Summer Movie Wager 2018

The /Filmcast does this thing every year where they pick what they each think will be the top 10 movies of the summer in terms of domestic box office performance. One enterprising listener created a website to coordinate the whole Summer Movie Wager and opened it up to everyone, so this year I figured I’d play along. I didn’t spend a ton of time on it, but I’ve been following the /Filmcast for a long time, so I had some idea of how its played. I made my picks before I listened to their picks this year, and now that I’ve listened to their episode, I had some mild regret for some of my choices, but ultimately, I think I did alright. Here’s my picks, along with some comments:

  1. Avengers: Infinity War – Duh. Pretty much everyone has this pegged as the winner this summer. I’m sure someone is making a calculated bet to pick something else, and if they wind up correct, they’ll have a big advantage over the whole field. But it still seems like a big longshot.
  2. Incredibles 2 – I have this much higher than most, but I think this is going to be the “Animated Kids Movie” of choice this summer, and those always do much better than expected. I worry that my love for the original film has skewed my thoughts here though, and if I were doing this again, I might bump it down a spot or two.
  3. Deadpool 2 – Seems like a big deal, but the /Filmcast did worry me a bit, as it does feel like the sort of thing that isn’t quite repeatable. The rated R superhero comedy was kinda new last time around, it’ll be difficult to recapture the novelty here. Then again, there’s always a rated R movie that does better than expected in the summer, the first movie was hugely popular, and I think most are genuinely looking forward to this one.
  4. Solo: A Star Wars Story – This is honestly a pretty big question mark. It’s Star Wars, so it will definitely make the top 10, but its performance could vary wildly. Are people getting Star Wars fatigue? Is anyone really looking forward to the concept of this one? Will Last Jedi haters drive down performance? Only time will tell. This slot doesn’t seem overly ambitious or pessimistic.
  5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Everyone was blindsided by Jurassic World a few years ago, which did an obscene $650 million. No one expected that much love for the franchise, and the movie was frankly kinda crappy, so it was a big surprise. Most folks seem to be putting this latest iteration at number 2. I may be overly pessimistic about its chances, but I’m thinking that the trailers look bad and those who didn’t love the last movie will not turn up this time. I don’t know, maybe Jeff Goldblum fans will turn out in droves? There’s no way it gets close to its predecessor, but it’ll almost certainly be top 5. I have it a little low, but I don’t think this is completely unwarranted.
  6. Ant-Man and the Wasp – And here I’m being a bit optimistic. I’m betting that Avengers loev will spill over to this and drive this to perform a little better than the first film. I’m definitely taking a chance here, but this seems feasible. This is where the list starts to get a bit wonky and unpredictable. It’s reasonable to think my top 5 will be the top 5 (if not in the exact order I picked), but 6-10 are much more of a toss up.
  7. Ocean’s 8 – Here I’m betting that this will do better than the other Ocean’s sequels. Who knows if I’m right, but this somehow feels kinda like counter-programming during the summer blockbuster season, and the female-led cast will also appeal to audiences. It also comes out early in June and will have plenty of time to keep making money (this becomes a problem with below picks).
  8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout – If this does similar numbers to the last two installments, it probably deserves to be higher on this list… but it’s release at the very end of July means that some of its gross won’t count towards this contest. On the other hand, releases are still front-loaded and this will have plenty of time to build up sales. This should almost certainly be one or two spots up higher on this list. Dammit.
  9. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – I mean, who the hell knows once we get down to this area. The first movie was a surprise hit, and again, the counter-programming aspect of this might auger for some level of success. But I could be way off.
  10. The Meg – I might have been swayed by the internet response to the first trailer, which looks like a ton of dumb fun… The big problem with this is the release date, which only allows for 3-4 weeks to make money. Then again, August is usually a wasteland for movies, so there won’t be as much competition as there will be early in the season.

Outside the top 10, we get three “Dark Horse” picks:

  • Christopher Robin – I don’t know. It’s Disney, so it’ll do ok, but I picked this without really knowing much about it. Finding out more, I’m not sure it was a wise choice…
  • Skyscraper – The Rock is just so unpredictable in terms of both quality and performance that I’m not sure what to make of this movie. It could very well earn a spot in the top 10, but this marks the 3rd movie that The Rock has had in theaters this year. Just not sure about it. It could be big, it could bomb.
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation – These movies do well, right? Again, kids movies tend to do better than expected. I probably should have put this one at #10 in place of The Meg, but again, who knows.

I think I did alright. If I were to do it again, I’d definitely make some changes… but it would still be a similar list.

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