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, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Cats and Bombshell.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
I mean, this one needs no introduction, right? I don’t have to tell you all what Star Wars is, right?
This time, Rey and her friends deal with the return of Emperor Palpatine, who’s back from the dead, all while Kylo Ren deals with his Kylo Ren stuff and Finn tries to figure out who he should finally settle down with. J.J. Abrams returns to the series after taking a break for The Last Jedi, resulting in a film that feels much more like “traditional” Star Wars outing this time around (sorry, no trips to Vegas Planet in this one).
As is the case with such blockbusters, the question isn’t if this one will make a ton of money. The question is how much. While fan divisiveness over The Last Jedi has been blown out of proportion, it is going to play a factor here, as repeat business was pretty weak for that movie compared to The Force Awakens. Also, it’s five days until Christmas as I type this, so many are going to wait to go until after the holiday is over. For these reasons among others, I’m going a bit careful with my prediction, with an opening of around $180 million.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: I mean, it’s a Star Wars movie. I don’t have to tell you why to go to that, right?
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: Despite it’s Christmas release, there are a grand total of zero references to The Star Wars Holiday Special.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $180 million opening; $560 million finish.
Oh, hey, it’s that movie the internet hasn’t stopped making “nightmare fuel” jokes about since its trailer first premiered last summer. Who would’ve known that a movie based off of a weird Broadway play would also maybe look kind of weird? The “plot” if we can call it that involves several cats competing for the chance to go to heaven, with an all-star cast taking on the various feline characters.
Needless to say, Cats isn’t going to be much of a force against Star Wars this weekend, but that doesn’t mean it should be written off as a flop just yet. Few genres shows the legs of the musical, so Cats could still be in for a good run. For now, though, look for a debut of $9 million.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Cats is one of the most successful Broadway musicals ever.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: The internet keeps telling me this film looks terrifying, so I guess that’s a reason right there.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $9 million opening; $101 million finish.
Falling into the “do you seriously want to watch this at Christmastime” category is Bombshell, a dramady about the Fox News sex scandal which eventually lost the late Roger Ailes his job as the company’s head honcho. Also involved is Megyn Kelly’s public feud with Donald Trump after he made some crass comments about her, and again, do you SERIOUSLY want to watch this kind of thing at Christmastime?
Marketing for the most part has focused on the film’s snarky comedic tone, while reviews have been decidedly mixed, which isn’t great for a movie trying to enter awards season. Unsurprisingly, Fox News has refused to air any advertising for the movie, while the real Megyn Kelly has been making some (somewhat uncomfortable) public statements about it. Hype for the picture has largely been built around how much Charlize Theron looks like Kelly, for whatever reason, but it seems unlikely something like this is going to break out at a time when people want a break from such things. Look for $5 million.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Margot Robbie is worth watching in anything, though I’m still trying to wrap my head around genuine human delight John Lithgow being cast as someone like Roger Ailes.
Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: While Trump’s comments towards Kelly are disgusting (duh!) and repulsive (also duh!), it’s still…debatable as to whether or not there should be a movie which appears to make her into a hero of journalism.
Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $5 million opening; $35 million finish.
Other fun stuff…
* The Rise of Skywalker is easily the “safest” of the new trilogy. Whether or not that’s a good thing for you will depend on how much you liked The Last Jedi.
* I’m on the fence on Jennifer’s Hudson’s casting in Cats. The character is meant to be rather fragile, and Hudson’s booming singing voice is anything but.
* On Megyn Kelly’s first day on Fox News, she made fun of then-new James Bond actor Daniel Craig for wearing a life jacket. It’s funny because she was equating his masculinity with him not wanting to drown.
* I actually don’t think Kelly is a nefarious person. I simply think she’s a shitty journalist (and okay, I may have violated the “no controversy” rule a bit here).
* I do apologize for not getting this column up last week. (Also sorry for getting it up so late this week!)
* Happy holidays, everyone!