It is really dismal just how long I have been away from this blog. So dismal in fact that the last post I had was a dream about a movie review for Smurfs 2. I still try not to think about that movie, and luckily it hasn't haunted many of my thoughts over the past while. Unfortunately, however, there is a new Smurfs movie about to hit theatres, and I am here today to look at its financial chances and to see if it can beat out The Boss Baby for the number one spot on the charts.
It has been four years since a Smurfs movie has been released by Sony, and the big question is whether or not it is time for another one. Regardless of my thoughts on the matter, Sony has gone full on in trying to reboot the franchise, this time with full animation as opposed to the mix of animation and live action that they did with the first two films. It is a whole new set of cast members for this go-around, but is that enough for Sony to shake free of the memories of the second Smurfs movie, which didn't fair well domestically and was despised by many critics?
The main issue that Smurfs: The Lost Village will be running into is Alec Baldwin voicing the main role for The Boss Baby. It was a surprise hit that managed to take first place away from Beauty and the Beast last weekend, and should easily stay in the number one spot. It seems to be bad positioning for the Smurfs movie to come out when there are already two family movies in theatres, films that will most certainly be taking perspective audience members away.
There seems to be little buzz for this movie, and the main thing that it has going for it right now is that its budget is only $60 million. In the long run it should be able to make that back with its world wide grosses, but seeing as how the second Smurf movie was a considerable opening weekend drop from the first ($17.5 million compared to $35.6 million) I have to believe that there is not a whole lot of either good will or interest in the Smurfs universe. I expect this new movie, which lacks big names to interest the parents, will do similar, if not a little worse, than The Smurfs 2.
Smurfs: The Lost Village Opening Weekend Prediction - $16 million
Also opening up this weekend is Going in Style, a movie about three pensioners that decide to rob a bank after they get screwed over by said bank. It stars Alan Arkin, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. Audiences do like movies that have older cast ensembles, and the trailer makes it appear as though these three play off of each other with great chemistry and timing.
I'm not saying that it will necessarily be a good movie, but the kind that can get older audiences off of their buts and into a comfy theatre seat for an evening. The best comparison that I could come up with for this film was Last Vegas, another movie that had Morgan Freeman in it. That film was able to take in $16 million during its opening week, but I am predicting that it will be less for Going in Style.
Why would I be looking to predict less for this movie? Well, it sounds like a superficial reason, but the answer is because it is April. This is generally a slower month for movies, and Last Vegas came out at the beginning of November in 2013. That's a time when there is generally more mature fare in theatres and it played well to that strength. Having this movie come out now reminds me of Robert DeNiro's The Big Wedding that came out in April of 2013. It had a star studded cast and failed to go anywhere, something that I am leaning towards a bit with Going in Style.
Going in Style Opening Weekend Prediction - $7 million
Finally, we have The Case for Christ hitting theatres this weekend in a smaller release. It is targeting around a thousand theatres, and aims to hit the Christian demographic. It is based off of a non-fiction book of the same name, and there are hopes that this will mean added dollars based off of the book's popularity.
As far as Christian fare goes this year, The Shack (also based off of a book) opened to $16 million its first weekend. That was a huge win for the film, which has so far achieved a domestic total of $53 million. The main differences between these two films are the fact that The Shack had a few well known actors in Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington, something that The Case for Christ is missing. As well, the source material for The Shack was fiction, which will probably lead to better buy in from the audience as it is hard to imagine a non-fiction book about a man investigating Christianity to have a well rounded story.
I could be wrong, though. This could be another movie that defies expectations and gets people's attention. However, I am betting that I am right and that this movie fails to gain much traction. I am predicting around an average of $3,000 per theatre, which may be a bit steep. It is in line with the average that God's Not Dead 2 made around this time last year, so I don't think that it is out of the question to see that kind of per theatre average.
The Case for Christ Opening Weekend Prediction - $3 million