Jan 2, 2020
Hit or Bomb? October 2017 movie predictions
It’s October, which means it’s time for a slew of movies that weren’t good enough for the holiday season. But more importantly, October means we’ve been doing box office predictions for one whole year! Come back later this month for a brief retrospective of how well we’ve done so far, including a high scorers lists of who’s been the most accurate overall in their predictions, plus other fun facts.
But until then, we at the Agony Booth are here to make knee-jerk assessments about which of this month’s releases will be HITs and which ones will BOMB based solely on watching the trailers. And as always, make sure to stick around after the predictions to find out how well we did in last month’s predictions. (Read our September 2017 movie predictions here.)
Blade Runner 2049 (October 6)
Director Dennis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) brings us a strong contender for the most long awaited movie sequel of all time. Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is a new blade runner for the LAPD, who in the midst of hunting down replicants discovers a secret that could cause society’s collapse. This leads him to an encounter with his predecessor Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a blade runner who mysteriously vanished 30 years ago.
Tyler: The original Blade Runner occupies a curious place in movie culture. It serves as a conceptual bridge between the worlds of “serious” film aesthetes and genre geeks. But more importantly, it’s become a sort of merit badge for understanding film on a certain level. Do you want to prove that you “get” film? You could watch some foundational texts, develop an eye for visual style, learn to analyze narratives and themes, read up on film history and critical theory… or you could just talk about Blade Runner a lot, and people will just assume you’ve done all that stuff. As this sequel provides ample pretext to talk about the original Blade Runner, no amateur critic worth their sparsely-viewed YouTube channel will dare miss it. HIT.
Thomas R: This action-heavy trailer makes me a little apprehensive, but early reviews suggest Villeneuve may have knocked this one out of the park. If nothing else, this movie should at least end up getting cinematographer Roger Deakins that damn Oscar. Given the level of anticipation and lack of other big releases this month, this will be a big HIT.
Mendo: You know, I’m the first person in the world to defend the (admittedly terrible) Blues Brothers 2000, so I don’t think a decades-later sequel is an inherently bad idea, but was anybody actually asking for this? Is this one of those things where we’re just putting Harrison Ford in a bunch of shit before he dies? There’s a sad thought. BOMB.
Marion: Blade Runner is a movie that gets into your head and stays there. The best hope we have for the sequel is that it won’t be terrible enough to destroy our memories of the original. Will people see it? Yes. That doesn’t mean it’s a thing that should happen. HIT.
Thomas S: The original Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies, and the final director’s cut is a masterpiece. Deckard was a replicant and the ending was magnificent. So I consider this sequel to be utter bullshit, and I want it to bomb and bomb hard. But sadly, I think the movie is going to be a HIT. Goddamn it.
Jordon: Will this movie be a hit? Well, let me answer that question with another question: Is this Blade Runner? Damn straight, it’s Blade Runner! It’s blading and running and Fording and Gosling and it’s opening this week! Oh, and the critics love it. HIT.
My Little Pony: The Movie (October 6)
A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 (please don’t make me list all their names) journey beyond Equestria to enlist a whole host of new friends (voiced by an all-star cast including Emily Blunt, Liev Schreiber, Zoe Saldana, and Sia) into helping save their home, while learning once again that friendship truly is magic. But can this movie hope to outshine the 1986 theatrical film of the same name featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Tony Randall as “The Moochick”?
Tyler: The modern incarnation of My Little Pony is a lot like the game Minecraft, the band Primus, or the movies of Richard Linklater, in that its appeal is completely opaque to the layperson but intuitively understandable to anyone who’s experienced it even once and didn’t hate it. Lots of people will be confounded by this trailer. Literally everyone who isn’t will go see it, probably multiple times. HIT.
Thomas R: You know, say what you will about the original toy-based cartoons of the ‘80s, at least they weren’t so insufferably smug and self-aware. Well, Emily Blunt seems to be having fun, anyway. I don’t know if bronies are still a thing, but even they won’t save this from being a BOMB.
Mendo: The things I do for this site. I saw Equestria Girls in theaters. And the sequel. I own all the other sequels on DVD. (Haven’t watched the very latest one yet, but I’ll get to it eventually.) So, after five movies, Friendship is Magic Prime gets its own film. Will it be as ironically beloved as the one that came out in the ’80s? Who the hell knows? But I’ll be first in line to see this one, because reviewing this franchise has turned me into a pre-teen girl. HIT!
Marion: For a kid’s film to work, adults have to be willing to sit through it, but this is no Frozen. It’s not even Zootopia. BOMB.
Thomas S: I had no idea this movie even existed until I went to go see It and saw the trailer playing in the lobby. I’ve never been a brony, and the few minutes I’ve seen of the TV series really didn’t do much for me. That being said, without any other kids movies coming out this month, and without any competition, this movie is going to be a HIT.
Jordon: Once in a generation, a movie comes along about ponies… little ponies. And this is that movie. The animation is bizarrely horrible considering that, you know, computers exist. Nothing looks funny for the 4 year-olds who are this movie’s target demo, or the parents who have to endure it. The only reason it may be a hit is that its budget was probably under a hundred dollars. Otherwise, BOMB.
Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (October 13)
The story of the remarkable life of psychologist and writer William Marston (Luke Evans), who created Wonder Woman (with the express goal of introducing kids to bondage play), helped invent the lie detector test, and was involved in a polyamorous relationship with his wife (Rebecca Hall) and a former student (Bella Heathcote), who continued to live together for decades after his death.
Tyler: This movie seems to be trying to see how many people it can disappoint. I predict that comic book fans will show up to this movie and be disappointed at how little comics are featured. I predict that titillated vanilla folks will show up expecting a kinky smutfest and be disappointed at the movie’s tameness. I predict that the BDSM and poly community are going to publicly celebrate their PR victory while privately wishing they had a better movie to hang their hats on.
Thomas R: Heavy-handed parallels between Marston and Wonder Woman’s “secret identities” aside, this looks like a pretty fun (if obviously sanitized) look at polyamory, bisexuality, and BDSM during a time when neither were socially acceptable. Sadly, I doubt even the association with Wonder Woman will be enough to draw much of a crowd. BOMB.
Mendo: I think the fact that this movie got made at all is the real triumph. Not that there’s any type of backstory to this film that I’m aware of, but the idea that a mainstream movie would not only feature a bisexual love triangle, but treat it seriously? Shame it will BOMB, but that’s life.
Marion: Coming on the heels of Wonder Woman, this based-on-a-true-story biopic might find an audience, but for all the sensationalism of two women and one man who’s into bondage, it’s still a film about eggheads, which doesn’t usually add up to much box office. HIT, but only on an indie/limited release scale.
Thomas S: I had no idea this movie was being made (I really do need to read more movie web sites; I’m slacking), but I don’t think anybody is going to be flocking to see this film. BOMB.
Jordon: I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when I found out that Professor Marston & the Wonder Women was a staid British drama and not, you know, something good. It doesn’t look interesting in any way. Worse, this movie hasn’t been mentioned for a single award. Who wants to watch boring, non-award-winning British people? Nobody does. BOMB.
Geostorm (October 20)
Screenwriter Dean Devlin (Stargate and Independence Day) makes his directorial debut with this near future tale where the governments of the world have created a network of satellites designed to neutralize disasters created by climate change. Unfortunately, the system begins to malfunction and attack the planet, and it’s up to Gerard Butler and his ragtag team of astronauts to head into space to stop a massive storm. This bald-faced attempt to imitate the disaster porn films of Devlin’s former partner Roland Emmerich (e.g. 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow) was originally slated for a 2016 release, but after some less than encouraging test screenings, the director of Judge Dredd (alas, the 1995 version) was brought on to do $15 million worth of reshoots.
Tyler: I have a weakness for terrible disaster porn. (Winston probably doesn’t remember this, but the first piece I ever submitted to the Agony Booth almost ten years ago was a half-finished recap of The Core.) As such, I saw the original trailer for this movie, and comparing it to this latest one, it looks like the reshoots helped: the tone is lighter, sillier, more tongue-in-cheek. It was the right artistic call to make, but unfortunately, it’ll cripple it at the box office; this kind of movie seems, for whatever reason, to be more commercially viable when it takes itself way too seriously. I intend to chuckle my way through this cheese log, and I don’t care if I’m the only one in the theater. BOMB.
Thomas R: Every time I watch this trailer, I have to remind myself that this is isn’t a SyFy parody of a Roland Emmerich disaster movie, but an actual straight-faced theatrical movie made by one of his former collaborators. Every time, I still fail to totally believe it. BOMB.
Mendo: Is it just me, or is this on its third ad campaign by this point? Remember a few months ago, when the trailers for the last Transformers movie couldn’t decide if it was about the final battle, or the human characters, or the struggle of a young girl in a post-apocalyptic world, or two other things that didn’t seem all that interesting? Yeah. BOMB!
Marion: This looks like a terrific idea for a blockbuster. What went wrong? Everything, apparently. It’s the Heaven’s Gate of the 21st Century. It should work, but something is just… off, and all the reshoots and editing in the world won’t fix it. BOMB.
Thomas S: BOMB. Moving on.
Jordon: I’ll be brief: Everything about the production of this movie leads me to believe it will be horrible. But there are no mindless, big budget disaster movies out to compete with this. So, a tepid and wildly undeserving HIT.
Jigsaw (October 27)
A strong contender for the least long awaited movie sequel ever. The first entry in the Saw franchise since 2010 sees the police investigating a series of murders that fit the MO of the titular Jigsaw killer, with the main stumbling point being that he died ten years ago.
Tyler: There’s no hard-and-fast rule here, I guess, but bringing back to life a villain who’s been dead for more than half your movie series, and who’s undergone an on-screen autopsy with his brain and stomach cut out, to boot, is just bad form. It’ll still be a HIT, because It will be out of theaters by then.
Thomas R: I don’t know if the choice of music was meant to be darkly ironic, but it just reinforces my theory that the Spierig brothers have just decided to embrace the inherent absurdity of the Saw series, with its omniscient omnipotent dead villain and ridiculously elaborate death traps, and turn the franchise in a more comical direction. That’s the only way I could imagine them reviving the franchise anyway, because I don’t think the torture porn fad of the ’00s is ever coming back. I’ll mark this as a minor HIT for the nostalgia factor.
Mendo: Was never really a fan of the Saw series, but hot damn if I’m not excited to see it back! HIT!
Marion: The trailer has 10 million hits. Of course the movie is going to do great. That’s not an endorsement. HIT.
Thomas S: Oh look, another Saw movie I have no intention of seeing. This time I think the general audience is going to be on board with me. BOMB.
Jordon: If you chained me up and forced me to watch this movie, I would cut my own foot off to escape. That doesn’t change the fact that there are some people who like this sort of thing. Those people are wrong. But they have money and they will give that money to theaters in exchange for ninety minutes of this crap. HIT.
And here’s how we did last month (thanks once again to Rick Lewis for compiling this list!):
Kingsmen: The Golden Circle
Budget: $104M | Earnings to date: $67M | Projected total earnings: $100-110M
Prediction: 100% said HIT (7 of 7)
Reality: MINOR BOMB
Budget: $35M | Earnings to date: $291M | Projected total earnings: $325M
Prediction: 86% said HIT (6 of 7)
Reality: RECORD-SHATTERING MEGAHIT
The LEGO Ninjago Movie
Budget: $70M (unconfirmed) | Earnings to date: $35M | Projected total earnings: $60-70M
Prediction: 86% said HIT (6 of 7)
Reality: MINOR BOMB
Budget: $30M | Earnings to date: $16M | Projected total earnings: $20M
Prediction: 57% said HIT (4 of 7)
Budget: $50M | Earnings to date: $17M | Projected total earnings: $55-70M
Prediction: 57% said HIT (4 of 7)
Reality: MINOR HIT
Budget: $19M | Earnings to date: $7M | Projected total earnings: $15-20M
Prediction: 14% said HIT (1 of 7)
Budget: (Undisclosed) | Earnings to date: <$0.2M | Projected total earnings: <$0.2M
Prediction: 0% said HIT (0 of 7)
Reality: HUMILIATING MEGABOMB PULLED FROM THEATERS AFTER 3 DAYS
Final Score: 4 Correct, 3 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).