Box Office Oracle — 01/10/2020-01/12/2020

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, 1917Like a Boss, and Underwater.


Fresh off of a Golden Globe win, 1917 looks to be the first surprise hit of 2020 (even though, yes, it was released last year, but only on a handful of screens to make it eligible for awards contention). Centering on two young British soldiers on a secret mission during World War I, the movie wouldn’t normally be the sort to be looking at commercial success, but thanks to an absolutely thrilling marketing campaign, we could be looking at a big opening here.

Like the fairly recent Birdman1917 is done in “one shot,” and while Birdman was a terrific film, it was  too “weird” to ever become mainstream. 1917 shouldn’t run into that problem, given its more straightforward storyline, so the “one shot” feature should actually give it more of a “must be experienced on the big screen” factor. Look for $27 million.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: The film looks enormously exciting, and director Sam Mendes (Skyfall) knows his way around a smart blockbuster.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: The movie appears to have zero jokes about Salma Hayek’s breasts, so if that’s what you want, go to Like a Boss instead.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $27 million debut; $110 million finish.

Like a Boss

I mean, there are worse ways you can spend 82 minutes of your life, right?

Opening as a throwaway R-rated comedy for January, Like a Boss stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as two best friends who take down evil businesswoman Salma Hayek, because she stole their ideas or something. It all looks very stupid…but it also looks pretty funny. Stupid as fuck, but funny.

Of course, as I’ve noted here before, silly R-rated comedies simply don’t break out at the box office like they used to, and Like a Boss probably won’t be much different. Star power is going to elevate it some (Haddish is in like everything these days), but it’s still going to do only moderate business. Look for $14 million, which wouldn’t be terrible.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: This looks a lot more tolerable than similar star-driven comedies of Januarys past, including Bride Wars and Because I Said So.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: For many, this will probably work perfectly fine as a rental down the road.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $14 million debut; $39 million finish.


“Underwater, no one can hear you scream.”

Underwater is like Alien, except it takes place underwater and is rated PG-13. It looks perfectly solid as a horror movie, but they are being pretty blatant about what they’re doing here. Hell, Kristen Stewart even has the same buzzcut that Sigourney Weaver had in Alien 3.

Granted, there’s nothing wrong with the main concept here, which has a bunch of people having a really bad day as they get stuck at the bottom of the ocean, and things get even worse when a creature starts eating them. Unfortunately, it’s also January, and PG-13 scare flicks are another thing which haven’t been doing big bucks lately. Look for $8 million.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: The movie looks like an underwater version of Alien.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: The movie looks like an underwater version of Alien.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $8 million debut; $29 million finish.

* Other fun stuff…

* Last weekend, Frozen II became the biggest animated movie of all time (well, so long as you don’t count the remake of The Lion King, which I don’t). Congrats to my favorite Disney character!

* Next weekend should be interesting, as it brings us both Doolittle and Bad Boys For Life, which could make for a record-breaking MLK weekend.

* What will YOU be going to? Sound off in the comments!