Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Box Office Predictions- Part 2

We've hit the halfway point of the summer (and of the year, actually), and so far, things haven't been so great for Hollywood. Captain America: Civil War kicked things off well enough, but ever since then, it has been a string of disappointments with only a few bright spots (Finding Dory, Conjuring 2). "Sequelitis" is being called into question and several critics are wondering if 2016 is the worst summer for blockbusters in recent years. Everybody's hoping that the second half of summer will turn things around. But is there anything left to hope for? Let's find out. Here are my box office predictions for the second half of 2016.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS- July 8

Opening Weekend Prediction- $85 million
Total Gross Prediction- $295 million

Illumination Entertainment, housed at Universal Pictures, has been on a roll for the last several years, and I don't see that streak ending with The Secret Life of Pets. The film (which is very good, by the way) has had a stellar marketing campaign that has been nearly ubiquitous over the last year. If the box office results of the last few months have proven anything to us, it's that animated movies sell like gangbusters, no matter what the season. Finding Dory is finally winding down its run and The BFG bombed, which makes this the perfect time for an animated movie with a great concept to come in and wreck the box office. I'm expecting big things from this one.

MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES- July 8

Opening Weekend Prediction- $17 million
Total Gross Prediction- $50 million

It's been a tough season for comedies, especially those with R ratings. Neighbors 2 was a major disappointment and Popstar outright bombed, while the PG-13 Central Intelligence was the only film to find any real success. So what's the deal? Have audiences just not connected with this summer's raunchy content? Or were they just waiting for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? I certainly don't think the latter is the case. There's very little buzz surrounding this one, and despite some solid reviews (I gave it a "B" and it's currently sitting at 69% on RT), breakout potential is minimal. The legs will be good, but this needs to open big to certify as a mid-summer hit.

THE INFILTRATOR- July 13

Five-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $10 million
Total Gross Prediction- $22 million

Trailers have been solid for this Bryan Cranston-starred drug drama, which looks like a cross between Netflix's Narcos and American Hustle. Coming from the upstart studio Broad Green Pictures, The Infiltrator has a chance of working as counter-programming for adult audiences. With a head start on Ghostbusters and decent buzz, it has a chance. I don't see it playing too big, but with (hopefully) a smaller budget, this star vehicle should do good business.

GHOSTBUSTERS- July 15

Opening Weekend Prediction- $52 million
Total Gross Prediction- $130 million

Ah, yes. The most controversial movie of the summer is only a few days away. Ghostbusters has unleashed a firestorm of debate, and I don't see it dying down no matter what happens with the movie. Critics and fans are in a really bad spot, and it could get ugly. Nonetheless, even if people aren't excited about a reboot of Ghostbusters for whatever reason, this movie is going to be a hit. People are talking about it, and I think that a lot of moviegoers will be curious enough to pay $10 to check it out and be part of the conversation.

STAR TREK BEYOND- July 22

Opening Weekend Prediction- $68 million
Total Gross Prediction- $175 million

Star Trek Beyond initially suffered from an awful debut trailer, but the marketing campaign for the third entry in the Kelvin timeline series is finally coming around. Recent trailers have focused on the characters and the cerebral sci-fi vibe, as well as Rihanna's song that is tied in with the movie. 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness made a significant chunk of money less than its predecessor, and with less buzz, I see another downturn coming here for the Trek franchise. But even with that said, Beyond is still set to be one of the biggest movies of the summer.

LIGHTS OUT- July 22

Opening Weekend Prediction- $24 million
Total Gross Prediction- $70 million

Lights Out is very much carrying a similar vibe to the original Conjuring, which went on to make $137.4 million in the summer of 2013. This well-received horror film, adapted from David F. Sandberg's own short, has a phenomenal trailer and good buzz, two things that are very important in the current summer climate. It looks far too small-scale to reach the heights of the aforementioned ghost story, but this is a sleeper hit waiting to happen. Lights Out should be another small-scale win for Warner Bros. and New Line.

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE- July 22

Opening Weekend Prediction- $38 million
Total Gross Prediction- $120 million

Does anybody in America still care about the Ice Age franchise? I know that these movies make boatloads of money in foreign markets, but the last entry made $35 million less than the one that came before it stateside. Collision Course is going to suffer from franchise fatigue and an excess of competition, as well as some of the most awful reviews of the year. It's sitting at 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is drastically lower than anything we've seen from this series so far. The score will probably go up, but in America, Fox may have to accept a small disappointment.

NERVE- July 27

Five-Day Opening Weekend Prediction- $9 million
Total Gross Prediction- $20 million

I'm seeing Nerve tonight, and I gotta say, I have no idea what to expect. It's a YA adaptation with Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, which isn't exactly promising, but the concept is fascinating enough for me to give it a chance. Nonetheless, I don't see Nerve being a breakout hit. July is loaded with a lot of good movies, and unfortunately, some are doomed to get lost in the shuffle. With a lowkey marketing campaign, Lionsgate will have to settle for a small slice of the late summer pie.

JASON BOURNE- July 29

Opening Weekend Prediction- $60 million
Total Gross Prediction- $170 million

Is Jason Bourne a sequel that people want? That question is up in the air. Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass' trilogy of Bourne films is beloved by a wide range of people, and I think that there's demand to see Damon in this role again. The Bourne Legacy was a major disappointment, but neither Damon nor Greengrass were involved. This one does have the disadvantage of coming out a week before the summer's biggest movie, but if reviews are good for this outing (especially in a summer where so many of the blockbusters have been disappointing), Jason Bourne should be a very successful return for one of America's favorite action heroes.

BAD MOMS- July 29

Opening Weekend Prediction- $30 million
Total Gross Prediction- $85 million

Is Bad Moms the breakout comedy of the summer? Maybe. There's definitely a Bridesmaids sensibility here that could result in box office riches. I'm not ready to predict a gross of $100 million +, but I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if it happened. Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell aren't big stars, but I've gone to several screenings in the last few weeks, and people (especially moms) seem to be incredibly excited for Bad Moms. I think the potential on this one is very, very high.

SUICIDE SQUAD- August 5

Opening Weekend Prediction- $110 million
Total Gross Prediction- $350 million

Suicide Squad is the movie that everybody has been waiting for since Civil War dropped into theaters. For most people, everything else in the middle was almost a non-starter. The trailers for this have been stunning, the online buzz is off the charts, and the star power is impeccable. If critics like it, the sky is the limit. DC Films and Warner Bros. need this to work badly, and thankfully for them, I don't see a world where this doesn't happen. There is real potential for the Skwad to make more than Batman v Superman. It wouldn't surprise me in the least.

THE FOUNDER- August 5

Opening Weekend Prediction- $7 million
Total Gross Prediction- $35 million

The Founder was originally set to debut in late November, where it would have felt right at home among all of the other Oscar fare. But for some reason, The Weinstein Company decided to move Saving Mr. Banks and The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock's biopic of Ray Kroc back to August. Is it still an Oscar contender? Is it more of a crowd-pleaser? Are they setting it up as summer counter-programming? These questions are still up in the air. Going up against Suicide Squad will be tough, but considering Michael Keaton's string of recent hits, his McDonald's biopic will have solid legs and emerge as an indie success.

NINE LIVES- August 5

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

Who greenlit this movie? Did they get Kevin Spacey in as a joke? Is this some kind of giant prank? I don't know, I guess I just can't justify a world where Frank Underwood plays a talking cat. Nine Lives looks so incredibly awful, and I can't see anybody buying into it. With lots of competition, this one is gonna fall flat.

SAUSAGE PARTY- August 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $40 million
Total Gross Prediction- $120 million

If there's going to be a breakout comedy this summer, Sausage Party is it. Certainly one of the most buzzed about movies of the year, the first R-rated computer animated movie is sure to be a very big hit for Seth Rogen and friends. The internet nearly exploded when the first trailer was released, and on top of that, reviews were very good coming out of South by Southwest. This crude riff on Toy Story looks really funny, and everybody I know is citing Sausage Party as one of their most anticipated movies of the summer. Get ready- this movie could be a huge hit.

PETE'S DRAGON- August 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $38 million
Total Gross Prediction- $135 million

The weekend of August 12 is surprisingly blockbuster-centric, with Disney's Pete's Dragon also hitting theaters. This was a movie that nobody really cared about until they saw the first trailer. That was the moment that everything changed. David Lowery's remake of Disney's animated classic looks sweet, soulful, and Spielbergian with a tone that feels like old-school Amblin. It looks mysterious and charming, and Lowery seems to be incredibly passionate about the material. This has all the makings of a surprise hit, and I think that audiences are really going to turn out in force.

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS- August 12

Opening Weekend Prediction- $10 million
Total Gross Prediction- $35 million

Florence Foster Jenkins comes from Stephen Frears, the director of the Oscar-nominated Philomena. Although their release dates are very different, my guess is that we'll be seeing similar box office results. Oscar glory could be coming Meryl Streep's way again this fall, and the trailer for this one highlights the feel-good nature of the story. The adult arthouse crowd will eat this one up, making it a surefire midlevel success.

WAR DOGS- August 19

Opening Weekend Prediction- $25 million
Total Gross Prediction- $70 million

War Dogs has the benefit of two catchy, stellar trailers, ones that sell both the concept of the movie and the two stars. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are both decent draws, and I have a feeling that this could be a great vehicle for them to show off their talents. Plus, there's a good track record of comedic directors transitioning to more serious material, which is exactly what Hangover director Todd Phillips is doing here. I could be off base completely, but there definitely is some real breakout potential with War Dogs.

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS- August 19

Opening Weekend Prediction- $15 million
Total Gross Prediction- $40 million

People always claim to love Laika Studios, but they rarely actually go see their movies in droves. Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls were all mid-level hits, and I'm expecting about the same from Kubo and the Two Strings. It looks gorgeous, and the voice cast is talented, but in a summer of massive animated movies and blockbusters, will the audiences still show up for this decidedly smaller affair? I wouldn't guess so, and not even stellar reviews will help this one too much.

BEN-HUR- August 19

Opening Weekend Prediction- $20 million
Total Gross Prediction- $48 million

Does anybody want a Ben-Hur remake? The answer is no, and yet for some reason, Hollywood has given it to us. The 1959 film (which itself was a remake of a 1925 film) is one of the biggest films in history, with tons of Oscar nominations and box office glory. It felt like one of the untouchable movies, a film that wouldn't get remade no matter what the circumstances. And yet, here we are. With a late August date, Paramount pretty much knows they have a stinker on there hands. Unless it's a Hercules-esque surprise, expect Ben-Hur to fade quickly.

DON'T BREATHE- August 26

Opening Weekend Prediction- $17 million
Total Gross Prediction- $51 million

Another summer weekend, another horror film with lots of buzz. This time, it's Don't Breathe from director Fede Alvarez. The film's trailer was a word of mouth hit on social media, and frankly, it looks really good. This is the kind of tense, high-concept thriller that audiences love, and with the positive marks coming from South by Southwest (80% on Rotten Tomatoes), the makings of a breakout hit are all here. I'm expecting big things from this one. A total around Alvarez's Evil Dead sounds about right.

HANDS OF STONE- August 26

Opening Weekend Prediction- $4.5 million
Total Gross Prediction- $12 million

Hands of Stone is one of two big boxing movies coming to theaters this year (the other is Miles Teller's Bleed For This), and I have a feeling that this one is unfortunately going to fade rather quickly. It premiered at Cannes, but the buzz was nearly non-existent, which is surprising for a movie that brings Robert De Niro back to the boxing genre. I'm hoping for the best, but my estimate of $12 million is pretty generous.

MECHANIC: RESURRECTION- August 26

Opening Weekend Prediction- $8 million
Total Gross Prediction- $19 million

And now, we come to our final movie of the summer- Jason Statham's Mechanic: Resurrection. Its predecessor made $29.1 million in 2011, but I can't imagine that many people were clamoring for a sequel. The trailer promises some kooky, trashy action fun, yet after a summer where audiences feasted on action movies week after week, will there be any room left for Statham? My guess is no.

That'll do it for my summer box office predictions! I'll be back in late August with some predictions for the upcoming fall movie season.

1 comment:

  1. Ronald H. Witt. a new way to look at predictions. love it.

    ReplyDelete