Feb 12, 2020
Hit or Bomb? November 2017 movie predictions
Welcome to November! It’s officially the holiday season and the studios are now bringing out their A-game in terms of star-studded special effects extravaganzas. Once again, we at the Agony Booth are here to make knee-jerk assessments about which of this month’s releases will be domestic HITs and which ones will BOMB based solely on watching the trailers. As always, make sure to stick around after the predictions to find out how well we did last month. (Read our October 2017 movie predictions here.)
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3)
In his first solo outing in four years, the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) is captured by the villainous Hela (Cate Blanchett) and held prisoner on an alien planet without his hammer, where he’s forced into gladiator battles with his fellow Avenger the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Eventually, Hulk and Thor team up with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to stop Hela from unleashing Ragnarok, better known as Norse mythology’s answer to the Apocalypse, as well as the end of Asgardian civilization as we know it.
Tyler: Episodic story? Neon-colored retro aesthetic? An indie director known for tongue-in-cheek, wryly comedic genre fare? Marvel Studios obviously can’t wait for the next Guardians of the Galaxy to make the next Guardians of the Galaxy, and believe it or not, that’s entirely a good thing. Movies that install the next couple joists in the superstructure that will one day support the next Marvel “phase” are all well and good, but so are movies that people will actually go see for their own sake. HIT.
Mendo: I hardly see why we even need to equivocate on this. It’s already a monster hit overseas, so unless it pulls a Pacific Rim, it’ll be a HIT here, too!
Susan: Critics are already raving about it and they seem much more enthusiastic about it than the Justice League movie. It’ll be another HIT for Marvel, which they badly need to distract from how Inhumans is such a flop on TV and IMAX.
Thomas S: I thought the first Thor was okay, and I didn’t like The Dark World, so when I first heard about the inevitable third film, I was pretty indifferent. And then that first trailer hit, and it was the perfect marriage of music and visuals. It’s going to be almost impossible for the film to live up to that trailer, but I think we’re all going to have a good time watching it try. HIT.
Thomas R: I’ve never been a fan of the Thor movies, but damned if this doesn’t look fun. Chris Hemsworth has always been better as a comedic actor than as a straight leading man (don’t believe me? Watch Cabin in the Woods), the colorful sets actually look well-balanced instead of the garish CGI brain-vomit from the first two, and Cate Blanchett is on fire! Throw in Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and you’ve got me totally sold. Obvious MEGAHIT.
Murder on the Orient Express (November 10)
In the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic 1934 novel, director Kenneth Branagh regrows his Wild Wild West facial hair to play renowned detective Hercule Poirot, who boards the famed Orient Express and makes the acquaintance of a mobster (Johnny Depp) who’s soon murdered. Naturally, the all-star cast of fellow passengers (including Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley, and Michelle Pfeiffer) are all suspects.
Tyler: Haven’t these guys read all the thinkpieces? Star power doesn’t put asses in seats anymore. Oscar-winning star power even less so. That said, period pieces usually play well this time of year, and I think the classic mystery genre is due for a cinematic resurgence. They’ll have a modest HIT if they restrain the urge to sex it up like they did with the most recent Great Gatsby.
Mendo: I don’t think there’s been a major adaptation of an Agatha Christie book since the ’60s (aside from Urusei Yatsura doing a riff on Ten Little Indians, anyway), so we can’t really accuse anyone of being sick of this story. It’s looking like it’ll be a serious Oscar contender, and its font kinda reminds me of The Shining. Honestly, I’d say the odds here are 50/50, but I’m edging towards a minor BOMB.
Susan: How do you get audiences interested in an 80 year old mystery that can be easily spoiled with one Google search? Assemble an all-star cast, add one wacky mustache (seriously, that thing could have its own billing), and you’ve got yourself a modest HIT on your hands.
Thomas S: I’ve seen two of the several adaptations of the Agatha Christie novel: the ones starring David Suchet and Albert Finney, and this one’s got a lot to live up to. Fortunately, we’ve got a bona-fide all-star cast here, and Kenneth Branagh is both directing and starring, so I’m optimistic. HIT.
Thomas R: Well, Kenneth Branagh looks totally unconvincing as Poirot, and I don’t know if there are enough people on the planet who won’t be aware of the famous twist ending going in. On the plus side, I think a lot of people would pay good money to see Johnny Depp get stabbed to death repeatedly, but that’s about all it’s got going for it. BOMB.
Daddy’s Home 2 (November 10)
Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell), stepdad to Dusty’s kids, are back again, and this time they team up to give their kids the best Christmas ever. This involves inviting both of their fathers to visit, which causes the expected hijinks when Brad’s father (John Lithgow) is gentle and sensitive and caring, while Dusty’s father (Mel Gibson) is gruff and macho and probably prone to fits of screaming.
Tyler: Awful, awful, awful. Mel Gibson has a perfectly respectable directing career going, and his continued insistence that people want to see him in front of the camera—as a roguish, glamorized version of his own shitty self, no less—can’t feel like anything but spite to me. BOMB.
Mendo: I certainly want this to be a HIT, both because I loved the original and I just can’t bring myself to stay mad at Mel Gibson (pound for pound our greatest American actor, even if he is a Nazi). Strong opening weekend and a quick drop-off is my best guess.
Susan: The first Daddy’s Home made $150.4 million, finishing second at the box office behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You read that right: Star Wars. It doesn’t matter that the writing is predictable and the humor is juvenile. Clearly, there’s a big enough audience to make this a HIT. See you all for Daddy’s Home 3: Father’s Day.
Thomas S: I haven’t seen the first Daddy’s Home, so I can’t say how good or bad it was, but I will admit that the sequel to this one does look like it has the potential to be pretty damn funny. With only the Madea movie competing for the comedy market, this one should make some money. A minor HIT.
Thomas R: Is this really a sequel, or a Mel Gibson rehab vehicle by way of meta-commentary on what a scary macho creep he is? Either way, the original made a ton of money, and the mere prospect of Gibson being involved in a movie where he isn’t butchering people behind or in front of the camera ought to attract enough attention to make this a solid HIT.
Justice League (November 17)
In the wake of the death of Henry Cavill’s Superman (who’s totally not coming back to life in this movie, for sure you guys), the world is facing a new threat from a herald of Darkseid named Steppenwolf, who’s looking to fire all of his guns at once and explode into space. And so Batman (Ben Affleck) rounds up a “league” of superheroes, if you will, consisting of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) to defeat Steppenwolf while also unleashing plenty of quips courtesy of Joss Whedon, who took over from director Zack Snyder during post-production reshoots.
Tyler: Warner Brothers may have scored a solid win with Wonder Woman, but they ought to have heeded Winston Wolf’s eternally timely advice. This trailer is DCEU’s portentiousness and tonal confusion encapsulated. There’s no clear story, no clear villain, bizarre alien shenanigans, and the only one who appears to be having any fun is fucking Aquaman. BOMB.
Mendo: Assuming it’s anything like the other recent DC movies, it’ll be hated by everyone with a wifi connection and an unfulfilled hard-on… and yet make more money than several countries combined anyway. Damn, Uwe Boll really was onto something, wasn’t he? HIT.
Susan: It’ll make enough to be a modest HIT to justify another DC film (please let that film be another solo Wonder Woman), but let’s face it: 90% of the box office will be from people who want to see how bad this will be, and the other 10% will be people who couldn’t get tickets to Thor: Ragnarok.
Thomas S: So the question now is, will the Weinstein fallout regarding what Ben Affleck knew about the sick bastard’s behavior affect this movie’s release? I’m thinking it’ll maybe make a minor dent in the bottom line, but not enough to prevent the film from being a HIT.
Thomas R: Behind-the-scenes reports have been uniformly negative, and the trailer still looks as unfocused as the previous ones, but enough DC fans ought to assemble to make this one a HIT, if only to spite naysayers and Marvel fans.
Coco (November 22)
In Pixar’s latest, a Mexican boy named Miguel and his dog cross over into the Land of the Dead, a very Dia de los Muertos-inspired afterlife where Miguel meets several generations of his long-dead, skeletal ancestors, and must track down his great-great grandfather (voiced by Benjamin Bratt) to release his living family from a musical curse.
Tyler: I’m sure I won’t be the only one to note the fact that The Book of Life already did this premise. But who cares? This one has better animation, more sincere emotional resonance, and no shoehorned-in pop songs. It won’t set any records, but it’ll be a respectable HIT.
Mendo: I loved Book of Life just as much as the next bear, and that managed to become the cult classic it deserved to be. Did the world need a Disney version? Not really, but this will at least be a minor HIT. There are worse things that could happen.
Susan: As a Mexican person, I really want to like this movie, but the trailer leaves me underwhelmed, and feels like a rehash of The Book of Life. It’ll probably be a HIT and scoop up a Best Animated Film Oscar nod, but that’s only because of the Pixar name.
Thomas S: Amongst the superheroes and ensemble casts, we’ve got a Pixar movie that’s not a Cars sequel or spin-off. Color me surprised. I’m hoping it’s a hit so the day we see the inevitable Cars/Planes team-up is pushed back another year. But sadly, I don’t think this is going to do all that well. BOMB.
Thomas R: I’m too ignorant of Mexican and Mexican-American culture to judge how accurate/respectful this movie looks, but I do have a thing for quirky afterlifes (Beetlejuice, Corpse Bride, etc.) and if anyone knows how to make light-hearted films about heavy subject matters like death, it’s Pixar. HIT.
And here’s how we did last month (thanks once again to Rick Lewis for compiling this list!):
Blade Runner 2049
Budget: $150M | Earnings to date: $82M | Projected total earnings: $90M
Prediction: 83% said HIT (5 of 6)
Budget: $10M | Earnings to date: $17M | Projected total earnings: $40-50M
Prediction: 83% said HIT (5 of 6)
My Little Pony: The Movie
Budget: (Undisclosed) | Earnings to date: $20M | Projected total earnings: $21M
Prediction: 50% said HIT (3 of 6)
Reality: My Little BOMB
Professor Marsden and the Wonder Women
Budget: (Undisclosed) | Earnings to date: $1.5M | Projected total earnings: $1.5M
Prediction: 17% said HIT (1 of 6)
Reality: MEGA BOMB
Budget: $120M | Earnings to date: $24M | Projected total earnings: $35M
Prediction: 17% said HIT (1 of 6)
Reality: MEGA BOMB
Final Score: 3 correct, 1 wrong, 1 split 50/50
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).