They come from far and wide, young and slightly-less young, White guys of every shape and size – I assume, you know how online profile pics can be… all gathered here to partake in the sport of kings! The sport of champions! The sport of winners! No, not that one… or that one… there are no balls involved… no, they are not going outside eith… It’s box office predicting, ok? That’s what they are doing. Thanks for ruining the dramatic build-up.
Ahem… ladies, gentlemen, and others, welcome to this inaugural season of the Box Office Premiership! Over the next 11 weeks, we here at Set the Tape will be aiming to make box office watching throughout the Summer months vastly more entertaining and exciting for both us and you by turning it into a competitive weekly league on who can Price is Right various opening weekends the best! They’re playing for all the marbles, the opportunity to become Premiership Champion, and earn the begrudging respect of their peers! …no, there is no actual trophy or prize – I wanted to buy one of those Million Dollar Man Million Dollar Championship replica belts, but they’re like £300 and I don’t have that kind of money at all, let alone to blow on a goof like this.
Anywho, we encourage you to play along with us each week in either the comments or via the social media outlet of your preference! So, allow me to explain how this’ll work for all y’all!
How it works
The Box Office Premiership is a Summer-long weekly prediction-based tournament where a bunch of us Set the Tape staff get together and place bets on the openings of 4 of the American weekend’s new cinema releases. These 4 films total all of the wide release movies for the week (more than 1,000 theatres) plus as many independent (less than 100 theatres) or moderate (between those two figures) releases as is necessary to make up the numbers.
Each week, I’ll post on here the 4 films that make up this week’s round plus some additional supplemental information on each film – theatre counts, Rotten Tomatoes score, the type of film it is, in some cases past openings – that can help everyone make an informed prediction. Wide releases will go to the first decimal point (e.g.: $121.6 million), whilst Moderate and Limited releases can get as specific as the predicter wants (e.g.: $28,750).
On Sunday evening, once the weekend estimates are in, I’ll start calculating the differences between predictions and the results in order to hand out scores. Points work in 3 categories.
Wide Releases: 1 point for whomever is closest, 2 points for being dead-on to the first decimal point.
Limited/Moderate Releases: 1 point for whomever is closest, 2 points if the winner is within $500 either side, 3 points if they get it dead-on exactly (since we’re working with more specific numbers).
Total (the combined total of each person’s guesses): 1 point for whomever is closest, 3 points for getting within $1,000 either side, and 5 points if they miraculously get it dead-on.
Whomever has the most points at the end of the 11 weeks (weekend of August 3rd) wins!
With that info out of the way, let’s get on with Week 1!
(All information was correct as of 2pm BST on Wednesday 23rd May.)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (Friday to Sunday only)
Theatre count: 4,380+ (Wide)
Dir: Ron Howard
Star: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson
RT Score: 71% (Fresh)
Synopsis: Latest entry in some space movie thing. You’ve probably never heard of it.
Other info: Last three Star Wars openings have been $220.0 mil (The Last Jedi), $155.0 mil (Rogue One), $247.9 mil (The Force Awakens), although all opened in December. Director Ron Howard’s largest opening prior has been The Da Vinci Code with $77.0 mil in 2006. Largest Memorial Day weekend opening in history was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End in 2007 with $114 mil across the three-day, whilst the last Memorial Day weekender opener to eclipse $100 mil across the three-day was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008 with $100.1 mil. Supposedly outsold Black Panther’s first 24 hours in advance tickets on Fandango.
Callum Petch: $110.6 million. Considering the weekend it’s releasing over, Deadpool 2 being fresh, Avengers still kicking around, Last Jedi’s vocal negative contingent not going away, the production turmoil, and nobody asking for this, I’m going hella conservative. But, hey, it’s still Star Wars so who knows?
Tony Black: $180.5 million. I don’t think this will hit as big as the main Episodes but it’s Star Wars, it’s Han Solo & Chewie who are two big pop culture icons and it looks breezy. I suspect it’ll do well.
Kevin Ibbotson-Wight: $166.2 million. It’s Star Wars! But division over Last Jedi! But Donald Glover! But troubled production! But it’s Star Wars! Plopping smartly in between takings for Rogue One and Last Jedi.
Caleb Burnett: $133.9 million. Considering the last Star Wars Story film holds the second-best box office record of any of the Star Wars films and the massive interest in the Han Solo character, I think Solo will open well. Not quite as well as Rogue One, but well.
Gregory Mucci: $145 million. Damn, you lot have got some high bets for Solo! No matter how much negativity there is surrounding a Star Wars film – Attack of the Clones still brought in $80 mil opening weekend – there will always be untainted excitement amongst fans. As for the naysayers, I think the curiosity of a troubled production and the magnetism of Donald Glover warrants enough attention to pull Solo further than I think we anticipate.
Dominic Hastings: $147.8 million. Positive early reviews. Han & Chewie. Folk will get on it.
Owen Hughes: $160 million. If the enraged turnips who flipped out over The Last Jedi not being their Star Wars have calmed down, I expect this to achieve at least $160m, but it’s hard to call. Star Wars is gon’ Star Wars and break various record, as it always seems to, but the lingering effects of TLJ could balance the force.
Theatre count: 4 (Limited)
Dir: Mark Young
Star: Scout Taylor-Compton, Olivia Luccardi, Lew Temple
RT Score: N/A (no reviews at press time)
Synopsis: Whilst hiking in the woods, six medical students are attacked by a wild animal and start succumbing to a mysterious disease that turns them feral and bloodthirsty.
Other info: The trailer for this dropped just one month back and that’s basically the only press out there about it at the moment. Studio IFC has another film out this weekend that they’re actually pushing, and this is only here because it posted a theatre count and I needed the numbers.
Callum: $9,500. I had never heard of this thing prior to putting together this week, so I will be shocked if this breaks into 5 figures, even with it having 2.5x the number of screens as the other indies.
Tony: $5,000. Pure guess. Not a scooby to be honest. Never heard of it, no stars, and almost no screens.
Kevin: $11,000. Pure guesswork, literally a figure grabbed from the ether.
Caleb: $8,975. Horror flick with an intriguing plot, which is all the rage these days… but as it has hardly been publicized at all, I doubt it’ll break $9,000.
Gregory: $10,000. A hybrid survivalist lycanthropy horror film does sound like every Shudder subscribers feral wet dream, but a horror film that isn’t screened for press is usually a sign that this beast is infected with box-office rabies.
Dominic: $12,689. Looks cool.
Owen: Two tickets, one for the guy who actually went, and one for his partner’s unlimited card that he used to book the seat next to him. And a generous donation of around $10,000.
Theatre count: 2 (Limited)
Dir: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Star: Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Bel Powley
RT Score: 34% (Rotten)
Synopsis: Biopic about novelist Mary Shelley, her relationship and later marriage with Percy Shelley, and how it inspired her to write Frankenstein.
Other info: Al-Mansour previously wrote and directed the BAFTA-nominated Saudi Arabian drama Wadjda. It is by all accounts better than this. Star Elle Fanning also has another film out this weekend that’s had a sustained marketing push, even if it is also apparently not very good.
Callum: $15,800. Bad reviews and a VOD release date of next week will likely stall its chances of a higher opening. Elle Fanning’s quest to star in an actual good movie unfortunately continues.
Tony: $17,000. Again, guesswork, but the name of a well-known author & Elle Fanning may drag some punters in. Beyond that, not a clue.
Kevin: $16,300. Wasn’t even aware this existed. Literary biopics don’t usually score well and reviews have been rubbish.
Caleb: $22,400. Hate to hear the bad reviews of this one, but I hope Elle Fanning’s name will pull a few moviegoers and literary fiends out to see it this weekend. Although, many folks might wait and stream it at home.
Gregory: $9,000. I’ll approach this film with a glass half empty approach, which is generally what I try and stay away from. But given how limited its opening is, I feel fairly confident in saying that its box-office numbers will have nothing to do with Dark Universe fallout.
Dominic: $35,136. Hope it does well…
Owen: $11,000. Unlike Feral, has the bonus of actually being something people had heard of and stars Elle Fanning. Three tickets.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Theatre count: 2 (Limited)
Genre: Dramedy, Sci-Fi
Dir: John Cameron Mitchell
Star: Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Nicole Kidman
RT Score: 37% (Rotten)
Synopsis: Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s short story, wannabe punk Enn meets and falls in love with Xan, an alien who becomes infatuated with him, Earth, and the nascent punk movement.
Other info: Cameron Mitchell’s first film in 8 years. His prior openings were $53,778 (Rabbit Hole, 5 theatres in 2010), $107,907 (Shortbus, 6 theatres in 2006), and $156,724 (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 9 theatres in 2001). This is also, by far, his worst-reviewed film yet.
Callum: $20,200. This one was real hard to guesstimate cos, yeah, it’s only 2 screens and, yeah, it’s being savaged critically (which is always vital to an indie film’s performance), but A24 know how to market and there’s every chance it could overperform if a cult shows up for it. So, I guessed.
Tony: $25,000. Almost no screens but I reckon the star wattage and Neil Gaiman might help, plus the fact it’s by a cult filmmaker people will seek out. Had some eh reviews though so who knows?
Kevin: $18,500. It’s a piece of shit that I really enjoyed. It’s going to flop badly, but has future cult all over it.
Caleb: $19,250. As I’ve actually vaguely heard of this film, I think it will open decently. Its plot intrigues me and hopefully others. It’s an indie film that will hopefully catch on a but with the public.
Gregory: $13,000. A24 is hotter than Hansel, and with John Cameron Mitchell getting some Criterion attention, I think this will draw more than a couple of punks to the pit.
Dominic: $15,000. What is this film?
Owen: $50,000. Cult comedy, you say? Neil Gaiman, you say? Two screens, you say? $50k, I say? I said.
Callum: $110,645,500. Good luck, everyone! Let’s have a nice, clean season!
That’s Week 1 in the books! Think you can do a better job than this elite panel of prognosticators? Why not hop down into the comments, or hit us up on our various social medias, and play along with us! We’ll be back next Thursday with both this week’s results and Week 2’s line-up!