May 1, 2020
Hit or Bomb? July 2018 movie predictions
Here we go again! It’s that time where we make snap judgments about which movies released this month will be HITs and which will BOMB based solely on watching the trailer. Our box office gurus this time around are: Jordon Davis, Julie Kushner, and Tyler Peterson.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)
Apparently sometime before the events of Infinity War, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is called upon to again don Hank Pym’s super-suit to battle a new enemy named Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) who’s using stolen Pym particles to phase through matter. And as the title indicates, this time Scott teams up with Hank’s daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), now using a winged suit of her own to jump into action as the Wasp.
Jordon: Knowing me, knowing you, there is nothing we can do. Marvel’s got something new, and you’ll go to see it this time, I’m sure. Knowing me, knowing you, we’ll enjoy the view. HIT!
Julie: Ah, the Ant-Man franchise. These are superhero movies for people who don’t usually like superhero movies, and also for people who do like superhero movies, and also for people who like Paul Rudd so much they’ll watch him do anything for two hours including read the ingredients off a Lean Cuisine Box, and also for people who don’t particularly like Paul Rudd but will watch any movie with the Marvel logo above the title, and also for people who think giant bugs playing drums are adorable, and also for people who are terrified of giant bugs unless they look like Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily. HIT, obviously.
Tyler: Personally, I’m more excited for this movie than I was for Infinity War. Ant-Man’s world remains an island of frivolous, low-stakes fun in the increasingly ponderous Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ant-Man’s skill-set and powers provide a world of possibilities for creative, visually arresting action setpieces that transcend the normal punches and ‘splosions. And I found (and still find) Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp uniquely compelling among the MCU’s women, for the simple reason that she knows she got shafted in favor of a less qualified man and isn’t quiet about it. The movie will have to take in relatively little by MCU standards to be a big HIT.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (July 13)
Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) is back, and this time he and his family and friends take a vacation from running the hotel to go on a luxury Monster Cruise, where the Count falls for the ship’s captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) who turns out to have a dark secret in her family’s past that can be easily spoiled by looking up the character’s name on the movie’s IMDb page.
Jordon: This movie’s for pre-teens, not anyone older than thirteen. Sure it’s mean, but this kind of garbage will still be seen. You can scream, you can fight, but they’ll have the time of their lives. They’ll dig it on the screen. HIT.
Julie: Let this be an important lesson to you kiddies: if you’re savvy enough to be on Monster Tinder, you should also be savvy enough to Google your prospective dates to make sure they don’t have serial-murdering tendencies and a centuries-long grudge against your kind. It’s nice to see children’s movies can have morals mixed in with all the fart jokes and poop jokes and songs courtesy of DNCE. HIT, because it’s the only kid movie out this month, and they’ve been out of school for a month, and their parents are really tired of them hanging around the house.
Tyler: I honestly have no idea why some animated kids’ movies get sequels and others don’t. It seems to be a complete crapshoot. Hilarious gems like Monsters vs. Aliens never get a second look while the mediocre Ice Age series is on its fifty-seventh sequel. Hotel Transylvania 3 will be a HIT, for some reason.
Skyscraper (July 13)
War veteran and ex-FBI rescue team leader Will Ford (Dwayne Johnson) is now working as a skyscraper security expert, and he’s on assignment in China when the world’s tallest building is attacked and set on fire by terrorists. Will is framed for the crime, and he has to outrun the law while rescuing his wife (Neve Campbell) and kids, who just so happen to be trapped in that same burning building.
Jordon: The Rock’s not an actor, a fact that I’ve said before. But when he’s in a movie, the line stretches outside the door. So I say: this thing will be awful and not majestic. It’ll do alright in China but not domestic. Thank you but no thank you, this will be a BOMB.
Julie: Clearly, I’m not the target audience for this movie. As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve seen one buff man jump from a tall building as said building bursts into flames, you’ve seen them all. And truthfully, I’d be way more into this movie if the Rock played his Maui character from Moana, complete with singing and, you know, the whole “being a cartoon” thing. But that would mean nothing if I thought it would do well at the box office. Except, I don’t think it’s going to do that well at the box office. BOMB.
Tyler: It looks competent enough, but would it kill Dwayne Johnson to diversify his oeuvre a little bit? We’ve seen him play the upstanding hyper-competent family man with a goofy side way too many times. Take a role with some edge, man. BOMB.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (July 20)
It’s ten years after the events of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia!, and apparently Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) still doesn’t have a clue which of her mother Donna’s past boyfriends (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård) is her father. When Sophie becomes pregnant herself, she learns more about her mother’s past via flashbacks featuring Lily James as a young Donna. It’s unclear if Meryl Streep is actually returning to play Donna, but expect all the ABBA songs not good enough for the first movie, plus a cameo from Cher as Donna’s mother Ruby (Cher, b. 1946; Meryl Streep, b. 1949).
Jordon: I can barely talk about how much I hate this. I still feel the sting of hearing Brosnan sing. This movie will be vile; they’ll be running for the aisles. It won’t be any fun. I barely made it through part one. Please don’t see this show! I beg you not to go. BOMB (except in England, for some reason).
Julie: The flashbacks in this film basically look like a very drawn-out live reenactment of the “let’s read Meryl Streep’s character’s diary” sequence that kicked off the first movie. Did it need to be made? Not a bit. Will it be two hours of deliciously cheesy good fun, with a gorgeous scenic backdrop that will do wonders for the Greek tourism industry, and a movie that men the world over will be praying that their girlfriends and wives don’t drag them to see? Absolutely! I know I’ll be there, and I am not ashamed. I just have one teensy-weensy request: Please, for the love of all that’s holy, do not allow Pierce Brosnan to reprise his hideous rendition of “S.O.S.” from the first movie. It’s been ten years, and I think my ears are just now recovering from that brutality. HIT!
Tyler: It’s been ten years. Meryl Streep’s character is still an obnoxious diva. Pierce Brosnan still sings like he’s been kicked in the balls. All the ABBA songs that everyone knows have been done already. S.O.S.: I spot a BOMB off the port bow.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 27)
Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the sixth installment of the Mission: Impossible movie series. Plot details about this movie are hard to come by, not that it matters; Hunt and his team are on the run, blah blah blah, they’re in a race against time to stop a global catastrophe, yadda yadda. Clearly, nobody goes to these things for the fresh and original plotting, but rather to see the whole gang (Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, etc.) all back together again, plus new team member Henry Cavill sporting the mustache that tanked the Justice League movie.
Jordon: My my, I beg Tom Cruise to give up and surrender. Oh yeah, like The Mummy, this will end in quite a similar way. This Scientologist elf can’t keep on repeating himself. Impossible: this movie’s mission is impossible. BOMB.
Julie: True story: I watched the trailer for Skyscraper and this film back-to-back, and couldn’t tell when one ended and the other began, apart from the fact that the Rock suddenly shrunk in size by about two feet and started to answer to the name Ethan Hunt. Plus, I feel like by the sixth installment of any Crack Team Caper Movie that inevitably ends with the good guys saving the day, you lose a little credibility by calling it Mission: Impossible. Perhaps a name like Mission: Just Hard Enough to Complete in Under Two Hours and Twenty Minutes would be more fitting. Either way, I think these kind of paint-by-numbers action movies tend to cancel each other out when they open around the same time. So I’m going to say BOMB.
Tyler: Tom Cruise is a fifty-six year old, five-foot-six man who believes in alien ghosts and has such a huge insecurity complex that he routinely performs insane movie stunts by himself. He will never not be fascinating. He’s got one more of these in him before his facial puffiness swallows his eyes. HIT.
With big apologies for how late these results are, here’s how we did on last month’s predictions:
Budget: $200M | Earnings to date: $573M | Projected total earnings: $590M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (6 of 6)
Reality: Record-shattering HIT
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Budget: $170M | Earnings to date: $398M | Projected total earnings: $410M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (5 of 5)
Budget: $70M | Earnings to date: $137M | Projected total earnings: $140M
Prediction: 84% said HIT (5 of 6)
Budget: $28M | Earnings to date: $54M | Projected total earnings: $55M
Prediction: 33% said HIT (2 of 6)
Final Score: 3 right, 1 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).