Summer Box Office Challenge

I saw this over at Obsessive Viewer, and it sparked my interest. Basically, the writers are trying to correctly guess the domestic box office top 10 for the summer. So, I decided to do one of my own here… by myself.

Their scoring:
Movie Makes the Top Ten – 1 point
Correctly Guessed Number Placement – 2 points
Correctly Guessed Number One Movie – 3 points
Correctly Guessed Number Ten Movie – 2 points
Correctly Guessed Gross Within $10m Without Going Over – 3 points

Bonus: Guessed the Movie – 1 point
Bonus: Guessed the Amount/Percentage – 1 point

The problem with the accuracy of this list is that we don’t know the quality of the film. I’m sure last summer’s Fantastic Four reboot looked good on paper, but once news got out that it was awful, it tanked. Last year’s Top 12 Summer films looked like this. Only 12 films broke 100M last summer.

1) Jurassic World- 652.2M Total
2) Avengers: Age Of Ultron- 459M Total
3) Inside Out- 356M Total
4) Minions- 336M Total
5) Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation- 195M Total
6) Pitch Perfect 2- 184M Total
7) Ant- Man- 180M Total
8) Straight Outta Compton- 161M Total
9) San Andreas- 155M Total
10) Mad Max: Fury Road- 153M Total
11) Spy- 110M Total
12) Trainwreck- 112M Total

Notable flops/disappointments: Tomorrowland- 93M, Terminator Genisys- 89M, Ted 2- 81M, Magic Mike XXL- 66M, Vacation- 58M, Fantastic Four- 56M, Man From UNCLE- 45M, Entourage- 32M. What’s notable here is that Straight Outta Compton wasn’t really on the radar for a top 10 finish. A film like that is rare, and comes along once every few years. I don’t really see a non-tentpole release this year that’s getting buzz right now like Compton was, so I think we’re safe. Last year, not all franchises and sequels sold. People didn’t want more Terminator, or more Magic Mike. They didn’t want a Vacation reboot. Could that still repeat into this year? Is Independence Day closer to Terminator or to Jurassic World? Will Ghostbusters fall prey to Vacation’s failure to launch? Another thing to point out is the lack of films in the 200-300M range, however, we have a film above 600M and another above 400M. Films at the top soak up from the bottom. Jurassic World’s massive box office likely dampened the release of films following.

Here’s 2014, for more reference:
1) Guardians Of The Galaxy- 333M Total
2) Transformers 4- 245M Total
3) Maleficent- 241M Total
4) X-Men Days of Future Past- 233M Total
5) Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes- 208M Total
6) Amazing Spider-Man 2- 202M Total
7) Godzilla- 200M Total
8) 22 Jump Street- 191M Total
9) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- 191M Total
10) How To Train Your Dragon 2- 177M Total
11) Neighbors- 150M Total
12) Lucy- 126M Total
13) The Fault In Their Stars- 124M Total
14) Edge Of Tomorrow- 100M Total

Notable Flops/disappointments: Hercules- 72M, Blended- 46M, A Million Ways To Die In The West- 43M, The Expendables 3- 39M.
As you see here, with only one 300M film, we ended up with 6 films in the 200M range, and 14 films above 100M overall. A much more balanced summer, which is what we could be in store for here. This is also a pretty typical summer, with the top 10 all being tentpoles and sequels. The big surprises ended up in the 11-14 range, with Lucy and Neighbors notably overperforming.

And just for good measure, here’s 2013:
1) Iron Man 3- 409M Total
2) Despicable Me 2- 368M Total
3) Man Of Steel- 291M Total
4) Monsters University- 268M Total
5) Fast and Furious 6- 238M Total
6) Star Trek Into Darkness- 228M Total
7) World War Z- 202M Total
8) The Heat- 159M Total
9) We’re The Millers- 150M Total
10) The Conjuring- 137M Total
11) Grown Ups 2- 133M Total
12) The Wolverine- 132M Total
13) Now You See Me- 117M Total
14) The Butler- 116M Total
15) The Hangover 3- 112M Total
16) Epic- 107M Total
17) Pacific Rim- 101M total
18) This Is The End- 101M Total
Notable flops/disappointments: The Lone Ranger- 89M, Turbo- 83M, White House Down- 73M, The Smurfs 2- 71M, Percy Jackson 2- 68M, After Earth- 60M, The Internship- 44M, RIPD- 33M, Kick Ass 2- 28M
Here we managed with 18 films over 100M. This is really a best case scenario for this year. We have a lot of sequels, and while some of them may flop, most of them will end up breaking 100M, even if they trend down from the original.

1) Captain America: Civil War- 430M Total
It’s kinda cheating because we already sort of know what its opening weekend is, and from there its just a lot of guessing in terms of percentage drops where the film will land. But, I do believe it is still destined to be the #1 film this summer.

2) Finding Dory- 290M Total
My hesitations here involve the fact that Monsters University didn’t outgross Monsters Inc, and Cars 2 didn’t outgross Cars. Yes, the Toy Story franchise has seen growth with each film, but is Finding Nemo really the same as Toy Story? Or, does it seem like a gimmick reused to cash in again on a franchise? I think Finding Dory will seem more like the latter, instead of a natural progression in the story. Toy Story 2 was a perfect natural progression from the original, and for the record, I don’t think Toy Story 4 will pass 3. I don’t even think it will make 300M.

3) X-Men Apocalypse- 250M Total
In an odd way, this new X-Trilogy is repeating the original, though hopefully Apocalypse was better than The Last Stand. First Class was the lowest grossing, then Days Of Future Past built on it, and I think Apocalypse is building again on the goodwill of DOFP. That will lead to the largest gross in the X-Men franchise, beating The Last Stand (234M). I think teasing Wolverine was a smart move, reminding fans that he’s in the film, even if he’s not the focus. Plus, the inclusion of several fan favorite characters (including Psylocke and Jubilee) should bring in more fans who want to see those characters on the big screen.

4) Independence Day: Resurgence- 230M Total
I don’t think the Independence Day sequel can replicate the success of the original without Will Smith. They’ve planted Liam Hemsworth, who is box office poison outside of the Hunger Games franchise, and I don’t think he’ll help here. This film is hinging on nostalgia, and if this film turns out to suck, it could fall completely out of the top 10. This is one of my more riskier choices, but I’m betting the film is at least of a manageable quality, and that audience will show up.

5) The Secret Lives Of Pets- 225M Total
Everything I’ve heard and read suggests this is tracking very well, and could launch a new franchise for Sony animation. They’ve been promoting the shit out of this film for a year now, and awareness has to be really high. It opens just a few weeks after Finding Dory when parents will be looking for a new film to keep their kids occupied. It’s a gamble to suggest that it will open above 200M, and it’s also a gamble to not say this is another Turbo or Epic. Especially in the same summer where a much more “sure thing” is opening with Angry Birds. My money is on Pets over Birds.

6) Pete’s Dragon- 220M Total
A film that was oddly left off of every Obsessive Viewer list. After the raging success of The Jungle Book, I don’t know why they’d ignore Pete’s Dragon, which is sure to make money. This isn’t The Jungle Book, however, and it’s not quite as beloved a franchise. However, it does have August staked out in terms of families, even if they are going back to school. School wasn’t a problem for The Jungle Book, but it may be for Pete’s Dragon, as box office in August always slows down no matter how big the film. Pete’s Dragon will have strong holds through August and September that will allow it to climb into the top 10.

7) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows- 210M Total
Despite the fact that the original wasn’t really beloved, I actually think the sequel is doing everything right. Including Bebop and Rocksteady for the first time in a TMNT movie is exactly what they needed to do to pull people off the fence. Add to that the debut of Krang, and the addition of Casey Jones, and this is basically everything a TMNT fan could want in a film. Hell, even Tyler Perry is playing a well known character from the comics/tv shows. Fans will show up, even if they know ahead of time the film might suck.

8) Alice Through The Looking Glass- 200M Total
It can’t possibly recreate the runaway success of the original. The source material was stronger and everyone was familiar with how the story went. I think people are less familiar with this story. 200M is being generous, honestly. I’m giving points because Disney has been on a string of hits recently, and this does feature a majority of the returning cast. The most comparable franchise would be the Narnia franchise, where everyone loves The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but that’s basically the only story they care about. The first Alice made more than the first Narnia film though, so the second Alice will outgross Prince Caspian by a lot as well.

9) Ghostbusters- 185M Total-
For some reason, the film is attracting negative buzz. That’s not a great thing heading into the summer, but you have to put your faith in Paul Feig and the leading ladies. They haven’t taken a wrong turn yet, and I’m betting we’ll be finishing the summmer talking about how we can’t wait for Ghostbusters 2. Vacation may have disappointed last summer, but Vacation had a completely different team behind it, and not nearly the buzz headed up to it. People are excited for Ghostbusters, even if youtubers aren’t.

10) Suicide Squad- 180M Total-
August will definitely fuck with its total potential, but Suicide Squad is still a contender. This is not Deadpool however, and to say it will make 300M is absurd. Not every R rated superhero film is a runaway hit, and this film features a lot of B-list villains being propped up by more well known villain. Sure, people will turn out to see Jared Leto as The Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, but I doubt anyone even knows who Will Smith is playing. The studio is shifting the tone more toward humor after the success of Deadpool, which should only help it.

11) Jason Bourne- 170M Total
The return of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass to the Bourne franchise is a big deal. The Bourne Ultimatum made 227M, but the franchise took a hit with Bourne Legacy at only 113M. I don’t think they’ll replicate the success of Ultimatum, which wrapped the story of a trilogy, but I do think people will come back to the franchise, despite Bourne Legacy. This sequel won’t beat Ultimatum, but it will definitely show that audiences want Damon and not Renner.

12) Star Trek Beyond- 160M Total
I’m not even sure most people are aware that there’s a Star Trek film opening this summer. The advertising on this has been atrocious, and it’s going to keep it from building on Into Darkness. Also, the fact that JJ Abrams passed off the directing baton is going to make people wary heading in. Reviews will be a big factor here, but to completely count out Star Trek Beyond is silly. The rebooted franchise has proven itself a contender at the box office, I just think it’ll fall short of the top 10.

13) Neighbors 2- 140M Total
Neighbors was a film that, to me, didn’t scream sequel. Still, the preview is getting a lot of buzz, and The Hangover managed to launch 3 titles, so I feel like Neighbors will do the same thing. It’s possible that Neighbors 2 won’t pass the original, but I think it will do about the same. Probably a higher opening, but with less word of mouth in the week-to-week game.

14) Ice Age: Collision Course- 135M Total
The franchise that won’t die. The last one, Continental Drift, started a downtick in grosses for the franchise which will be mirrored again here. It still has enough life to break 100M, but if this franchise keeps going too much longer, we might start seeing Ice Age movies in the 90M range. Do we really need five Ice Age films? Six?

15) Now You See Me 2- 130M Total
Another film that didn’t scream sequel, and they replaced Isla Fisher with Lizzy Caplan. The addition of Daniel Radcliffe to the franchise is interesting, considering the magic theme of the film, but he’s not proven himself outside of the Harry Potter franchise. The original made 117M as a word-of-mouth hit, and the sequel will benefit from a larger opening weekend. I think its that opening weekend that will cause it to pass the original, not necessarily the word of mouth.

16) Central Intelligence- 130M Total
Predicting a non-franchise summer surprise can be hard. My money is on Central Intelligence, which is going the buddy action route that paid off with The Heat. Pairing up a rising star (Kevin Hart) with a proven star (Dwayne Johnson) is smart. The buzz on this duo is so strong that they’re already being paired again in other movies. 130M is a safe projection for this, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it ended up north of 150M.

17) Angry Birds- 120M Total
I’m not sure this franchise has that much life in it. Is anyone still playing the games? This feels a little late. It will still get some attention, and some eyes, but I don’t think this is the runaway hit it could have been 3-4 years ago. I’m leaning more toward this being a disappointment this summer, yet 120M is nothing to scoff at, and I’m sure the overseas money will be OK.

18) The BFG- 110M Total
Steven Spielberg adapts a beloved children’s book and the film drops on July 4th weekend. This one may not be on your radar, but I think the formula is enough to see it cross at least 100M. Hell, if this film is terrific, those reviews could push it further up the list. I’d call this a conservative prediction, but it’s hard to predict films like this that have no franchise base to stand on.

19) The Legend Of Tarzan- 100M Total
I think this might have just enough life in it to get to 100M. I think the studio wants more, but they aren’t likely to get it. Films of this nature that aren’t made by Disney haven’t been doing so well lately, and Tarzan is likely to be poisoned a bit by that. Think more along the lines of Hercules, except here we have Alexander Skarsgaard instead of Dwayne Johnson.

Honorable Mentions:
Bad Moms and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates- I almost put Bad Moms above 100M. It looks to me to be fundamentally along the same lines as Horrible Bosses, Bridesmaids, and other R rated comedies that have broken 100M. I’m just not sure that STX has the push to make it above 100M. I also ignored Mike and Dave because it feels more like a teen comedy than an accessible adult R rated comedy.

The Conjuring 2- It’s rare that horror films break 100M, which is what made The Conjuring such a surprise. I don’t think it will repeat that success with its sequel. I do think the gross could be in the 90-100M range, but I’m not sure we’ll see another 100M out of this series.

Warcraft- I think this is our flop of the summer. I don’t think the trailers look good, and I think the Warcraft fanbase has dwindled over the years. Much like Angry Birds, time is not on this movies side. The CG doesn’t look great in the trailer, and the film seems to have a rather bullshit and confusing plot. I’m betting critics hate it.

Sausage Party- An r rated animated comedy? This is the kind of thing that has runaway success potential, but also the potential to tap out at 30M. I’m putting it on my radar, but I’m not feeling ballsy enough to include it on my list.

Which movie in the top ten will have the highest opening weekend performance? Captain America: Civil War- 180M
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest opening weekend performance? Suicide Squad- 50M
Which movie in the top ten will have the highest Rotten Tomatoes score? Pete’s Dragon- 90%
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows- 22%

The predictions from Obsessive Viewer:
Matt’s Summer B.O.
Finding Dory – $380,000,000
Captain America: Civil War – $359,000,000
Independence Day: Resurgence – $298,900,000
X-Men: Apocalypse – $225,000,001
Suicide Squad – $215,000,000
Jason Bourne – $200,000,000
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – $197,000,000
The Secret Life of Pets – $195,000,001
Star Trek Beyond – $145,000,000
The Conjuring 2 – $100,000,000

Which movie in the top ten will have the highest opening weekend performance? Captain America: Civil War – $250,000,000
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest opening weekend performance? The Secret Life of Pets – $60,000,000
Which movie in the top ten will have the highest Rotten Tomatoes score? Captain America: Civil War – 93%
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – 25%

My Analysis: Well, sorry, but Matt sucks at BO projections. In the same swoop, he predicts that Captain America will open with 250M (what the holy fuck) but finish with 359M. If it had a severe drop of 75% from the 250M opening, that would put it at 325M just counting only two weekends of grosses and not even weekends, or subsequent releases. It’s almost like he wanted to lose points. He also projects The Conjuring 2 at 100M, so it can be in his top 10, but that would also make for this summer to be the slowest summer in recent history. Only 10 films crossing 100M? He’s basically saying that Pete’s Dragon, Alice, Now You See Me 2, Neighbors 2, Angry Birds, and all the others will fail to crack even 100M. We’re living in a crazy town. Also note his “lowest opening weekend” gross for Secret Lives Of Pets at 60M. That means he thinks The Conjuring 2 will open ABOVE 60M but finish at 100M. So, the film is a giant shit show that somehow will still make over 60M in week one (considerably higher than the original opening), but yet will fall so dramatically that it will finish at only 100M? What the hell?

Tiny’s Summer B.O.

Independence Day: Resurgence – $450,000,000
Captain America: Civil War – $395,000,000
Finding Dory – $360,000,000
X Men: Apocalypse – $345,000,000
The Secret Life of Pets – $320,000,000
Suicide Squad – $255,000,000
Ghostbusters – $200,000,000
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – $185,000,000
Ice Age: Collision Course – $135,000,000
Star Trek Beyond – $125,000,000

Which movie in the top ten will have the highest opening weekend performance? Independence Day: Resurgence – $180,000,000
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest opening weekend performance? Star Trek Beyond – $47,000,000
Which movie in the top ten will have the highest Rotten Tomatoes score? Finding Dory – 88%
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – 36%

This dude makes a bit more sense. He’s putting a lot of faith in ID42 to pass Captain America, but hey, Jurassic World, right? I’d say there’s too many 300M+ films for this year, but this is a much better overall prediction set. I wouldn’t put stock in it, but it’s more well thought out.

Mike’s Summer B.O.

Finding Dory – $410,000,000
Captain America: Civil War – $400,000,000
The Angry Birds Movie – $340,000,000
X-Men: Apocalypse – $300,000,000
Independence Day: Resurgence – $260,000,000
Suicide Squad – $210,000,000
Ghostbusters – $180,000,000
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – $160,000,000
Star Trek Beyond – $130,000,000
The Secret Life of Pets – $110,000,000

Which movie in the top ten will have the highest opening weekend performance? Captain America: Civil War – $180,000,000
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest opening weekend performance? Star Trek Beyond – $61,000,000
Which movie in the top ten will have the highest Rotten Tomatoes score? Finding Dory – 94%
Which movie in the top ten will have the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – 18%

Some stuff I’d disagree with, obviously, but still more well thought out than Matt. That 61M opening for Star Trek is still a bit high for a 130M finish. He’s banking on the movie to suck hard. Also, more really high finishes for X-Men Apocalypse and Angry Birds. Of the three, I’d say Tiny is going to win their challenge. It has the most leg room by having the highest grossing 10th place finisher, despite having a ton of 300M+ films. I personally think we’re destined for more 100M/200M films this year, and a more spread out box office like in 2013. Jurassic World was an anomaly. Trying to predict that will happen every year, or tie that success to Independence Day is a pipedream. The box office just couldn’t support itself that way.

Original Post: Obsessive Viewer

2 thoughts on “Summer Box Office Challenge

  1. This is incredible! Thanks for putting this together. And yeah, it’s pretty clear I had no idea what I was doing (it’s our first year doing it). I actually originally guessed Cap 3’s opening weekend numbers at $100m and second guessed how ridiculously low it was and then just threw out $250m. It made for a pretty entertaining podcast recording, though.

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