OnScreen is pleased to bring you a new weekly feature called “Guess The Box Office”, where OnScreen critic Ken Jones and OnStage Contributor Greg Ehrhardt will preview the weekend in movies and predict which movie will win the weekend and may even try and guess actual box office while they are at it. Check back every Friday for a new column.
Greg: We start with this weekend where we have four, count them, FOUR wide releases this weekend, and they are doozies.
1. The Predator, directed by Shane Black and starring…………..Keegan-Michael Key’s crazy faces??
2. A Simple Favor, a film noir thriller directed BY Paul Feig (yep, THAT Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids) and starring Anna Kendrick.
3. White Boy Rick, directed by Yann Demange and starring Matthew McConaughey (who may or may not be driving a Lincoln MKX), about a father and son set up to be informants in a drug ring but abandoned by his handlers and sentenced to life in prison
4. Unbroken: A Path to Redemption, which is a sequel to that happy crowd pleasing movie Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie about the WWII soldier who was brutally tortured in a Japanese POW camp.
Ken, the only question I have for you is, will you have the patience to wait till Saturday to see all four of these movies, or are you watching all 4 back to back on Friday?
Ken: Well, the movie I’m most looking forward to isn’t even on this list. Rather, it’s a bit of specialty fare in the limited releases, the bonkers Nic Cage horror film Mandy, which, if you haven’t seen the previews for, looks insane.
Greg: You had me at “starring Nicolas Cage”
Ken: Plus, it’s getting GREAT reviews! Directed by Panos Cosmatos, which is a name of someone who seems destined to make cult horror movies.
Greg: I know Unbroken was a surprise hit, and one of the strangest Christmas releases of all time, but, I’m pretty sure most of the audience left that movie thinking “I’m good, don’t need to know anything else about that story”
Ken: This is a sequel, literally, in name only. Jolie obviously isn’t back in directors chair. I’m pretty sure none of the cast from her film is back either. What little I know about it, it looks like purely like a Christian film aimed at a Christian audience who weren’t happy that Louis Zamperini’s faith was scrubbed a bit from Jolie’s Unbroken. Even as a person of faith, this is a hard pass for me.
Greg: Before we get to the Predator, I know the line between comedy and drama has become really blurred (Thanks President Trump!), but was Paul Feig directing this movie basically a tantrum thrown as a result of public criticism to Ghostbusters? Is this him basically saying “Fine, you don’t like my comedies anymore?? I’m only directing dramas now, and they will STILL only star women, so take that trolls!”
Ken: I remember seeing a preview for this back in the spring. And then I saw literally nothing about all summer until seeing that it was coming out this weekend. I remember seeing the trailer that was “from the dark side of Paul Feig, stifling a laugh and then being… kind of interested in it. It’s a different kind of movie not just for him but also for Anna Kendrick. And the reviews being positive (currently 84% Rotten Tomatoes score) have got me intrigued as well. I was planning on just seeing Mandy and The Predator this weekend, but I might try to find time for it this weekend.
Greg: Let’s get to Predator. Ken, your love for Shane Black would make Jack and Rose blush from the Titanic. What do you make of the trailers and early critic reactions for The Predator?
Ken: That comp makes me a little uncomfortable. Plus, I’m not a particularly good artist, so I worry about going too far down that path.
Greg: Don’t sell yourself short! Your review of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was a work of art!
Ken: I’ll admit that the trailers made me a little apprehensive about The Predator. The first one was promising, but the subsequent ones seemed to reveal a “bigger, badder” predator, and I just don’t think that is an appealing enough hook to make another chapter in this franchise. And based on the reviews, which currently sit at 37%, that seems to have been confirmed. I’m still going to see this, but my expectations have definitely been lowered. And the weird news in the past week of the sexual predator that was a part of the cast and Olivia Munn doing press tours by herself is setting this movie up for failure.
Greg: Prediction time. Last week, The Nun had a surprising $53 Million opening weekend. Does The Predator beat The Nun this week?
Ken: I think The Predator comfortably beats out The Nun for the top of the box office. Horror movies tend to have bigger opening weekends than most forecasting websites predict, but they also tend to have pretty steep revenue drops in their seconds weekends. I expect something of a 60% drop for The Nun this weekend.
Greg: I’m not seeing The Predator as hallowed IP here (with one reason being, only the first one was any type of good). I see the Nun taking care of business for Week 2 despite its 28% Rotten Tomatoes score. I think the public loves even a crappy horror movie when it gets to September.
My predictions are as follows:
The Nun: $25 Million
The Predator: $22 Million
A Simple Favor: $10 million
Ken, give me your top 3 movies for the weekend
Ken: I’ll go with…
The Predator: $28.5 million
The Nun: $22 million
A Simple Favor: $14 million
Greg: That’s a wrap. We will track our predictions throughout the year and mock each other mercilessly as a result. Check back every Friday for our latest edition of “Guess The Box Office”