April 22-24 Box Office Predictions

It’s likely to be a top heavy family friendly box office chart this weekend as DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys makes a play for the #1 spot. The well-reviewed action comedy could find itself in a battle with the second weekend of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (after a lackluster start) and the third frame of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The adults have fresh product to choose from as well. There’s the Viking epic The Northman from director Robert Eggers and Nicolas Cage headlining the meta comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. My detailed prediction posts on the trio of newbies can be accessed here:

The Bad Guys Box Office Prediction

The Northman Box Office Prediction

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Box Office Prediction

Considering Beasts easily had a Wizarding World franchise low opening (more on that below), even a mid teens start for The Bad Guys could mean it’ll manage to nab first place. If Sonic fell nearly 60% in its sophomore frame, I’m saying Beasts plummets in the mid 60s and it could be a close contest for second between the two holdovers.

The Northman and Talent should hold the four and spots and maybe not in that order. That’s how I have it, however, with Northman just surpassing double digits and Talent falling just under. Both features have solid critical support and could overperform, but I’m being cautious with each.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $16.7 million

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $15.1 million

4. The Northman

Predicted Gross: $10.3 million

5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million

Box Office Results (April 15-17)

It was an Easter to forget for Warner Bros as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore remained a secret to many. The third entry in the series took in a lowly $42.1 million, below my $48.1 million projection. That’s about $20 million under 2018 predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald and it genuinely brings into question whether the studio will move forward with planned fourth and fifth installments.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 dropped to second with $29.3 million and a larger than anticipated 59% drop. I was more generous at $35.8 million. The video game based sequel is up to a nevertheless impressive $118 million after 10 days.

The Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum rom com The Lost City was third with $6.2 million, on target with my $6.3 million take. Total is $78 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once increased its screen count by nearly 1000 venues and boasted a 2% increase in weekend #2 with $6.1 million (I said $5.5 million). The potential awards contender has made $17 million.

Mark Wahlberg’s faith-based and fact based drama Father Stu opened in fifth with a muted $5.4 million from Friday to Sunday and $7.7 million since its Wednesday debut. That’s on pace with my respective takes of $5.7 million and $8.5 million.

Morbius was sixth with $4.7 million, a tad ahead of my $4.3 million prediction for $65 million overall.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Ambulance continued to stall with $4 million (I went with $4.5 million) for a two-week tally of only $15 million.

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

April 15-17 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Note (04/13): Updated to include Everything Everywhere All at Once in the top five after finding out it is expanding to approximately 2000 screens from its current 1250

Warner Bros is hoping for good returns from a potentially fading franchise as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore debuts this Easter weekend. We also have the Mark Wahlberg led faith-based drama Father Stu as it hopes to capitalize on the holiday. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Box Office Prediction

Father Stu Box Office Prediction

I have Dumbledore conjuring up about $15 million less than 2018 predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald. The gross just north of $50 million should be enough to nab it the #1 slot with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (after a terrific start) sliding to second. The video game adapted sequel may lose around half its audience.

Father Stu is a bit of a head scratcher. It could over perform. With a Wednesday premiere, my mid single digits Friday to Sunday estimate puts it in fourth just behind The Lost City. 

Ambulance and Morbius, both struggling, might battle it out for the five spot. And with that, my take on the top 7:

1. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $48.1 million

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $35.8 million

3. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

4. Father Stu

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million (Friday to Sunday); $8.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $5.5 million

6. Ambulance

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million

7. Morbius

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

Box Office Results (April 8-10)

Paramount had plenty to celebrate as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 posted the high score with a better than anticipated $72.1 million. That’s nearly $10 million ahead of my $62.5 million prediction. You can bet a third installment is already being planned as this grossed more from Friday to Sunday than the 2020 original took in during the long President’s Day weekend.

Morbius was second with a steep 74% tumble in its sophomore outing with $10.2 million, a bit shy of my $11.2 million projection. The vampire tale is not bringing in new blood after a weak beginning.

The Lost City was third with $9 million (I said $8 million) and the Sandra Bullock comedy stands at $68 million with $100 million in its sights.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s action flick Ambulance stalled in fourth with only $8.6 million, well below my generous $13.7 million estimate. The Michael Bay directed enterprise (which earned decent reviews) couldn’t find a crowd as moviegoers may simply wait until streaming.

The Batman made $6.4 million and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The grand tally is $358 million.

Finally, the critically heralded Everything Everywhere All at Once was sixth with $6 million. While not reaching my guesstimate of $8.4 million, the trippy sci-fi pic had the second best per theater average on its 1200+ screens.

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

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Box Office Prediction

J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World returns on April 15th with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the third entry in a franchise that hasn’t spellbound audiences in the same way that Harry Potter did. David Yates, who made the last four Potter pics and previous two Beasts offerings, is back in the director’s chair. Familiar cast members are led by Eddie Redmayne alongside Jude Law (as the title character), Ezra Miller (in what may be his last appearance in the series due to offscreen controversies), Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams, and Katherine Waterston. Speaking of offscreen controversies, Johnny Depp is no longer the villainous Grindelwald as Mads Mikkelsen now fills the role.

COVID and Depp’s recasting kept Secrets from its intended November 2021 debut. With an Easter premiere, Warner Bros is hoping this at least stays on par with predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald. In 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took in $74 million for its start with $234 million overall domestically. 2018 follow-up Grindelwald couldn’t match that as it conjured up a Wizarding World opening nadir of $62 million and $159 million total.

Reviews for Secrets are better than those of Grindelwald (60% vs. 36% on Rotten Tomatoes). I’m not sure that will matter all that much. I’m just not sensing the enthusiasm and the three and a half year wait shouldn’t help. This might earn about $15 million less than Crimes to set another low mark.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore opening weekend prediction: $48.1 million

For my Father Stu prediction, click here:

Father Stu Box Office Prediction

The Matrix Resurrections Review

When the director seems to have ambivalent (at best) feelings about returning to their franchise, that emotion might rub off on the audience a bit. And so it is with The Matrix Resurrections, arriving 18 years after parts II and III with Lana Wachowski back (though not with her sister Lilly who co-directed previous installments). An overriding theme is that Wachowski is making part IV because the studio was going to do it regardless. Apparently she’d rather not leave it in the hands of others. The more things change, the more they stay the same in one respect. Our fourth trip into this world, like the second and third, can’t come close to matching the heights of the 1999 original (no matter how many throwback clips we see from it).

A glaring flaw is Resurrections mirrors that of the first sequels. So much after part one about The One centered its drama on Neo’s (Keanu Reeves) powerful connection with Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). For the most part, we were told as opposed to shown that development. The 2021 model is dependent on our wistful nostalgic pining of their romance. It’s one that I and I suspect many others just don’t possess.

In The Matrix, we were introduced to a fresh and exciting cinematic universe at the perfect time. As the 20th century drew to a close, questions abounded about machines and technology and their potential to overpower humans and their free will. It was potent in its message back then and (of course) the action was mind blowing and influenced many a 21st century spectacle.

2003’s follow-up The Matrix Reloaded was in many respects a mess, but an often highly entertaining one. Its freeway shootout was a marvel that holds up gloriously today. The first act set in a sweat drenched orgiastic Zion… not so much. The Matrix Revolutions arrived six months after Reloaded and despite some nifty moments, it was a serious letdown critically and financially.

Yet franchises never die in Hollywood so Wachowski seems to be battling her own free will and giving us her next iteration. For those who may have forgot (and it’s easy to forget Revolutions), Neo and Trinity both lost their lives while saving what was left of the human race from machine domination. In Resurrections, Neo’s real life persona Thomas Anderson is indeed alive and living 60 years in the future as a video game programmer. His lauded creation is essentially what we saw in the previous trilogy. His therapy sessions with Neil Patrick Harris’s analyst hints of his recollections and, for that, he’s prescribed blue pills. When Anderson is confronted with his past, it comes from a younger Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and a new team of rebels led by a white rabbit tattooed Bugs (Jessica Henwick).

It also turns out Trinity is around in the form of Tiffany, now married with kids and without knowledge of her gravity defiant history. The deal cut by the lovebirds in Revolutions still stands albeit on shaky ground. Humans and machines have found a way to coexist but others want war times to resume. The plot, however, really isn’t focused on extinction. Tiffany is the McGuffin – and the drama centers on her chosen pill intake. It seems a tad low-pressure for a series typically concentrated on civilization’s existence.

In addition to a more youthful Morpheus, we also have Jonathan Groff as a boyish Agent Smith. Neither of their characterizations match those of Laurence Fishburne or Hugo Weaving, respectively. The screenplay, in particular, does a disservice to Mateen (a fine actor) and the treatment of Morpheus. So crucial in the trilogy, he’s relegated to an insignificant status in this one. On the flip side, Jada Pinkett Smith returns as General Niobe and she’s aged six decades. The makeup is decent. Her decision making hasn’t improved much when it comes to advising our protagonists.

Wachowski’s self-referential treatment of the material starts off fairly funny and the first hour has its charms. When a holdover from Reloaded and Revolutions appears to spew English and French rantings about our text obsessed and social media culture, it’s moved to eye rolling emoji territory. In Reloaded, that mid-picture car flipping street extravaganza alone arguably made the first sequel worth the price of admission. There’s no such centerpiece in Resurrections that approaches it. Instead we get a follow-up where the filmmaker is struggling to justify its existence and even pontificating through her subjects that it’s not warranted. Maybe she should have left this revolution for someone else to start.

** (out of four)

2021: The Year of Zendaya

Going into 2021, Zendaya had already collected an Emmy for her leading role on HBO’s Euphoria and was known to moviegoers for her parts in the Spider-Man franchise and The Greatest Showman. She is the subject of my second write-up for performers who had a meaningful 2021 and it’s no coincidence that she’s the second that appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home (currently breaking all pandemic era box office records). The first was Benedict Cumberbatch… and we might not be done yet with Home costars.

Her inclusion isn’t just due to her onscreen (and apparently offscreen) pairing with Spidey himself, Tom Holland. The actress/singer began the year garnering Oscar chatter for the Netflix drama Malcolm & Marie with John David Washington. While she didn’t ultimately nab an Academy mention, she was on the Critics Choice Awards radar for her acclaimed performance.

By summertime, she lent her voice to Space Jam: A New Legacy (voicing Lola Bunny). Her involvement with Warner Bros/HBO Max continued in the fall with the long awaited sci-fi epic Dune. It looks to be her first picture that will achieve plenty of award nominations and the sequel is already lined up for 2023.

And, of course, she capped it all off with her third appearance as MJ in the massive MCU series. Zendaya expanded her reach in 2021 as her films reached plenty of homes this year. My Year of posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Matrix Resurrections

In the last year of our previous century, The Matrix was a game changing action spectacle that influenced many pictures that followed in the 21st century. The Oscars took notice. It was nominated for four Academy Awards (Film Editing, Sound, Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects) and won all of them. In fact, it came in second in terms of number of victories behind only Best Picture winner American Beauty.

Four years later, the series became a trilogy when The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions both premiered in 2003. The story was different that time around. Neither film received a single nomination. That was a year in which The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was crowned in many a race (including three that The Matrix took).

Tomorrow marks the release of The Matrix Revolutions from Lana Wachowski with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their iconic roles. Today is when the Oscar shortlists were revealed in Sound (now just one competition) and Visual Effects. Revolutions showed up as a hopeful on each top ten list.

So will the fourth Matrix manage the nod or two that its two predecessors could not? Probably. Visual Effects seems likely even though it would be shocking if fellow Warner Bros property Dune doesn’t win. Sound is a bit more iffy though it’s got a 50/50 shot.

Bottom line: Resurrections appears poised to put this franchise back in contention in those two races and those two races only. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

The Matrix Resurrections Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (12/21): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising down Resurrections prediction from $30.7 million for the three-day and $47.2 million for the five-day to $26.7 million and $40.3 million for the five-day

The Matrix Resurrections won’t be The One when it opens December 22nd, giving itself a five-day Christmas rollout. That’s thanks to what should be a robust sophomore frame for Spider-Man: No Way Home. It might not even be The Two if Sing 2 manages to squeak by it for the runner-up position.

Arriving 18 years after The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions hit screens in 2003, this is the fourth franchise entry that began in 1999 and changed how we look at action blockbusters. The original Matrix is a landmark. The sequels that followed were met with considerably more mixed reaction (especially part 3).

Lana Wachowski directs without her sister Lilly (they made the trilogy together). Returning are Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lambert Wilson, and Jada Pinkett Smith. New to the game are Yahya Abdul-Mateen (taking over for Laurence Fishburne as a more youthful Morpheus), Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jones, and Christina Ricci. Once slated for May, it was postponed for pandemic purposes.

There’s no doubt that Resurrections is an event picture that has many devotees of the series ready to rush out. That said, it’s a major question mark as to how high this gets. While this is certainly an experience many will want to catch on the biggest screen possible, there is the option to view it simultaneously on HBO Max. Plenty of viewers not of the die-hard persuasion could choose to watch from the comfort of the couch. And while I’m sure many younger viewers are familiar with parts I-III – they may not have the reverence for it that fans, say, 35 and up do. Furthermore there is that pesky Spider-Man hanging around gobbling up the Yuletide dollars.

Don’t get me wrong. Resurrections could have a huge opening and amass $70 million from Wednesday to Sunday. Reloaded took in over $90 million for its start and held the title of highest grossing R-rated pic for over a decade until Deadpool replaced it. On the other hand, Revolutions couldn’t keep up and petered out with $139 million total.

One rather obvious comp is Dune, another sci-fi spectacle that followed 2021’s Warner Bros pattern of premiering their theatrical fare on HBO’s subscription service. It made $40 million over the traditional opening weekend. I’m estimating that Resurrections won’t hit that number from Friday to Sunday, but that the extra two days could bring in $45-$50 million.

The Matrix Resurrections opening weekend prediction: $26.7 million (Friday to Sunday); $40.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Sing 2 prediction, click here:

Sing 2 Box Office Prediction

For my The King’s Man prediction, click here:

The King’s Man Box Office Prediction

For my American Underdog prediction, click here:

American Underdog Box Office Prediction

For my A Journal for Jordan prediction, click here:

A Journal for Jordan Box Office Prediction

Box Office Predictions: Weekend of November 26-28

Hollywood is hoping for a bountiful harvest over the long Turkey Day weekend. We have three newbies premiering: Disney’s animated Encanto, Ridley Scott’s murderous melodrama House of Gucci with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, and franchise reboot Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Encanto Box Office Prediction

House of Gucci Box Office Prediction

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City Box Office Prediction

The Mouse Factory, as it has over numerous Thanksgiving frames in recent years, should top the charts… should. While I don’t have Encanto nearing the grosses that titles like Moana and Coco have accomplished for the holiday, my low 30s Friday to Sunday estimate has it edging out the sophomore weekend of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. 

The latter had a start at the higher end of projections (more on that below) and if it falls in the high 30s, it could challenge Encanto for box office supremacy.

Gucci is a big question mark. I have it comfortably in third with a lower double digits take for the traditional weekend and close to $20 million for the five-day (all newcomers hit theaters on Wednesday). Gaga’s fans in particular could vault it to better numbers. On the other hand, mixed buzz could put it lower.

Resident Evil is a series that experienced its smallest opening weekend with its previous sixth installment The Final Chapter in 2016. It made just shy of $14 million. I’m not optimistic with Raccoon and I believe it could find itself in a close battle with Eternals for the four spot.

As for leftovers, Clifford the Big Red Dog and King Richard (after a disappointing premiere) are likely to post minimal declines. Yet both could fall outside the top five.

And with that, let’s do a top 7 this time around:

1. Encanto

Predicted Gross: $31.2 million (Friday to Sunday); $46.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Predicted Gross: $27 million

3. House of Gucci

Predicted Gross: $12.3 million (Friday to Sunday); $19.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

4. Eternals

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million

5. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million (Friday to Sunday); $11.7 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

6. Clifford the Big Red Dog

Predicted Gross: $6.9 million

7. King Richard

Predicted Gross: $4.8 million

Box Office Results (November 19-21)

Ghostbustin’ made audiences feel good as the long in development sequel took in $44 million. As mentioned, that’s toward the top of prognostications and bodes well for a healthy run ahead. The sci-fi comedy drove past my $38.1 million estimate.

Eternals dropped to second after two weeks in first with $11 million (a touch below my $12.6 million take). The MCU fantasy stands at $136 million.

In third, Clifford the Big Red Dog slid a bit more than I figured in weekend #2 with $8.1 million (I went with $10.5 million). Total is $33 million.

I have to think Warner Bros. is questioning their choice to simultaneously release Will Smith’s sports drama King Richard on HBO Max. Serving up a weak fourth place debut, it made just $5.4 million. Not approaching my $9.2 million projection, it will hope for minimal declines ahead (and boffo HBO numbers).

Dune rounded out the top five with $3.1 million, below my $4.2 million prediction as it’s approaching the nine figure mark with $98 million.

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

King Richard Box Office Prediction

**Blogger’s Note (11/18): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my King Richard estimate down from $11.2M to $9.2M

Will Smith may be primed for his first Oscar win in King Richard, which is served up for audiences on November 19th in theaters and HBO Max. The sports drama casts its lead as Richard Williams, father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena. Reinaldo Marcus Green directs with a supporting cast featuring Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, and Jon Bernthal.

Following its September premiere at Telluride, awards buzz started immediately and it currently sits at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. With a new autobiography out this week, Smith has been highly visible as Richard is set for release.

Adult themed dramas have struggled mightily during the COVID era and the pic’s availability on HBO’s streamer could certainly eat into the grosses. However, with the Oscar chatter going, I do think this could top the $10 million estimate that’s out there (though probably not by much). It should also manage to play well over subsequent weekends.

King Richard opening weekend prediction: $9.2 million

For my Ghostbusters: Afterlife prediction, click here:

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Box Office Prediction

October 22-24 Box Office Predictions

Arriving a year after its COVID delay is Denis Villeneuve’s version of the sci-fi epic Dune along with the animated Ron’s Gone Wrong. The latter will try to keep the October box office hot streak rolling along with the latter attempting to bring in family audiences. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Dune Box Office Prediction

Ron’s Gone Wrong Box Office Prediction

We have had three weekends in a row with newcomers premiering at over $50 million or darn close. Dune could fall right in that range. A potential drawback could be its simultaneous availability on HBO Max. However, I do believe enough viewers are aware that it should be seen on the biggest screen possible. I have it in the low 40s, but as Venom and Halloween Kills have shown us, the chance of over performing is certainly there for the taking.

As for Ron’s Gone Wrong, it has the disadvantage of not being based on known IP. Reviews are decent yet I have it placing fifth and under $10 million.

Halloween Kills exceeded most estimates (more on that below). Its 2018 predecessor fell 59% in its sophomore frame with a B+ Cinemascore average. The sequel has a B- and I envision it dropping in the high 60s range. No Time to Die could see around 50% decline in its third outing while Venom: Let There Be Carnage may see only a dip in the low 40s to mid 40s.

And with that, my top 5 take on the weekend ahead:

1. Dune

Predicted Gross: $42.8 million

2. Halloween Kills

Predicted Gross: $15.4 million

3. No Time to Die

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

4. Venom: Let There Be Carnage

Predicted Gross: $9.5 million

5. Ron’s Gone Wrong

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

Box Office Results (October 15-17)

Haddonfield wasn’t the only place where Michael Myers made a killing over the weekend as Halloween Kills premiered at the highest end of projections. The $49.4 million start slashed my $41.2 million prediction. Its simultaneous release on Peacock didn’t appear to make much of a difference. That’s no huge surprise considering the streamer’s membership is minuscule compared to Netflix, HBO Max, and others. While the Kills gross is far under the $76 million achieved by Halloween in 2018, this is still a big win for Universal.

No Time to Die slipped to second with $23.7 million, a bit below my $25.8 million take. The 25th Bond adventure stands at $99 million. While its overseas earnings are pleasing, Daniel Craig’s swan song isn’t quite hitting the anticipated target stateside.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage was third with $16.5 million (I said $14.1 million) and it’s up to $168 million.

The Addams Family 2 had the best hold of all in fourth with $7 million, in range with my $6.6 million projection for $42 million total.

Finally, despite mostly solid reviews, Ridley Scott’s medieval tale The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jodie Comer, and Adam Driver received little good will from moviegoers. It bombed hard with only $4.7 million in fifth. That’s a far cry from my estimate of $10.4 million. Duel is further proof that adult themed product is having a difficult time getting the intended demographic to the multiplex.

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