November 19th, 2015
There were a handful of new releases for the week of October 20th that reached the top 30 on the combined DVD and Blu-ray chart for October 25th. However, only one of them really matters: Jurassic World. The film opened in first place, obviously, selling 2.34 million units and generating $54.58 million in total sales. Dollarwise, this is nearly as much as The Avengers: Age of Ultron has sold so far, while its units sold puts the film in ninth place for the year. Its opening week Blu-ray share was 66%, which was excellent, even with the high expectations summer blockbusters have.
October 26th, 2015
It's the week of double-dips, as there are five double-dips for films that would normally be Pick of the Week contenders, but only if you don't have them already. Army Of Darkness has been released so many times, it is hard to keep track of them all. Same with Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you don't own either of these movies, you need to buy them. However, most fans will already have them. Because of this, I'm giving the Pick of the Week to Mad Men. I reviewed Season Seven, Part Two, but the Complete Series Megaset is the better deal.
October 7th, 2015
The home market release report is a little late this week, because in our ongoing attempt to improve our site, we are looking at the format of this column and it will change shortly. (Also, this week both Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes were acting up. I had to download a script blocker and block all scripts on Rotten Tomatoes. Certain things no longer work, but at least it doesn't cause Firefox to freeze every ten minutes.) The biggest release of the week is The Avengers: The Age of Ultron, sort of. It came out last Friday, not this Tuesday. I'm waiting for my copy to arrive so I can do a full review. Meanwhile, the best new release of the week is When Marnie Was There in Blu-ray Combo Pack.
August 4th, 2015
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation matched expectations close enough to call it a victory. Meanwhile, Vacation came within 10% of Friday's predictions, but unfortunately, we weren't predicting box office success, so that's not a good thing. With the holdovers slumping as summer ends, the overall box office dipped 3.2% from last weekend. That's not the problem. The problem is the 21% drop-off from the same weekend last year. Granted, Guardians of the Galaxy broke records when it opened this weekend last year, but a 21% drop-off is still troublesome. 2015 still leads 2014 by a substantial margin at $6.67 billion to $6.25 billion, so unless 2015 really crashes, it will still have a lead going into the winter holidays.
August 2nd, 2015
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation will comfortably win the weekend at the box office, with Paramount projecting a total of $56 million on Sunday morning. That’s a very respectable performance by any measure, although it falls short of the franchise record, which was set by Mission: Impossible 2 15 years ago. It’s early days yet, but the prospects of another franchise chapter making around $200 million seem good, based on the excellent reviews this outing has been receiving. Overseas business is reportedly very good so far, although we don’t yet have any official figures.
July 29th, 2015
Monster Hunt remained in first place on the international chart with $46 million over the weekend for a two-week total of $225 million. The film again dominated its home market (China) earning $113.16 million over the full week for a running tally of $221.41 million after eleven days of release. It became the biggest Chinese film in its native market and the third biggest film of all time, behind Transformers: Age of Extinction and the current record holder, Furious 7.
July 28th, 2015
Ant-Man unexpectedly repeated on top of the weekend box office, as Pixels failed to meet expectations by a sizable margin. In fact, only Southpaw beat expectations. The overall box office sunk as a result, down 22% from last weekend to $151 million. Worse still, this was 2.3% lower than the same weekend last year. Fortunately, 2015 has won a lot more weeks than it has lost and has built up an impressive 8.2% lead over 2014 at $6.45 billion to $5.96 billion. It isn't impossible for 2015 to lose a lead that large, but I'm cautiously optimistic that it can see this lead grow through to the end of the year.
July 26th, 2015
Three new wide releases and three returning movies that are still pulling in good crowds will produce a box office chart with no knock-out winner this weekend. That’s in large part thanks to a disappointing debut from Pixels. The Adam Sandler/Kevin James-comedy/adventure-Ghostbusters/wannabe will earn about $24 million this weekend, according to Sony’s Sunday estimate. That puts it in danger of not even earning back its marketing budget domestically, let alone starting to recover the $88 million production budget. It also means that Ant-Man will top the charts for a second weekend.
July 25th, 2015
Three mid-tier new releases combined with three returning hits made for a very crowded market on Friday, with all six films earning over $5 million for the day. Pixels emerged the winner with $9.2 million, according to studio estimates, but that far from guarantees a weekend win for the film. Based on previous opening weekend ratios for Adam Sandler movies, we can expect a Friday-weekend multiplier for the film around 2.9, which puts it on course for a $27 million debut. Current studio tracking suggests it will fall short of that mark, with more like $24 million. Either way, that’s not a great start for a film with an $88 million budget and a seemingly attractive premise. Sandler’s drawing power is clearly on the wane, at least domestically. The film has somewhat better prospects overseas, and early reports show it performing well.
July 24th, 2015
Pixels leads a group of three wide releases looking to battle for limited box office dollars. It appears to be on track for first place, but with not as much as I anticipated at the beginning of the month. This is partially explained by its reviews which are lower than the 30% to 40% positive range I was anticipating. Paper Towns is earning much better reviews, but still barely above the overall positive level. Finally there's Southpaw, which is earning mixed reviews and its buzz is weak, so it will likely be outside the top five over the weekend. Both Ant-Man and Minions should continue to perform well, with the former having a shot at first place, if Pixels flops. This weekend last year, there were two wide releases that did quite well, Lucy and Hercules. I don't think any of the new releases this week will come close to earning the same as Lucy did, but I think the depth is better this year, so 2015 will still come out ahead in the year-over-year comparison.
July 16th, 2015
Next weekend, there are three wide releases, two of which should do well at the box office. Paper Towns will very likely be the best film coming out next week, while Pixels will very likely be the biggest. (On the other hand, Southpaw looks like busted Oscar-bait and I'm not bullish about its chances.) I don't know if Pixels will be one of the biggest hits of the summer, but it should be the biggest hit of the week and as such, it is the target film for this week's Box Office Prediction contest. In order to win, one must simply predict the opening weekend box office number for Pixels.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going over, will win a copy The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Blu-ray.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will also win a copy The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on Blu-ray.
Finally, we will be choosing an entrant from the group of people who haven't won, or haven't won recently, and they will also win a Frankenprize featuring a previously reviewed DVD or Blu-ray.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
July 1st, 2015
June was a much better month than expected due to two films, Jurassic World and Inside Out. Had those two films merely matched expectations, then 2015 would have likely fallen behind 2014. As for this coming month, there are five weekends in July and each week there is at least one film with the potential to reach $100 million. Most weeks there are two films that at least have a shot at getting to the century mark. The biggest hit of the month will likely be Minions, which has already opened in several international markets and it's ahead of Despicable Me 2 at the same point. That film made more than $300 million and nearly $1 billion worldwide, so any growth would be fantastic. There are also a number of potential $200 million films, led by Ant-man. Ant-man is the latest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise that has averaged $300 million domestically over eleven films and all of the past six films have reached at least $200 million. I'm not saying this one is guaranteed to do the same, but you can't dismiss that possibility. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation and Pixels have smaller chances to get to $200 million, but you have to at least entertain the possibility. Additionally, last July was a lot weaker than this July looks to be, so 2015 should win in the year-over-year comparison most weeks. Or I might have let the box office success of June cloud my judgment. We will soon find out.