December 16th, 2014
It is getting very close to Christmas and while this means there are more and more people shopping, it also means the new releases are less likely to stand out in a sea of sales. The biggest release of the week is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is coming out on a 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack. However, it is also one of the worst big releases of the year. There are some releases that are contenders for Pick of the week, including Extant: Season 1 on DVD or Blu-ray, Tootsie on Blu-ray, and The Americans: Season 2 on DVD. In the end, I went with The Skeleton Twins on Blu-ray.
September 30th, 2014
The Equalizer easily won the race for the top of the box office chart this weekend earning almost as much as the next two films combined. Those next two films were The Maze Runner and The Boxtrolls, both of which exceeded expectations, albeit by tiny margins. The strength of these three films helped the overall box office reach $106 million, which is 4% higher than last weekend. On the other hand, this was 2% lower than the same weekend last year. Year-to-date, 2014 has pulled in $7.51 billion, which is a massive amount when you look at it without context. However, it is nearly $400 million or 4.9% lower than last year's pace, which is also a massive amount. It is technically possible for 2014 to catch up to 2013 before the end of the year, but only if October is a really strong month at the box office. It won't be.
September 25th, 2014
The Equalizer and The Boxtrolls opens wide this week. They are an action film and a family flick and the last weekend of September has been kind to both genres. The Equalizer could become the fastest opening film of the month, which might be enough to get it all the way to $100 million during its entire run. The Boxtrolls, on the other hand, is a Stop-motion animated film, which rarely rises above the midlevel hit. This weekend last year, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 opened with $34.02 million, which is right in the middle of the expected range for The Equalizer, plus the depth is better this year, so 2014 should win the year-over-year competition.
September 22nd, 2014
The Maze Runner easily won the weekend box office race this past weekend beating expectations by a little bit with $32.51 million. Unfortunately, the other new releases were not as strong and their combined totals were about 25% lower than the number one film. Overall, the box office was $103 million, which is 14% higher than last weekend and 18% higher than the same weekend last year. This is a fantastic result, given the box office troubles of the past several weeks. Year-to-date, 2014 is still behind 2013 by a large margin at $7.38 billion to $7.75 billion, which is a 4.8% deficit. Hopefully this win will help the box office going forward and the fall will be better than the summer was.
September 21st, 2014
The Maze Runner will be the first film to top $30 million at the box office in six weeks, bringing a welcome boost to the industry at the beginning of the Fall season. With $32.5 million projected for the weekend, and overall positive reviews, Fox could have a modest new franchise on its hands. Things look less rosy for the weekend’s other wide releases. A Walk Among the Tombstones will have a disappointing debut around $13 million—the worst result for a wide release starring Liam Neeson since K-19: The Widowmaker back in 2002, or, if one takes inflation into account, the 1998 version of Les Miserables. This is Where I Leave You lands with a projected $11.86 million, and reviews that aren’t good enough to give it much hope of redemption via word of mouth.
September 18th, 2014
There are a trio of new wide releases this week, led by The Maze Runner, which is expected to top the box office chart and it is also currently earning the best reviews, although it is so close that it could change with a single new negative review. (It did change about five minutes after writing that, as it fell to second place.) The buzz for A Walk Among the Tombstones hasn't grown like I thought it would, but it still looks on pace to become a midlevel hit. On the other hand, This is Where I Leave You's chances are weakening and it looks like it won't finish in the top three. There is some good news. This weekend last year, Prisoners was the only film to earn more than $20 million, while Insidious Chapter 2 was the only other film to earn more than $10 million. This weekend, we could have five films earning more than $10 million and the number one film could earn more than $30 million.
September 12th, 2014
Three new releases enter the marketplace next weekend: The Maze Runner, This is Where I Leave You, and A Walk Among the Tombstones. I don't think any of them will be breakout hits, but The Maze Runner has the best chance to earn first place, even if its legs likely won't be very long. Because of this, it is the best choice for 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 The Maze Runner.
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 of Dynasty: The Final Season - Vol 1 & 2 Pack on DVD.
Whoever comes the closest to predicting the film's opening 3-day weekend box office (Friday to Sunday), without going under, will win a previously reviewed TV on DVD release.
Entries must be received by 10 a.m., Pacific Time on Friday to be eligible, so don't delay!
September 1st, 2014
August was a great month, it is as simple as that. Not only did Guardians of the Galaxy break records, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a surprise hit as well. These early gains led to an extended winning streak in the year-over-year comparison. Granted, 2014 is still more than $300 million behind 2013, but this is substantially less than the gap was before the month. Can September maintain this run? I'm not sure. Last September was strong compared to most Septembers with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 earning more than $100 million while Insidious Chapter 2 came relatively close. This year, there likely won't be any $100 million hits, but I think The Equalizer should at least come close. Meanwhile, there are some who think The Maze Runner will be the biggest hit of the month, but I'm not among them. There have been too many similar releases that have struggled to think this one will be a hit. I think September will get off to a terrible start, but overall I think it will be close to last year.