Box Office Forecast: Marvel back in the game with Ant-Man, Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck seeks to attract comedy lovers

After a massive opening by Minions last weekend, its going to be ‘softer’ and more ‘intimate’ this weekend. Okay, not really, I mean compared to last weekend. I mean, how can things be bigger if one of the films opening this weekend is titled ‘Ant-Man’? And its joined by Trainwreck, seeking to give the comedy genre yet another shot after what seems to be a disappointing performance by the outstanding ‘Spy’. Okay, lets talk about the films in detail:

Ant-Man

ANT-MAN
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTIONS: $61.5 MILLION
FINAL GROSS PREDICTIONS: $172 MILLION

Ant-Man. Ant-Man. Ant-Man. How is something titled Ant-Man going to open big, one who has no background context whatsoever might wonder. After all, there’s ‘ant’ in the title, and that is typically co-related to the words ‘tiny’, ‘harmless’ and ‘small’. But things have to be ironic. I mean, how else is life going to be interesting and fun, yeah? Therefore, Ant-Man is going to serve as a real threat for Minions on its opening weekend.
No, I’m not kidding. Ant-Man is Marvel’s final film in their second phase, one that’s supposed to end things off on a softer note, before kicking off with phase 3 next summer with Captain America: Civil War. Ant-Man, though, is going to be Marvel’s first solo superhero film in a really long time. Really, really long time. For years now, Marvel have only released sequels after sequels, with their only original property in recent years being that of Guardians of the Galaxy, which opened with $94.3 million over its opening weekend, becoming Marvel’s biggest ‘first installment’ film ever. Ahead of the original Iron Man. That was despite it being under the radar, but that could have been aided by its magnificent reviews which only re-asserted that Marvel’s latest offering is a worthy follow-up for the studio after the equally bad-ass reception of Captain America: Winter Soldier. People were also hyped after what happened to be a really quiet July with a lack of offerings, something which is definitely not the case this year. The previous ‘big’ franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was in its fourth week of release, and unless you’re Titanic, or even Avatar, or perhaps Gravity, you can’t possibly expect to stay on top and retain most of your target audience after four entire weeks. Lucy was its only real, albeit weak, competition, but that was already on its second weekend. Okay, lets head right back on track- Ant-Man is their first solo superhero, first installment film in 4 years. Guardians of the Galaxy does not belong here as it has 5 heroes (raccoons and trees included). Ant-Man has been worked on for years, and had Edgar Wright produced a perfect script without the need of so many revisions, Ant-Man could have been the first film which introduced us to the universe as we see it today. However, things failed to work out when Edgar Wright left. Along with that came plenty of backlash, because how does Peyton Reed (Yes-Man) even come close to the witty Wright? Regardless, Wright left because his vision couldn’t come close to the one Marvel had wanted, and hence due to the imposed restrictions, he decided to not rework on the script yet again to please a rather reluctant studio, and just ditch the project altogether. Imagine how people would feel if you have been waiting for Edgar Wright to bring you perhaps one of the most different takes on a superhero movie, with his rather unique style, and then just feel like you have been let-down after news of his break-up came out. Anyways, moving away from that directorial changes, the cast here definitely looks promising. Aside from the obvious fact that this charming fella who can shrink to get ‘superhuman’ strengths is gonna join the Avengers next year, the casting here is perhaps one of the most star-studded Marvel has seen yet (at least for their first installments). Guardians of the Galaxy might have Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, yeah, but they never ever showed their faces throughout the full duration of the film. Don’t raise Chris Pratt- it might not look like it, but he only came into the spotlight with that film. The same can be said for most of the cast- they have all had their careers boosted by this franchise.
What this film has right at the get go is the duo combo of Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. The former is well-known for all the comedies he has appeared in, be it Anchorman, or Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up- whatever it is, he’s one of Hollywood’s go to comedy personality. Don’t ask about Douglas- he has had a presence on the big screen since way back in 1966. They are joined by Evangeline Lilly, who you should know best for playing Tauriel in the later Hobbit installments, and a supporting cast consisting of characters played by Michael Pena and Corey Stoll.
Of course, its opening a week after the family favorite Minions, which just took off with over $115.7 million over its opening weekend, the biggest the franchise has seen yet. Unlike almost every other phase 2 film so far (excluding Avengers: Age of Ultron), which had the benefit of opening in the shadows of the remarkably Avengers, the latest one is opening right after the disappointing sequel of the aforementioned film. Ant-Man’s reviews are pretty decent, at 76% to date on Rotten Tomatoes, so that shouldn’t be an issue here.
Regardless of its performance, its not going to be in big trouble if it fails to come close to any of the later Marvel films. Its budget is the lowest yet from Marvel, due to this being more confined and smaller in scale, at ‘only’ $130 million. To finally end off what seems to be a rant, I can only say that I don’t see this over-performing, with its relatively troubled ‘behind the scenes’ process, its unimpressive but still acceptable reviews and the presence of immense competition both now and over the next few weeks. Expect this to open with slightly more than $60 million, perhaps going under that figure, though I’m probably going to stick with $61.5 million for now.

trainwreck

TRAINWRECK
OPENING WEEKEND PREDICTIONS: $26.5 MILLION
FINAL GROSS PREDICTIONS: $101 MILLION

Whew. Before I realized, the word count is already at an immense 1000 words. I’m going to keep this a bit shorter. Trainwreck is Judd Apatow’s latest offering, his first film after the somewhat mixed- This is 40. However, reviews are showing that this is a return to the quality that was largely present in his earlier films, Knocked-Up and The 40-Year-Old-Virgin. Okay, here’s more detail, to make things clearer:

Trainwreck: 90% Rotten Tomatoes, 75% Metacritic
40 Year-Old-Virgin: 85% Rotten Tomatoes, 73% Meatcritic
Knocked-Up: 90% Rotten Tomatoes, 85% Metacritic
Funny People: 68% Rotten Tomatoes, 60% Metacritic
This is 40: 51% Rotten Tomatoes, 59% Metacritic

As can be seen, Trainwreck is a step up from his previous films. Apparently, Universal Studios is pretty confident (yes its them again, they haven’t had enough dominating the box office just yet, they are attempting to re-affirm their dominance), as they opened this film up in several film festivals and sneak previews weeks before its official stated release date, and they are opening this in more theaters than any other Judd Apatow directed flick to date (3157 theaters). Judd Apatow’s biggest film have usually seen huge multiples after a rather small opening- I’m seeing a similar case here, though I expect this to be front-loaded, considering weeks of buzz coming out of early reviews. Around $26.5 million in this case.

Okay, for the holdovers, Minions stands a pretty big chance of getting first this weekend, which will simply deny Marvel from having their ‘always open first’ trend. Both the previous installments had below 50% drops, with Despicable Me withstanding a 41.8% first-to-second weekend collapse, and Despicable Me 2 a 47.4% dip. Both aren’t fair comparisons though, due to a couple of factors- Despicable Me was a surprise hit that came out of nowhere, with great reviews and lovable characters, while the sequel actually opened 2 days prior to the weekend, and hence skewed the results. Furthermore, this one is their first prequel for the franchise, and it hasn’t really been well-received. Hence, I’m suggesting maybe a bigger drop this time round, due to even more front-loadedness, and greater competition as a whole. Remember, Despicable Me 2 opened with Pacific Rim and Grown Ups 2, which are meant for the geek community and adult audiences respectively. Ant-Man, in contrast, is first and foremost a family film, one which people are going to go to. With all those factors in the mix, I highly believe that this will be the first installment in the franchise which has a over 50% drop, which is rather typical for a film that opened this big. Nothing to say about the rest, since they aren’t gonna garner much attention.

This weekend last year, a trio of films tried hard, but failed to beat Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for first. The Purge: Anarchy was the biggest of the new openings consisting of Planes: Fire and Rescue and Sex Tape, opening with $29.8 million. The top 12 earned $134.87 million, nothing this week can’t manage.

1)Ant-Man- $61.5 million (NEW!!!)
2)Minions- $55.5 million (-52%)
3)Trainwreck- $26.5 million (NEW!!!)
4)Jurassic World- $10.9 million (-40%)
5)Inside Out- $10.4 million (-39%)
6)Terminator: Genisys- $7.6 million (-45%)
7)Magic Mike XXL- $6.4 million (-33%)
8)The Gallows- $3.8 million (-61%)
9)Ted 2- $2.95 million (-48%)
10)Self/Less- $2.27 million (-58%)
TOP 10 ESTIMATES: $187.8 million (+43.8%)

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