Dec 6, 2018
Hit or Bomb? May 2018 movie predictions
Feeling like you’re recovering from a massive hangover of Avengers proportions? Well, pop a fistful of Tylenol and pour yourself a Bloody Mary, because blockbuster season has only just begun, and Hollywood still has a ton of action/comic book/sci-fi extravaganzas headed your way. Two of them debut this month, along with two comedies that are, to be frank, only included here because I needed four movies to fill up the header image.
As always, it’s time for us here at the Agony Booth to play armchair box office prognosticator and guess which of these movies will be domestic HITs or BOMBs, based solely on watching the trailers. Our team of gurus this time consists of: Thomas Stockel, Jordon Davis, Jonathan Campbell, Tyler Peterson, Marion Stein, and Rick Lewis. And make sure to stick around after the predictions to find out how well we did last month.
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Overboard (May 4)
A remake of the 1987 Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell romantic comedy (which wasn’t exactly a HIT in the first place) with the main roles gender-swapped. This time, Eugenio Derbez plays a spoiled billionaire who falls off his yacht and catches amnesia, and Anna Faris is a single working-class mom who decides to convince him they’re married.
Thomas S: I remember the first Overboard, which had two charismatic leads. Russell and Hawn are both good actors who had great chemistry. This one has… Anna Faris and some guy I never heard of. Yeah, BOMB.
Jordon: Probably the movie that’s my guiltiest pleasure, the original Overboard featured moments of comic brilliance. ‘Member Edward Herrmann? ‘Member that one sailor saying, “It’s a hell of a day at sea, sir”? Still, it was really, really hard to ignore the whole aspect of sexual consent even back then. Now, it’s just a comedy about rape. I’m really amazed this made it to production, what with the rape and all. Unless they’ve reanimated the corpse of Edward Herrmann, this will BOMB.
Jonathan: Doesn’t seem terribly funny and comes off as a bit mutually mean spirited, not to mention the trailer gives away most of the plot. Anna Faris gets to play a slightly more dramatic part than I’m used to seeing her in (not that I’ve seen her in all that much recently, so maybe I’ve just missed out), but besides that and perhaps the very occasional smirk, this trailer did nothing for me and I don’t expect much of the movie; the guy is an asshole, the woman is basically a kidnapper (and will probably be guilty of some sort of sexual assault at the very least), the neighbors are lazy bullies… just, go away movie. The original seems disturbing as hell and gender-swapping the characters is not an improvement. BOMB.
Tyler: I remember seeing this trailer while doing last month’s Box Office Predictions column; it autoplayed after I watched the trailer for I Feel Pretty, and I was struck at the time by how favorably Overboard contrasts with that wet noodle of a movie. It’s got a sharper sense of satire, it’s more thematically and tonally focused, the gags are better, the performances are better, and it’s breezier and more genial. This movie deserves better than to BOMB as badly as it likely will.
Marion: If they wanted to do an Overboard remake with a Latino twist, why on earth would they cast Anna Faris in the lead? It’s not exactly white-washing, but I’m not sure it’s a good look for anyone in 2018. The gender reversal might help, as there’s that dubious consent issue in the original, but the abductor is the straight man/woman role, and that’s a waste of Faris’s comedic talent. This looks like a way to introduce a big Mexican star like Eugenio Derbez to a wider US audience, but he might lose something in translation. He didn’t seem funny or charming in the trailer. If we’re only looking at US box office, I’m going to have to say BOMB.
Rick: It’s amazing how much less rape-y this gets when you flip genders. But it still looks like it sucks. BOMB.
Life of the Party (May 11)
Surprisingly not a gender-swapped remake of 2003’s Old School, in which Melissa McCarthy is a housewife who gets dumped by her husband and decides to go back to college, enrolling at the same school as her daughter and apparently getting invited to all the same parties.
Thomas S: I don’t know what it is about Melissa McCarthy, but I can’t deny she makes me laugh. I got more than a few chuckles from the trailer, and I think with the movie coming out a week before you-know-who, it has a chance to secure some post-Avengers cash. A moderate HIT.
Jordon: This looks stupid. Melissa McCarthy is funny, but there’s too much going on at the box office for this one to register. It’ll make its money on video and streaming, but it’ll lose in theaters. BOMB.
Jonathan: Doesn’t seem too impressive or all that original, but I have a feeling that it will benefit from a lack of any obvious competition until the bigger films come out, and McCarthy and the cast and crew involved could make this kind of film in their sleep. Minor HIT.
Tyler: Melissa McCarthy plays two characters: crass lout, and clueless dork. In this movie they made her both at once, figuring they could make twice as much money. The sad part? It’ll probably work. HIT.
Marion: This appears to be a movie about ordinary people and not society swells, and yet, there’s a “stay at home mom.” Sometimes people think an anachronistic stereotype is funny, but it’s not. Melissa McCarthy’s character sounds like the creation of someone who’s been in Hollywood too long, and as delightful as she might be, there’s only so much humor to be gotten out of “Mom likes to party”. I don’t see this appealing to youngs or olds. BOMB.
Rick: There was a time when a single comedian’s star power could carry a movie. Bill Murray, Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell. That era is dead. Personally, I blame Adam Sandler. But even if that golden age were still alive, everything in this trailer looked like it belongs on the cutting room floor. BOMB.
Deadpool 2 (May 18)
Wisecracking, fourth wall-breaking mercenary Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is back, this time to bring together a team of mutants called X-Force to do battle against time-traveling soldier Cable (Josh Brolin, and yes, the Thanos joke is in the trailer).
Thomas S: The not-so-surprising hit of 2016 now has a not-so-surprising sequel coming out. Expect the film to give critics claiming it sucks the big middle finger as it once more Zambonis the competition on its way towards being a HIT.
Jordon: I don’t think it’s an understatement to call this the single most hotly anticipated film in all of human history. This will be a HIT.
Jonathan: The first one was an absolute smash hit, and while it wasn’t a perfect film by any means, it got right all the essential elements that it needed to: the comedy, the action, the fourth wall breaking, and Ryan Reynolds knocking it out of the park in the role he was born to play. The sequel looks set to at least equal and maybe even surpass the original, not being burdened by having to do an origin story and managing to nab Josh Brolin as Cable as well as adding even more mutants. This might be the last time we see Reynolds as Deadpool too if the Marvel deal with Fox goes through, though if anyone can keep their part it would be Reynolds, playing the most meta character in the mythos. I doubt this film could fail if it tried. HIT.
Tyler: The original Deadpool was able to perform as well as it did because no one expected anything out of it. It debuted in a traditionally deserted month, it marked a new standard of violence, depravity, and self-referentiality in the superhero genre, and it cost relatively little. Deadpool 2 won’t reach those kinds of numbers. However, it still has the (relatively) tiny budget working in its favor, and it has a character with the most insanely devoted fanbase in the entire world of comics. HIT.
Marion: I didn’t care enough to see Deadpool 1, but this might be the breath of fresh air the comic universe needs, especially after, uh, you know. So sure, maybe not an Avengers-level hit, but HIT.
Rick: I collected comic books for a good ten years and the only one I ever bought off the shelf that’s worth anything today is Deadpool’s first appearance. So I’m both emotionally and financially invested in this flick being a big HIT. The problem with comedy sequels, though, is how quickly it starts to feel like more of the same. Especially genre comedy. Even though this outing is going to soar, the franchise may have less life in it than people think come Deadpool 3.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)
In what may be the least anticipated Star Wars sequel yet, Alden Ehrenreich is young Han Solo, who meets young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and young(er) Chewbacca, and pilots the Millennium Falcon for the first time. Together with new characters Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), they travel through the galaxy’s criminal underworld doing… whatever it is people do when they travel through the galaxy’s criminal underworld.
Thomas S: Ah, Disney, you really need this one to be a success, don’t you? After fans dumped all over The Last Jedi (statistically, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score is more like 24%; RT doesn’t factor in the lowest scores when they come up with their final number) and the obvious way you twisted the arms of so many critics to reach a 93% rating in a way that would have made Joseph Goebbels blush, you need a bona fide hit that both critics and fans can get behind to justify the six billion dollars you handed over to a laughing George Lucas. While I don’t want it to be, and while I wish the film blew up in Kathleen Kennedy’s face, I expect it to be a moderate HIT, but not the one she’s desperately hoping will salvage her reputation.
Jordon: People will watch this. It’s not going to do Last Jedi numbers, but this will be a HIT.
Jonathan: It’s Star Wars, so it’s going to attract audiences no matter what. Nevertheless, while The Last Jedi made a ton of money, it was also the most divisive Star Wars movie ever, and Solo might be hot on its heels given all of the backstage drama and personnel changes during production. On the other hand, that’s unlikely to seriously hurt its chances, and will give even its critics a sort of morbid fascination with the movie, so people might buy tickets just for that. The film itself looks pretty bland and uninspired but lets be honest, people are going to see it. The only question will be whether its large budget and marketing costs will exceed the millions of dollars it will inevitably rake in, but I’m going to guess it will, so I’ll say HIT.
Tyler: The very publicly troubled production of Young Han Solo Adventures has caused a lot of fans to, shall we say, manage their expectations. And Alden Ehrenreich’s iffy performance as Han isn’t exactly pumping up the buzz. Most troubling for a standalone feature with relatively extensive creative freedom, it’s disappointing how little they did to distinguish this entry from the other Wars of the Stars. Minor BOMB.
Marion: Either they’ve put the absolute best moments into the most well-edited trailer ever, or this is going to be awesome with the perfect combo of humor, nostalgia, and adventure. I wanna see it. In the theaters. And then maybe at home while wearing Star Wars pajamas. HIT.
Rick: Even if it only makes half of Rogue One’s $500 million, it’s still a mega-hit. And it’ll do a hell of a lot better than that, no matter how much bad will there is. A stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking HIT.
And here’s how we did on last month’s predictions (thanks to Rick Lewis for compiling this list):
Avengers: Infinity War
Budget: $325M (unconfirmed) | Earnings to date: $258M | Projected total earnings: $625-725M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (7 of 7)
Reality Gem: MEGA HIT
A Quiet Place
Budget: $17M | Earnings to date: $148M | Projected total earnings: $170M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (7 of 7)
Reality: MEGA HIT
Budget: $120M | Earnings to date: $78M | Projected total earnings: $90M
Prediction: 29% said HIT (2 of 7)
I Feel Pretty
Budget: $32M | Earnings to date: $30M | Projected total earnings: $45M
Prediction: 14% said HIT (1 of 7)
Reality: PRETTY CLOSE TO A HIT
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).