is: how big will it open? I made my fearless prediction earlier in the week here:

Some would call my prediction a bit generous. Since I wrote the post on Sunday, reviews for Steel have come out. They’re mixed and I frankly thought the critical reaction would be more positive. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that the pic is eagerly anticipated and has terrific trailers. We’ll see how the prediction holds up.

The weekend’s other new release, the all-star comedy This Is the End, is generating great reviews and also has the bonus of trailers that work. It officially opened wide today but its Tuesday evening numbers are encouraging. It could be even go bigger than my prediction. Time will tell. My post predicting End can be found here:

As for holdovers, expect fairly modest declines for Now You See Me and Fast&Furious 6. The largest decline should be for last weekend’s #1, The Purge, which outdid all expectations by a mile but also only received a C Cinemascore grade. A precipitous drop looks likely.

With that, my top five predictions for the weekend:

1. Man of Steel

Predicted Gross: $124.3 million

2. This Is the End

Predicted Gross: $25.2 million ($38.6 million projected five-day gross)

3. The Purge

Predicted Gross: $13.2 million (representing a drop of 61%)

4. Now You See Me

Predicted Gross: $11.5 million (representing a drop of 39%)

5. Fast&Furious 6

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million (representing a drop of 46%)

And there you are! Check back this weekend for early results on the FB page and on Sunday for final results when we see just how high Superman flies.