Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Box Office Predictions Part One (January Thru April)

Last year my nephew Kyle sent me a list of his 2016 box office predictions, and I posted them here on my blog, along with my own thoughts and comments about the upcoming films.

Unfortunately we didn't do so well, as Kyle's predictions had a 41% accuracy rate, and mine was even worse at 37%. That's less than an F on the standard grading scale! I guess we vastly underestimated the general moviegoing public's willingness to sit through literally anything.

I found a list of upcoming 2017 releases, so we decided to try our hands at predicticating again. My comments are in red, while Kyle's are in blue. Note that he isn't making very many predictions this year, as he's only concerned with films he plans to see.

Looking over this list of allegedly upcoming movies, I'm shocked at how many of them I've never even heard of before. I generally go see a movie every weekend, and as a result am bombarded by trailers, but not for any of these! You'd think in these days of media and internet bombardment, I'd have seen trailers for every one of these films all a hundred times by now.

What the hell, studios? Have you given up on marketing altogether? You've got to get your movie out there in front of the public eye if you want 'em to be hits. No one's gonna see your opus if they don't know it exists!

NOTE: This list is for the first four months of the year. There're too many movies to cover all in one go.


Underworld: Blood Wars
Vampire death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fights to end the eternal war between the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. Believe it or not, this is the FIFTH film in this interminable series. It's also supposedly the first new film of 2017. That doesn't bode well for the rest of the year. Premieres January 6.

Bob: The fact that this was supposed to come out last October and was pushed back to this January tells me all I need to know. Plus these movies have historically ALL been "meh" at best. I doubt it'll even, um, break even.

The Bye Bye Man

Three friends stumble upon the horrific origins of the Bye Bye Man, a mysterious figure they discover is the root cause of the evil behind man's most unspeakable acts. Premieres January 13.

Bob: Rated PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking. Oh no! Not TEEN DRINKING!!!

Sounds like the usual watered down PG-13 horror tripe. I've not seen a single trailer or even heard of it before. If its budget is small enough, it might manage to make a bit of money. Teens will pay to see any movie so they can sit in a dark room and text.

Monster Trucks
Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, high school senior Tripp (Lucas Till) builds a monster truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend. Premieres January 13.

Bob: The only thing missing from that tortured synopses is, "And in the end, Tripp learns that the most important thing is to just be yourself."

This film's been delayed several times, which is always worrisome. It's obviously a kid's movie though, and they generally always do well, so who knows? It has a $125 million budget (!), so it's gonna have to make at least $250 million just to break even (due to studio math, movies generally have to gross twice their production cost before they show a profit). I don't see it making that much. I'm betting it'll be an expensive flop.

Hey, this looks kind of interes OH, it's an M. Night Shyamalan film. That's too bad. 

Three girls are kidnapped by a man with twenty four distinct personalities. They then have to appeal to several of his "nicer" aspects in order to survive long enough to escape. Premieres January 20.

Bob: I didn't care much for Shyamalan's The Visit from last year, and I doubt he's improved much since. He needs to dump the "twist ending" thing he always does, because once you know there's gonna be a twist ending, it's not hard to figure out what it is. That's the only thing he has going for him though, so it's never gonna happen. 

The film only cost an extremely low $5 million though (!), so I actually think it'll do OK. Surely it can clear at least $10 million!

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) comes out of self-imposed exile, and is set on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora's Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments. 
Premieres January 20.

Bob: The first xXx movie came out a whopping FIFTEEN years ago! A good portion of the viewing audience wasn't even born then! It's wayyyyy too late to try and restart this franchise. Lately the only Vin Diesel movies that do well are the Fast & Furious ones. He doesn't do so well on his own. I'm predicting a bomb.

The Red Turtle

A dialogue-free animated film that follows the life of a castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds. 
Premieres January 20.

Bob: I've never heard a peep about this film. Supposedly it was a favorite on the film festival circuit last year, which is nice, but rarely translates to box office success. It's a Studio Ghibli film, and they're always well-regarded, but they usually don't get a wide release. There's no way it'll be a huge hit. It'll probably make more on home video.

A Dog’s Purpose
A devoted dog discovers the meaning of its own existence by showing humans how to laugh and love over the course of several lifetimes. Based on the best-selling book that I've never heard of. Premieres January 27.

Bob: I'm assuming this will be a tear-jerker about a dog dying and being reincarnated over and over. Why are dog movies always sad? Has there ever been a dog movie where the pooch DIDN'T die at the end? Bradley Cooper was originally supposed to be the voice of the titular dog, but was replaced by Josh Gad (Gaahhh!). That's enough to keep me away from it right there.

I can't find any info on its budget, but surely it couldn't have cost too awfully much to film. Kids might latch onto it, so I think it might be a very mild hit if Rogue One isn't still siphoning money from the box office at the end of January.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of humanity's final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began– The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse. Premieres January 27.

Bob: Final chapter, eh? I'll believe that when I see it. I've dutifully seen every movie in this series in the theater, despite the fact that I think they've all been "meh" at best.

These movies must do OK though, since there've been six of them now. They wouldn't keep making 'em if they lost money. I doubt this'll be a massive hit, but I think it'll make a small profit.

Julia becomes worried about her boyfriend Holt, when he explores the dark urban legend of a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after viewing. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery– there's a "movie within the movie" that no one has ever seen before. Premieres February 3.

Bob: So about that tag line on the poster– "First You Watch It. Then You Die." So don't watch it then! Problem solved! Also, that logo makes me think the movie's about coffee rings.

Rings was supposed to come out last year, but was pushed back to the January Film Dumping Ground, which is a bad sign. It's yet another watered down PG-13 horror film which will make back its low budget and turn a very small profit.

The Space Between Us

The first human born on Mars (Asa Butterfield) travels to Earth for the first time, experiencing the wonders of the planet through fresh eyes. He embarks on an adventure with a street smart girl to discover how he came to be. 
Premieres February 3.

Bob: This sounds like one of those Young Adult novels. Oy, a "street smart" girl? I bet she inexplicably lives in a vast, one room warehouse apartment that she could never possibly afford, too. Asa Butterfield hasn't exactly lit up the box office in his brief career, and I don't see this bucking that trend. I smell a bomb.

The Lego Batman Movie
The breakout character of the original film gets his own spinoff. Will Arnett returns as the voice of Lego Batman, and must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted. Premieres February 10.

Bob: The first Lego Movie just didn't do much for me, as I guess I'm past its target audience. But it made a kaskillion dollars, and I expect this one to do the same. The first blockbuster hit of the year.

Kyle: I LOVED the first Lego Movie, and my first thought after walking out of the theater was wishing there would be an entire movie based on the Batman character. Looks like I wasn't only in that sentiment.

I believe it's worth noting that the Lego Batman Movie is the only DC superhero movie on my list this year– I have NO plans to waste money on Wonder Woman or the Justice League movie. Meanwhile, I regularly read most of DC's monthly comics. I love all of DC's characters, but they've yet to have a movie (in the current franchise) that faithfully adapts even a single one of their pantheon of characters.

Right now, the Lego Batman Movie appears to be the only kid-family oriented film opening in February, so it should be a modest hit. I don't see it equaling the Lego Movie's numbers, but I predict this bringing in somewhere between $300-350 million.

Bob: Me again. The Lego Movie brought in $470 million worldwide. I think this one will do even more than that. Kids will be chomping at the bit to see a new Lego adventure, plus ticket prices are slightly higher now.

A Cure For Wellness
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa's miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. Premieres February 17.

Bob: Hmm. I think I saw a trailer for this online, and I honestly thought it was a direct to video film. It's directed by Gore "Pirates Of The Caribbean" Verbinski, for whatever that's worth. It's rated R, which is a rarity for a horror movie these days, but I don't know if that'll be enough to save it. I'm gonna say bomb.

The Great Wall
Matt Damon battles giant monsters in China in this big budget action fantasy that has already made almost $200 million before opening in the U.S. Premieres February 17.

Bob: Looks interesting, but the fact that it's coming out in the February Film Dumping Ground worries me. The manufactured controversy over the "white washing" casting of Matt Damon could cause a backlash. 

I couldn't find any info on the budget, but the movie's already made almost $200 worldwide, which is amazing. Honestly it could go either way here. I definitely don't think it'll be a blockbuster, but it might make a small profit.

Patient Zero

After an unprecedented global pandemic has turned the majority of humankind into violent "Infected," a man gifted with the ability to speak the Infected's new language leads the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure. Premieres February 17.

Bob: Not to be confused with the cinematic jewel Cabin Fever: Patient Zero. This one inexplicably stars Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer and Stanley Tucci. What the hell are they all doing in a movie like this? I dunno, I'm gonna say it might make a very, very slight profit.

The Girl With All The Gifts
In the near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are turned into flesh-eating "hungries." Our only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. A doctor on an army base grows close to a "hungry" named Melanie, and helps her escape from her captivity. Premieres February 24.

Bob: This one actually looks interesting, and much better than Patient Zero. It's a British film, and unfortunately didn't do well there, which is a bad sign. It'll probably get spotty distribution in the States, so I don't foresee a huge hit.

Get Out

A horror film about a white woman who brings her black boyfriend home to meet her family... and things start to get weird for him. Premieres February 24.

Bob: Again, never heard of it. Do studios even market their films anymore? C'mon, guys, we're not gonna go see your movies if we don't know they exist.

I watched the trailer and it actually looked pretty interesting. It's written and directed by Jordan Peele, of Key And Peele fame, so I'm worried that people are gonna see his name attached to it and think it's a comedy. 

If the budget's low enough, I think it'll probably be a very low-level hit.

Rock Dog
A CGI animated film about a dog who leaves home to fulfill his dream of becoming a musician, setting into motion a series of completely unexpected events. And he learns that the most important thing is to always be yourself. Premieres February 24.

Bob: Somehow they wrangled Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon and Sam Elliot to lend their voices to this turd. It was supposed to come out last year, which is all I need to know. BOMB!

In the near future, an aging Logan and Professor X must protect a young female clone of Wolverine from an evil organization led by Nathanial Essex. Premieres March 3.

Bob: Man, that's gotta be the laziest design for a movie poster I've ever seen.

Logan is supposedly a violent, hard-R rated film, and Huge Ackman says this is the last time he'll ever play Wolverine. Hasn't he already said that a couple times before?

Unlike the vast majority of fanboys who lost their collective minds over this trailer, it honestly didn't do anything for me. I think it looks dull as hell. But I think it'll be a big hit, mostly because Joe Public will think it's a Marvel Studios movie. And because the trailer has Johnny Cash "talk-singing" in it.

Kyle: I'm really excited to see Fox's next half-hearted attempt to adapt all the elements of a classic X-Men story they have the rights to. This is an adaptation of the Old Man Logan storyline, which takes place in an alternate reality where all the various marvel supervillians teamed up to kill all the heroes. 

Wolverine ended up in a mind-control hallucination and kills all of his fellow X-Men. The comic storyline has major appearances from characters like Hawkeye and the Hulk, characters that Fox does not have the rights to use, meaning this will be another "in name only" X-Men movie from fox, as previous entries in the series such as Days Of Future Past and Apocalypse had very little to do with the comics. 

This won't do Deadpool numbers but should do better than X-Men: Apocalypse. I predict this grossing in the $630-$675 million range.

Bob: Me again. What an oddly specific dollar amount!

Kong: Skull Island
A team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, including the mythic Kong. 

Set in the same universe as the 2014 American Godzilla movie, so you know what that means… this film's a setup for a new King Kong Vs. Godzilla film. Premieres March 10.

Bob: Jesus Christ, another god-awful, butt-ugly movie poster. That thing's actually making my head hurt just looking at it. 

This looks a lot like a remake of the 1976 King Kong, which was a wonderfully cheesetastic train wreck. It looks kind of fun though, so I think it'll be a moderate hit.

Kyle: How about your skip the middleman and just give us a King Kong vs Godzilla movie. 

This isn't like the Marvel movies, when the general public has little to no knowledge of the characters and you need to give them their own movie before you do a team-up. The vast majority of people have seen at least one of the various King Kong movies, or at the very least have the very basic knowledge of the character. Seeing this trailer just made me impatient for the inevitable team up movie to come out, and it just increases the odds of that getting pushed back if Skull Island doesn't meet expectations at the box office. 

I know I said that this list would just be movies I had an interest in seeing this year, but after thinking about it more this might be a wait-for-netflix movie for me. I'm predicting this to gross in the same area of the 2014 Godzilla movie, which did $530 million. Not a bomb, but not a huge hit either. This will be a steady mainstay on cable networks like FX and TNT five years from now.

Calling it right now-King Kong and Godzilla fight, until they realize that their moms have the same name, and agree to make up and discover that the real reason they were fighting is because of an overly complicated scheme from a behind the scenes villain.

Bob: Haw! Good one! And of course Mothra will show up during the battle to help them defeat the bad guy.

When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her. Premieres March 10.

Bob: Supposedly this movie wowed the festival circuit last year. it's a French film though, so that means it probably won't get a very wide release, and will only play in select markets. So it's not gonna make much money, no matter how good it might be.

Beauty and the Beast
A live action adaptation of the 1991 Disney fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love. Premieres March 17.

Bob: Disney. Live action remake of a beloved animated classic. Nuff said. Massive box office hit.

The Belko Experiment

In a twisted social experiment, eighty Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. Written by James Gunn, director of Guardians Of The Galaxy. Premieres March 17.

Bob: Sounds interesting, and I like pretty much everything James Gunn's ever done. It comes out the same weekend as Beauty And The Beast though, so... it's gonna underperform.

Six astronauts aboard a space station study a sample collected from Mars that could provide evidence for extraterrestrial life on the Red Planet. The crew determines that the sample contains a large, single-celled organism, but things aren't always what they seem, as the life form proves more intelligent than anyone ever expected. Premieres March 24.

Bob: Wow, look at that poster. Nice to see the designer of the Passengers poster getting more work. 

Again, never heard of it. I watched the trailer and it looks interesting, but it seems to be the same "alien possession" story we've seen a hundred times before. And why does the trailer say it's coming out "Memorial Day?" Did the studio move it up because they knew it'd get buried in the summer? I predict an expensive film that won't be a bomb, but won't make its money back either.

Kyle: This looks like a pretty interesting SciFi movie. Originally schedule for release on memorial day weekend, it was moved back to March to avoid competing with the new Pirates of the Carribbean movie (another hard skip for me). 

I always enjoy some of the more under that radar scifi movies like Moon and I an cautiously optimistic for this one.

Power Rangers
A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world. Based on the hugely popular 1990s TV series. Premieres March 24.

Bob: OK, I'm gonna rant about the poster again. If you were designing a poster for a frenetic and over the top property like Power Rangers, would you A: create a colorful poster that captures some of that intensity, or B: make a muted, reserved poster that looks like Varsity Blues 2?

Every scrap of info I've seen about this film looks absolutely terrible. It looks like the filmmakers made the wrong decision at every possible juncture. 

The Power Rangers show definitely wasn't Shakespeare, but it was beloved by an entire generation of kids. This movie seems to be taking everything that made the series popular and flushing it right down the toilet. 

Who's this movie for? Fans of the original will be put off by all the puzzling changes made to the characters and hardware, and people who never watched the show won't go see this anyway. It's gonna be one expensive flop.

Ghost in the Shell
Based on the 1990s anime, Ghost In The Shell follows a female cyborg (Scarlett Johansson) who leads an elite task force devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals. Premieres March 31.

Bob: No matter how good it might be, the white washing controversy is gonna hurt it. I have no idea what the budget it, but I'd guess at least $150 million, if not more. It's gonna have an uphill climb just to break even. I smell a bomb.

Kyle: I love the original anime movie and manga this is based on. I just don't see why an asian actress wasn't cast in the lead. That being said, I predict this grossing similar to Scarlet Johansson's 2014 film Lucy, which did $463 million.

Bob: Wow, Lucy made that much money? The public will sit still for anything.

A young street magician is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her. Premieres April 7.

Bob: Supposedly a hit at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Everyone's comparing it to Chronicle, which I liked OK, but... eh. I don't see this being a hit.

Smurfs: The Lost Village
In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history. Premieres April 7.

Bob: Wow, I wonder if "Hefty" Smurf is fat?

Jesus, they're still making these things? The original Smurfs grossed $563 million worldwide, while Smurfs 2 made $347 million. Looks like the Smurfs films are following the law of diminishing returns. It'll probably make around $150 million. Depending on the budget, that's probably not enough to make it a hit.

Spark, a teenage monkey and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana– a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong. Premieres April 14.

Bob: NOPE! Bomb.

The Circle

Based on the novel by Dave Eggers (?). A woman (Emma Watson) lands a job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, where she becomes involved with a mysterious man Tom Hanks) Premieres April 28.

Bob: The titular Circle is obviously a thinly disguised Google. The trailer looked like a whole lot of "meh" to me though, so I'm gonna say it might make a very small profit.


  1. I think I've heard of maybe two of these? Don't get to cineplex very often. (I've accepted that sound is here to stay, but I'm sure not sure about color.) But, "The Space Between Us" sounds an awful lot like Heinein's "Stranger in a Strange Land," at least from your brief summary.

  2. Yeah, I'd heard of surprisingly few of them either. The ones on this list are all coming out in the first four months of the year-- so when are the studios gonna start marketing them? Seems like time's kind of running out.

    I have a feeling most of these are so bad the studios don't want to waste money advertising them.

    "The Space Between Us" does sound like "Stranger In A Strange Land." The synopsis didn't say anything about the kid having weird powers though. like Valentine Smith. I bet anything that Asa Butterfield won't have atrophied muscles and will be able to walk around normally on Earth, which is something someone born on Mars would NOT be able to do.

  3. I think the creative minds behind "Rock Dog" watched "The Simpsons" episode where Poochie the dog joined The Itchy and Scratchy Show ...

    1. Ha! Well, the "minds," at least. I wouldn't describe them as creative.


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