Monday Morning Quarterback Part III

By BOP Staff

June 18, 2015

C'mon Mr. Dinosaur. We're not even a mouthful.

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Kim Hollis: Universal has already released Fifty Shades of Grey, Furious 7, Pitch Perfect 2 and Jurassic World - and it has Minions and Ted 2 still to come. How do you rank the performance of the first four, and what are your expectations for the two that will be released within the next few weeks?

Edwin Davies: They're all fantastic results when compared to budget, with Fifty Shades and Pitch Perfect being particularly strong in that regard since Universal spent only $69 million on both of them and they've so far earned $828.7 million worldwide. That's a hell of a return on investment, and they've probably seen more pure profit from them than they've made on the more expensive Furious 7. That shouldn't take away from what a runaway success that film has been, however, or how impressive it is that Jurassic World, the fourth film in a franchise that everyone thought was completely done broke the global opening weekend record. The only one that strikes me as a disappointment is Fifty Shades, but only because the film was so bad that it used up all its juice in one weekend. Had it been a better film, it could have easily earned more than $200 million domestically, but instead it stuttered.

Of the two forthcoming films, Minions is the one that seems most likely to become a huge smash, though it might struggle to reach the heights of Despicable Me 2 since spin-offs are a dicey proposition. Ted 2 could go either way: it could open huge and then taper off if the quality isn't there, much as happened to the second Hangover film, or it could become the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. Either way, I'd be surprised if either of them stops Universal's hot streak.

Jason Barney: Universal's hot streak is memorable and is going to be VERY profitable for them. All of these investments are turning into great money makers. There current success is going to be able to fund a lot of future projects. The four films mentioned above contributed to one of the hottest starts to a movie year ever....and now Jurassic World is going to elevate a lagging summer. They are red hot.


Felix Quinonez: I think Ted 2 will be really big but ultimately fall short of the first one in its total gross. But I think Minions is a bit of a wild card. Spin offs don't usually match the main franchise films. But I think it will preform similarly to Puss in Boots and fall short of $200 million domestically.

Ben Gruchow: This is the kind of year I've been hoping Universal would have for a long while. I've really been hoping for karmic justice ever since the studio took a gamble 10 years ago on Serenity and watched it disappoint at the box office. Ahh, bitter youth.

All four of these films have been extremely impressive. In order of how impressive they've been, I'd rank Fifty Shades of Grey last (although $166 million is impressive for a $40 million investment, the flameout has been even more pronounced, and I think the Fifty Shades franchise is going to disappear into the same dark hole the Twilight franchise fell into the moment its final film comes and goes), followed by Pitch Perfect 2, then Jurassic World, with Furious 7 at the top of the heap; the death of a lead actor could account for an opening 50 percent over the previous film in a franchise, but not a 50-percent-bigger opening tied to the same opening-to-total multiplier and a truly jaw-dropping international total, for the seventh film in a franchise. I don't know what can account for that, other than sorcery. And if there were any doubts about this being Universal's year after Furious 7, Jurassic World just crushed them.

If social media and trailer reactions are anything to go off of (and history suggests that it is), Minions is going to be massive. With spinoffs, it's a dice-roll as far as whether or not they underperform or perform to expectations; I'm having trouble thinking of a case where a spinoff equaled its parent franchise. Here, I think there's a chance that Minions may actually catch up to Despicable Me 2, although it's more likely that it falls somewhere in between the two films. With Ted 2, I'm more ambivalent. Ted was a word-of-mouth success, and Ted 2 has the same writer/director combo, but A Million Ways to Die in the West showed that Seth McFarlane's involvement doesn't necessarily equate to quality or box-office appeal. The success of both films beyond a certain baseline of earnings depends, I think, on reviews.

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