Incredibles 2 Box Office Prediction

Disney/Pixar is back on the summer scene as Incredibles 2 blasts into theaters next weekend. The superhero comedy sequel is the follow-up to the studio’s sixth blockbuster that opened in November 2004. Fourteen years later, this is Pixar’s 20th assured mega grosser. Brad Bird, who made the original, is back in the director’s seat after shepherding live-action pics Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland. Returning voices from the original cast include Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Vowell, and John Ratzenberger. Fresh voices for part 2 include Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini, and Sophia Bush.

The question mark here is not whether Incredibles 2 is another huge hit for Pixar (it will be). Rather, the question is whether it sets the all-time opening record for the Mouse Factory’s multi-billion dollar subsidiary. In order to do so, it would need to surpass the current one held by 2016’s Finding Dory. That sequel earned $135 million in the same weekend two summers ago.

For some context, the predecessor to Dory (2003’s Finding Nemo) made $70 million out of the gate with an eventual gross of $339 million. As for the first Incredibles? It did exactly the same in its first weekend ($70 million) and went on to earn $261 million domestically. Of course, most Pixar titles take on long shelf lives and introduce themselves to a new generation of youngsters. The Incredibles is no exception and stands as one of the most appreciated studio offerings.

I see no reason why Incredibles 2 wouldn’t perform very similarly to Dory. That said, I’m reluctant to project that it will get to $150 million plus or anything in that stratosphere. I’ll say this just manages to achieve a personal Pixar high. In doing so, just as Nemo and Incredibles got to the same number in weekend 1, so essentially will the sequels.

Incredibles 2 opening weekend prediction: $138.1 million

For my Tag prediction, click here:

For my Superfly prediction, click here:

Tomorrowland Movie Review

At one moment in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, one of the lead characters exclaims, “Can’t you just be amazed and move on?” It’s a line that Disney would surely like us to follow with this earnest, visually pleasing, sometimes preachy and totally uneven tale sprung from the minds of Bird and cowriter Damon Lindelof. There is a lot to admire about Tomorrowland and seeing an original picture presented with such a big budget and lots of tech wizardry is among them. Yet it’s hard to love it. Tomorrowland is mainly centered on optimism and it doesn’t hesitate to occasionally lecture us about a generation that dared to stop dreaming, according to its filmmakers. This is primarily centered on lack of focus with the space program and loss of interest in advancing science. Here we have a mega budget sci fi tale with a point of view and a supremely talented director behind the camera to tell it. There are moments during Tomorrowland that left me greatly optimistic for where the story would go to next and individual sequences that were flat out terrific. The faded optimism came with a plot that never really pays off and a third act that doesn’t match up with the first two. It results in being Bird’s least satisfying overall experience, though he’s set quite a bar with The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

The movie begins with young Frank Walker at the World’s Fair in New York circa 1964. He’s invented a jetpack that sadly doesn’t fly. Nevertheless, his unbridled enthusiasm in science draws the attention of Athena (Raffie Cassidy), a young girl who gives him a pin emblazoned with a big T. Frank soon discovers that this pin transports him to Tomorrowland, a land many dimensions away that looks quite futuristic. We soon learn this is a place where dreamers can go to dream and invent things to keep the future rolling along without the interference of Earthly distractions like money and politics. Turns out Athena is no little girl and she’s a programmed robot tasked with finding those special people to populate Tomorrowland.

When the story switches to present day, Athena’s new pupil is Casey (Britt Robertson), an energetic and endlessly curious teen whose dad (Tim McGraw) is a NASA engineer who doesn’t get much work. She gets a pin as well, but her journey isn’t an easy one. It includes meeting a grown up Frank (George Clooney), whose feelings on Tomorrowland have changed through the years and not in a positive way. They may be well founded as Tomorrowland’s leader David Nix (Hugh Laurie) has a rather warped view on us Earth folk.

For a picture stressing the virtue of the idea behind Tomorrowland, we don’t spend much time there. Most of the action is set back on this planet and a lot of what we see is quite entertaining. Raffie Cassidy has the most challenging role of all and she gives a winning performance. Robertson and Clooney may be stars and they are both just fine, but Cassidy’s butt kicking robo girl steals the show. A scene in a hobby shop with Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn and a sequence in which the Eiffel Tower is harboring an underground rocket ship are particular highlights.

As I stated, a lot to admire. However, by the time Laurie’s Nix is essentially preaching the plot to us in the third act, I felt a little underwhelmed. I realize this Utopias world he spoke of didn’t get explored much here. And while lessons about destroying the planet are important, it’s not like we haven’t heard it all before. I still would recommend making this trip because there is enough to like, but temper that optimism a little perhaps.

*** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: June 5-7

As the June box office session begins, we have three new pictures opening in the marketplace: the Melissa McCarthy action comedy Spy, horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 3 and the film version of HBO’s Entourage. You can read my individual prediction posts on each here:

As I see it, Spy (which has received rave reviews) should easily come out of the gate at #1. The battle for second could be fierce between Insidious and current champ San Andreas, which had a larger than anticipated premiere (more on that below). I expect the third Insidious to just make it to the #2 position. I have Entourage placing fourth with Pitch Perfect 2 rounding out the top five in its fourth weekend.

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

1. Spy

Predicted Gross: $42.1 million

2. Insidious: Chapter 3

Predicted Gross: $26 million

3. San Andreas

Predicted Gross: $24.3 million (representing a drop of 55%)

4. Entourage

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million ($16.5 million predicted for its five-day gross)

5. Pitch Perfect 2

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million (representing a drop of 43%)

Box Office Results (May 29-31)

Dwayne Johnson’s disaster flick San Andreas had anything but a disastrous opening with a higher than expected $54.5 million, easily topping my $43.4M projection. The pic was pretty much critic proof and audiences responded with a solid A- Cinemascore grade to give its star yet another hit, not even two months after his participation in the massive Furious 7.

Holdovers dipped further from their Memorial Day grosses than I anticipated as Pitch Perfect 2 was second with $14.8 million (I said $18.5M). The high grossing sequel has amassed $147.5M so far.

The bad news continued for Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, which has undeniably become one of the season’s early disappointments. It experienced a precipitous drop in its sophomore frame with $14.3 million for third place, below my generous $19.1M prediction. Its two week total is at $63M and it probably won’t reach the $100M mark.

Mad Max: Fury Road took fourth with $14.1 million, just below my $15M estimate for an impressive total three week tally of $116.4M. Avengers: Age of Ultron was fifth with $11.4 million and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The Marvel superhero juggernaut has made $427.5M at press time.

Cameron Crowe’s critically panned Aloha was DOA for a sixth place debut with just $9.6 million, well under my $18.2M projection. Audiences weren’t impressed with what they saw either with a lackluster B- Cinemascore grade. You can read my review of it here:

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

Box Office Predictions: May 29-31

For the last week of May, we have two more entries into the Summer Box Office Derby: disaster action pic San Andreas starring Dwayne Johnson and the Bradley Cooper/Emma Stone rom com Aloha. You can read my detailed prediction posts on each of them here right here:

As I see it, Andreas should easily dominate the weekend. The wild card is Aloha, but I have it grossing in the high teens for a fourth place debut. All holdovers will likely experience the typical hefty declines for the post Memorial Day weekend. Current champ Tomorrowland may have the most pronounced dip due to lackluster buzz (more on that below) and I’m predicting all currently released top five dwellers will fall over 50% from the four day holiday frame. It could be quite a tight race for the #2 spot.

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

1. San Andreas

Predicted Gross: $43.4 million

2. Tomorrowland

Predicted Gross: $19.1 million (representing a drop of 55%)

3. Pitch Perfect 2

Predicted Gross: $18.5 million (representing a drop of 51%)

4. Aloha

Predicted Gross: $18.2 million

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Predicted Gross: $15 million (representing a drop of 52%)

Box Office Results (May 22-25)

It was a disappointing Memorial Day weekend at the box office as Brad Bird’s polarizing Tomorrowland topped the charts with a ho-hum $42.7 million, just under my $44.6M projection. The Disney fantasy has received both mixed reaction from critics and audiences alike and its long term prospects don’t look great.

On the flip side, last week’s champ Pitch Perfect 2 continued its truly magnificent run with $38.3 million over the holiday weekend (above my $32.8M estimate), bringing its two weeks total to $125.7M, nearly double what the original made in its whole domestic run.

Mad Max: Fury Road also held up better in its second weekend with $31.3 million, ahead of my $25.5M prediction. The acclaimed reboot has amassed $94.7M.

Avengers: Age of Ultron took $28.2 million (in line with my $26.6M estimate) and the Marvel title’s four week total stands at $411.4M.

Finally, the horror remake Poltergeist had a fair start with $26.3 million, not quite matching my prediction of $29.3M. Look for it to drop quickly, as most horror titles tend to do.

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

Box Office Predictions: May 22-25

The four day Memorial Day weekend at the box office promises to be a fascinating one as Disney’s Tomorrowland and horror reboot Poltergeist enter the marketplace in competition with holdover hits Pitch Perfect 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. It could easily create a situation where all top five films over the holiday frame post numbers north of $25 million. You can read my detailed prediction posts on Tomorrowland and Poltergeist here:

My predictions reflect a belief that Tomorrowland will manage to top the charts, though it could face competition from Pitch Perfect 2. That musical comedy sequel performed way above expectations this weekend (more on that below) and depending on its drop, could contend for the #1 position, especially if Tomorrowland doesn’t meet projections. That said, I do have Pitch losing over half its audience due to its front loaded amazing start.

My estimate for Poltergeist is a bit on the low end compared to others and I have it debuting third. As for other holdovers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Mad Max: Fury Road could find themselves in a close race for the four spot, but I’ll give the slight edge to Marvel’s heroes.

And with that, my top five predictions for the four day, Friday to Monday holiday weekend:

1. Tomorrowland

Predicted Gross: $44.6 million

2. Pitch Perfect 2

Predicted Gross: $32.8 million (representing a drop of 52%)

3. Poltergeist

Predicted Gross: $29.3 million

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Predicted Gross: $26.6 million (representing a drop of 31%)

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Predicted Gross: $25.5 million (representing a drop of 43%)

Box Office Results (May 15-17)

As mentioned above, Pitch Perfect 2 had a shockingly great opening with $69.2 million. This marks the largest opening ever for a musical and third biggest comedic debut in history. Even more impressively, it made more in its first three days than its 2012 predecessor made in its entire domestic run ($65M). Perfect soared above my $42M projection and you can rest assure a third edition will be forthcoming.

Mad Max: Fury Road had to settle for a second place start far behind Pitch, but its $45.4 million haul is nothing to be ashamed of. And neither, ladies and gentleman, was my prediction… $45.4M million! Gold star! This is a solid debut for a reboot of a franchise that had been dormant for thirty years and its international grosses have impressed as well.

Avengers: Age of Ultron dropped to third after two weeks on top with $38.8 million, just above my $36.8M prediction. The Marvel tale has amassed $372M so far. The Reese Witherspoon comedy flop Hot Pursuit was fourth with $5.7 million in its sophomore frame, below my $7.2M estimate. The critically drubbed flick’s gross is at just $23M. Furious 7 was fifth with $3.6 million and I incorrectly had it outside the top five (its overall is at $343M). I had holdover The Age of Adaline at fifth with $4.1 million, but it was seventh with $3.1M (current earnings: $37M).

And that’s all for now, folks! Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Tomorrowland Box Office Prediction

Disney is hoping that over the Memorial Day weekend, a wide swath of moviegoers will choose to make the trip to Tomorrowland. The sci fi adventure opens Friday with a reported $190 million budget and is directed by Brad Bird, who made Pixar classics The Incredibles and Ratatouille and had a successful debut in live action with 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Bird shares screenplay credit with Damon Lindelof, co-creator of Lost. George Clooney headlines a cast that features Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Kathryn Hahn, Tim McGraw and Judy Greer.

The studio has been successful in keeping the plot details of Tomorrowland closely under wraps and it could succeed in creating a curiosity factor among audiences. The pic looks to appeal to family audiences and sci fi lovers. The Memorial Day release indicates confidence from Disney. One must wonder, however, if all the secrecy could keep some away since most summer releases are sequels and reboots based on known properties.

I could envision Tomorrowland opening in a similar fashion to Super 8, which premiered four summers ago to $35 million. Due to its four day holiday rollout, I’ll say it manages to climb a bit higher than that, albeit with one more day included in the grosses.

Tomorrowland opening weekend prediction: $33.4 million (Friday to Sunday prediction), $44.6 million (Friday to Monday prediction)

For my Poltergeist prediction, click here:

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!