I guess Universal Studios just wants to let you know that they are now the big bosses. They have been crushing records this year over and over again, over performing for most of their hits this summer this far. This mega-year is just going to keep going for Universal, which are releasing your one-and-only spin-off, Minions, which somehow is getting far more attention and buzz than the Despicable Me franchise have ever had. Meanwhile, the rest of the new openers are going to be silent upon release, with Gallows probably going to sate the appetites of all horror movie fans alike, and Self/Less is yet another vehicle for Reynolds to show his star power, though its probably going to add on the list of disappointing turn-outs for films he has starred in. Oh, and that list includes Green Lantern, Turbo, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and R.I.P.D. Meanwhile, lets begin:
“Minions is a spin-off to the highly popular Despicable Me franchise. One might point to Penguins of Madagascar to show that spin-offs never succeed and hit the level its main installments do, but let me point out- I believe the minions are the only reason why the Despicable Me franchise even succeeded, and not Gru. The same cannot be said about Madagascar. Therefore, expect this to earn about as much as the previous installment, or maybe fall just short. After all, these two films don’t share similar titles. Currently, I predict a $78 million opening weekend, and a $325 million end gross, both smaller than the previous Despicable Me film.”
That’s an excerpt of what I wrote exactly one month ago, so I’m not going to reiterate most of the above points. However, some keen-eyed observers might quickly point at my opening weekend and final predictions, which are much higher than what I previously guessed. Lets just say that Minions have been dominating social media, and its eye-popping numbers are simply hard to believe. It has pretty much been the most-talked about film on social media for the past few weeks, which according to some sources are way ahead of where Despicable Me 2 was at this point in time (in terms of likes; Minions has its own page). According to boxoffice.com, Minions had 30 million Facebook likes barely two weeks ago. And now it has crawled to 31 million. Oh, and that is among the top 10 most liked pages of all time. And the most remarkable? It doesn’t share its page with the other installments in its franchise- it acts as its own independent entity, meaning Despicable Me has its own Facebook page too. Lets not forget that overseas moviegoers have more or less gave this film a definite approval- it has already earned $124.2 million from only 26 markets, in which the latest installment debuted ahead of Despicable Me 2 in most of them. Reviews might have been weaker in general, having a 70% approval on rotten tomatoes, barely enough to manage a ‘certified fresh’ rating, but this being a kids affair, is probably not going to affect this film’s performance, at least on opening weekend. Some might argue that Inside Out might leave a dent on this one, as that smash hit will still make over $15 million this weekend, but its been close to 4 weeks since its release in US theaters, and Minions is probably not going to run into much worthy competition going forward. I’m going to be very bullish on this film’s prospects and say that its going to earn $131 million. After all, its difficult to judge when this the studio that brought you Furious 7 and Jurassic World and Pitch Perfect 2, which if you remembered, all launched with far bigger numbers than even the most bullish of expectations. Yes, as I pointed out, this is a spin-off, but its looking increasingly likely that the reason people keep correlating this franchise with are those cute, adorable, yellow, round, in some cases one-eyed, humanoid shaped, yet speaking with a mixture of languages, bunch of Minions. Don’t be mad if I am too high on this one, its just a sign of confidence I have, for marketing for this film has reached an intense pitch.
Now, on to the other releases.
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTIONS: $12 million
FINAL GROSS PREDICTIONS: $28 million
Warner Bros and New Line really think that it can replicate its success with two wildly different horror movies here- one, The Conjuring, for it launched in the same month two years ago to spectacular results, earned over $40 million, and Paranormal Activity, where it derived its found footage idea from. That’s great, but I guess they just can’t understand- The Conjuring was a stand-out because of its fabulous reviews, and it being labelled one of the best horror movies of the decade, on par with films like Amityville Horror, The Exorcist etc. It also had the horror auteur James Wan leading the film, who came off hit after hit, starting with Saw, then moving on to Insidious (and now onwards to other genres too, which he somehow cracked into with ease and tons of success, as seen by Furious 7, and more is yet to come, with Aquaman and Robotech). This one, meanwhile, doesn’t have lots of proven talent behinds it camera- its directors are relatively unknown, being newbies in the film industry. Early reviews haven’t really been great as well- only 2 reviews so far, but having one rotten so early on doesn’t give me lots of confidence on this one. In an era where the world chants ‘sequel, sequel, sequel’ and boos new original films that attempt to be too ambitious, we are looking at a horror industry where only James Wan directed films, or Paranormal Activity, or Saw, or Friday the 13th, or Texas Chainsaw, or something alone those reigns will succeed. The best openings this year in this genre have been Insidious 3 and Poltergeist, both which managed only $22-23 million, which are both letdowns, considering the former is the sequel to a hit which earned twice that over 3 days, becoming one of the biggest openings in the genre in years with is rated PG-13, and the latter is a remake to a classic ‘everyone knows me’ American horror movie, which has the support of Spielberg. If two films which are based on pre-established properties fail to stand out, it is simply unwise to expect magic to happen right here, so I’m going to go real low and say its going to open with $12 million. The time where found-footage horror movies grasps everyone’s attention, because of it being ‘ORIGINAL’ many years back, are long gone.
I pity Ryan Reynolds. Apart from Deadpool next year, he has been in a string of disappointments of varying scales. First, it was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the worst X-Men film to date for most, which kind of misused his Deadpool character, which quickly died and became something no one could comprehend. Then came Green Lantern, which opened decently, but crashed soon after with bad word of mouth. Then R.I.P.D came, which kind of made him look like the bad luck charm of Hollywood, due to it flopping and barely earning half of its budget, still not accounting for marketing and other costs. Then he wasn’t much better on the animated side as well, with Turbo being a massive let-down for Dreamworks, which are probably crying right now (they should have stayed with Paramount, maybe it means bigger business for both). Now comes Self/Less, yet another film by Ryan Reynolds, which we are quickly correlating with inferior filmmaking products. Yes, Ben Kingsley is here, but he hardly features in the trailer. Reviews are horrendous, coming out at 24% after 33 reviews. This film is more or less doomed, as I will put it. Furthermore, with much more enticing options at theaters from massive franchises, like Minions, Jurassic World, Inside Out, and even Ted 2, Terminator, and Magic Mike, lets just say that this film is going to flop right out of the gate. I’m going to be really conservative on this one, giving it only $7 million over opening weekend.
Lets talk about the rest of the holdovers. Inside Out, after remarkably getting first place last weekend, is probably going to bleed this weekend, after shedding most of its core target audience to Minions. Let’s face it- kids know the Minions, kids love the Minions, they have seen them twice before (or else explain the huge domestic gross both films accumulated), and trust me, the kids will prefer the Minions over a bunch of emotions inside a human mind. Of course, Minions is a kids-only affair, meaning those without children (and love Pixar) will not ditch Inside Out. However, this drop alone will result in Jurassic World probably attaining second yet again over this weekend, ahead of Inside Out, which should settle for third. Meanwhile, Terminator: Genisys is probably going to vanish, as most of its target audience, in this case fans who are giving this franchise yet another chance, have probably rushed out over opening weekend. Ted 2 and Magic Mike XXL are going to be probably accommodating 50% drops minimum, with the latter probably going to drop like a rock.
Minions alone is probably going to earn close to what the top 10 earned last year, with around $133.7 million, without the aid of any of its ‘side-kicks’. Overall, expect an up weekend, compared to last year, which saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ruled the former monkey kingdom, with $72.6 million, while Transformers settled for second with $16.3 million, representing yet another 56% drop over its third weekend. With Minions, Inside Out, Jurassic World and two other wide releases, expect that boundary to be pushed to its limits. Here’s my top 10 estimates, anyways, for your viewing pleasure.
1)Minions- $131 million (NEW!!!)
2)Jurassic World- $18.13 million (-38%)
3)Inside Out- $15.63 million (-47.5%)
4)The Gallows- $12 million (NEW!!!)
5)Terminator: Genisys- $10.3 million (-62%)
6)Self/Less- $7 million (NEW!!!)
7)Ted 2- $5.36 million (-52%)
8)Magic Mike XXL- $4.24 million (-67%)
9)Max- $4.235 million (-36%)
10)Spy- $3.24 million (-37%)
TOP 10 ESTIMATES: $211.1 million (+57.9%)
Next week is going to be yet another exciting week (hopefully). Ant-Man is launching, the first Marvel film after Avengers: Age of Ultron and the last one in phase 2. Vacation is launching as well, directed by who else but Judd Apatow? Regardless, check back same time next week for my preview on that.