May 1, 2020
Hit or Bomb? August 2018 movie predictions
It’s a new month, meaning it’s time once again for us to make knee-jerk assessments about which upcoming releases will be HITs and which will BOMB based solely on watching the trailers. Our box office gurus this time around are: Jordon Davis, Julie Kushner, Tyler Peterson, and Rick Lewis.
Make sure to stick around after the article to find out how well we did on our predictions last month!
Christopher Robin (August 3)
The little boy from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories is now all grown up and played by Ewan McGregor. One day, Pooh and the rest of his pals venture out of the Hundred Acre Wood into the real world to help Christopher rediscover the joys of life.
Jordon: Sigh. August. It’s just… it’s just so August, you know. It’s a very depressing month. Studios don’t generally put out their best work in August. Two of the top ten August releases of all time are Rush Hour movies. That’s what we’re talking about here. So Disney has given us Christopher Robin on the thinking that they spent money on it and they have to at least try to get some of that money back. And it looks… fine. It doesn’t look whimsical or magical or in any way funny. It’s just fine. I don’t think its tone is light enough for kids or heavy enough for adults. BOMB.
Julie: As someone who named her pet cat Piglet, and who has retained Eeyore, Piglet, and Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals in my bedroom and office long past an age when most would deem it appropriate, I’m fully onboard with seeing my good pals from the Hundred Acre Wood reunite on the big screen. And while my inner Eeyore worries that the story’s premise is a bit of a demographic mismatch here (like maybe six-to-eight year olds would prefer to watch their furry friends hanging out with kids that look like them, instead of stuffy boring work-a-day “olds”?), my inner Pooh says “Oh bother!” to such nonsense. Kids will see it for the cute and not-at-all-creepy walking talking stuffies, and pointedly ignore the Ewan McGregor of it all. A respectably Piglet-sized HIT!
Tyler: I remember reading interviews with Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson where he said he never wanted to definitively settle the issue of whether Calvin’s stuffed tiger actually turned into a talking, moving tiger or was totally imaginary. This movie looks like a great testament to the wisdom behind that decision. I can’t think of a hackier possible take on Pooh than “he’s actually a magical living stuffed animal”. Also, the trailer has intertitles saying things like “The World’s Most Beloved Characters”. Inspiring nostalgia for Winnie-the-Pooh should be a cakewalk, and these guys failed so hard they literally had to tell viewers “you love this guy”. Dump this cash-grabby cheese log in the Hundred Acre Landfill. BOMB.
Rick: I can’t tell you how much I hate the movie Hook, and here we go again with another sad-sack adult who somehow simply forgot his legendarily magical childhood. Plus, the animation looks awkwardly inserted into the real world, while looking neither like cartoons nor stuffed animals. At least the irreplaceable Jim Cummings is back as Pooh and Tigger. But what’s really making me say BOMB is that the studio is releasing a kids movie right when the kiddos are headed back to school, rather than in the summer or holding it for Thanksgiving.
The Spy Who Dumped Me (August 3)
Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are two best friends who get mixed up in a wacky international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend (Justin Theroux) shows up back in her life with a team of assassins on his trail, and reveals he actually works for the CIA.
Jordon: I can hear the pitch for this movie in my head: “It’s a buddy action spy thriller but with women! See, it’s different because women!” So far, Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me. It’s sitting at 55% which is… fine. It’s not good. Anyone who wants this kind of action still has the chance to see Tom Cruise Running VI. It’ll do okay as a rental, but nobody will see this in theaters. BOMB.
Julie: It’s the sequel to Bad Moms we never knew we wanted, where Mila Kunis’ mom character gets to ditch those pesky kids and gallivant off to Europe with her wacky pal. There, the two embroil themselves in quirky hi-jinks that involve things like running away from explosions in high heels, shooting firearms haphazardly and with poor form, badly faking various European accents, and awkwardly climbing up tall buildings and stuff, all while rapidly firing sometimes funny one-liners at one another, and occasionally commenting on how great Jennifer Aniston’s ex’s bum looks in the shower, even though he’s still a total jerk, right? HIT!
Tyler: Hollywood puts out like fifty of these lukewarm action-flavored one-real-actor-and-one-SNL-person comedies a year, and I never see any of them, and they always do just fine without me. HIT, I guess.
Rick: The critics aren’t particularly impressed, but this was never the type of movie intended to impress critics anyway. Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis are going to be plenty of fun to watch, even if the script is only so-so. Mark this one a solid base HIT.
The Meg (August 10)
A deep-sea submersible is attacked by a Megalodon, a 75-foot prehistoric shark thought to be long extinct. It’s up to rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) to save the crew and face off against the largest predator of all time.
Jordon: See, this is the one I thought was the Mila Kunis movie. But it turns out to be Jason Statham versus a really big shark. It’s every action idea blended into a soup and then poured directly onto audiences in the vague hope that at least some of us get covered in soup. Unless this movie has some thrills that they chose to keep out of the trailer for some reason, this will BOMB.
Julie: [Insert overused Jaws joke here. My personal favorite is “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” but yours is good too.] I’m usually not a fan of the Big Scary Animal Eats the Defenseless Humans kind of movies. But kudos to the trailer team for putting some effort into making this one cute and palatable to softies like me, with the quippy one-liners, and the inclusion of that catchy old “Beyond the Sea” song. Of course, then they had to go and totally ruin it by putting a little puppy in danger in the promo, and not bothering to let us know whether it got out okay. Monsters! I should call this film a BOMB just for that, but that would be bad for my brand as a not-so-expert prognosticator. Because let’s face it, guys, you’re going to see this movie, right? Of course you are! And unlike The Spy Who Dumped Me, you have the added benefit of being able to see it without your wives and girlfriends thinking that you’re going just to watch Mila Kunis run around in spandex for two hours. HIT… but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it, Evil Dog Endangerers!
Tyler: As Shark Week is the only holiday my religion observes, I’m very glad to see it getting enough mainstream attention to justify its own Hollywood movie. HIT.
Rick: Shut up, Meg. Jason Statham is perfectly fine and fun as a street brawler, which makes him exactly the wrong action star to 1) go up against a shark or 2) headline a $150 million movie. Also, who the hell thought “The Meg” sounded badass? They might as well have called it The Cathy. BOMB.
Slender Man (August 10)
In the first Hollywood film based on internet creepypasta, a group of teenage girls try to debunk the legend of the Slender Man after one of their friends goes missing, only to find themselves haunted by the Slender Man himself.
Jordon: A horror movie for the kids. That’s just… fine. It’s not going to be good. But it got its PG-13 rating so teens can see it. Maybe some of them will. More likely, they’ll just make memes about it on their snapbooks and slackfaces. Teens love stupid things, so I’ll rate it a HIT.
Julie: Scaring the poo out of themselves (no offense intended to the cuddly bear referenced above) has been a teenage pasttime since pretty much forever, and we’ve just reached its next stage of evolution. Gone are the Ouija board, games of “light as a feather, stiff as a board”, and eerie chants of “Bloody Mary” in front of the bathroom mirror. Now we’ve got creepypasta: craftily created internet horror stories, cut and pasted across the world wide web in just enough places to make you think they must at least be partially true. And Slender Man is an urban legend for the modern age, so his getting his own movie seems kind of inevitable. I’m just not sure he deserved this movie. See, the scary thing about urban legends is that they’re always just subtle enough to be possible. Whereas this trailer is pretty much a sledgehammer to the face of every overused horror trope and overblown CGI trick in the book. If this film were re-envisioned as a gritty, subtly eerie, found-footage horror tale featuring unrecognizable faces as the teen leads, it might have been enough to put it over the edge as a marginal HIT for me. But for now, I say BOMB.
Tyler: More like Slumberman, am I right? …Cause …cause it looks boring? Like it would put you to sleep? BOMB.
Rick: The real question here is how slender is the budget? If we’re talking less than $10 million, meh; maybe there are enough bored genre fans to eke out a weak profit. But I’m guessing Sony dropped too much money into too little movie. BOMB.
The Happytime Murders (August 24)
Warning: NSFW/Red Band Trailer!
Brian Henson (son of Muppets creator Jim) directs this raunchy comedy where a puppet private investigator teams up with a human police detective (Melissa McCarthy) to solve the case of a serial killer targeting the puppet cast members of a 1980s children’s TV show.
Jordon: No. Just, no. Absolutely not. Watching puppets say adult things is funny for maybe four minutes. But this thing is just crass and ugly and I vote no. I beg you not to let Hollywood do this to you. If there is justice on earth, this movie will BOMB.
Julie: So apparently, the summer of 2018 is also the summer of puppets? Two movies starring furry friends who require you to stuff your hand up their bums to get them to speak in a single month is quite a lot, I think. Then again, the Ted franchise was super successful, so there absolutely is a market for this (who knew so many people would pay to watch the bear from the Snuggle fabric softener commercials curse, drink, smoke, and fornicate?). However, this movie might be a bit too niche-y and weird even for the furry-loving market (no pun intended). A buddy cop comedy mixed with a “gory” murder mystery, mixed with Sesame Street and sex jokes? Eww, and also, BOMB!
Tyler: I love the idea of Muppets telling R-rated jokes. That’s why, over a decade ago, I went to see the hit Broadway play Avenue Q, which already contains every joke that could possibly be wrung out of this premise. Plus, it takes a special breed of hack to set out to write jokes about Melissa McCarthy’s appearance, and land on “mannish”. BOMB.
Rick: This looks less like an hard R-rated Who Framed Roger Rabbit than something that never quite found a regular spot on the Adult Swim schedule but kept showing up between Squidbillies and Children’s Hospital at 3 AM. Forget it—I’d rather just admit it’s time to go to sleep than sit through 15 minutes of this crap. BOMB.
And here’s how we did on last month’s predictions:
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Budget: $130M | Earnings to date: $184M | Projected total earnings: $205M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (3 of 3)
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
Budget: $80M | Earnings to date: $119M | Projected total earnings: $145M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (3 of 3)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout [UPDATED 9/4/18]
Budget: $178M | Earnings to date: $204M | Projected total earnings: $215-220M
Prediction: 33% said HIT (1 of 3)
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Budget: $75M | Earnings to date: $71M | Projected total earnings: $100-110M
Prediction: 33% said HIT (1 of 3)
Budget: $125M | Earnings to date: $59M | Projected total earnings: $70M
Prediction: 0% said HIT (0 of 3)
Final Score: 3 right, 2 wrong [UPDATED 9/4/18]
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).