Film Discussion

Box Office Premiership: Week 9

Yellow, and welcome back to the Box Office Premiership where a bunch of us try to predict the whims of the American moviegoing public and largely do a very poor job of it.  We’re on the home stretch now, with only three weeks left for everybody to book their ideas up and pull something out of the bag.  Did anybody manage to do such a thing last week?  Let’s have a look-see!

(If you need a reminder of how scoring works, all the rules and regulations can be found here.  Meanwhile, if you want to refresh yourself with everyone’s predictions, not just the winner’s, then head here.)

Week 8 results

Hotel Transylvania 3: $44.1 million.  Hey, it actually did it.  Still surprised this series does these numbers on the reg, but I’m happy for Genndy regardless.  Maybe he can chase this one with a Sym-Bionic Titan revival!  Caleb Burnett took this with $47 million.  (1 point)

Skyscraper: $25.485 million.  Well, I guess you can’t turn a mid-level and insanely generic action movie into a AAA blockbuster purely off of the backs of The Rock and rampant over-advertising.  All of us overshot this one, but the reason why Caleb didn’t score a second point is because I (Callum Petch) goddamn $1-d the man!  $35.9 million to his $36 million dead!  Only took 8 weeks for someone to be a proper dick and get rewarded for it!  (1 point)

Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot: $83,120.  Karma also came for Caleb in a big way this week, since his semi-$1-ing of Dominic Hastings with Transylvania (Dominic bet $48 million) was paid back in a roundabout way with a victory for Dominic here, $100,000 very easily being the closest out of all of us, allowing Hastings to claw a point back.  (1 point)

Shock & Awe: $41,000.  Yeah.  This was shockingly close, actually, with similar differences in bets on either side of that number, but in the end I (Callum), who went under ($12,500), just barely beat out Dominic, who went over ($70,000), by $500.  Good game, sir.  (1 point)

Total: $69,709,120.  An overdue return to form week for myself (Callum Petch) is capped off by a winning total of $74,318,750.  (1 point)

Let’s update that leaderboard!

Leaderboard (after Week 8 of 11)

1] Callum Petch (12 points)

2] Caleb Burnett (11 points)

3] Gregory Mucci (7 points)

4] Dominic Hastings (5 points)

5] Kevin Ibbotson-Wight (4 points)

6=] Owen Hughes and Tony Black (1 point)

Settle down, Beavis.  It’s Week 9.

Week 9

The Equalizer 2

Theatre count: 3,300+ (Wide)

Studio: Sony/Columbia

Genre: Thriller

Dir: Antoine Fuqua

Star: Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Melissa Leo

Rating: R

RT score: 41% (Rotten)

Synopsis: When one of his old friends is murdered, Robert McCall returns to his vigilante ways in order to unravel the conspiracy behind her death.

Other info: The previous Equalizer opened to $34.1 million in September 2014, with no major competition in the run-up to or week of release.  Antoine Fuqua’s 3 previous non-Equalizer openings: The Magnificent Seven ($34.7 million in 2016, his biggest to date), Southpaw ($16.7 million in 2015), Olympus has Fallen ($30.3 million in 2013).  Excluding the prior-listed examples, Denzel Washington’s last 3 openings: Roman J. Israel ($4.4 million in 2017 when it went Wide), Fences ($6.8 million in 2016 when it went Wide over Christmas weekend), 2 Guns ($27 million in 2013).  This is Denzel Washington’s first sequel, surprisingly.

Owen$30 million.  Tough to call whether enough people will take a chance on Equalizer 2, or if enough are hyped enough to just go straight into the sequel, or whether everyone is pumped for another bout of Denzel boppin’ baddies.  But when all is said and done, I’m going to lean slightly more to the former.

Gregory$24 million.

Caleb$28.5 million.  Denzel’s first sequel, and to a very good first entry?  Sign me and many other fans up.

Kevin$32.1 million.  I think there’s still a lot of good will towards Washington as a performer even if he hasn’t been in a knockout for a while.  This will have a good return, I reckon.

Dominic$36 million.  Denzel is still the man, right?

Callum$22.7 million.  Yeah, going there.  I’ve bet against Denzel before and my first and last thoughts towards all Antoine Fuqua films have been “who asked for this?” only to be burnt on both accounts.  But, seriously, who asked for this?  Mission: Impossible is next week, so I’m expecting a flop.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!

Theatre count: 3,200 (Wide)

Studio: Universal

Genre: Musical

Dir: Ol Smith

Star: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, way too many other people

Rating: PG-13

RT score: 84% (Fresh)

Synopsis: Set five years after the first film, Sophie (Seyfried) is now pregnant with Sky’s (Cooper) child and running the villa as a hotel.  Hijinks ensue.

Other info: The original Mamma Mia!, released a full decade ago almost to the day, opened in second place against The Dark Knight with $27.7 million.  It also went on to close with a Domestic Total of $143.7 million, so it’s safe to say that it had legs.  Major non-Disney Musical openings over the past 4 years and their accompanying caveats: The Greatest Showman opened to $8.8 million over Christmas Day weekend in 2017 but its 1,000+ theatre run only ended in March (14 weeks later) with $170 million total, La La Land went Nationwide in its eighth week of release (Jan 2017) and made $12.2 million despite that fact, Annie opened to $15.8 million in 2014 but it was going up against the last Hobbit movie and was also crap and nobody wanted it.  Also, for what it’s worth, ABBA recently reunited after 35 years with new material coming before year’s end.

Owen: $140 million.  $gimme gimme gimme all the money money money.  Knowing this and knowing the audience, aha, the Mamma Mia sequel will be the winner this weekend and take it all.  Ushers will be shouting SOS as mums around the country siege cinemas like it’s the battle of Waterloo.

Gregory$29 million.

Caleb$40.3 million.  My, my, how can audiences resist?  This is going to surprise people a little and win the weekend.

Kevin$136 million.  This will be tragically massive.  SOS for good taste but it can’t fail.

Dominic$127 million.  Gonna attract a nice variation of audience types.

Callum$51.5 million.  (Insert requisite ABBA pun here)  But seriously, I have absolutely no clue.  There is a ceiling for this, I just have no idea what it is.  Or who knows!  Maybe there isn’t!  I’d normally mock those $100 mil+ bets but they also look kind of right?  GAH!  I DON’T KNOW!

Unfriended: Dark Web

Theatre count: 1,543 (Wide)

Studio: Universal/BH Tilt

Genre: Found-Footage Horror

Dir: Stephen Sucso

Star: Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse

Rating: R

RT score: 57% (Rotten)

Synopsis: A twenty-something steals a laptop from a lost-and-found, shares its disturbing contents with his group of online friends, and then finds out that the original owner knows that he has the laptop and will go to murderous lengths to retrieve it.

Other info: Stand-alone sequel to Unfriended (opened to $15.8 million in April 2015) shot in secret and surprise-revealed at this year’s South by Southwest.  Directorial debut of Stephen Sucso, writer of the two American Grudge remakes (the first opened to $39.1 million in 2004, the second opened to $20.8 million in 2006) and Texas Chainsaw 3D ($21.7 million in January 2013).  Latest release from Blumhouse’s specialist imprint, Tilt, which has yet to have a film open over $5 million: Upgrade ($4.6 million in June 2018), Birth of the Dragon ($2.7 million in August 2017), The Belko Experiment ($4.1 million in March 2017).

Owen$5 million.  Thank you for the movie as we need a horror film to come out amongst this junk, but I’ll be surprised if it’s a super.. trouper.. release.

Gregory$13 million.

Caleb$5.5 million.  Millennials will be in for this one, which obviously didn’t have a massive marketing budget.

Kevin$11 million.  A cheap and profitable little shocker, I reckon.

Dominic$12 million.  Can’t see anyone over 30 watching this.

Callum$5 million.  No BH Tilt film has broken past $5 mil, and the non-existent marketing doesn’t give me any impression that this will finally shatter that glass ceiling.  Only reason I’ve not gone lower is cos it’s a sequel so it may just tickle the bar.  Also, I want to force Owen to share a point if I’m right.


Theatre count: 14 (Limited)

Studio: Lionsgate/Summit

Genre: Dramedy

Dir: Carlos López Estrada

Star: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal

Rating: R

RT score: 90% (Fresh)

Synopsis: Over the course of the last three days of his years long probation, Collin (Diggs) finds himself haunted by his criminal past, the racial inequality of life in Oakland, and his hot-headed childhood friend Miles (Casal) threatening to inadvertently send Collin straight back to prison with his reckless behaviour.

Other info: Premiered at this year’s Sundance to rave reviews.  Limited Release Sundance 2018 Narrative Openings so far: Leave No Trace ($219,140 from 9 theatres), Hearts Beat Loud ($74,524 from 4 theatres), American Animals ($134,793 from 4 theatres), Beast ($53,248 from 4 theatres), Revenge ($45,924 from 37 theatres).  Not Sundance, but as a reminder, Sorry to Bother You opened to $727,266 from 16 screens two weeks back.  This is only Diggs’ second live-action feature (he also wrote the film with Casal over the course of 9 years), whilst Estrada makes his filmmaking debut after acclaimed stints shooting videos for artists like clipping. and Thundercat.  No UK distribution yet, but I guess I have no right to be surprised about that fact anymore.

Owen$300,000.  Does your mother know of Blindspotting?  I certainly didn’t know of it until earlier today.  Rave reviews might help it do well but the name of the game is predicting accurately the box office take and I reckon around the 300k mark would be a success.


Caleb$303,500.  Haven’t heard much about this one.  It might get off the ground this weekend.

Kevin$220,000.  Not got a clue about this one.  Just a shot in the dark, unfortunately.

Dominic$300,000.  Sounds fun…

Callum$480,000.  Not expecting Sorry to Bother You numbers, but definitely something close to them.  Underestimate Sundance darlings at one’s own peril!


Owen$175,300,000.  One point is just getting more and more embarrassing….


Caleb$74,603,500.  This week will be a great Equalizer.  May the best Box Officer win!



Callum$79,680,000.  This is certainly a weekend of movies, I guess.

What, you think you’re better than us?  Why not share your own predictions in the comments or via Set the Tape’s various socials, smarty-pants?  We’ll be back next week with (*checks notes*) a big-name film that’s also opening at the same time in the UK?  That can’t be right…

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