March 2015 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

March 6, 2015

They... look fake.

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7. Unfinished Business (March 6th)
The name of the film is very ambiguous, but it's definitely a comedy. Star Vince Vaughn has lately delivered some relatively underseen movies (The Internship, Delivery Man) that, for my money, were funnier than most of his higher-profile mid-2000s titles. And in Unfinished Business, he's got some fun and unexpected co-stars - Dave Franco, building a solid resume, Tom Wilkinson, in a rare comic relief part, Sienna Miller, recently of American Sniper, and Nick Frost, who's always good to see. I don't expect a box office juggernaut, but the film looks like unpretentious entertainment and might play more or less along those lines, perhaps carrying the audience that recently passed over the Hot Tub sequel (can you blame them?).

Opening weekend: $13 million / Total gross: $41 million

8. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (March 6th)
I assume this pleasant-seeming British sequel's release date is not meant to near-mark the one-year anniversary (March 7th) of the Oscar-winning Grand Budapest Hotel. The original Marigold Hotel, which served as (much-welcome) counterprogramming to The Avengers, took in a decent $46 million (in fact, as best as I can recall, it was just a few dollars shy of matching The Avengers!). While this film has one of the few titles I can think of that literally promises the audience an inferior product (regardless of whether that's actually the case), this follow-up should bring in solid numbers, even if it won't really come close to matching its predecessor. Among the returning stars is Dev Patel, whose Chappie opens on the same day (it would be unexpected, though amusing, if this film outgrosses Patel's other). And the additions of Americans Richard Gere and David Strathairn ought to at least make this a solid enough earner, perhaps even inspiring another sequel (but what will they call it?).

Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $33 million


9. The Gunman (March 20th)
This action-thriller from the director of Taken (the promotional material ceaselessly emphasizes this fact for whatever reason) represents a rare commercial starring role for two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn. It's a film that's reminiscent of one of his other more mainstream roles, The Interpreter, his collaboration with Nicole Kidman (that one was certainly a success, grossing $72 million in 2005). Penn has picked up a more than respectable supporting cast of toughs here - Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, and Javier Bardem (although in a test of sheer physical strength, Kidman could probably take them all). Not to repeat myself, but the level of critical support is again what will likely be the defining factor in how well The Gunman does opposite its bigger-budget, flashier competitors, of which this month has plenty.

Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $24 million

Also out at some hitherto unknown locations on March 27th is Serena, a 1930s period piece that's another collaboration between two of the top ten movie stars of this decade, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. The film starts slow (very, very, slow) but builds to some particularly effective drama; Cooper is, again, fantastic. It's unlikely Serena will crack wide release, but it's a worthwhile watch for fans of the actors and material.

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