Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Box Office Predictions Results!

Back in May of 2016, my nephew Kyle made a number of box office predictions for the year's upcoming films. I chimed in as well with some observations of my own on this vitally important topic.

Welp, 2016 is finally over (thank the Maker!), so let's take a look and see how we did with our predictions.

But first a quick primer on Hollywood finance and the box office. Due to marketing and other hidden costs, these days a film needs to gross at least twice its production budget just to break even. Anything it makes after that is considered profit.

For example, suppose 20th Century Fox produces a movie called Summer Blockbuster, which costs $100 million dollars to film. Summer Blockbuster goes on to gross a whopping $250 million at the box office. Sounds pretty good, huh? Eh, not so fast!

According to our formula, Summer Blockbuster needs to make $200 million just to recoup its production costs and break even. Subtract that from its $250 million box office gross, and it turns out the film only made a profit of $50 million. In essence, Fox just spent $100 million to make $50 million. Looks like they should have kept their money in their vault.

Using this handy formula, we'll see that despite appearances, there were actually very few financial successes this year.

OK, on with our 2016 Box Office Prediction Results!

Note: Kyle's original comments are in blue, mine are in red. My comments on how the movies actually performed are in black. All box office grosses listed are worldwide totals.

The Angry Birds Movie

Kyle: This is about 4 years too late. Nobody plays Angry Birds anymore, and from the trailer the jokes look too adult-themed/vulgar to create any positive word-of-mouth after the opening weekend. The upside is this only cost $75 million to make, so a modest box office could still net the studio a profit.

Bob: I agree this movie's probably coming too late, but these CGI animated films take years to produce. It's entirely possible they started it when the Angry Birds were still hot.

The trailer didn't do anything for me either, so I'm betting this will be a moderate hit at best.

Budget: $73 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $347 million

Kyle was a bit non-commital here, and I predicted a moderate hit. Looks like we were both wrong. Despite the fact I heard little or no buzz about it, it somehow made almost $350 million worldwide! Based on its relatively low budget, that's a huge box office success.

Winner: Neither of us.

Alice Through The Looking Glass

Kyle: The last Disney Alice in Wonderland movie made a lot of money, but this one worries me a little. It’s borderline too late (6 years after the last installment) and Tim Burton is not returning, instead Disney handed the reigns to the director of the last Muppets movie. However, even a 50% dropoff from the last movie would still net over $500 million.

Bob: Don't forget that the first movie's BILLION dollar gross was worldwide. Here in the States it "only" made $334 million. So it's gonna have an uphill climb to match the success of the original.

The first movie was a very loose adaptation of the two Alice books. That means this one has no blueprint to follow, and is a completely new story. Will audiences be interested in an Alice movie that's 100% new? Is today's average moviegoer even aware there are Alice books?

Budget: $170 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $299 million

Kyle said he was "worried" about this film, which I guess is sort of a negative prediction. I said the movie would face an uphill climb to match the success of the original. So I guess we were both sort of right.

Somehow this film managed to rake in $300 million, which sounds like quite a bit. If we apply our box office formula to it though, we see it needed to make $340 just to break even. Definitely a bomb.

Winner: Both of us, kind of.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Kyle: I’m a little worried about this one. The trailers have been pretty bland and the story is looking pretty generic.

Bob: Looks like a perfectly good waste of Oscar Isaac to me.

We live in interesting times. If you showed this trailer to me in 1980, I would have freaked the hell out, as it would have been the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. Nowadays there've been so many movies just like this that all it generates is a yawn.

Budget: $178 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $544 million

Again, Kyle was worried about this one, which I guess is a thumbs down. I just talked about how boring the trailer was, which isn't really a prediction.

Let's apply our Box Office Formula here. X-Men Apocalypse cost $178 million to make. 2 x $178 million = $356 million. It grossed $544 million, so if we subtract $356 from that, we get $188 million in profit. Not much of a return on their $178 million investment.

Winner: Neither of us.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows

Kyle: Didn’t see the last one. Never been a fan of the ninja turtles. But the turtles are popular again thanks to the new animated series, so it’ll do ok at the box office.

Bob: I saw the first movie on Amazon Prime a few months ago. It wasn't great, but it wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen either. I think it'll do OK as well, providing nothing else siphons money from it.

Budget: $135 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $246 million

Kyle and I both predicted it'd do OK. Unfortunately it barely managed to gross a little more than twice its budget, for a profit of around $24 million. I'd call that a financial flop.

I wouldn't hold my breath for a TMNT III, unless they make it with a drastically reduced budget. Maybe they could just focus on ONE of the turtles to save money, and send the other three out of town for the duration of the movie?

Winner: Neither of us.


Kyle: This will bomb. It’ll be another Jack The Giant-Slayer.

Bob: Hey, I kind of liked Jack The Giant-Slayer.

Maybe I just don't travel in the right circles, but I'm not hearing ANY buzz about this film. I think you're right— it's going to be an expensive bomb.

Budget: $160 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $433 million

Kyle and I both predicted this would be an expensive bomb. It somehow squeaked by, thanks to the Chinese box office. If you apply the box office formula here, the film made a $113 profit. Not quite a bomb, but not an astonishing success, either.

Winner: Neither of us.

Finding Dory

Kyle: It almost seems like it’s too late to make this sequel, and Pixar has been really hit or miss since Disney moved most of their top people to their in-house animation studio. I think this will make over $800 million but not be as critically successful as Finding Nemo.

Bob: Eh, it's Pixar. At this point they could release a movie of Woody and Buzz reading the phone book for ninety minutes, and it'd gross $800 million.

It's been thirteen years (!) since the first one, but I don't think that'll hurt it. The kids who watch the original six times a day on DVD don't know when it came out, so I think they'll hungrily lap up this new one.

Budget: $200 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $1,027,000,000 BILLION

We both correctly predicted a huge hit, but didn't realize it'd pass the billion dollar mark.

Winner: Both of us.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Kyle: This will suck, but who cares? It’s Independence Day. The original is terrible, yet also one of the most popular movies ever made. I think this will suffer from Will Smith not being in it a little, but I think this will be a fun movie. Plus, the buzz around this movie finally got fox to release the extended cut of the original on blu-ray, so I owe them a ticket purchase for that.

Bob: ID4 a terrible movie? You're dead to me. It's one of the greatest popcorn flicks ever made!

It's been a whopping TWENTY years since the first one! "Late Sequels" like this rarely work, because the culture and even filming styles change so much in the intervening years. If you make it exactly like the original, it feels too old fashioned. If you make it in the current style, then it doesn't feel enough like the original. There's no way to win.

I agree that the absence of Will Smith will hurt this one (but hey, Brent Spiner's apparently back from the dead!). I think it'll underperform.

Budget: $165 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $390 million

Kyle seemed somewhat positive about this one, while I said it would underperform. It barely made back its budget, managing to generate a limp $60 million profit. In essence Fox spent $165K to make $60K. I'd call that underperforming.

Winner: Me.


Kyle: This will be the next Adventures of Tin-Tin or Hugo, a good movie that will be neglected by critics and bomb at the box office. This will fly under the radar completely because of the crowded July release slate.

Bob: As someone who played a lot of Doom back in the day, I really, really wish they'd do something about that title…

Budget: $140 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $243 million

Kyle said it would bomb, while I just talked about the Doom video game for some reason.

Kyle was right— it's a massive bomb. Amazingly it only managed to gross a paltry $55 million here in the States! We live in interesting times— I never thought I'd see the day when a Spielberg movie would crash & burn at the box office. I think a big part of the problem is that the book is very well known in Europe and Australia, but virtually unheard of here in America. Well, that and the creepy looking CGI giant.

Winner: Kyle.

The Legend of Tarzan

Kyle: Did anyone ask for this? No? Didn’t think so.

Bob: Yep, bomb. Plus I'm having trouble accepting the idea of a Tarzan who wears pants.

I saw the trailer online, but have yet to see it in a theater or on TV. If they want the public to even be aware that this thing exists, they'd better step up their marketing, and fast.

Budget: $180 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $358 million

Kyle just asked if anyone wanted this film, but I guess that counts as a negative. I predicted it would bomb, apparently based on Tarzan's wardrobe.

Using our handy formula, it looks like the film made a whopping $2 million profit. That sounds like a bomb to me!

Winner: Both of us.

The Purge: Election Year

Kyle: The first movie was pretty boring, the sequel was much more exciting but very heavy-handed, I’d like to see this one find a better balance.

Bob: I feel the same way about this series— the first one was awful, and the second much better. In fact the second one may have been the best Punisher movie we've had so far.

This may be the movie worst poster I've ever seen. Where's Drew Struzan when we need him? They do understand what purge can also mean, right? It's basically saying, "I Vomited."

I fully expect to see some sort of over-the-top Donald Drumph analogue in this film.

Budget: $10 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $118 million

Neither of us really made any predictions here, as instead we aired our opinions on the franchise.

Due to the film's extremely low budget, anything it made would almost guarantee a profit. Using our box office gross formula, it looks like the film make a profit of $98 million, against their $10 million investment. It's a hit!

By the way, when I saw this film I had no idea it would turn out to be a documentary!

Winner: Neither of us.

The Secret Life Of Pets

Kyle: This looks like a Toy Story rip-off from the trailers. But it’s going to do OK at the box office and bury The BFG in its second weekend.

Bob: As a graphic designer I have to say that's one of the worst logos I've ever seen.

Budget: $75 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $875 million

Kyle said it would do OK, while I critiqued the logo for some reason.

$75 million for a CGI cartoon seems awfully cheap, but I guess I'll take their word for it. The film made a profit of $725 million, which makes it a HUGE hit no matter how you look at it.

Winner: Neither of us.


Kyle: Let’s just pretend this one doesn’t exist, okay? At least we’re getting ecto cooler back because of this.

Bob: By the gods, I'll be glad when this thing finally crashes and burns, er, I mean comes and goes, so I can stop hearing about it forever.

So they didn't even bother to come up with an original poster? It looks like all they did is take the old one, use the "bevel" function in Photoshop to give it a bit of dimension and call it a day. Disappointing.

I think it might do OK in its first week, as curious moviegoers come out to see it. Once word of mouth gets out, it'll have a 110% drop off in its second week. Yeah, I know what I said. 110%.

Budget: $144 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $229 million

Kyle denied the very existence of this film, which I guess is a negative, while said it would crash and burn (and ranted about the poster).

The movie couldn't manage to make back twice its budget, so it's definitely a bomb. Hopefully this will kill any plans for further abominations sequels.

Winner: Both of us.

Ice Age: Collision Course

Kyle: They’re still making these?

Bob: Are they in space now? I thought these things were about prehistoric animals?

Think about the poor people who spent their childhoods dreaming about becoming an animator, went to film school, worked hard, graduated, got a job at a major studio, and then were assigned to work on this.

Budget: $105 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $407 million

Both Kyle and I had nothing good to say about the film, but we didn't actually make any predictions as to how it would do.

Amazingly it somehow managed to generate a $197 million profit.

Winner: Neither of us.

Star Trek Beyond

Kyle: Need to see more to be convinced. Hopefully this buries Ghostbusters at the box office and kills its second weekend take.

Bob: I enjoyed the first one, but wanted to burn down the theater after seeing the second. I have zero hope or expectations for this one and hope it bombs so hard it leaves a crater.

The second movie was a weak retread of The Wrath Of Khan. This one looks like the Enterprise is destroyed, just like in The Search For Spock. So I can't wait until the next one, where they'll go back in time and save the whales again.

Budget: $185 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $341 million

Kyle hoped it would bury Ghostbusters. I was very mean to this one, saying I hoped it bombed spectacularly.

The film actually surprised me, as it turned out to be pretty darned good. Unfortunately it was a box office disaster, actually losing money for Paramount.

Winner: Me, sadly.

Jason Bourne

Kyle: Sleeper hit of the summer. $700 million plus.

Bob: I don't know about that... I've seen all these movies, but couldn't tell you what happened in which one if someone held a gun to my head. I think it'll do OK at best.

Budget: $120 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $413 million

Kyle boldly predicted this film would be a huge box office smash, while I said it would do OK at best.

Based on our box office formula, it made a modest $173 million profit.

Winner: Me, I guess.

Suicide Squad

Kyle: Keep trying, DC. Keep trying.

Bob: I have little or no interest in this one, but I think if any movie can break the DC movie curse, it'll be this one.

Budget: $175 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $745 million

Kyle made vaguely negative comments about the film, while I predicted it would break the "DC movie curse," which I think was a comment about the quality of the film, not a prediction about its financial success.

Turns out it's a huge box office success, against all logic and reason, making almost a $400 million profit.

Winner: Neither of us.

The Magnificent Seven

Kyle: Is Hollywood trying to make “modern” westerns still a thing?

Budget: $90 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $160 million

Kyle made sort of a negative statement, while I apparently refused to comment at all.

It wasn't a terrible film, but unfortunately it hasn't been able to scare up anywhere near twice its budget, so it's a bomb. Don't look for The Magnificent Eight anytime soon.

Winner: Kyle, I suppose.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Kyle: “We’re almost out of Divergent and Maze Runner movies! Quick, find a new franchise!”

Bob: Oh god no, this is a series of books? Did not know that. I don't see any sequels in its future. I feel like the public is over Tim Burton and his fatal doses of whimsy.

Budget: $110 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $281 million

Kyle was vaguely negative, while I was a little more firm in my prediction of doom.

Somehow the film made a $61 million profit, which is frankly shocking to me.

Winner: Neither of us.

The Girl On The Train

Kyle: I know next to nothing about this one, it’s based on book from the author of Gone Girl, which was a big hit, and Emily Blunt is staring.

Budget: $45 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $172 million

Kyle sort of made a positive comment, while I kept my mouth shut.

The film ended up making an $82 million profit, which I guess is sort of a hit.

Winner: Kyle, sort of.

Underworld: Blood Wars

Kyle: Are they still doing these?

Bob: Once again, I saw every one of these in the theater, but couldn't tell you anything about any of them if my life depended on it. Something about a busty vampire gal in fetish gear who hates werewolves?

Heh. This one's been pushed back to January 2017. The first of the year is the traditional film dumping ground, so that's gotta be a bad sign.

Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween

Kyle: This is why the terrorists hate us.

Bob: Heh. Well, I guess we're just not the target audience here. I've got to hand it to Tyler Perry's Tyler Perry, he hasn't let his lack of talent get in the way of his massive success.

Budget: $20 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $74 million

Kyle had some more vaguely negative comments, while I just insulted Tyler Perry's talent.

Due to the film's extremely low budget, it actually made a modest profit. Exactly like Perry's movie's always do, which is why he's allowed to keep pumping them out year after year.

Winner: Neither of us.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Kyle: Never saw the original. I guess it did well enough to warrant a sequel.

Bob: Eh, the first one was OK. There's not a lot of box office competition in October, so I think this one'll do alright.

Budget: $60 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $161 million

Kyle sort of said it might do OK, and I said it would do "alright."

It made a modest $21 million profit, which I guess could be considered OK and alright.

Winner: Both of us, I guess.


Kyle: They’re out of Saw movies, I guess someone wants to bring this franchise back from the dead (pun intended).

Bob: Never got the appeal of these movies. Thanks to their anemic PG-13 rating, they're about as terrifying as a basket of kittens.

This is another one that got pushed back to February 2017, the traditional film dumping ground. Not a good sign.

Doctor Strange

Kyle: If Marvel can pull of Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, they can pull this off. Just hope the whitewashing and the Tibet/Nepal controversy don’t hurt it too much.

Bob: It's Marvel Studios, and at this point they can do no wrong. It'll be another big hit for them

I'm already sick of hearing about the casting. Of course they whitewashed the part of the Ancient One! China has become a HUGE factor in worldwide box office. Films routinely make more there than they do here. There's no way in hell Marvel's going to risk that by bringing up Tibet and pissing off the Sleeping Dragon.

Budget: $165 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $648 million

We both said it would be a hit.

So far the film's made a $300 million profit, which is amazing for a character that only comic book fans know.

Winner: We're all winners!


Kyle: Based on the toys. Why God, why!?

Budget: $125 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $317 million

Kyle seemed pretty negative about the film, while I didn't say anything at all.

It turned out to be a modest hit, generating a $79 million profit. Pretty much ANY CGI animated feature is guaranteed to at least make back it's money these days.

Winner: Neither of us.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Kyle: After Batman v Superman, if Suicide Squad underperforms, WB NEEDS this to be a big hit to avoid their stock tanking in the 4th quarter.

Bob: Apparently J.K. Rowling doesn't just want money, she wants ALL the money.

The fact that this is an entirely new cast could work against it. Will audiences be interested in a Harry Potter movie without Harry Potter in it?

Budget: $180 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $747 million

Kyle didn't really make a prediction here, just saying Warner Bros. needed it to be a hit. I wondered if audiences would embrace a Harry Potter-less Harry Potter movie.

I guess I needn't have worried. The film's generated almost $400 million in profits (and counting).

Winner: Neither of us.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Kyle: Is it December yet!?

Bob: Gosh, I hope there's a Death Star in this one!

Same deal here as with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. Will audiences embrace a Star Wars movie without any familiar characters (Mon Mothma doesn't count)?

Budget: $200 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $653 million (and counting)

Kyle's comment indicated he couldn't wait for the film, which I guess is a positive. Once again, I wondered if the public would have any interest in a Star Wars film without any recognizable characters in it. I should have known better. It's Star Wars. It's guaranteed to make a billion dollars.

So far the film's made $253 million in profit. It's still in theaters as of this writing, so expect that figure to rise. It's a hit.

Winner: Kyle, I guess.

Assassin’s Creed

Kyle: Just saw the trailer today. It looks like a pile of garbage. Video game movies just don’t work.

Bob: I've never played any of the games, so I know absolutely nothing about this franchise. I was gobsmacked to find out that it's set in the future, and the Spanish Inquisition stuff is all part of a Holodeck program. What the hell?

Budget: $123 million
Worldwide Box Office Gross: $42 million (so far)

Kyle had nothing good to say, and I had some vague comments about the video game.

Even though the film's only been out a little more than a week as of this writing, it looks like it's on track to be a huge bomb.

Winner: Kyle.

That's it for our predictions. So how'd we do? Eh, not so well. Out of the 24 predictions (there were 26, but two of the movies got pushed back to next year), Kyle only got 10 right (or 41%), while I did even worse with 9 (or 37%). Oy! That's less than an F on the standard school grading scale! I guess the lesson here is don't listen to any of our predictions! Better luck to us next year!

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