BOX OFFICE: Will “Godzilla” devour the weekend, will “Booksmart” rally, or will “Ma” have her way?


For all the years-long Internet hype around “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” largely due to the inclusion of fanboy/girl heroine Millie Bobby Brown, the umpteenth version/incarnation/reboot in Kaiju creature features about the avenging post-Atomic dinosaur isn’t going to be anybody’s idea of an around-the-block lines “blockbuster” this weekend.

Box Office Mojo says low $50s for this latest Warner Brothers’ “Think we can get Ken Watanabe…AGAIN?” epic.  agrees.

That’s a middling “Monsters Inc.” Pixar sequel number, not all that impressive. My guess that it covers no real new ground will be tried out in an hour or so when I get around to seeing it. They previewed it the same night as “Ma” in Orlando, and I’m all about Octavia.

“Godzilla” will do big money overseas, with that sprawling cast and all those monsters, so no worries in WB circles.

The musical cartoon remake “Aladdin” should manage another $35-38 million, but as they under-predicted its opening weekend by 20%, we will see.

“Rocketman” promises to do a tepid $25 ( very healthy $32-35 (Box Office Mojo), riding some good reviews (not mine) and the same generational “Classic Rock” nostalgia that made “Bohemian Rhapsody” a blockbuster. I’d hate to be around Sir Elton if it doesn’t out-perform “Bohemian,” and that seems possible, if not downright likely. It’s not nearly as much fun. More “honest,” about his sexuality and everybody who done Elton wrong. But it’s pretty much a joyless slog of a movie.


“Ma” earned mixed reviews, a well-cast, well-acted but clumsily plotted and timidly directed affair. It’s not a brand-name horror pic, save for the BH Tilt studio branding. So it could earn in the upper teens (Mojo) or as high as $20 (Deadline, Variety et al).

Among the holdovers, everybody will be looking at the “Booksmart” numbers, as this week has been all about how Annapurna might have overplayed its hand by opening this SXSW darling, directed by fanboy pinup Olivia Wilde, wide. A platformed release might have helped. It’s a good movie and has more than a few laughs.

It didn’t clear $9 million on its opening weekend. Will it manage half of that on its second weekend? The weekday take wasn’t that impressive, either.

It screened in Greater Orlando half a dozen times to build word of mouth. I’m guessing that happened all over the country. And guess what? Those 2,000 or free tickets? That was most of your audience. Their word of mouth didn’t help.

I took my moviegoing companion to see it last weekend, after reviewing it some while back, and here’s what struck me about it on second viewing.

It’s empowering, witty and all that. Wilde gave her young female stars a safe space to let it all hang out.

But it’s slow. The leads aren’t a laugh riot, and the supporting characters — save for Gigi the party girl — are weak.

A formula picture built on the “Sixteen Candles/Can’t Hardly Wait/House Party” framework HAS to move faster than this.

I’m sitting in a small town Florida theater with a 1/4 house, and NOBODY else is laughing, and I’m not laughing as much, second time around.

Maybe it was never going to be “Superbad.” Because “Superbad” assaulted you, pummeled you. The characters got humiliated and genuinely threatened (same with Kid’n Play’s “House Party”). The stakes were higher, and funnier.

“Booksmart” has few funny adults (Kudrow/Sudeikis/Williams/Forte), all of them supportive as opposed to testy-funny obstacles to our heroines. I get that you want to bend that John Hughes “The Adults are Clueless Idiots” template, but we needed more out of the proven players because the young ones weren’t all that –funny lines, edgy in that whole lesbian’s-never-been-kissed way. Flat.

I’m thinking that $25-30 million by the end of its run was all “Booksmart” was ever going to earn. It’s not “the best picture of the year” so far, it’s just got the most empowering message, politically correct characters. And it’s not the comedy smash of the summer because it ain’t playing in the provinces.




About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to BOX OFFICE: Will “Godzilla” devour the weekend, will “Booksmart” rally, or will “Ma” have her way?

  1. “Booksmart”, Roger, is not a good movie and doesn’t have hardly any laughs.

    • I saw it for the second time with an audience full of Jackie Coopers — Titusville, FL. Your tribe! It’s funny and bracing and punches the “right” PC buttons, but it’s audience is a lot narrower than I think Annapurna realized.

  2. It isn’t funny. It is politically correct in a lot of ways. But what do you mean it is “bracing”?

  3. K. Ray says:

    Tripe will always be nothing but TRIPE!

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