OnScreen is back for another week of Guess The Box Office!! Greg Ehrhardt and Ken Jones will be recapping last weekend’s box office results, previewing the new releases to come this weekend, and throwing in some predictions while they are at it.
Last week’s results:
1) Night School: $27.3 million
2) Smallfoot: $23 million
3) Clock Movie: $12.6 million
1) Night School: $26 Million
2) Smallfoot: $25 Million
3) Clock Movie: $14 million
1) Nightschool: $26 million
2) Smallfoot: $22 million
3) Tick Tock Clock Wall Walk: $13 million
Greg: Ken narrowly edges out a win due to being a smidge closer with Smallfoot and Clock Movie!!! Ken is now up 2-1 for the season.
Ken: VICTORY! VICTORY!!!!!!!! By the way, Clock Movie is the unoriginal and uninspired spoofy parody movie that we get ripping off these PG/PG-13 horror movies for kids that will feature Marlon Wayans in three years. Good times.
Greg: I thought Night School performed about as well as expected given the bad reviews it got.
Greg: Let’s get to this weekend, another diverse September weekend at the movies:
1. Venom starring Tom Hardy, plays the frequent Spider-Man nemesis (and sometimes ally) in a origin story that plays up the split personality that drives him to stop a corporate plot to plant alien symbiotes on the human populace
2. A Star is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, about a romance between a struggling aging musician and a young aspiring musician as he helps her achieve stardom.
I want to spend most of our time here breaking down two big time releases this week: A Star is Born, and Venom. Let’s start with Venom. Ken, you know I’ve been down on this movie for months now, there was never a second I wanted to see this, before and after the trailers came out. The general consensus is this movie is going to make around $60 million this weekend, and my question is, who does this movie appeal to beyond the hardcore Spider-Man fans and maybe Tom Hardy fans?
Ken: As a Spider-Man fan and a Tom Hardy fan, this should be right up my alley. And yet, you’re asking the wrong person. I’m going to go see it, but I am so out on this movie. Spider-Man is my favorite comic book character, but I have never been a fan of Venom. As a child of the 80s, I remember reading the comic book issues when the black suit was first introduced, and I thought that was cool, but it morphed into Venom and his popularity took off in a way that I was never quite understood. I’ve always been more of a fan of the original Spidey villains like Dock Ock and Green Goblin. Plus, Spider-Man 3 is the movie equivalent of the Patriots going 18-1, I’ve never fully come to grips with the immense disappointment of that coming out on my 25th birthday. Like Frodo’s getting stabbed with a Morgul-blade on Weathertop, the wound will never fully heal.
Greg: The marketing behind this movie has been very curious. No hint of a plot, really tremendously bad CGI prominently displayed, and generic shots of Tom Hardy doing a split personality thing. I just don’t know who this is compelling to see beyond people who love Venom in the comic books.
Ken: I suspect it’s because they don’t know what to do with him without Spider-Man in the picture. Venom has a very loyal fanbase of hardcore Spidey fans, for sure, and a vocal fanbase that would say that he is Spidey’s greatest nemesis. But I’ve never found him all that compelling. His biggest driving force has been that he hates Spider-Man, which is why a spin-off movie never made sense to me. Attempting to extricate him from that singular (and limiting) motivation means you’re creating an empty character unless you can create a whole new foundation of motivations for him.
Greg: I think Venom has a potential role to play in Spider-Man movies. I do agree with you Ken, he is a bit overrated in comic book lore, but he is a ferocious villain when done right, and I think Venom’s ability to play nice with Spider-Man, at least for awhile, could make for really fun cinema if executed right.
Ken: I would have a little more faith if this game plan were being led by Marvel Studios, because of their track record. But what has Sony done? They essentially forced Raimi to do Venom in Spider-Man 3, they botched the reboot of Spidey with the Andrew Garfield movies, and then needed to hand Spidey over to Marvel to rehab him in the MCU. Now, they’ve made Venom, there has long been talk of making a standalone Sinister Six movie, which, someone explain how that even begins to make sense. They want to expand, expand, expand rather than establishing a firm foundation and then excelling at that.
Greg: Prediction: Who will be a better Venom, Tom Hardy, or Topher Grace, the Heath Ledger performance for the Spider-Man universe?
Ken: Who would have thought we’d end up here, right? But here we are. I mean, I’ll just say Tom Hardy reflexively because he’s the better actor overall and he’s more willing to embrace his eccentric sides. I think five years from now we’re going to look back and wonder what were Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams (MICHELLLE WILLIAMS!!!!), and Riz Ahmed thinking in signing onto this movie?
Greg: Up next is “A Star is Born”, our first big time Oscar Contender, which is something to say for a movie starring Lady Gaga in a movie that has now been remade 4 times. Early October is a great time for movies because it’s really the only time period outside of Christmas week where you get adult movies that have the potential to be crowd pleasers. And based on audience reaction to the trailers, which basically comprised of “Holy Sh*t I forgot Lady Gaga can actually sing”, this has all the makings of a crowd pleaser. I wonder though, are the reviews almost…………too good for a movie that’s a typical romance story that’s been told a thousand times??
Ken: I think there is probably a comfort food quality to romantic movies that are done competently, similar to how I can always enjoy a sci-fi movie or horror movie that is fun even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheel. I love to bemoan how unoriginal Hollywood is now, but the not-so-secret history of Hollywood is that there have been flagship stories that have been remade over and over and over every 20-40 years, and A Star Is Born is one of them. And this latest iteration has gone through several stages of stopping and starting. At one time, Clint Eastwood was supposed to direct and Beyonce was supposed to star in it.
Greg: I found Lady Gaga’s recent career track to be particularly curious lately, from shaping her music to cater to her “little monsters” to singing with Tony Bennett, to singing “The Sound of Music” at the Oscars, it was like she was literally trying to appeal to all possible demographics, but satisfying none due. It turns out all she needed to please everyone was to just let her pure talent shine in a movie like this.
Ken: I’m not a fan of her music in general, but I’ve come around on her overall in recent years. Apparently, she is getting Oscar buzz, which I’m totally ok with. But the bigger story might be the directorial efforts of one Bradley Cooper, which seems to have come out of nowhere. I’m way more interested in seeing this movie than I am Venom.
Greg: Ok, prediction time. This will be a fun weekend to guess, because we have two releases who should do above $30, but realistically could end up all over the place. I’ve been calling this for weeks, so I’m not going to stop now, but I’m shorting Venom and going long on A Star Is Born. I feel even better seeing Venom below 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie will fall well below industry guidance of $55 million. That said, I am still calling for a very narrow win for Venom, which, if it performs close to my prediction, will be branded, correctly, a big time disappointment.
1) Venom: $46 million
2) Star is Born: $43 million
3) Small Foot: $16 million
Ken: I think we’re looking at a slightly bigger weekend than you think. I think Venom underperforms. I’ve seen predictions of $60 million for it, and I think it comes in closer to $50 million. But I think we’re underestimating the audience for A Star Is Born. I want to put it #1, but I can’t quite get to that point. But I think it’s going to be the movie everyone is buzzing about next week.
1) Venom: $51 million
2) Star is Born: $49 million
3) Small Foot: $14 million
Greg: Ken is up 2-1, and we’ll see if I end up being right on Venom or not.
You can follow Ken Jones on Twitter @KenJones81 and Greg Ehrhardt on Twitter @Grege333. Like and follow OnStage Blog: OnScreen on Facebook.