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 three big new releases, Frozen II, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and 21 Bridges.
Few pop culture phenomenons of the last few years were as unexpected as Frozen (well, except for maybe “Baby Shark”), Disney’s musical extravaganza which captured the hearts of audiences virtually everywhere in 2013. Still the biggest animated movie of all time (sorry, hipsters, I don’t count the new Lion King film), a sequel was too much of a guaranteed money-maker for the Mouse House to not do it eventually, which is probably why Frozen II is being treated like a true event film.
The story finds royal heroes Elsa and Anna going on a quest to save their kingdom from some mysterious force, with the secret behind Elsa’s magical powers also coming into play. Trailers emphasize the adventure aspect more than anything (to the point where some in the press are saying “it looks just like a Marvel film!” when no it fucking doesn’t), and the sequel appears to be very much like the How to Train Your Dragon sequels in terms of tone.
There’s pretty much no way we aren’t looking at a $100 million+ opening here (which would be a best for Disney Feature Animation). The only question is how big we’re going to go. It’s worth noting that Frozen has only grown in since its landmark theatrical run, becoming the best-selling Blu-ray ever. And given the extreme popularity of the character of Elsa–someone who serves as a role model or even a spirit animal for young and old alike–we could potentially be looking at Incredibles 2 losing its title for largest animated debut ever. I’m going bold, I’m going big, and I may very well be eating crow on Sunday, but I’m taking a risk and giving Frozen II a $200 million premiere for the record books.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Elsa, Elsa, and Elsa. Also, Elsa.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: There’s a chance you’ve possibly let it…be by now.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $200 million debut; $520 million finish.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Quick, try to come up with a better actor to play Mr. Rogers than Tom Hanks. I’ll let you work on that. Anyway, Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers in this biopic which is riding off of buzz thanks to film festival screenings and critical acclaim, and the combination of one of America’s most beloved people stepping onto the shoes of another of America’s most beloved people should be enough to ensure a sleeper hit.
Of course, there’s the “competition” factor coming from films like Midway and Ford V Ferrari this weekend, but Mr. Rogers was never the stuff of blockbuster cinema anyway. The love that Fred Rogers has been getting in recent years should give this an opening of $16 million, but I’m expecting strong legs for this one.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: The world needs Mr. Rogers right now, and reviews are through the roof.
Why Your Fortune Cookies Tells You To Stay Away: Well, if you can only pick one movie this weekend, there is that new movie starring Elsa…
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $16 million opening; $83 million finish.
Oh, hey, is that “Didn’t this already come out months ago?” movie involving Black Panther and some bridges or something. You’ve probably had the trailer for this about 800 times by now, but delay after delay has kept it from coming out. Well, now at long last 21 Bridges is out there for the world to witness, complete with a not-great 40% “freshness” score over at RT.
All kidding aside, this does look like a solid crime thriller. But it’s also coming to us from the struggling STX Entertainment, and yeah, they just had a success with Hustlers, but no studio can live off of one hit at a time. Look for dismal $5 million, if it even makes it that far.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: 21 Bridges comes to you “from the directors of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame!”, except they aren’t directing this, so maybe that didn’t need to be mentioned. Also, J.K. Simmons is in it, and he makes everything he’s in better by default.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: Again, Elsa is in like five other theaters at your local cinema, so…
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $5 million opening; $21 million finish.
Other fun stuff…
* I actually didn’t watch the original Frozen recently in anticipation for the sequel. This might be surprising news to some, but I want for Frozen II to be able to stand on “its own” so to speak.
* One reason Frozen connected with audiences so much is because it was the first Disney movie which was centered around a love story between sisters. Sorry, Lilo and Nani, but Lilo & Stitch isn’t called Lilo & Nani for a reason.
* Last year’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is like required viewing for all Mr. Rogers fans, so check it out if you haven’t already.
* Movies I had the 21 Bridges trailer at: Endgame, John Wick: Chapter 3, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Brightburn, Child’s Play, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Ad Astra, Hobbs & Shaw, Gemini Man, Zombieland: Double Tap, and Midway. Of course, I might be missing a few.
* People will be debating for a long time over what exactly went wrong with Charlie’s Angels, which had one of the worst opening weekends for a tentpole action movie in years. As an aside, Elizabeth Banks was terrific as Rita Repulsa in the superhero movie Power Rangers.
* I swear to the Movie Gods old and new that my “$21 million finish” gamble for 21 Bridges wasn’t on purpose.
* So what will you be doing this weekend? Have I gone insane with my $200 million Frozen II prediction? Sound off in the comments!