Category: Box office battle

Thanks to “Annabelle: Creation,” the Conjuring franchise has passed $1 billion.

James Wan directed “The Conjuring” and “The Conjuring 2,” which starred Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga.

Wan also directed the first “Saw” film. That series will see a new installment, “Jigsaw” later this year.

“The Conjuring” universe continues to flex its muscle at the box office. “Annabelle: Creation” earned $4 million from its Thursday previews.

That’s almost double the $2.1 million “Annabelle” earned and is also higher than “The Conjuring” (James Wan, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) and “The Conjuring 2”.

Horror movies can be very front loaded, so it still may not reach the level of those first three films, but at this point, an opening above $30 million seems likely.

“War for the Planet of the Apes” played much more like “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” than “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

The third film in the rebooted series brought in an estimated $56.5 million. That’s good enough for first place, but well below “Dawn,” which opened with $72.5 million.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” took second with $45.2 million.

A pair of new releases take aim at Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson.

Can either take over the top spot?

The short answer is no. “Beauty and the Beast” fell 48 percent in its second weekend. That mark is a pretty strong hold considering the size of its opening weekend.

A similar drop this weekend will put it in the $45 to 50 million range.

“The Boss Baby” will be the top newcomer in second. The animated film may not live up to past animated hits, including last year’s “Home” or even “The Croods” and may only get to $30 to 35 million.

Opening in third will be “Ghost in the Shell” with Scarlett Johansson. Pre-release tracking had it around the likes of “The Maze Runner” so expect this one to earn around $30 million.

“Beauty and the Beast” was always going to open big. How much did it make?

Estimates place the remake of the Disney classic earning $170 million. That would be enough to top the $166 million earned by “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” for a new March record and is the seventh-biggest opening weekend ever.

“Beauty and the Beast” stars Emma Watson, Luke Evans and Josh Gad.

“Kong: Skull Island” dropped to second, earning $28.9 million. That’s a decent hold for the monster film, while “Logan” took third with $17.5 million.

“Beauty and the Beast” earned a massive $63.78 million on Friday. That is a notch below “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and the $81.5 million it earned on its opening Friday, but comic book films are almost always more front loaded.

The Disney film starring Emma Watson (“Harry Potter”) should wind up around $160-170 million for the weekend.


The tale as old as time returns to theaters. There’s no question “Beauty and the Beast” will open above $100 million. How high will it soar?

Disney has had a lot of success bringing animated classics to live action. “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” and “The Jungle Book” all enjoyed strong box office numbers but “Beauty and the Beast” stands in a class above them.

The animated film was released in 1991, meaning fans of that film are old enough to have nostalgia set in and many may have children of their own to bring. “Beauty and the Beast” stands tall as one of those revered films with music that people still sing today.

All that means anticipation is sky high. The movie earned $16.7 million during preview showings, much higher than other recent family hits like “Finding Dory” ($9.2 million). This film will light the box office on fire. Can it catch “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and its $166 million March record? It’ll be close.

Opening weekend prediction: $160-170 million.

There’s nothing quite like the start of May. Yes, the movie release schedule has become much more varied in recent years, with blockbusters invading all parts of the calendar. But there’s nothing quite like the start of the summer movie season.

The moments before the summer movie season begins are among my most hopeful. The time when all the would-be blockbusters seem like they could surprise, entertain and wow us. When the hype, excitement and hope is at its highest point. When a quick look at the movie schedule over the next four months brings questions on just how am I going to see all these movies? As a movie fan, there are few times that rival the start of May.

What will this summer bring? Let’s take a quick look. Part one will look at Superhero films and animation. Part two will hit this weekend and look at big sequels and potential breakouts.

Superhero showdown

Possibly the biggest film of the summer will also be its first. “Captain America: Civil War” is essentially an Avengers film. And both of those can lay claim to two of the top five opening weekends of all time. The buzz has been high and the reviews have been strong. Add in seeing the appeal of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) face off, as well as several of the other heroes in the Marvel universe, and this is a slam dunk. Marvel can do no wrong so far and the hype on this one seems higher than even “Age of Ultron”. It won’t be “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”-type numbers, but it may be the highest Marvel opening ever.

Opening weekend: $210 million.

Total: $550 million.

“X-Men: Apocalypse” seems like it should be set to enter the upper echelon of franchises. Yet, “Days of Future Past”, which performed strongly with critics and holds a very strong rating on IMDB, topped out at $233 million, essentially tied with “The Last Stand”. Only one X-Men film has grossed more than $300 million: Deadpool.

Given this track record, it’s hard to see Apocalypse doing significantly better, even if this is a great film.

Opening weekend: $115-120 million (four-day).

Total: $240-250 million.

“Suicide Squad” will be among the most interesting to watch from a box office perspective. It’s being released in August, which normally isn’t a great time (though “Guardians of the Galaxy proved a film can thrive in this timeframe). Will Smith provides a huge name, though everyone remembers “After Earth” don’t we?

The biggest question is how, if at all, does “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” affect this film. It is a connected universe, after all. And that film’s bad reception has caused a very different trailer to come out, one that makes the film look far lighter than all previous trailers. I wonder if that will dent this film’s long-term prospects.

Opening weekend: $85-95 million.

Total: $260-270 million.

Animation overload?

In a somewhat unusual situation, there could be a major animation overload this summer. “Finding Dory” will likely be the cream of the crop. Pixar unleashes a sequel to one of its most beloved films. It should improve significantly on “Finding Nemo” in terms of opening box office. The first film hit theaters with $70.5 million. This one should flirt with $100 million. The overall quality will determine its legs, though. “Toy Story 3” was great. “Monsters University” fell off rather quickly by Pixar standards.

Opening weekend: $90-100 million.

Total: $290-310 million.

I’m still not sure if I’m excited for “The Secret Life of Pets”. But thanks to a stellar marketing campaign, this one could be one of the summer’s breakout hits. The premise seems fun and one that, surprisingly, hasn’t been explored yet.

Opening weekend: $70-80 million.

Total: $230-270 million.

“The Angry Birds Movie” is one of those that could be hard to predict. I don’t know a single person who is excited for this film, but it should do well drawing the millions and millions of kids out to theaters. “The Lego Movie” taught us that films like this can surprise. But my guess is if “Finding Dory” is up to Pixar’s lofty standards, this one may struggle to find its audience.

Opening weekend: $35-45 million.

Total: $130-150 million.

“Ice Age: Collision Course” sees the band getting back together .. again. The series has had diminishing returns in the U.S. And coming hot on the heels of “The Secret Life of Pets”, this one smells bomb to me.

Opening weekend: $30-40 million.

Total: $110-130 million.

By Brandon Engel

October is by and large the unofficial horror film month. As the weather grows increasingly chilly and the leaves fall from the trees baring their skeletons there is a spooky feeling in the air (and it’s not just the trick or treaters). Of course, Halloween being the ending note to the month certainly helps solidify horror films popularity during October, but there’s just something about that autumn breeze rustling the leaves and shaking the tree branches that makes it optimal weather to get scared out of your mind.

When looking for some great horror films to watch people usually revert to the classics. Psycho, Halloween, Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and Night of the Living Dead are often at the top of every horror buff’s list. Given the current (laughable) state of horror films, who could blame them for looking for older films to give them that fright? Fighting back against the typical overkill that’s dominating today’s horror films are a handful of directors who’ve been able to create this generation’s horror classics. Sure, you can watch those great horror marathons that many cable stations are airing right now (like the AMC Fear Fest, SyFy Channel’s 31 Days of Horror, and more – try here for ways to watch), or you can build your own marathon of the older greats and the new classics. Let’s take a look at the top five best horror films of the modern age that you can add to that list.

Donnie Darko

While not being a jump-out-of-your-seat typical horror film, this 2001 film is a psychologically thrilling film that stirs up an incredible amount of anxiety from it’s viewers. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the titular character it takes place in 1988 in Middlesex, Virginia. In the film Donnie starts to have visions of a man named Frank who appears to him wearing a rabbit costume, Frank warns Donnie the end of the world will happen in 28 days. The film follows Donnie as he struggles in school and in therapy, where he’s diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. We watch as Donnie’s mental state deteriorates and relationships become strained building up to a bewildering climax at the end of the film.

The Conjuring

This 2013 film directed by James Wan and starring Vera Farmiga made over $318 million during it’s run in theaters and became one of the highest grossing horror films of all time. Tens of millions of people all around the world rushed to theaters to watch this supernatural horror film set in rural Rhode Island in the 1970’s.
Farmiga plays Carolyn Perron who, along with her husband Roger and daughters Sadie, Cindy, Andrea, Christine, Nancy, and April, begin to experience paranormal events following the discovery of Sadie laying dead outside the house one morning. Following Sadie’s death the strange and unexplained events begin to take place more frequently and becoming more violent. In a state of panic Carolyn brings in paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who inform her that her home was once owned by a witch who placed a curse on the land before sacrificing a newborn baby and herself to the devil in 1863. As the Warren’s try to help the Perrons rid themselves of his curse, the activity takes a turn for the extreme and puts everyone’s lives in danger.

Drag Me to Hell

As if the name itself wasn’t frightening enough this Sam Raimi directed film tells the story of an ordinary bank loan officer named Christine (played by Alison Lohman). She enjoys her job but her boss tells her she’s got to be tougher with her loans if she wants to advance in the bank. She takes his advice and decides to deny a mortgage extension to an elderly woman who begins to beg and plead her to reconsider or she’ll lose her house. Christine asks security to take the woman away because she’s scared of the woman, and after she gets off work the woman attacks her, rips a button from her coat, and uses it to place a curse on her.
She later visits a fortune teller who informs her she has been cursed and and as long as she possesses the cursed object (the button) she will be haunted by the demon Lamia who will torture her for three days before dragging her to hell. As the three days progress Christine is visited multiple times by Lamia physically and psychologically attacks her and drives her toward madness. She continues to see the fortune teller who is her only hope to understand what is going on, but her three days are running out and she’ll soon be dragged to hell if she doesn’t find a way to break the curse.

The Cabin in the Woods

This film, which serves as an incredibly promising directorial debut forDrew Goddard, tells the story of a group of college students who take a weekend retreat to a remote cabin in the woods. The cabin and it’s surroundings are being controlled by two men who are working from an underground facility and part of a mysterious project or group that has drugged the group and is monitoring them.
After one of them inadvertently summons the zombies of the sadistic former owners of the cabin the group must fight for their lives while trying to understand what is going on. With the zombies attacking and the group frantically trying their best to escape, their efforts are fought by those at the facility, who are watching with bated breath. The film not only creates a sense of fear from the zombie attacks, but also mystery from never fully knowing what the men monitoring the situation are motivated by until the end.

Let the Right One In

While this Swedish horror film may require you to read subtitles, the sense of fear it projects is international. Set in the suburbs of Stockholm in the film follows a bullied 12 year old boy named Oskar. When he meets a strange girl his own age named Eli, he immediately falls in love with her despite her eccentricities. Those eccentricities, Oskar soon finds out, are due to the fact that Eli is a vampire, and her father is the one who’s bringing her blood from the bodies of those he’s killed to keep her alive. Despite his young age Oskar is in an all too real mental battle between feeling love or repulsion towards Eli.

Michael Bay is back with a new “Transformers” movie. Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer head the human cast. Is this film the best in the franchise? Or is time for this series to roll out.

The Good

Let’s face it. We know what’s good about a “Transformers” film. There are those money shots that are indeed glorious. But there are also long action scenes involving the humans that aren’t the military. And it’s a breath of fresh air … at first.

Perhaps more surprising is that, even though the film’s run time approaches three hours, it didn’t feel like the longest of the series to me. That may not be high praise, but hey, it’s praise all the same.

There’s way more focus on the human characters this time around … which isn’t always a good thing. But, the characters aren’t nearly as annoying as some of the characters who appeared in past installments. And, Tucci is entertaining throughout while Grammer does his best with his limited character.

The Bad

With the focus so much on the human characters, there’s surprisingly little robot action in this one. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of action scenes. But, never the all out robot vs. robot battle the film was seemingly building up toward. Focusing on story may seem like a step in the right direction … Except when the story is pointless, dumb and with characters who don’t think or act like a rational human being in parts.

Also, none of the characters rank as overly annoying, but they all have their moments. And there are absolute throw away characters who serve almost no purpose in the film (though I’m sure some would make the argument all the human characters in this franchise serve no purpose).

The Final Word

At times, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” seems to bring the franchise into new directions that could be genuinely interesting. At other times, you’re reminded that this franchise has some really bad moments in them. If you’re looking for a lot of action, you won’t be disappointed. But those hoping a new cast meant a new start will be disappointed.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at