Heroes vs. Heroes vs. Villains: 2016 Summer Box Office Predictions

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It’s become a tradition on this blog for me to try (and fail) to predict what will be the most commercially successful movies of the summer. Case in point, last year, I was one of the many suckers who failed to see the Jurassic World juggernaut coming, thinking the Age of Ultron would be too big to be stopped by 90s nostalgia. Because I never learn from my mistakes, I’m predicting similar results this year. Although, in my defense, nostalgia for Independence Day cannot possibly be as rampant as nostalgia for Jurassic Park, can it?

So, how did I do with my predictions last year? I got seven of the ten movies in the top ten right. Like many a Hollywood producer, I underestimated the power of female and black audiences, failing to see Pitch Perfect 2 and Straight Outta Compton as the massive successes that they ended up being. And while I got the top four grossers right, I didn’t have them in the correct order. I actually didn’t have any of the movies in their correct position. A mess. But let’s stop beating ourselves about the past and look to the (inevitably inaccurate) future.

But before we do, a disclaimer: I’ve been horribly busy the last couple months and there’s been virtually no posting on the blog. Ideally, I would’ve finished this piece before Captain America: Civil War opened, so I’ve decided to not take into account its actual performance, but stick to the predictions I had made before the movie opened. Here are those predictions…

1. Captain America: Civil War
Release Date: May 6
Studio: Disney/Marvel
Predicted Box Office: 450 Million
I know I bit the bullet last year thinking Age of Ultron would obviously -obviously!- be the highest movie of the summer, but how can you bet against this beast? Especially when the movie has gotten glowing reviews (I personally didn’t care for it, but more on that in a different post). I think this very easily clears the 400 million mark, whether it can climb to 500 or 600 is a different question. That’s what makes it number one.

2. Finding Dory
Release Date: June 17
Studio: Disney/Marvel
Predicted Box Office: 400 Million
The only true contender to steal the summer crown from Captain America is a long-awaited Pixar sequel. Based on strictly anecdotal evidence that I believe to be very reliable, I’m inclined to believe Dory will perform closer to Toy Story 3 than to Monsters University, which would get it to the 400 million mark pretty easily. The only problem facing this movie are the rather bland trailers, but then again, I though Inside Out looked bad based on its trailer and we all know how that turned out.

3. Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 5
Studio: Warner Bros.
Predicted Box Office: 300 Million
Warner Bros. must be desperate to find some superhero power after the massive yet disappointing box office performance of Batman v. Superman. In almost any other circumstance, I would write off Suicide Squad –a comic book movie in which the villains become heroes and fight the Joker or something- as a horrible idea, except that the trailer makes it look very similar to Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool, both of which ended up north of 300 million. Apparently, audiences can’t get enough rowdy, profane, supposedly comedic superheroes.

4. Alice Through the Looking Glass
Release Date: May 27
Studio: Disney
Predicted Box Office: 240 Million
Believe me, nobody will take the fact that this movie is going to be a hit more personally than I will. Tim Burton’s horrendous Alice in Wonderland is perhaps the worst movie I’ve seen this decade. I cannot believe it is getting a sequel, and I will be crushed when it becomes one of the summer’s most massive hits. Because, who are we kidding? Alice in Wonderland was a gigantic success, and there are probably enough teens who shop at Hot Topic and unsuspecting families to also make this one a hit.

5. X-Men: Apocalypse
Release Date: May 27
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Predicted Box Office: 230 Million
The X-Men franchise has been all over the place, but the last entry, Days of Future Past, seemed to right the ship and build some some genuine excitement for what is coming next. I personally don’t think the movie looks that good -and I’ve been a fan of the X-Men since I was a child- but hey, superhero movies make money, and people seem to be at least a little bit excited about this one. People will probably be ready to move on from Captain America and check out a different set of heroes by May’s end, right?

6. Ghostbusters
Release Date: July 15
Studio: Sony/Columbia
Predicted Box Office: 200 Million
This is where the prediction game gets really hard, if you ask me. Beyond those top five spots, I can see the rest of the movies on this list be either huge hits, or massive flops. I really want Paul Feig’s female Ghostbusters to be a huge hit. Mostly because I like the cast, but if nothing else, to stick it to the chauvinistic pigs who complained about the gender bending cast. The problem is the trailer looks kind of really lame, if you ask me. But then again, I have no emotional connection to the original Ghostbusters, so who cares what I think.

7. Star Trek Beyond
Release Date: July 22
Studio: Paramount
Predicted Box Office: 195 Million
Star Trek Into Darkness left a pretty horrible taste in everybody’s mouth, so we’ll see if the franchise can recover. The trailers make this look much funnier and exciting than Into Darkness, which should be a good sign. Still, this seems like this movie’s goal is to regenerate excitement for the franchise more than to be a massive hit. I don’t think it’ll do as good as either of its predecessors.

8. Jason Bourne
Release Date: July 29
Studio: Universal
Predicted Box Office: 190 Million
Bourne is back! And he’s played by Matt Damon! Does anyone care, though? I don’t know. The guy who cuts my hair is really excited about it, so I guess that counts for something, right? Also, The Martian was a big hit.

9. Independence Day: Resurgence
Release Date: June 24
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Predicted Box Office: 180 Million
If you follow last year’s logic, and assume that 90s nostalgia is the strongest force in making a movie a hit, then you better put all your chips on Independence Day. If you think the way I do, however, you’ll say that Jurassic Park is a much better movie, and a bigger staple of the nineties than Independence Day ever was. I’ve heard some people on the internet be excited about this movie. No one I interact with in real life is. I don’t know how to turn that into math.

10. The Secret Life of Pets
Release Date: July 8
Studio: Universal
Predicted Box Office: 175 Million
Because we all love pets, and the trailer plays pretty well whenever it plays at my local AMC, and because parents will have to take their kids somewhere during the scorching months of summer. Animated movies with talking animals marketed at families tend to make at least 160 million, so there’s that. I guess this can be a hit, even if it is so blatantly a “Toy Story but about pets” ripoff.

Question Marks:
What other movies could be big hits this summer? Angry Birds looks dumb and terrible, and I thought our culture had moves past the Angry Birds, but maybe I’m wrong? Meanwhile, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 could do a similar trick and convince unsuspecting children into buying tickets.  Neighbors 2 could build on the goodwill of its predecessor and be an even bigger hit. The same goes for The Conjuring 2. And finally, I could see Steven Spielberg’s The BFG making anywhere from 200 to 20 million dollars.

Turkeys:
Sometimes, it’s more fun to predict what will fail than what will make money. This summer’s most likely flops are obviously Warcraft and The Legend of Tarzan. 

What Am I Most Excited About?
The Nice Guysof course.

 

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A Fight Between an Ant and a Dinosaur: Summer 2015 Box Office Predictions

White_Background-930x310The yearly tradition continues. I try to predict exactly which blockbusters will make the most amount of money at the summer box office. We live in a world where blockbusters are no longer synonym with summer, but most of them still come out between May and July.

Before we get into my predictions, let’s take a look at how I did last year. Nine of the ten movies I predicted ended up in the top ten, albeit in a fairly different order than mine (the one movie I didn’t foresee being a hit? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). I feel like I made three big mistakes last year: I underestimated the power of Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, I overestimated the popularity of How to Train Your Dragon 2 (which I predicted would be no. 2, and ended up barely making the top 10), and I bought too strongly into the “Melissa McCarthy is a movie star” narrative. Tammy wasn’t the hit I predicted it would be, but neither was it a huge bomb (it made 87 Million and the studio made a profit).

Anyway, lessons learned, and without further ado, my predictions for what will be the highest grossing movies of Summer 2015…

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Release Date: May 1
Studio: Disney/Marvel
Predicted Box Office: 550 Million
The question is not whether or not Age of Ultron will end up being the biggest grosser of the summer, but whether or not it will be the biggest grosser of the year. It will get some tough competition later in the year when Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 are released, but the summer will most definitely belong to Marvel. Age of Ultron already made 201 Million at the international box office on its opening weekend, so…   

2. Minions
Release Date: July 10
Studio: Universal
Predicted Box Office: 350 Million
It’s no secret that the little yellow Minions are the reason the Despicable Me movies are as massively successful as they are. Universal certainly knows that’s the case, and thus, they’ve decided to cut straight to the chase and make a movie all about these creatures. Personally, I don’t care about the Minions. They feel a little too manufactured for my taste (like the filmmakers created them because they knew they’d be cute), but children LOVE them, and it’s no doubt in my mind that Minions will be a huge hit this summer. Can it make more money than Despicable Me 2? Grossing more than 370 Million dollars will be tough, but not out of the realm of possibility.

3. Jurassic World
Release Date: June 12
Studio: Universal
Predicted Box Office: 300 Million
Nevermind the fact that the trailers make the movie look like a stupid CGI mess. People love Jurassic Park (as well they should), and children love dinosaurs, and people love Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt. Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and it will more than likely make parents try to get their children to experience how awesome it is to see dinosaurs on the big screen. This movie could suck, I just don’t see what could make people stay away from it.

4. Inside Out
Release Date: June 19
Studio: Disney/Pixar
Predicted Box Office: 250 Million
The first original Pixar film since BraveI’m not entirely sold on the trailer, but then again, many underwhelming trailers preceded wonderful movies during Pixar’s heyday. The only problem is that Inside Out has practically three weeks to make as much money as it can before Minions comes out. The Pixar name brand, the Disney marketing machine, and the fact that there aren’t that many Animated movies competing this summer are all factors that will help Inside Out be a healthy hit on the level of other Pixar movies.

5. Ant Man
Release Date: July 17
Studio: Disney/Marvel
Predicted Box Office: 200 Million
If I learned something from doing this last year, it’s that you should never underestimate Marvel Studios’ ability to get people into the theater. Ant-Man doesn’t seem like a huge money-maker, but if Guardians of the Galaxy topped the box office last year, then this can certainly make 200 Million, right? The fact that Ant-Man‘s biggest competition (in terms of release date), Warner Bros’ Pan was pushed back to October has paved the way to yet another huge Marvel hit.

6. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Release Date: July 31
Studio: Paramount
Predicted Box Office: 180 Million
Ghost Protocolthe fourth installment in the series, was a huge hit and re-invigorated the franchise, but it had the advantage of coming out in the Fall, without other gigantic blockbusters premiering all around it. People are already talking about the crazy death-defiant stunts Tom Cruise performed for this one. I don’t think Rogue Nation will match Ghost Protocol, but a mix of good buzz, love for Cruise, and love for the franchise should make this one a pretty big hit.

7. Mad Max: Fury Road
Release Date: May 15
Studio: Warner Bros.
Predicted Box Office: 175 Million
If it were up to my corner of the internet, this would be the most successful movie of the year. Everyone is flipping out about the latest movie by the director of Happy Feet Two. Just kidding. I’m a little more reserved than most, but I do think this has the potential to be a completely crazy experience. The excitement for this movie reminds me of the buzz going into Godzilla and Pacific RimThis is based on a pre-existing property, so it should do better than Rim, but with an R-rating, this is far too violent and not as kid friendly as either of those movies. I am not confident about my prediction, but I see the potential for a big hit.

8. Spy
Release Date: June 5
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Predicted Box Office: 150 Million
I know I was burned last year. I guess this will be the movie that will define whether or not Melissa McCarthy is a bona fide movie star. The reviews coming out of South by Southwest were great, with most critics saying this was McCarthy’s best comedic work yet. 150 Million would make this a pretty big hit, and even then, it would’ve made less money than the two previous McCarthy-Feig collaborations (Bridesmaids and The Heat). If this movie is as funny as people are saying, then it will have legs, and might end up making much more than this.

9. Magic Mike XXL
Release Date: July 1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Predicted Box Office: 150 Million
Magic Mike broke 100 Million. Fifty Shades of Grey opened huge. I’m just saying, there’s a lot of ladies that want to see some sexy shit go down in a movie theater. I am certain this will be a hit. I just don’t know how much money it’s going to make. Forget it, Terminator GenisysMagic Mike will win the July 4th weekend.

10. Ted 2
Release Date: June 26
Studio: Universal
Predicted Box Office: 150 Million
I know. I’m surprised too. But the failure of A Million Ways to Die in the West aside, Seth McFarlane is still a lot of people’s idea of hilarious humor. And I don’t know if you realize (I certainly didn’t remember), just how big a hit Ted was a couple years ago. 218 Million dollars! I don’t expect this to be as big a hit, but going by the drop between the first two Hangover movies, Ted 2 should end up with at least 150 Million.

Wait, But What About…
What do I think will happen to other high-profile titles? Well, like I said above, I think Terminator Genisys will probably bomb. The same goes for San Andreas (even though The Rock’s star power only seems to be rising). Fantastic Four should make a decent amount of money, but not enough to crack the top ten. Disney isn’t really pushing Tomorrowland that well, which makes me think it’ll do Super 8-type business (something around 120 Million). I also expect Paper Towns and Pitch Perfect 2 to be huge hits, just not quite huge enough for the top ten.