Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Much Will Fantastic Four Make This Weekend?

Marvels first family returns to the big screen this weekend, hoping to reinvigorate a franchise that's been dormant for eight years. Realizing some audiences might be hesitant to rejoin the Fantastic Four film series that once had scenes like the "Mr. Fantastic dances at his bachelor party" (NEVER FORGET), 20th Century Fox has smartly kept the budget smaller then typical 2015 blockbuster fare at only a meager $120 million cost. This way, the film doesn't need to hit Avengers sized grosses in order to justify that sequel the studio already dated for June 2017.

The marketing for Fantastic Four has been decent, if small in size, with partnerships with brands like Denny's and Crush soda unlikely to yield an enormous amount of viewers. TV ads, meanwhile, have repeatedly used Kayne West and a zesty energy to sell the film, which is smart way to use the marketing to combat claims that the film would be too serious. However, abysmal reviews (it's only at 9% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing) is gonna damage its reputation going into the weekend and will be one of numerous factors keeping it from hitting the $50 million mark this weekend.

Most major studio superhero movies are able to hit $50 million in their opening weekend, with the last of that sort of ilk to fail to cross that mark being Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which made $34 million back in 2008 (I'm exempting legendary flops like Jonah Hex in this discussion). Even Green Lantern crossed $53 million in 2011. However, Fantastic Four won't have the 3D ticket prices that even Hal Jordan had and it's poor advanced buzz will further damage it. Still, Fox has marketed the film in a decent enough fashion, and the characters are famous enough, to keep it from hitting the sort of bad box office that greeted the likes of Pixels. Look for this one to come in just under $45 million for its opening weekend.

Three other smaller releases all debut this weekend, each hoping to leave an impression on the box office. However, the only one of those that's likely to get past $10 million is The Gift, the first film from STX Entertainment, a new movie studio hoping to start their existence with a nice hit. They may just get that with The Gift, which has had some ominous and clever marketing as well as incredible advanced reviews.

Meanwhile, Sony will attempt to relaunch their TriStar Pictures label with Ricki and The Flash, the newest Meryl Streep vehicle that will likely be one of the smallest grossing films she's headlined. This one lacks a famous real life figure (Julia Child in Julie & Julia and Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady) and a famous co-lead actor (Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs) that boosted past sleeper hits for the actress. Finally, Shaun The Sheep Movie from Lionsgate will likely become another Aardman feature that fails to make waves in America, with a dismal marketing effort for the film likely resulting in only a $6 million opening weekend.

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation will have to leave the number one position at the box office this weekend, but it should still have a respectable hold thanks to great word-of-mouth. A dip just below 55% seems to be in order, which would handily get the movie across $100 million domestically. Fellow holdover Vacation will likely have a similar dip for a $7 million second weekend. Ant-Man will probably lose somewhere in between 40-45% for this frame, while there's a good chance that five week old family movie Minions will have a larger gross this weekend than newcomer Shaun the Sheep Movie.

Below are my opening weekend and final gross predictions for this weekends new releases as well as my projections for this weekends top 5.

Fantastic Four
Opening Weekend: $45 million
Total Gross: $110 million

The Gift
Opening Weekend: $10 million
Total Gross: $29 million

Ricki And The Flash
Opening Weekend: $9 million
Total Gross: $26 million

Shaun The Sheep Movie
Opening Weekend: $6.4 million
Total Gross: $21 million

1) Fantastic Four: $45 million
2) Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation: $25 million
3) The Gift: $10 million
4) Ricki And The Flash: $9 million
5) Ant-Man: $7.2 million

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