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 get into this weekend’s FIVE big new releases (again), Good Boys, The Angry Birds Movie 2, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, Blinded by the Light, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
Every once in a while, there’s a movie so filled with crude humor that you have to apologize in advance for finding the trailer funny. So, allow me to do just that when I tell you that the preview for this film about three middle-schoolers who go on various R-rated misadventures is hilarious, filled with the kind of humor you might feel guilty for laughing at later on, but hey, it lands. Good Boys–with its shock factor mixed with a decent amount of heart–is the sort of movie that would’ve been a guaranteed $100 million grosser even a few years ago, but as I’ve mentioned before, the comedy genre has suffered more than most in the era of streaming.
The good news for Good Boys is its marketing campaign has been terrific, centering itself almost entirely around its R rating and the fact that its stars are too young to see their own film. Combine that with a solid critical reception and there’s a chance the movie could cast some late summer movie magic, even if I don’t expect for it to reach the height of similar raunchy such as Superbad! and Tropic Thunder. Still, with a pretty good preview screening take of $2 million, I’m going to place my bets in its favor with an opening of $19 million, which should be good for number one.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: If South Park taught us anything, it’s that when kids swear, it’s pretty funny. Also, the sex swing joke had me spitting out my soda.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Won’t someone please just think of the children? Kidding aside, though, this kind of comedy won’t be for everyone.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $19 million; $64 million finish.
The Angry Birds Movie 2
So…releasing this film in mid-August was certainly an…odd decision.
Falling into the “but wait, critics actually like this one!” category is The Angry Birds Movie 2, a sequel to the 2016 film which made a good $107 million stateside even as reviews weren’t especially kind to it. For that reason, Sony may not have expected for the sequel to get the positive reception than it has. Had they anticipated that they apparently had a better movie this time around, they might’ve released it in September as originally intended. Instead, it’s been dumped into theaters during a week when many children are returning to school. Talk about terrible timing for a movie that’s depending on its family audience in order to survive.
Is it doomed? Not quite. The weekend is going to be good to Angry Birds, and there are no new animated films until Abominable, and that’s more than a month away. Will it be enough to save these flightless birds? I’m not sure. But regardless, Angry Birds Movie 2 should display some staying power, even if simply because it has nothing to compete against it for a while. Look for a $13 million start.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Let me apologize in advance again here: that urinal joke was pretty fucking funny. Also it’s the best-reviewed video game movie of all time, nudging away Detective Pikachu.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: The “Saturday morning cartoon” vibe they’re going for here may be something many will be okay waiting for home video for.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $13 million opening; $54 million finish.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged
It’s mid-August, which means it’s time for some horror movies which may or may not be getting thrown away by their studios. In this case, we have a sequel to 47 Meters Down which I guess someone must’ve been asking for, even if it appears to be completely unrelated to the events of that film (which depended primarily on a plot twist that the internet spoiled for everyone the day after it opened) and just seems to involve some other girls getting attacked by hungry sharks.
Last year, of course, we had a successful shark movie in the form of The Meg, but that was a big-budget horror thriller with some name actors attached, and this is a film from the struggling Entertainment Studios (clever name) which is counting on audiences wanting some tropical thrills before summer is over. And this only five days before we get yet another horror flick in the form of Ready or Not (which…actually looks pretty fun). See what I mean about there being a glut of these lately? Look for 47 Meters to down $8 million.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Shark movies are a pretty easy sell. Heck, even the gloomy Open Water did fairly well.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: There are a lot of other scary films competing for your horror movie dollar right now. And again, this appears to be a sequel-in-name-only, at least from the advertising (official plot summary: “The story involves four teenage girls in a ruined underwater city…”).
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $8 million opening; $25 million finish.
Blinded By The Light
Oh hey, it’s that movie you’ve had the trailer for at literally every film you’ve been to this summer. That should save me some time in having to explain the plot. A love story of sorts to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Light is getting an absolutely glowing critical response so far, with a score of 94% “fresh” over at RT.
Unfortunately, it’s mid-August, which means this film is going to get lost in the absolute onslaught of movies we’ve been getting as of late (and three more come next week!), so this will probably be a “wait for streaming” title for many. Then again, this is going for the same audience that made Yesterday into a sleeper hit earlier this year, so there might still be a chance for it. Look for a $6 million start and we’ll see where it goes from there.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: The Boss’s music is worthy of celebration, and the trailer does a good job of selling the film as a charming coming-of-age dramady.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To: Many are going to be perfectly okay catching this one at home.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $6 million; $27 million finish.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Going for the same “grown-up” audience as Blinded by the Light is Where’d You Go, Bernadette, the latest movie from Richard Linklater which stars Cate Blanchett as “a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family.” Despite opening on a surprisingly large 2,000+ screens, we are almost certainly not looking at a big hit here, as the TV spots have done little to promote the plot and have instead been focused on Blanchett’s presence (which, to be fair, is always welcome).
Then again, with the very notable exception of School of Rock, Linklater doesn’t make films that are meant to be commercial hits. Even Boyhood only managed to make it to $25 million. But what’s going to hurt this film regardless of low box office exceptions are reviews, which are somewhat bad with a 45% “freshness” rating. Look for it to limp to a $2 million opening.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Blanchett is the big draw here, though Linklater also makes good movies.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: With trailers that don’t offer much of a compelling reason to go during an already overly busy month, this also feels like a film that’s going to get lost in the crowd.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $2 million opening; $8 million finish.
Other fun stuff…
* I’m already way too late with this, so here’s Sesame Street’s great Bruce Springsteen parody…