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Weekend Predictions: How Long till Marvel Gets the Fantastic Four Back?

August 7th, 2015

Fantastic Four

There could be a close race on top of the box office chart with Fantastic Four trying to unseat Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation as box office champion. This should be the number one story of the weekend; however, if I'm right and Fantastic Four does as poorly as I think it will, then the franchise will be in the hands of Marvel Studios by the end of the weekend. None of the other three wide releases are guaranteed to top $10 million over the weekend. In fact, it is very likely that one of them, Shaun of the Sheep, will miss the top five. This weekend last year was led by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with $65.58 million. Guardians of the Galaxy was second with $42.12 million. I don't think any film opening this weekend will match Guardians of the Galaxy, while there's a chance all four combined won't match TMNT. 2015 is going to take a beating on the year-over-year comparison.

The new Fantastic Four reboot is the third attempt to bring the long-running comic book to the big screen. It is also the second attempt that is a naked corporate decision, based solely on maintaining the rights rather than telling a story that needs to be told. The first time this happened was in the mid-1990s and was made by Roger Corman for only $1 million, which is still less than $2 million with inflation. That version was never officially released. There is some compelling evidence that it was never intended to be released and was only produced to hold onto the rights. However, despite this, it is considered a much better movie than the current Fantastic Four. This film cost $120 million, or about $14 million for each percentage point of its Tomatometer Score. Wow. I wasn't expecting this to be a good movie, but I was expecting a Tomatometer Score of 30%, more or less. Its that Tomatometer Score could result in word-of-mouth so bad that it will kill its box office chances before Saturday begins. Most analysts seem to think this film will pull in just over $40 million over the weekend. I think it will struggle to earn more than $32 million. This should still be enough to earn first place, but it could be really close. On a side note, if Fox doesn't give up its movie rights to this franchise, then Marvel should release the Roger Corman version on DVD and Blu-ray. It will likely get better reviews and shame Fox into abandoning their rights.

Most think Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation will finish in a distant second place with about $28 million. On one hand, its reviews are among the best of the wide releases so far this year. On the other hand, its is dealing with direct competition. Back to the original hand, its direct competition sucks. If I'm right, Rogue Nation will have a big bounce on Saturday, as moviegoers abandon Fantastic Four. This will allow Rogue Nation to earn first place on the daily chart, but it will still have to settle for second place over the weekend with just over $30 million.

I think there will be a tight race for third place between The Gift and Ricki and the Flash with the former having a slight lead over the latter. The Gift has 93% positive reviews, making it one of the best-reviewed wide releases of the year. While it doesn't have a lot of star power, it also doesn't have a lot of direct competition and the film likely didn't cost a ton to make. I think it will pull in just over $10 million this weekend, which should be enough to earn third place, while making the studio happy at the same time.

Ricki and the Flash is the latest movie starring Meryl Streep and there is already some buzz that she will earn yet another Oscar nomination for her performance. That's not because the movie is amazing. Its reviews are merely mixed. However, every time Meryl Streep is in a movie, she tends to get at least some Awards Season buzz. Unfortunately, the reviews are weaker than expected and the buzz isn't great either, so it won't live up to expectations. That said, if it can come in fourth with just under $10 million, it should have the legs to break even sometime on the home market.

Vacation should round out the top five, mainly by default. Its reviews are just 25% positive, so I doubt it will have great legs. A 50% drop-off seems likely, which would give the film a weekend haul of $7.5 million and a running tally of $35 million. It should finish with just over $50 million, making it a mid-level hit.

The final new release of the week is Shaun of the Sheep, which began its run on Wednesday. The film earned eighth place with $852,000 in 2,202 theaters. Its per theater average is terrible and is lower than any of the films in the top five. On the other hand, its reviews are nearly perfect with a Tomatometer Score of 99%. The film should bounce back from its Wednesday number, partially because of its reviews, partially because of its target demographic, but also because it really can't get much worse. Even optimistically, the film will come dangerous close to the Mendoza Line with $6 million over the weekend. Under $4 million is sadly a real possibility. Splitting the difference gets us an opening weekend of $5 million.


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Filed under: Weekend Preview, Fantastic Four, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, Ricki and the Flash, Vacation, Shaun the Sheep, The Gift, Meryl Streep, Roger Corman