Box Office Oracle — 03/06/2020-03/08/2020

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” as 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, OnwardThe Way Back, and Emma.


We finally get the first animated movie of 2020 courtesy of Pixar, this time taking place in a suburban fantasy world in which elves are average citizens and unicorns are disgusting pests. The story involves two brothers who go on a magical quest to…bring their dead father back to life, so yeah, now Pixar is making you cry with the freaking plot summaries of their films.

Tracking hasn’t been terrific for Onward when compared to the other studio’s offerings, which probably comes in part from this not being a sequel. Soul has already sealed itself as the Pixar movie that fanboys are excited about this year, which fairly or not leaves Onward as something of an appetizer to nibble on while you wait for the main course. That’s an overly harsh allegory to some extent, but the corona scare, unfortunately, looks ready to leave a nasty mark on this one. Look for $34 million and we’ll see if it can leg it up from there.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Speaking as someone who lost a father at a young age, Pixar definitely has the heartstrings being pulled in the right ways here. Plus it has Spider-Man and Starlord as brothers. That’s pretty cool!

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: Onward comes to us from the director of Monsters University, which was pretty much the definition of what a Pixar film is like when it’s simply “fine” (other “fine” Pixar titles include Cars 3 and Finding Dory).

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $34 million opening; $127 million finish.

The Way Back

Well, it’s been a while since we had one of these films.

Serving as the first inspirational sports movie to hit theaters in I don’t even know how long, The Way Back stars Ben Affleck as a basketball couch who must overcome his own personal demons while also bringing his team together to win the big game. I joke, but this does look a solid outing for those who are suckers for this sort of thing.

In an era of streaming and virus scares, I’m not sure how much money this genre can bring home these days. Affleck is a marque star, so that’s going to help it out for sure, and as a so-called “older moviegoer” option for the weekend it should be able to find an audience, even if not an especially large one. Look for $9 million.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: If you ever wanted to watch one of those Disney sports movies but with a bunch of a swearing added, this should be the pick for you this week.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: There’s a new Pixar film opening this week, folks.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $9 million opening; $28 million finish.



If you want a period piece romance that looks as though it had an orgasm, Emma should be a delight for you. The first Jane Austen adaptation to hit theaters in quite some time, the movie is faring quite well with critics, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be able to fill movie seats.

What I’ve been hearing is that Emma should be able to ride off the success of Little Women. I’m not so sure about that. Women came from a “brand” book, and had the ingenious Christmas Day release date to boot. Austen adaptations, unfortunately, simply don’t make big money much of the time–even the acclaimed 2005 Price and Prejudice only made it to about $25 million–and since Emma isn’t a particularly well-known book it’s going to be even harder for it to break out. Still, glowing reviews and lively trailers should be enough for us to have an opening of $5 million here.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Go: Speaking as someone who’s a pretty huge fan of Jane Austen movies (even though–GASP!–I’m a dude! Please write a click-bait article about me!), this looks like a delightful update of one of her more comedic works.

Why Your Fortune Cookie Tells You To Stay Away: There’s a new Pixar movie opening this week, folks.

Today’s Lucky Lotto Numbers: $5 million opening; $29 million finish.

Other fun stuff…

* The virus scare is probably going to take some toll on the box office. Whether or not that will be long-term or short-term remains to be seen.

* I finally went to Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (yes, that’s what I’m calling it now) and loved it! Very fun superhero movie with some Kick-Ass level cheekiness, along with Ewan McGregor almost stealing the show entirely on his own as Black Mask. Shame this one isn’t doing better than it is, because it’s an absolute blast and highly recommended for fans of the genre.

* I also went to The Invisible Man. I appear to be in a minority in that I didn’t love that one, but good on Blumhouse for being able to make another extremely profitable horror movie for themselves. It will be interesting to see what kind of legs it has.

* What will YOU be doing at the movies this weekend? Sound off in the comments