Box Office Oracle — 7/12/2019–7/14/2019

Welcome to the Box Office Oracle–where new movies are pitted against each other for box office supremacy and only one can claim victory. Each week, I will be doing a quick box office prediction for all wide new releases. Sorry, obscure indie films I’ve never heard of, but you aren’t going to be discussed here unless you become big.

This is also something I’m going to keep as free of “controversy” if I can. This means that if, I don’t know, Jon Voight is voicing an evil government agent talking bear in a DreamWorks movie, I’m not going to make a bunch of Trump jokes. If a Tom Cruise actioner comes out, I’m not going to make a bunch of Scientology cracks. You get the idea. I want for this to be kept fun and simple.

So, without any further discussion, let’s go into this weekend’s two big releases, Crawl and Stuber.

Crawl 

“What if Jaws had alligators instead of a shark?” That’s probably the easiest pitch meeting that’s taken place in Hollywood lately, and I love how simplistic it is. Crawl promises audiences alligators eating a lot of people, along with a claustrophobic setting. There’s not much to explain about the plot beyond that (other than that it also involves a hurricane, which leads to said alligators having a smorgasbord in a small Florida neighborhood), and there doesn’t need to be. Crawl is a summer thrill ride at its most primal, and a fairly easy sell to give filmgoers something to go to until The Lion King arrives next weekend.

Could a sleeper hit be on the horizon here? Maybe. One thing going against Crawl, as I’ve said in past columns, is there have been a lot of horror movies this summer. But with Child’s Play already gone from most theaters and Midsommar freaking a lot of audiences out, there could still be potential for Crawl to have some room. I’m banking on the latter, and giving Crawl a healthy $18 million opening.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go:  The trailer is pretty thrilling, enticing horror fans with bloody alligator chomping mayhem. And hey, as I write this, it currently has an RT score of 100% “fresh” (though it only has like five reviews so far).
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: This film combines three of my biggest phobias; being eaten alive, drowning and claustrophobia. So it might be too intense for many audiences.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $18 million opening; $55 million total.

Stuber 

Hey, you know that movie Taxi  where Jimmy Fallon played a cop and Queen Latifah was his crazy cab driver? You probably don’t because it was from about 15 years ago and it wasn’t a very big hit, but Stuber is more or less doing the same concept, but in reverse, with Kumail Nanjiani as a hapless Uber driver whose passenger is a hard-ass cop played by Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista. Lots of crazy and R-rated shenanigans follow.

Stuber looks…fine. The trailer is funny enough, but there doesn’t seem to be anything here to make it a must-see for most audiences. Action comedies tend to do better than more straightforward ones these days (I expect for that to change with Good Boys in a few weeks, largely thanks to its shock factor), but the new Spider-Man movie delivers on both those fronts for filmgoers wanting those things right now. I’m looking for an “okay” $12 million opening.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: This looks like a decent (if not a little mean-spirited) popcorn flick that could offer a good number of laughs alongside all of its car chases and gun fights.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: It also looks like something you could wait for the DVD for.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $12 million opening; $44 million total.

Other fun stuff…

Spider-Man: Far From Home will definitely lead the weekend for a second time, as the newcomers will be no match for it. It’s also the best Marvel movie of the year, more even as a film than Captain Marvel and more lively than Avengers: Endgame. With plenty of excitement, a great villain, and sweet romance, it is highly recommended, even if you feel like you’ve had enough Marvel for one year.

* Next up for Dave Bautista is the long-lost 1997 direct-to-video family comedy My Spy, which was set to open in August, but has been pushed back to next year.

* I actually quite liked the Child’s Play remake, even if it’s a tad too “nasty” to recommend to everyone (don’t get too emotionally attached to the cat). Mark Hamill is terrific as Chucky, and this song is officially one of the creepiest things of the year for me.

* The poster for Crawl is awesome. It tells you everything you need to know about the movie with something as simple as a street sign.

Midsommar (which I haven’t gone to yet) appears to be rubbing a lot of audiences the wrong way, but hey, people are at least talking about it, so it could have a chance at legs.

* What will you be doing this weekend, Avocados? Spider-Man? Hungry, hungry alligators? Drax rides a taxi? Sound off in the comments!