Movie Recommendations From The June 3, 2018 Weekend Box Office

With no blockbusters released last weekend, the box office was “Adrift”.

The headlines from this past weekend at the box office were about how much Solo: A Star Wars Story dropped in its second weekend. From a consumer standpoint, this isn’t necessarily bad news. Movie fans are paying attention. The movie is good but not great and the market is responding accordingly. Disney has been put on notice that fans of the franchise can’t be taken for granted. The product must live up to the hype.

Of the new movies, Adrift had a decent opening. Audiences didn’t love the movie but they did like it. While 68% of the opening night audience were women, there wasn’t a huge IMDB rating gap between men and women. Women gave it an average rating of 7.0 while men were at 6.7. Critics were aligned with audiences. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 71% Fresh rating and praised the strong performance of Shailene Woodley.

For those of you who are fans of the horror genre, you’ll probably really enjoy Upgrade. As for Action Point, which came in ninth for the weekend, do us all a favor and stay away and let it slip out of the top ten.

If you have already seen Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, it looks like a good, but not great, Solo: A Star Wars Story may still be your best bet. After that you’ll be left Adrift.

Movie Recommendations From The May 27, 2018 Weekend Box Office

Critics and audiences like Solo: A Star Wars Story but they don’t love it.

The 2018 Disney juggernaut didn’t get stopped this weekend as Solo: A Star Wars Story finished number one at the box office for the Memorial Day weekend. It did get slowed a bit as the $83.3 million box office take was considerably less than the $101 million expectation. Critics and audiences like the movie but they don’t love it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a respectable 71% Fresh and it’s running at a solid, but not great, average IMDB rating of 7.2 after its opening weekend. That IMDB rating is well below its primary box office competition, Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, whose IMDB ratings are 8.2 and 8.8 respectively.

If you look at my Box Office Top Ten Recommendations for the weekend you’ll notice that I’m trying to introduce more qualifiers into my recommendations. If you are trying to decide whether to see the Avengers, Deadpool 2, or Solo, you should be able to look at my recommendations and see that the first two movies are more likely to be special movie events than Solo might be. I indicate that audiences are “loving” the first two movies and only “really liking” the second.

If you’re going to the movies for a “Girls Night”, which of the female targeted movies should you see. From my recommendations you should be able to see that women should “really like” Book Clubshould “like” Life of the Party, and might “like” Overboard. You should see that Book Club is the best choice if you’re over 45. Book Club and Life of the Party are viable options if you’re under 45. And, Overboard is the riskiest choice of the three for all age groups.

Check back next Monday to see if any new movies break into the Top Ten and more importantly are they worth seeing.

Movie Recommendations From The May 20, 2018 Weekend Box Office

Most people will probably enjoy Deadpool 2 but beware. It is Certified Cringeworthy.

In May 2016 I wrote a piece about a website called cringeMDB. The premise behind the website is that there are movies that would make you cringe if you saw them with your parents or vice versa with your kids. The number one movie at the box office this weekend is Deadpool 2. Not only is it a box office success, but it has also been favorably reviewed by critics and audiences alike. It is a movie that many of us will want to see when we get a chance. Just don’t see it with your family. It is Certified Cringeworthy. The original Deadpool was 90.4% Cringeworthy which means that nearly everyone who saw the movie felt it was unsafe to see either with their parents or their kids. Deadpool 2 should be similarly cringeworthy.

The second new movie of interest is Book Club. Like the movies I mentioned last week, this is another movie with big IMDB splits between men and women. Unlike those other movies, Book Club has pretty high ratings for women. While men give the movie a 5.9 average IMDB rating, women give it a very strong 7.7 average rating. This movie should do very well with its target audience, older women.

The third new movie in the top ten this weekend is Show Dogs. The early feedback from critics and audiences is that this movie is pretty bad and, despite a decent opening weekend, is probably headed to the 2018 movie graveyard.

Next weekend, Memorial Day, is one of the biggest of the year at the movies. Solo: A Star Wars Movie is expected to dominate the weekend box office. Check in next Monday to see if its worth the hype.

I’m Taking a Sabbatical…Sort Of

The lesser known but highly awarded Hitchcock classic, Rebecca, is one of three movies on my Watch List this week that women will probably “really like” more than men will.

With Memorial Day on the horizon and summer days not far behind, I’ve decided it’s time for a sabbatical, of sorts. Merriam-Webster defines “sabbatical”  as “a break or change from the normal routine” and that is what I’m doing. I’m discontinuing my Thursday post for the summer. Between a busy summer planned and a desire to make more progress on my objective database than I have so far, I’ve decided two posts a week is too much for now. I do plan on continuing my Monday Box Office Top Ten recommendations as my schedule permits. If an idea grabs me, I may even post it. This is why I call it a “sort” of sabbatical.

I’ve got a lot of ideas but a fair test of those ideas really needs a completed objective database. That will be my focus over the summer months. One idea that I’m playing with is developing a separate objective “really like” probability for men and women. My movie watch list for this week is a first pass at the idea. Presently, women like Avengers: Infinity War as much as men do even though it is a male oriented movie. With the exception of Do the Right Thing, the remaining movies on the Watch List are movies that women will probably like more than men will . Rebecca, an Alfred Hitchcock lesser known classic with ten Oscar nominations, is the best of the bunch. The last two movies appeal to women of different ages. Amanda Knox appeals to the younger set while Still Mine is aimed at AARP female members.

One of the things you’ll notice is that there isn’t much of a gap between the male and female probabilities for each movie. This gets to the point I made earlier about needing to pick up the pace in terms of completing the database. There isn’t enough data yet to create much space between the probabilities. I’m anxious to really get this moving so that the gender differences can become a more meaningful tool. That means more time spent on data and less on writing.

On to the sabbatical. Sort of.

Recommendations From the May 13 Weekend Box Office Top Ten

Life of the Party is just one of the Box Office Top Ten this week with big male-female splits on IMDB

This week’s top ten at the box office has an interesting demographic characteristic. While men are flocking to Avengers: Infinity War, women friendly movies are dominating the rest of the top ten. Every movie other than the Avengers has a higher female IMDB score than the male score.

IMDB Avg. Rating
Female Male Female Difference
Avengers: Infinity War 8.8 8.8 0.0
Life of the Party 6.9 5.0 1.9
Breaking In 6.4 4.6 1.8
Overboard 6.4 4.9 1.5
A Quiet Place 8.1 8.0 0.1
I Feel Pretty 6.5 3.8 2.7
Rampage 6.8 6.3 0.5
Tully 7.5 7.3 0.2
Black Panther 8.1 7.4 0.7
RBG 8.6 7.5 1.1
Total Excl. Avengers 7.3 6.1 1.2

The 1.2 IMDB average rating difference for all of the movies in the top ten excluding the Avengers movie is actually a very big differential. The female average rating is 19.2% higher than the male rating.

Now it could be that women, for whatever reason, tend to rate movies higher than men. My analysis of the historical data suggests that isn’t the case. In fact male and female ratings tend to be pretty close on average. I admit, though, that I haven’t looked at recent data. It is possible that more liberal voting by women in recent years is possible.

Another explanation is that it was a decision by studios to release more female oriented movies as counter programming against the Avengers expected domination of the male market.

The most hopeful explanation is that studios are coming to the realization that women are becoming more of a force in the movie market. Women are increasing their influence over which movies get seen. The response from studios is a conscious decision to make more female friendly movies. Disney certainly seems to get this as evidenced by the female appeal they are building into their male targeted Marvel and Star Wars franchises.

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Two movies from the top ten flying under the radar are Tully and RBG. If you’ve already seen Black Panther, Avengers, and Quiet Place, these are the movies that should be next on your list.

 

Flying From Blossom to Blossom to Blossom

Like Yul Brynner’s King of Siam, I’m flying from blossom to blossom to blossom this week.

In the 1956 classic The King and I, the King tries to explain to Anna the polygamous nature of men and the monogamous nature of women by use of an old Siamese saying. The saying goes: “A girl is like a blossom, with honey for just one man. A man is like a honey bee and gather all he can. To fly from blossom to blossom a honey bee must be free. But blossom must not ever fly from bee to bee to bee.” Now, that way of thinking didn’t fly with Anna nor would it find a sympathetic ear today. Despite that, today, I feel like the honey bee. But, instead of blossoms, I’m flying from topic to topic to topic.

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Box Office Mojo reported Tuesday that April had a record month for box office revenue, topping $1 billion for the first time ever for the month of April. February similarly had a record breaking month. These are traditionally quiet months at the box office. Here’s the question. Are they quiet months because people don’t want to go to the movies during these months or is it because producers traditionally don’t release movies that people want to see during these months? Disney gambled that it was the latter and that gamble has paid off big time. Disney released Black Panther in February and Avengers: Infinity War in April and movie fans came out in record numbers. Are these movies breaking records because of the lack of competition? Maybe. But we won’t really know, will we, until other studios make the same gamble as Disney and really test whether fans are drawn to movie quality in whatever month it is released.

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One of my favorite websites to visit this time of year is Awards Circuit Oscar Predictions. Even though it’s over eight months until the next Academy Awards presentation, this site doesn’t shy away from making an assessment of which movies are Oscar caliber. As of now, they are predicting a rematch between the two directors whose movies were both announced (one mistakenly) as the Best Picture of 2016, Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Damien Chazelle (LA LA Land). Jenkins is bringing James Baldwin’s novel, If Beale Street Could Talk, to the Oscar race. And, Chazelle is again teaming with Ryan Gosling to present, First Man, a biopic of Neil Armstrong, who famously took “a small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” in August of 1969. Nobody has seen these films and so their ranking of 1 and 2 on the list probably has more to do with what happened at the 2017 Oscars than anything specific about the movie. Regardless, it is fun to look ahead to the buzz-worthy movies being released later in the year.

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I was watching a movie commentary show last week in which one of the guests brought up how different it is for today’s at home movie viewer than it was in the pre-cable TV era. Tonight, when you sit down to watch a movie, you will literally have over a thousand movies to choose from and still you will have trouble deciding what to watch. It made me think of a time, many years ago, when, as a young movie fan, I was thrilled to have a single contemporary movie shown on TV each week.

On September 23, 1961 NBC Saturday Night at the Movies premiered. At the time, it took years for a theatrical movie to be released for television viewing. The classic movie Ben-Hur, for example, took twelve years to be released for television broadcast. What was unique about Saturday Night at the Movies was that the network allocated two hours of programming (more if needed) to show the movie in its entirety. Prior to this, movies were edited to fit into one and a half hour time slots, commercials included, for local programming. It was not unusual to have 10% to 15% of the original movie cut to accommodate the time slot. Not only did Saturday Night at the Movies show the entire movie, they also committed to showing only movies released after 1950 to assure it would be a “recent” movie.

NBC Saturday Night at the Movies became a hit. It became “must see” TV. Families scheduled their evening at home around the movie. They didn’t choose the movie. The movie chose them. And, we didn’t care. It was a different time.

 

Recommendations from the May 6 Weekend Box Office Top Ten

Overboard made a splash this weekend but Tully is the movie you should see.

I posted the weekend Box Office update this morning. Three new movies moved into the top ten this week. Overboard made the biggest “splash” with its second place finish. Women seem to like this remake of the 1987 Goldie Hawn/ Kurt Russell film of the same name but they don’t love it.

The horror thriller Bad Samaritan opened in tenth place. There’s not enough data to make a definitive assessment of the film but early on its appeal is to women.

The third new movie of the weekend, Tully, finished a disappointing sixth with $3.2 million in receipts for the weekend. For my money, though, this is the movie with “really like” potential. This is the third collaboration of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody (JunoYoung Adult). It has received strong ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Even though it has drawn and audience of predominately women over thirty, other demographic groups have given it solid ratings on IMDB.

If you’re going to the movies this week to see something other than Avengers: Infinity War, throw the other movies “overboard” and buy tickets for Tully.