Jan 2, 2020
Hit or Bomb? April 2018 movie predictions
Hello, and Avengers to another Avengers of box office predictions! Once Avengers, it’s Avengers for us here at the Avengers Booth to play Avengers prognosticators and Avengers which of these Avengers will be domestic AVENGERs or BOMBs, based solely on Avengers the Avengers.
Our Avengers of Avengers this Avengers consists of: Marion “Black Widow” Stein, Tyler “Iron Man” Peterson, Julie “Scarlet Witch” Kushner, Jordon “Winter Soldier” Davis, Thomas “Hawkeye” Ricard, Susan “Only Two Female Avengers” Velazquez, and Rick “War Machine” Lewis.
A Quiet Place (April 6)
Husband and wife John Krasinski and Emily Blunt appear together for the first time in (and Krasinki directs) this apocalyptic horror-thriller where humanity is being hunted by mysterious creatures that kill at the slightest sound, forcing a family to communicate by sign language and carefully tiptoe from town to town (with Blunt’s character even forced to have a silent birth) in order to survive.
Marion: It’s easy to see why this would appeal to Krasinski as a directing and acting challenge: It could be a decent scary movie, and the premise is original. It seems like a forgotten classic sci-fi short story, the type of thing you might find in a weathered paperback anthology at a yard sale, and who doesn’t love those? Minor HIT.
Tyler: Intellectual, genre-bendy horror flicks are in massive vogue right now, and A Quiet Place has a winning gimmick: a production almost entirely free of audible dialogue, with liberal use of American Sign Language. With no serious competition on the horror-thriller front, it ought to clean up. HIT.
Julie: It just warms my heart to see that Jim from The Office and Mary Poppins are finally making horror movies together. It’s like the premise of a bizarre crossover fanfic I never knew I always wanted. As someone who scares super-easily, and who is just a big fan of dialogue in general, a virtually silent scary movie would probably not make it onto my personal must-see list. That said, it’s a stylistic gimmick I think could work, provided viewers who go to see this film recognize in advance that the American public is not capable of sitting for two hours in silence. This will undoubtedly result in the dialogue that would have otherwise been included in a horror movie like A Quiet Place being replaced by the sound of moviegoers screaming in your ear at regular intervals things like, “NOOOO, DON’T GO IN THERE!” “RUN FASTER, DUMBASS!” “CRAP, THAT KID IS SOOOOO GOING TO DIE!” and “DAMN, SILENT PREGNANCY IN A BATHTUB LOOKS SUPER PAINFUL AND GROSS!” The last of which will undoubtedly be shouted by a man. Marginal HIT.
Jordon: There’s a lot I can say about this movie, but I’m having a really hard time getting over the fact that John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are together. They’re married and I still can’t see them together. I’m actually looking at a picture of them together and I can’t picture them together. In any case, this horror-thriller killed on the festival circuit, has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and cost nearly nothing to make. I think it’ll open to modest numbers but have real staying power as everybody’s second choice when Infinity War is sold out. HIT.
Thomas R: Post-apocalyptic horror can be kind of hit or miss for me but this is a pretty neat concept. That said, I really hope we never find out exactly who/what the monsters are and what they want; something about the context makes me think that would be bound to be a letdown. In any case, the hype around the gimmick combined with the horror genre’s general profitability should make this a decent HIT.
Susan: This movie is already getting rave reviews and it looks much better than the teen horror flick Truth or Dare, just going by the acting alone. Emily Blunt can convey fear and terror without even saying a word. Which I guess is the point. HIT.
Rick: This looks like a powerful work of cinema, and it currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes… which is not at all what today’s horror audiences want. Fortunately, the meager $17 million budget will be easy enough to earn back. Hey, it’s nice when you can get your superstar wife to work for peanuts. It won’t be nearly as big of a HIT as it deserves, but a hit nonetheless.
Rampage (April 13)
Based on the popular arcade game from the ‘80s where a giant gorilla, dinosaur, and werewolf face off to see who can cause the most skyscraper-leveling destruction. But here, the gorilla is a highly intelligent silverback named George with a special connection to his handler (Dwayne Johnson), who along with a genetic engineer (Naomie Harris) must stop George and new pals Ralph (a giant red wolf) and Lizzie (a giant crocodile) from destroying several major American cities.
Marion: Sure, this could have been written by a fourteen year old, and the CGI looks laughable, but Dwayne Johnson is appealing, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, everyone loves gorillas, not everything needs to about something, and you can take the whole family, which is going to be really important to parents whose kids are too young for the intensity of Infinity War. HIT.
Tyler: This movie has a lot more going for it than most video game adaptations. First off, not very many people are aware of the video game series it’s based on, so it doesn’t have to cater to fans, and it’s in no danger of smelling like a cash-in. It has the right star. It comes at the right time, during a wave of Godzilla/King Kong/Pacific Rim-inspired kaiju revivalism, and the goofball tone of the Rampage series perfectly positions the Rampage movie to attempt a comedic send-up of the modern kaiju flick’s most bothersome tropes. Imagine squandering all those advantages with what looks to be an over-serious, uncreative, indistinct, utterly forgettable movie. Oh, I smell what the Rock is cooking: a big rotten BOMB.
Julie: Part of the fun of the original Rampage video game was that it had no plot whatsoever. The entire game was basically the opening line of a bad joke with no punchline: “King Kong, Godzilla, and Some Random Giant Werewolf walk into a city, and one of them is you.” The result was an awesome outlet for childhood aggression that involved senselessly beating up high-rise apartment buildings without feeling too much guilt over it, because when they eventually crumbled, no one died. In fact, the same scantily-clad (and clearly very rich) female seemed to live alone inside each one, and she always walked away from the carnage a bit embarrassed, but virtually unharmed. My point is, I love the Rock as much as the next gal, but some things are just meant to stay in 2-D. Stop trying to ruin my childhood, Hollywood! BOMB.
Jordon: It’s a movie based on a video game that had, at last count, no plot. I can’t imagine who this is aimed at. Dwayne Johnson fans set a pretty low bar as to what they consider entertainment, but there’s no way that this thing clears it. In order to look good, it would need an FX budget, and in order to make money, it would need to cut its FX budget. Can you smell the BOMB that the Rock is dishing out?
Thomas R: Well, it looks about as good as a movie based on a video game about giant monsters destroying a city can be. I guess casting the Rock in the lead probably has something to do with it; the man just looks, sounds, and talks exactly like an old-school video game action hero. Mark this one as a HIT.
Susan: The Rock closed out 2017 with a silly action flick, so I guess it makes sense he’d open 2018 with another one. Unfortunately, this doesn’t have the same appeal as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which had a full roster of comedians to play to its campiness factor. I don’t predict Rampage will be tearing up the box office this month. BOMB.
Rick: Will it be dumb fun or just plain dumb? As hard as it is to bet against Dwayne Johnson after Jumanji 2: Electric Monkey Poo refused to stop raking in money, Rampage has way too many red flags to ignore, and I’m not even counting “adapted from a video game” as one of them. There’s no Kevin Hart, but there is Malin Akerman, which is bad enough even if we weren’t supposed to buy her as an evil scientist with her “dimwit brother” as a sidekick, sigh. This whole production is going to be one big groan-fest. Especially with Carlton “Lost” Cuse among the screenwriters. BOMB.
I Feel Pretty (April 20)
In a gender flip of Shallow Hal, Amy Schumer is a moderately attractive woman who hits her head in a SoulCycle accident and wakes up believing she’s now one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and is instantly empowered to live her life free of all feelings of insecurity or inadequacy or even basic modesty.
Marion: This kind of high-wire comedy premise could fall flat. As a recurring sketch character on a TV show, a deluded woman who thinks she looks like a supermodel could work, and would fit in with other sketch characters who see themselves in ways the world doesn’t. Creating a major film around such a character seems risky, and even within the trailer, it’s clear Schumer is trying to make a point as much as a joke. BOMB.
Tyler: I’ve watched this trailer three times and I still don’t know quite what to make of it. The beginning makes the movie look like a subversive look at Western society’s two-pronged effort to hold women to an impossible standard of personal appearance while simultaneously promoting a feel-good “it’s what’s on the inside that counts!” girl-power narrative (tacitly shaming women who don’t feel like they live up to this standard). But as the trailer progresses, it becomes apparent that the movie throws all its weight behind the “all you need is confidence” message, essentially removing the promise of any satirical bite the movie may have had. This is exactly why I didn’t care for Schumer’s first effort Trainwreck; it wrapped itself in the trappings of an edgy skewering of the rom-com formula before ultimately sputtering out and becoming a conventional rom-com. But thematic confusion aside, it’s a comedy; it lives and dies by its gags, and regrettably, there just aren’t enough good ones here to rope in the audiences. BOMB.
Julie: Self-deprecation and sarcasm have always been my favorite brands of humor. So Amy Schumer’s tendency to rank on herself before others get the chance resonates with me, in a way that it may not always resonate with others. And I’m all for body positivity/self-confidence as keys to success, and all the other feel-good messages that this movie is probably ultimately trying to espouse. Unfortunately, these messages seem to be severely undermined by the horrible stink faces that appear on Amy’s costars’ faces every time she alludes to herself being attractive in the trailer. Did I mention that cringe comedy is my least favorite brand of humor? BOMB!
Jordon: Here’s the problem with this movie: it isn’t written or directed by anybody who was involved with Trainwreck. It raises the age-old question: if Amy Schumer is in it, does that make it an Amy Schumer movie? I’m not a philosopher, I don’t know. But I know this looks funny and I want to see it. HIT.
Thomas R: It’s always cool to see body-positive messages in film, but couldn’t the inciting incident have been a bit more imaginative than “she bumps her head”? Amy Schumer is funny, but a lot of the comedy here looks pretty forced and tired. Also, why does every romantic comedy have to be set in New York City? Given Schumer’s recent box office track record, I’m going with BOMB.
Susan: You know a movie is going to bomb if there are already thinkpieces arguing about whether or not the premise is taking feminism backward. Sorry, Amy, maybe you can do a gender flip of What Women Want next? Oops, that one’s already taken. BOMB.
Rick: I want this to work because I think there’s a lot of promise in the concept, but Amy Schumer’s 15 minutes ended a year ago. Also, the writing team of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein are chick-flick poison (How to be Single, He’s Just Not That into You, Valentine’s Day, The Vow, among others) so who the hell thought they should be given a shot a directing their first wide release?
Avengers: Infinity War (April 27)
Ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have all been leading up to this: The biggest of big bads Thanos (Josh Brolin) arrives on a mission to claim all the Infinity Stones established in previous Marvel films and create a gauntlet which will give him the power to bend reality to his will. It’s up to a massive cast of characters including Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor, Dr. Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther and the entire nation of Wakanda to stop Thanos and save the universe.
Marion: Isn’t it time to retire this tired franchise? Just kidding! Literally everyone on the planet will see this movie multiple times and forever. MEGA-HUMONGOUS HIT.
Tyler: No-brainer: this movie will make scads of bucks. And it had better. I read somewhere that the budget for both Infinity War and its sequel is (pinky to mouth) one billion dollars. That’s a high bar, meaning phenomenal success is pretty much its only option. I don’t think it’ll have any problem on that front though, because even irregular MCU viewers know that they need to see this one. And the trailer feels different from the others; as much as the Marvel series loves arbitrarily dividing itself into “phases”, it’s this movie that really feels like it’s marking a transition. The movie looks super-fun, but there’s also an overwhelming sense of finality, and the feeling that this franchise has gotten too huge and unwieldy to continue on its track much longer without imploding under its own weight. Let’s put that in concrete terms: some characters are going to die. It pretty much has to happen. And no one will want to risk not knowing who. HIT.
Julie: I’m going to do the chivalrous/smart thing and leave the in-depth analysis of whether this film is actually going to be any good to my fellow pundits, i.e. the actual comic book experts on this site. Suffice to say that, billion-dollar budget or not, this film would be a box office success even it just featured two hours of the cast silently eating shawarma while Baby Groot danced around them to the tune of “Hooked on a Feeling” played on repeat. HIT!
Jordon: It offends me—it literally offends me—that this movie exists in finished form somewhere in the world right now and I’m not watching it. This little indie rom-com just might be a huge, international MEGA-HIT.
Thomas R: Given how disappointing the last two mega-crossover events were (yes, I’m one of the five people on earth who didn’t like Civil War, so sue me), I’m pleasantly surprised to see how balanced and focused this looks. I just hope they keep the banter and one-liners to a minimum, given the circumstances. MEGA-HIT.
Susan: HIT. We’ve given all of our money to the previous Marvel movies. Why not this one?
Rick: The success of Black Panther is actually going to exacerbate Avengers fatigue, because it makes Iron Man and Captain America feel like a million years ago. Yeah, yeah, I know King T’Challa is in this one, but still, it’s your grandfather’s Avengers fighting that one wrinkly old blue dude who’s been sitting around in his intergalactic recliner for 18 movies now. So let me be the one to boldly say this flick is only going to make 99% of the money in the world and not all of it. MEGA-MASSIVE STUPID HIT.
And here’s how we did on last month’s predictions (thanks to Rick Lewis for compiling this list):
A Wrinkle in Time
Budget: $103M | Earnings to date: $83M | Projected total earnings: $93M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (4 of 4)
Reality: MINOR BOMB
Ready Player One
Budget: $175M | Earnings to date: $54M | Projected total earnings: $130-160M
Prediction: 75% said HIT (3 of 4)
Reality: MINOR BOMB, domestically (although it’s bit early to be sure)
Budget: $94M | Earnings to date: $51M | Projected total earnings: $60-65M
Prediction: 25% said HIT (1 of 4)
Reality: BOMB, domestically
Pacific Rim Uprising
Budget: $150M | Earnings to date: $46M | Projected total earnings: $65M
Prediction: 25% said HIT (1 of 4)
Reality: BOMB, domestically
Budget: $69M | Earnings to date: $46M | Projected total earnings: $47M
Prediction: 0% said HIT (0 of 4)
Final Score: 3 Right, 2 Wrong
How movies are judged:
- The Agony Booth judges a movie to be a HIT if we project that it will significantly exceed its production budget in domestic (U.S and Canada) box office earnings. Our rule of thumb is +20%, but this may slide up or down based on the marketing budget.
- The Agony Booth only considers domestic box office total, because the share of international ticket sales that ends up with the studio varies not just from studio to studio, but often from movie to movie (although this is less true than it used to be).