May 28-31 Box Office Predictions

In what is bound is to be the biggest box office weekend so far in the COVID-19 era, the Memorial Day frame marks the unofficial kickoff of the summer season at multiplexes. There are two genuinely high-profile debuts with John Krasinski’s horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II with Emily Blunt and Disney’s live-action remake Cruella with Emma Stone in the title role. My detailed prediction posts on the pair can be found here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/03/11/a-quiet-place-part-ii-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/19/cruella-box-office-prediction/

As I have said a lot recently, we are in unfamiliar territory. This is the first time in a long time where we have two major releases out in the same holiday weekend. Just as entities are opening up everywhere, the same can be said for theaters. I believe AQPII can top $40 million over its four day premiere with Cruella managing low to mid 20s. There is the lingering suspicion that either or both can outdo my estimates.

The rest of the top five will be filled with holdovers and they may experience smallish declines given the holiday. And with that, my top 5 projections from Friday to Monday for a weekend that Hollywood has been eagerly anticipating:

1. A Quiet Place Part II

Predicted Gross: $43.6 million

2. Cruella

Predicted Gross: $22.7 million

3. Spiral

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

4. Wrath of Man

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

5. Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Gross: $1.6 million

Box Office Results (May 14-16)

As anticipated, it was the calm before the potential storming back of big grosses over this past frame. Spiral repeated at #1 in its sophomore outing with $4.5 million. It held up rather well for its genre ahead of my $4 million prediction. The overall gross for the gross out Saw sequel is $15 million.

Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man remained in second with $2.9 million. My estimate? $2.9 million! Total is $18 million.

Third place belonged to Angelina Jolie’s Those Who Wish Me Dead at $1.9 million compared to my $1.7 million take. The two week tally is $5 million.

Raya and the Last Dragon was fourth with $1.6 million, just under my projection of $1.7 million for $48 million.

Godzilla vs. Kong rounded out the top five with $1.4 million. I incorrectly had it outside my top five. At $96 million, the monster mash is inching ever so close to becoming the first $100 million domestic earner in the COVID era.

Finally, Demon Slayer was sixth at $1.3 million (which was my estimate) and it’s at $43 million overall.

And that’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Those Who Wish Me Dead Review

Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead is the second recent Warner Bros/HBO Max venture that would have felt more common as a mid 90s release. Take an Oscar winner/nominee and put them in a generic thriller where you’re saving a kid from generic assassins or solving the crimes of a demented mass murderer. Let the guilty pleasures commerce. In the serial killer genre, we saw it early this year with Denzel Washington and The Little Things. This one reminds me of titles like The Client with Susan Sarandon or The River Wild with Meryl Streep (the latter especially since it deals with forces of nature).

I’ll confess that I’ve developed a soft spot for material like this. It takes me back to a simpler time a quarter century ago where blockbusters didn’t primarily involve CG spectacles. And, yes, when movies like this took up whole shelves at Blockbuster and were rated R for non-gimmicky reasons.

Hannah (Angelina Jolie) is a smokejumper in Montana assigned to desk duty due to a wildfire that ended in tragedy. That demotion places her in a lookout tower with gorgeous natural settings that clash with her unnatural hair extensions. The monotony of her assignment takes a turn when she comes across Connor (Finn Little). The preteen is on the run from assassins (Nicholas Hoult and Aiden Gillen) who offed his forensic accountant dad. Why did his father meet his demise? The screenplay doesn’t much delve into that, but you might be interested to know that Tyler Perry has something to do with the dirty deed.

As Hannah attempts to bond with Connor, the killers frantically try to find them. Jon Bernthal is Ethan, a local sheriff with ties to the boy and he happens to be Hannah’s ex-boyfriend. He helps run a survivalist school with his expectant wife Allison (Medina Senghore) and they make it tricky for the bad guys to complete their business. This is an example of where Sheridan’s screenplay (with Michael Kortya and Charles Leavitt) hints at more compelling directions it might have gone in. When Allison gets to show her abilities while in danger and quite pregnant and on horseback, I couldn’t help but think a script about her handling these thugs would have been more rewarding.

With Jolie, she doesn’t have much of a character to work with. Her backstory involving past career missteps is thin. Her rapport with Little (in a solid performance) does have some highlights. Sheridan has created far more memorable moments in his previous written and directed works like Sicario and Hell or High Water. He’s continually shown an ability to make his scouted locations a gripping participant. That holds true with the Montana wilderness and the fire that eventually rips through it.

With Those Who Wish Me Dead, this is where words like serviceable get overused. It is, however, accurate. I found myself reasonably entertained during its brisk 100 minutes and the 90s throwback feeling makes it easier to forgive lapses in logic. This is hardly a towering achievement, but the inferno didn’t bore.

*** (out of four)

May 21-23 Box Office Predictions

The Memorial Day weekend of 2021 could well be a return to impressive box office grosses with the high profile unveilings of A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella. However, this preceding frame will not be memorable at all. There are no wide premieres on the slate and that means no picture is likely to even top $5 million (or even four).

Spiral, the continuation of the Saw franchise, surprisingly failed to generate much heat in its debut (more on that below). A drop of over 50% should be anticipated considering the genre, but it should manage to stay atop the charts for a second weekend in a row.

Holdovers will dominate the rest of the top five. Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon could shoot up from #5 to #3 depending on the dips for Those Who Wish Me Dead and Demon Slayer. Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man should hold tight in the runner-up position.

And with that, my top 5 take on a weekend where theaters will be a quiet place:

1. Spiral

Predicted Gross: $4 million

2. Wrath of Man

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

3. Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Gross: $1.7 million

4. Those Who Wish Me Dead

Predicted Gross: $1.7 million

5. Demon Slayer

Predicted Gross: $1.3 million

Box Office Results (May 14-16)

I was misguided in my belief that Spiral, which brings Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson into Jigsaw’s cinematic universe, would enjoy a more significant cut at multiplexes. The ninth entry in the horror franchise disappointed with $8.7 million, well below my generous $16.1 million projection. Moviegoers clearly weren’t all that interested in a return to this bloody series. A horror sequel that should gets genre fans back in their seats awaits.

Wrath of Man dropped to second with $3.7 million in its sophomore frame (I was close at $3.9 million). The action thriller stands at $14 million.

The Angelina Jolie thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead, which is simultaneously streaming on HBO Max, debuted in third with a dull $2.8 million. I was higher at $3.8 million.

Fourth place belonged to Demon Slayer at $1.8 million compared to my $1.3 million forecast. Overall tally is a sturdy $42 million.

Raya and the Last Dragon rounded out the top five with $1.7 million (I was lower at $1.4 million). Total is $46 million.

Lastly, another new thriller Profile couldn’t cut it as it earned a tiny $730,000 for a ninth place start. I said $1.2 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

May 14-16 Box Office Predictions

It’s been a minute since we have had four new releases to ponder, but that’s the situation this weekend as theaters continue to open their doors. The ninth pic in the Saw franchise Spiral, Angelina Jolie’s thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead, the Zack Snyder directed zombie fest Army of the Dead, and tech suspense flick Profile all open on Friday. My detailed prediction posts on the quartet can be found here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/05/spiral-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/06/those-who-wish-me-dead-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/army-of-the-dead-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/profile-box-office-prediction/

Spiral should have no trouble scoring a #1 premiere. The question is: what kinda Saw bucks are we talking? I think this could certainly over perform (word of mouth is decent), but my estimate puts it in line with the last entry in the series – 2017’s Jigsaw. 

The runner-up slot should go to Ms. Jolie and her joint venture with Warner Bros/HBO Max. However, unlike the recent Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat, a start north of $10 million (and certainly $20 million) seems unlikely.

Blogger’s Note: Dead prediction downgraded to $3.8 million

Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man should fall to third after its opening met expectations (more on that below). I anticipate his latest action tale to lose a bit more than half its audience.

Here’s where things get a little interesting. Army of the Dead is the first Netflix release to open on a fairly wide screen count (at least 600). If that holds, the potential for a $2-$3 million haul is feasible. It could even do more. What’s unknown at this juncture is whether the streaming giant will actually report its grosses. They haven’t in the past in their limited theatrical runs, but we are venturing into new territory. With this question unanswered, I’ll be doing a top five that includes Army and one that does not.

As for Profile, it’s hitting a large 2000 screens. Yet I suspect its low profile and my predicted $1.2 million forecast could prevent it from making the top five in either scenario.

And with that, here’s my two versions of this weekend’s top five:

1. Spiral

Predicted Gross: $16.1 million

2. Wrath of Man

Predicted Gross: $3.9 million

3. Those Who Wish Me Dead

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

4. Army of the Dead

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

5. Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Gross: $1.4 million

***If no Army grosses, Raya would move up to #4 and I’ll say Demon Slayer is fifth with $1.3 million

Box Office Results (May 7-9)

As mentioned, Wrath of Man took the pole position and met expectations with $8.3 million. How much did it meet them? It certainly met mine as my projection was $8.3 million!

Demon Slayer dropped to second with $2.7 million, on par with my $2.9 million estimate. Its three-week tally is $39 million.

Also in its third frame, Mortal Kombat was third with $2.4 million compared to my $2.7 million take. Overall gross stands at $37 million.

Godzilla vs. Kong was fourth with $1.9 million (I said $2 million). The monster mash continues to inch toward the century mark at $93 million.

Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon flew off with another $1.9 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It has earned $43 million.

Finally, the Billy Crystal/Tiffany Haddish dramedy Here Today showed zero staying power as it opened in seventh with $1 million. I was a bit more generous at $1.5 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Profile Box Office Prediction

After first premiering at the Berlin Film Festival over three years ago, Focus Features is releasing Profile on May 14. The thriller comes from Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov and features Valene Kane as a journalist who goes undercover online and becomes entangled with ISIS. Based on a non-fiction novel, the film costars Shazad Latif and Christine Adams.

The reviews from Europe back in 2018 gave Profile a so-so 60% Rotten Tomatoes score. Somewhat surprisingly, the estimated screen count is a hefty 2000 for this low-budget pic made for a reported $2.3 million. I’m not sure domestic audiences are much aware of its existence and there’s competition next weekend with horror titles Spiral and Army of the Dead and the Angelina Jolie led thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead.

Profile may be lucky to earn half of its puny price tag back out of the gate.

Profile opening weekend prediction: $1.2 million

For my Spiral prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/05/spiral-box-office-prediction/

For my Those Who Wish Me Dead prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/06/those-who-wish-me-dead-box-office-prediction/

For my Army of the Dead prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/army-of-the-dead-box-office-prediction/

Those Who Wish Me Dead Box Office Prediction

Bloggers Update: Prediction downgraded to $3.8 million

Angelina Jolie tries to heat up the box office on May 14 with the simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release of Those Who Wish Me Dead. The thriller casts Jolie as a fire warden attempting to protect a young boy whose father was murdered by assassins. Taylor Sheridan, director of Wind River and co-creator of the hit series Yellowstone, serves behind the camera. Costars include Finn Little, Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal, and Tyler Perry.

Warner Bros. has had successes recently with their strategy of putting their product on the big screen and thru HBO’s streaming platform. This resulted in impressive openings for Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat over the past two months. This one could be a tougher sell due to it not being part of a known franchise.

Dead will need to rely on an adult crowd turning out and Jolie’s star power. One recent comp is The Little Things with Denzel Washington. Also a Warner/HBO venture, the thriller opened domestically with $4.8 million. More theaters have opened their doors since and capacity has increased. That leads me to think that Jolie’s latest could exceed that gross, but perhaps not by much. If my estimate holds, Dead should place second next weekend behind Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

Those Who Wish Me Dead opening weekend prediction: $3.8 million

For my Spiral: From the Book of Saw prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/05/spiral-box-office-prediction/

For my Army of the Dead prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/army-of-the-dead-box-office-prediction/

For my Profile prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/07/profile-box-office-prediction/