Tag Archive: Pixar


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.

With the limited access to computers I’ll be having over this week and next this will be an abbreviated version of the Box office battle.

This week, four films hit theaters. Will any break out?

“Turbo” features the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Snoop Dogg and more. And it’s premise about a racing slug has the possibility of attracting the same kind of crowd that Pixar’s “Cars” brought in. But, it’s being released after “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2” and with the much more anticipated (ugh) “The Smurfs 2” still to come, one has to wonder if this will be the odd animated film left out. Still, it still should do better than say “Rise of the Guardians” but probably not by much.

Opening weekend: $30-35 million

James Wan is back with “The Conjuring”. The director of “Saw” and “Insidious” has Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga starring in this film, which is gaining a ton of buzz about how scary it is. It’s not opening in as many theaters as the other films, but this one could make a strong play for first place.

Opening weekend: $28-33 million

“RED 2” stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, Brian Cox and Neal McDonough. But the star power won’t help this film. The first film opened to $21 million on its way to $90 million domestically and nearly $200 million worldwide. I doubt it matches those numbers domestically as many view it as an unnecessary sequel to an OK first film, though it should open around the same level.

Opening weekend: $20-25 million

Finally we have “R.I.P.D.” The presence of Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds won’t help this film escape its “Men in Black” knockoff feel and, frankly, it looks like this summer’s “Jonah Hex”. Never a good thing.

Opening weekend: $10-15 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

You’d think Disney would learn that some expensive projects (“John Carter”, “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp) just aren’t worth it. I mean, with Pixar, you’ve made “Toy Story”, “Up” and more. You have animated classics like “The Lion King” and “Cinderella”. For many, the animated “The Jungle Book” is on the list of their favorite animated films. Get ready for a new live action version of it. Now “The Jungle Book” was a live action film in 1994, but who remembers that one? Exactly. It seems to be a trend with Disney with “Maleficent” (“Sleeping Beauty”) and “Cinderella” also future live action films based on Disney’s animated classics. Don’t forget they made “Alice in Wonderland” from Tim Burton. Ugh. At least one of these films is going to flop…big time.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

It’s hard to feel bad for Disney. They own Marvel Studios, with “Iron Man 3” becoming one of the top grossing films of all time. They own Pixar and “Monsters University” earned more than $400 million worldwide so far. Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” earned nearly $500 million worldwide. And yet for all its success, the last two years it’s now home to two of the biggest bombs in recent memory. Last year, it was of course “John Carter”. From Pixar darling Andrew Stanton and starring Taylor Kitsch, the film lost $200 million. First, the good news for Disney. “The Lone Ranger” starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, isn’t expected to lose that much. The bad news? It could cost the studio $150 million if current box office projections hold. Makes you wonder if Disney will sever ties with Jerry Bruckheimer. He did bring the studio “Pirates of the Caribbean”, but also “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Universal’s “Despicable Me 2” featuring the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt and more, opened to $142 million over its first five days. That’s just higher than Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story 3”. Though it will see a stiff drop because of the holiday weekend being over, this film should get to $350 million and make a push for $400 million. Meanwhile, “The Lone Ranger” starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp struggled to $48.9 million over its first five days. That’s better than “Cowboys and Aliens”, but it failed to find the audience Disney was looking for. And with a budget of more than $200 million, this one doesn’t look good.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

 

Two big movies are hitting theaters tomorrow. One a sure-fire family hit, the other a big budget western blockbuster. How well will they do?

“Monsters University” may have taken the top spot the past two weekends, but this is the first summer in a long while that another studio is going to smash them for the top spot in terms of animated films. Universal’s “Despicable Me 2” sees Steve Carell return to voice Gru and the minions are back in full force. The first film earned more than $250 million. And with no major animated films coming out (sorry “Turbo) this is going to at least exceed that by a little bit. Expect a monstrous first week.

Opening week: $110-120 million.

Armie Hamer and Johnny Depp star in “The Lone Ranger”, the big budget film that reunites Depp with “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski. Disney’s playing up that angle a lot, but it has a lot going against it. First, the last Western film to open over the July 4 holiday? “Wild Wild West”. And while “True Grit” was very successful, earning $171 million domestically, that was an Oscar contender and had Jeff Bridges. The last summer Western films have been utter failures with “Cowboys and Aliens” and “Jonah Hex”. With a lot of competition for the young male crowd, this film won’t reach the heights Disney was hoping. In fact, it likely won’t earn as much as”True Grit” after it’s all said and done.

Opening week: $70-80 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

 

 

 

“Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig has another hit on his hand. “The Heat” starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy opened to $40 million. That’s the biggest opening in Bullock’s career and way ahead of “Bridesmaids”, which opened to just more than $26 million. Disney/Pixar’s “Monsters University, however, repeated in first with an estimated $46.2 million. Despite having big star power in director Roland Emmerich and stars Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum, “White House Down” opened to $25.7 million, lower than “Olympus Has Fallen”, which had Gerard Butler.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

It’s rare for a movie studio to listen to fans instead of cash. On the surface, it appears Pixar is doing just that, however. With “Cars 2” and “Monsters University”, both made a lot of cash but were critical disappointments. Look at it this way, between 1995 and 2010, the lowest rotten tomato score for any Pixar film was “Cars” at 74 percent. Films like “Up”, “Toy Story 3”, “Toy Story 2”, “Wall E” and more all earned near 100 percent scores. Since then? The studio’s first “rotten” film and a prequel that everyone thought was OK. Well, here’s what Pixar’s Ed Catmull told Buzzfeed:

“For artistic reasons … it’s really important that we do an original film a year. Every once in a while, we get a film where we want or people want to see something continuing in that world — which is the rationale behind the sequel. They want those characters, which means we were successful with them. But if you keep doing that, then you aren’t doing original films.”

Of course with “Finding Dory” coming up, they’re not ditching sequels altogether. But it’s nice to see them take a step toward becoming Pixar again.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

It was a good weekend for Disney/Pixar and Brad Pitt. “Monsters University”, which features the voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman, topped the box office with $82 million, for the studio’s biggest opening since “Toy Story 3”. Marc Forster’s zombie film “World War Z” starring Brad Pitt shattered expectations, earning $66 million to take second while Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” tumbled to take $41.2 million in its second weekend.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.

Tow big releases face off against “Man of Steel”. Marc Forster’s and Brad Pitt’s troubled zombie film “World War Z” finally hits theaters while Disney/Pixar goes back to the well again with “Monsters University” featuring John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Which film will come out on top?

The Pixar brand has taken a hit lately. After the masterpiece that was “Toy Story 3” we got “Cars 2” and the disappointing “Brave”. Now comes “Monsters University”, a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” That movie is considered one of Pixar’s better movies. But prequels are inherently unnecessary .We already know Mike and Sully become best friends. And, as I’ve written before, without Boo, I think you take away the catalyst to the first movie’s charm. Reviews have been OK, but not great and with “Despicable Me 2” looming, one has to wonder if this will fail to reach the heights of other Pixar films. Opening weekend, however, should be strong.

Opening weekend: $75-80 million

“World War Z” has had such a troubled past with various rewrites and reshooting the third act. But reviews have been surprisingly decent and the trailers play up the end of the world aspect instead of the zombies. Brad Pitt is a big star, but “Inglourious Basterds” was the last film he was in that opened to more than $20 million, and he was really part of an ensemble. The film should battle it out with “Man of Steel” for second place.

Opening weekend: $45-50 million

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.