March 2015 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

March 6, 2015

They... look fake.

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3. Home (March 27th)
Here's an animated DreamWorks film pushed back from last year (it switched spots with Penguins of Madagascar). The studio's CGI slate is not infallible - the excellent Mr. Peabody & Sherman just crossed $100 million last March, and the Madagascar penguins didn't reach that number. Still, the film looks cute and inoffensive enough, and it's always nice to see - hear - Steve Martin in a big hit movie. Prestigious animated releases like this have a floor, and Home has made no mistakes that I could see to put it out of the average. Looking forward, the April movie slate is bereft enough of kids’ movies that this one ought to have at least a couple of good weekends.

Opening weekend: $37 million / Total gross: $128 million

4. Get Hard (March 27th)
Kevin Hart's second film of the year, and yes, it's possibly if not certainly his last until Ride Along 2 opens in January. Hart's resume is a mixed streak of breakout hits (Ride Along and Think Like a Man) and modest if relatively successful grossers (About Last Night, The Wedding Ringer). Get Hard is clearly aimed at bringing his brand into the absolute mainstream, and gives him comedic legitimacy by teaming him with his biggest co-star yet, Will Ferrell, who comes into the equation with a generally successful recent line of films (The Other Guys, The Campaign, and Anchorman 2). The plot seems like a generic fish-out-of-water or buddy comedy, but the level of star power (the month's strongest) means the film is fixed at a fairly high opening weekend range. It's the quality of the picture that will dictate legs, or lack thereof. I think it'll be short of Ride Along's $134 million, a striking number that was hard to predict and difficult to replicate.

Opening weekend: $42 million / Total gross: $115 million


5. Chappie (March 6th)
The month's first potential action blockbuster slot is taken by this somewhat mysterious robot-themed title. It's from Neill Blomkamp, a director who's clearly built a reputation for ambitious and action-packed science fiction action films that usually take place in garbage-strewn future versions of earth (see his District 9 and Elysium). Chappie continues the tradition more or less directly. Hugh Jackman, in a supporting role, contributes some name recognition, and Dev Patel and frequent Blomkamp colleague Sharlto Copley are also on hand. Chappie is the rare action film these days that isn't based on a known quantity or brand, and as such, it will sink or swim based on the old rules: how well it's received, and how commercial and approachable the filmmaking is. It's perhaps the month's biggest wild card, and the toughest to pinpoint, but that's the Blomkamp brand.

Opening weekend: $27 million / Total gross: $64 million

6. Run All Night (March 13th)
Just like Kevin Hart, prolific thespian Liam Neeson returns very soon after a prominent January film (Taken 3, which did well enough against the American Sniper onslaught). This time out, Neeson doesn't have the theoretical reliability of a franchise name behind him, and it's likely Run All Night will perform less like one of his conventional action films and more like another of his recent darker thrillers, A Walk Among the Tombstones; that film struggled at the box office, even with the help of positive critical notices (for lack of a better joke, I will say that Run All Night should pick up the pace). The supporting cast - Ed Harris, Common, and rising star Joel Kinnaman - is strong; and between this film and The Gunman, it's nice to see two somewhat old-school thrillers with a dynamic actor as lead opening almost against each other, even if they might chew away at the other's numbers.

Opening weekend: $15 million / Total gross: $41 million

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