Sunday, March 22, 2015

Summer 2015 Box Office Predictions- Part 1

We're already nearly 4 months into 2015, and I gotta say, this year has been a disappointment so far. Kingsman: The Secret Service was a legitimately great film and there were a few other decent efforts, but in general, there hasn't been much to get me out to the theater. It's seriously shocking to me that the last review I wrote was for McFarland, USA (I'm hoping to get reviews out for Insurgent, Cinderella and Run All Night soon, but I'm not going to promise anything). However, there is hope on the horizon in the form of the summer movie season, which pretty much starts in April these days. Furious 7 will kick off the 2015 showcase with a bang and the season will continue until the very end of' August. The box office outlook for this summer is lucrative and we could see some huge records be broken. Here are my predictions for the first half of summer 2015, which is April 3- June 12.

FURIOUS 7- April 3

Opening Weekend Prediction- $135 million
Total Gross Prediction- $300 million

The Fast and Furious franchise has found a way to rejuvenate itself over the years and it hit its peak in 2013 when Fast and Furious 6 opened with $117 million over the four-day weekend with some heavy competition from Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hangover Part III. Furious 7 is currently tracking around that same number, but I have a feeling that it will blow it out of the water. There hasn't been a big action film since Kingsman and the Furious franchise has only grown in popularity over the years. Not to mention the tragic fact that this is Paul Walker's last film role (the actor died in November 2013). All in all, this will be a massive box office hit and one of 2014's biggest films.

THE LONGEST RIDE- April 10

Opening Weekend Prediction- $18 million
Total Gross Prediction- $45 million

It's another Nicholas Sparks movie, and it looks just as forgettable as the other films. However, there's an audience for these movies that comes out time and time again, so The Longest Ride will rake in a little bit of cash. With no major stars, this will be one of the lower grossing Sparks movie, but it should still turn a tidy profit.

EX MACHINA- April 10 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $1.4 million
Total Gross Prediction- $10.5 million

Ex Machina is one of my most anticipated films of the early summer, a hot festival property with two rising stars in Oscar Isaac and Domnhall Gleeson. The promise of an A.I. film done right is intriguing, and the buzz on this one is very, very good. Whether or not that translates to box office success is questionable, but I'm pumped either way.

CHILD 44- April 17

Opening Weekend Prediction- $7.5 million
Total Gross Prediction- $23 million

The long delayed mystery about a series of child murders in the Soviet Union has the potential to be a dramatically interesting film, but I don't think that it'll make much of a dent at the box office. Tom Hardy is a big name, but with dark subject matter and a lack of Oscar buzz, this drama will probably fail to gain much traction.

MONKEY KINGDOM- April 17

Opening Weekend Prediction- $6.4 million
Total Gross Prediction- $17.5 million

Another year, another Disneynature flick. None of these films make very much money, but they're part of the company's ecological initiative and they help animals in need. So even if this film doesn't make much money, it's for a good cause. A final finish near $20 million is in the realm of possibility for this one.

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2- April 17

Opening Weekend Prediction- $30 million
Total Gross Prediction- $105 million

The first Paul Blart was a surprise hit in January 2010, grossing nearly $150 million on a $26 million budget. Five years later, we're getting a sequel that nobody really asked for, but that's okay- this film is still going to make a lot of money. It won't do as good as the original, but I can see it matching the first film's opening and crossing the $100 million mark at the box office.

UNFRIENDED- April 17

Opening Weekend Prediction- $27.9 million
Total Gross Prediction- $55 million

The trailer for Unfriended started a social media firestorm when it debuted earlier this year, and I can easily see that excitement turn into big bucks for Universal. The R-rating will prevent the target audience from actually seeing the film, but I can still see teens and young adults flocking to this one in droves, especially on opening weekend. Early reviews are also positive, so that will definitely help.

TRUE STORY- April 17

Opening Weekend Prediction- $900,000
Total Gross Prediction- $15.5 million

While most audiences know James Franco and Jonah Hill from their raucous comedies and Oscar-nominated efforts, Franco is well-established in the indie world as well, and this time, he's bringing Hill with him for a dark and gritty murder drama. This film won't do big business, but it will be an independent hit during a weak mid-April marketplace.

THE AGE OF ADALINE- April 24

Opening Weekend Prediction- $16 million
Total Gross Prediction- $50 million

Lionsgate did a very good job of getting marketing materials out early for this intriguing film, and early response has been good. I can definitely see Gossip Girl fans heading out to see star Blake Lively in this one, and the supporting cast of Ellen Burstyn and Harrison Ford could bring in older audiences. While it won't be a blockbuster, The Age of Adaline will be a modest hit when it debuts in late April.

LITTLE BOY- April 24

Opening Weekend Prediction- $3 million
Total Gross Prediction- $9.8 million

I didn't know about this movie until just now, but apparently, it stars Kevin James, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson and chronicles the relationship between a father and son during World War II. It could be an interesting flick, but the film sounds really sentimental and mushy, and with a lack of a marketing push, I think that this one will fade very quickly.

SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY- May 1

Opening Weekend Prediction- $8 million
Total Gross Prediction- $24 million

This film has the disadvantage of opening on the same weekend as Avengers: Age of Ultron, but luckily, it's targeting a very different audience. With Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, and Will Forte, this film should be able to pull in some audience members thanks to its star power. Don't expect a big hit, but I think that there's promise with this one.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON- May 1

Opening Weekend Prediction- $225 million
Total Gross Prediction- $680 million

The summer's biggest film will most certainly be Avengers: Age of Ultron, the highly anticipated sequel to the 2012 megahit, The Avengers. The first film debuted to a stunning $207 million and went on to gross $623 million at the box office. Marvel's audience has only grown since 2012, and I definitely see Avengers: Age of Ultron giving Avatar a run for its money at the domestic box office, especially if it's a good film.

HOT PURSUIT- May 8

Opening Weekend Prediction- $19 million
Total Gross Prediction- $58 million

Hot Pursuit seems tailor-made to be a big hit. It stars Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon and is obviously cut form the same cloth as The Heat and other star-studded cop flicks. However, Warner Bros. is really struggling to market this flick. There was a trailer, but there hasn't been many posters and I'm not sure how much the public really knows about this flick. This could go either way, depending on Warner's actions over the next few weeks.

BEFORE I WAKE- May 8

Opening Weekend Prediction- $5 million
Total Gross Prediction- $14 million

Before I Wake is a horror film starring Thomas Jane and Kate Bosworth. I didn't know that until a few minutes ago, but apparently, it's coming out rather soon. It won't do strong business, since there's two other horror films coming down the pipeline quickly after this one. However, it might be able to pull in a few dollars here and there.

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD- May 15

Opening Weekend Prediction- $45 million
Total Gross Prediction- $140 million

Mad Max; Fury Road is an R-rated, high-concept sci-fi flick that is a sequel to a franchise that has lay dormant for several years. Does that sound like a recipe for a hit to you? It didn't for anybody until last July, when the first look at Fury Road dropped at Comic-Con. Since then, there has been a growing anticipation for this film and I think that it's going to really surprise at the box office. The fanboy excitement might be a little stronger than the general audience interest, but Fury Road should still be a huge hit.

PITCH PERFECT 2- May 15

Opening Weekend Prediction- $40 million
Total Gross Prediction- $100 million

Surprisingly, the original Pitch Perfect only grossed $65 million at the box office. However, it has since gained a massive cult following and a group of teenage girls who simply love that movie. The sequel should do much bigger business and the film will likely push the $100 million threshold.

POLTERGEIST- May 22

Four Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $30 million
Total Gross Prediction- $72 million

Poltergeist is a remake of the classic horror film, and if it's good, I can see it doing major business. But if it's just a standard horror film, it will definitely be overshadowed by Insidious Chapter 3, which will wreck on June 5. It's baffling to me that Fox moved Poltergeist to the Memorial Day date instead of keeping it in late July, where it would have had the horror market all to itself.

TOMORROWLAND- May 22

Four Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $51 million
Total Gross Prediction- $125 million

Going into 2015, Tomorrowland was one of the most promising original sci-fi efforts. It starred George Clooney, it was directed by Brad Bird and it was shrouded in secrecy. I'm still very intrigued by the film's premise, but the marketing has yet to hook me. Others seem to feel the same, and I feel that could hinder the film's box office. Still, a family action flick with George Clooney seems destined to make at least $100 million.

ALOHA- May 29

Opening Weekend Prediction- $16 million
Total Gross Prediction- $70 million

Aloha got off to a slow start thanks to leaked emails from Sony exec Amy Pascal, who pretty much stated that the new Cameron Crowe film was a disaster destined to flop when it was released. However, the film bounced back a bit with a strong first trailer and audiences were enthused. I feel like this is good counter-programming amid the glut of action flicks, which could definitely attract an adult audience. Aloha might start soft, but word of mouth will carry it through the month of June.

SAN ANDREAS- May 29

Opening Weekend Prediction- $35 million
Total Gross Prediction- $90 million

San Andreas is a promising film, but it has yet to gain the traction it needs to be a major hit. Dwayne Johnson is a huge star and the film's effects look very good, so I can definitely see this breaking out in late May. And the film really needs to do big business- the production budget is rumored to be around $100 million. But even if San Andreas fails to live up to expectations in the US, it will surely wreck at the overseas box office, making this a guaranteed hit for Warner Bros.

SPY- June 5

Opening Weekend Prediction- $50 million
Total Gross Prediction- $175 million

Melissa McCarthy is a comedy superstar and this is going to be her biggest film yet. The early word out of the South By Southwest film festival was very strong and the mix of action and comedy could bring in a male audience as well. Not to mention the strong cast and the fact that this is a perfectly timed release. This film is going to do very well, and should continue the hot streak for spy films at the box office.

ENTOURAGE- June 5

Opening Weekend Prediction- $22 million
Total Gross Prediction- $60 million

Entourage ended a few years ago after a downhill spiral, but a few devoted fans have stayed with the series over the years. Producer Mark Wahlberg finally got a movie off the ground, and there is definitely the potential for a mid-level hit here. Entourage seems to have a very select audience, but those fans will certainly turn out in droves for this big screen treatment.

INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 3- June 5

Opening Weekend Prediction- $38 million
Total Gross Prediction- $85 million

Insidious Chapter 2 was a massive hit, grossing $40 million in its opening weekend alone. This film should do similar numbers, unless Poltergeist is a massive hit. The cast is different, but the series brand remains the same, which will help Chapter 3 become a very big success.

LOVE AND MERCY- June 5 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $600,000
Total Gross Prediction- $10 million

The Beach Boys are an iconic American band and they hadn't received a biopic until earlier this year. Love and Mercy chronicles lead singer Brian Wilson over the decades (he's played by Paul Dano and John Cusack) and it received very good reviews at Sundance. This film will build off of its buzz and emerge as one of the summer's bigger indie hits.

DOPE- June 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $6 million
Total Gross Prediction- $22 million

This is another summer Sundance favorite, and this should really do strong business. It's a coming of age flick set in Los Angeles and it seems like a film that could reach a wide audience. Sundance films have disappointed in the past (Whiplash), but I feel like Dope is poised to kill it at the box office.

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL- June 12 (limited)

Opening Weekend Prediction- $150,000
Total Gross Prediction- $13 million

The Grand Jury prize winner at Sundance, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl set off a firestorm at the film festival in January. The premise seems a bit trickier for mainstream audiences, but I still see this film doing decent business. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is also an early Oscar favorite, which could draw in audiences. All in all, this film will have a solid little run in June and July.

JURASSIC WORLD- June 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $95 million
Total Gross Prediction- $260 million

Jurassic World is poised to be the biggest hit of June and one of the summer's biggest flicks. The Jurassic franchise has lay dormant since the disappointment of Jurassic Park III in the early 2000s, but with young filmmaker Colin Trevorrow at the helm, and a cast that includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, Jake Johnson, Vincent D'Onofrio and megastar Chris Pratt, Jurassic World is set to bring this franchise back to life. The first two trailers were stunning and I simply can't wait to see this film. And if it's as good as I think it can be, the sky's the limit for the box office on this one.

That's it for Part 1 of my Summer Box Office Predictions. Come back in early June for Part 2, where we'll take a look at Inside Out, Ted 2, Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation and The Fantastic Four!

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