Tag Archive: Universal


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.

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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.

 

 

 

“Dumb & Dumber To” back on

Warner Brothers decided to drop the “Dumb & Dumber” sequel, appropriately titled “Dumb & Dumber To” a couple weeks ago. Peter and Bobby Farrelly were ready to go apparently with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels returning. The good news is fans still might see it. Universal has picked up the rights to the film and plans to move ahead.

On one hand, I’m skeptical and question why we need a sequel. On the other hand Carrey is famous for not doing sequels, so maybe he’s seen the script and it’ll be really good. Though the Farrelly brothers’ recent history would suggest otherwise.

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

“Fast and Furious 6” is on its way to becoming the highest grossing film domestically and internationally in the hit franchise. The film set an opening weekend record for Universal when it opened to $97 million. The film has now crossed $500 million, the fastest to reach that mark in Universal history. The film stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Luke Evans and more. Justin Lin directed.

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

It was supposed to be one of the most competitive weekends this summer, but Memorial Day weekend saw “Fast and Furious 6” dominate. The film earned an estimated $96 million over the three day weekend and $120 million over four days. “The Hangover Part III” opened to less than half of that with a $41 million three day start and now has a five day start of $63 million. “Epic” is off to a $42 million four day start.

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

Well. Here we go. A few weeks ago I wrote against studios using things like Kickstarter to help fund movies (a la “Veronica Mars”). But now that’s going to be put to the test for me. I’ve made it no secret here that “Friday Night Lights” is my favorite television show of all time. Now producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are looking to crowd fund the film partially to bring the series to the big screen. The TV series starred Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Aimee Teegarden, Taylor Kitsch and a lot more. I’m still not sure I like the idea of having fans fund a movie then be asked to pay to see the movie afterwards and support it financially. But I must say, I would be excited to see FNL with Eric Taylor come back.

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

Only one new major release this weekend as Tom Cruise returns to theaters in “Oblivion”. Cruise’s “Minority Report” is a fan favorite and was successful last decade. Can “Oblivion” live up to those expectations?

Cruise is coming off of “Jack Reacher”, which underperformed at the box office. But this one is an ambitious sci fi epic from the look of the trailers and the film is clearly looking to bring in summer sized audiences. Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) is directing and so far reviews have been OK, praising the visuals and Cruise, but criticizing the story. That could spell trouble in the long run because sci fi films tend to live or die based on whether its story can stand up to the action and special effects. Still, its opening weekend should be sizable given the lack of sci fi films like this in recent months. The promise of action and intrigue will be enough to get the sci fi die hards out in large numbers. Universal has had success in April with “Fast and Furious” and “Fast Five” both doing big business in the month, so while this one won’t reach astronomical numbers, expect a strong opening. The biggest worrisome thing is there were plans to release the film a week early in IMax to build word-of-mouth buzz. But those plans were cancelled, which in my mind means the studio realized it didn’t have a great film on its hands.

Opening weekend: $40-45 million

Expect “42”, the film about Jackie Robinson to hold extremely well and earn about $20 million in its second weekend.

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

“Pitch Perfect” was one of last year’s surprise hits and I’ll be honest, it was a very enjoyable and surprisingly funny film. Now Universal has confirmed “Pitch Perfect 2” to come out in 2015. That’s a long ways off and director Jason Moore hasn’t been confirmed to be coming back. But you can bet Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Skylar Astin endrick will be back.

By the way, here’s Kendrick in a music video for “When I’m Gone”, a song she made famous with her using cups to accompany herself.

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

Dwayne Johnson hinted that if the next Fast and Furious film shot this summer he would have to drop out because of his schedule. But just because director Justin Lin is out and James Wan is in doesn’t mean Universal won’t move…fast and furiously to get “Fast and Furious 7” out. At CinemaCon, the release date for the seventh film was set for July 11, 2014. That’s fast considering “Fast and Furious 6” comes out this Memorial Day weekend. The sixth film stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and more. The seventh film is rumored to have Jason Statham as the villain.

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

At one point, Universal was going to move forward with a reported $200 million adaptation of “Bioshock”. “The Lone Ranger: helmer Gore Verbinski was on board and was looking to make a “hard R” rated horror film. What went wrong?

“Watchmen”. Ken Levine had this to say to Edge Online: “There was a deal in place and it was actually in production at Universal, and Gore Verbinski was directing it. And what happened was — this is my theory — it’s a very big movie and Gore was very excited about it and he wanted to make a very dark, what he would call a ‘hard-rated’ horror film — an R-rated film with a lot of blood. Then “Watchmen” came out — and I really liked “Watchmen” — but it didn’t do well for whatever reason and the studio got cold feet about making an R-rated $200 million film.”

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