Box Office Predictions: March 3-5

The month of March at the box office claws its way into theaters with three new releases premiering. They are: Hugh Jackman’s final appearance as Wolverine in Logan, faith-based drama The Shack, and teen thriller Before I Fall. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/23/logan-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/24/the-shack-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/25/before-i-fall-box-office-prediction/

Logan, with some of the greatest reviews of the X-Men franchise, should easily top the charts. It’s worth noting that my mid-60s forecast is a bit lower than some others. We shall see.

I’m expecting sub double digit openings for the other two newcomers, with The Shack landing in fourth and Before I Fall in sixth.

Critically lauded horror pic Get Out had a spectacular opening (more on that below) and I expect a rather small sophomore decline. It should have no trouble placing second. That leaves other holdovers The Lego Batman Movie in third and John Wick: Chapter 2 at fifth.

And with that, my top 6 predictions for the weekend:

1. Logan

Predicted Gross: $68.6 million

2. Get Out

Predicted Gross: $20 million (representing a drop of 40%)

3. The Lego Batman Movie

Predicted Gross: $11.1 million (representing a drop of 42%)

4. The Shack

Predicted Gross: $9.7 million

5. John Wick: Chapter 2

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million (representing a drop of 39%)

6. Before I Fall

Predicted Gross: $5.3 million

Box Office Results (February 24-26)

With its red hot buzz and perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, Jordan Peele’s Get Out got off to a scorching start with a $33.3 million opening – blazing past my meager $16.3M prediction. With a budget of reportedly under $5 million, this is a massively profitable venture for Blumhouse.

The Lego Batman Movie slipped to second to $19.2 million, a bit shy of my $22.1M projection for a three week total of $133M.

John Wick: Chapter 2 was third with $9.3 million, in range with my $8.4M forecast for a $74M overall gross. The Great Wall was fourth in its second weekend with $9.1 million (I said $8.2M) for a lackluster tally of $34M. Fifty Shades Darker rounded out the top five with $7.7 million in weekend #3, under my $9.9M prediction. Its total is at $103M.

Two other newcomers failed to make any impression with moviegoers. The animated Rock Dog was 11th with $3.7 million, in line with my $4.4M prediction. Action thriller Collide was DOA in 13th with $1.5 million, not even my matching my $2.1M estimate.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Advertisements

2016 Oscars Reaction

Well… then! Who expected that ending at the Oscars?? One that involved Bonnie and Clyde, Leonardo DiCaprio, wrong envelopes, and a mild Best Picture upset! Yes, the jokes about that already infamous finale to the 89th Annual Academy Awards deserves the endless tweets about M. Night Shyamalan coming up with it and Steve Harvey being off the hook for his Miss Universe gaffe.

All in all, it was a fairly unpredictable night even up until that wild conclusion. My predictions went 14 for 21. Expect for Picture, I did get all the high-profiles race right: Damien Chazelle (La La Land) for Director, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) for Actor, Emma Stone (La La) for Actress, Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Supporting Actor, Viola Davis (Fences) for Supporting Actress, Moonlight for Adapted Screenplay, and Manchester for Original Screenplay. Animated Feature Zootopia and Foreign Language Film The Salesman were also rightly called. Down the line categories that I got right: Original Score and Song (La La and “City of Stars” from that film), Production Design and Cinematography (La La), and Visual Effects (The Jungle Book).

I whiffed on Documentary – O.J.: Made in America was the front runner and won over my upset pick I Am Not Your Negro. Others: Sound Editing (Arrival instead of Hacksaw Ridge), Sound Mixing (Hacksaw instead of La La), Makeup and Hairstyling (Suicide Squad over Star Trek Beyond), Costume Design (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them over Jackie), and Editing (Hacksaw over La La).

And, of course, Best Picture, where La La Land won for about two minutes before the Academy’s producers pointed out a mistake and that Moonlight actually won.

The evening started on a happy note with Justin Timberlake dancing his way into the auditorium to his hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls. Jimmy Kimmel did a decent job hosting for the most part. Some bits worked better than others. I enjoyed the group of tourists unknowingly being brought to the theater and his endless ribbing of Matt Damon. The candy and cookies falling down to the audience felt a little old hat. The In Memorium package was a little tough with the legends lost this year and props to Jennifer Aniston for mentioning the passing of Bill Paxton as news had just broke that morning.

Did the show feel long? Of course. It always does, but for those that stuck around… yowza! That was an Oscar ending that will not soon be forgotten.

RIP Bill Paxton

Sadly, this morning I write a post I didn’t expect to with the news that Bill Paxton has passed away at age 61. For even casual movie fans, Paxton was a very familiar face that starred and co-starred in blockbusters such as Aliens, True Lies, Twister, and Titanic.

Upon hearing the news of his death, I began to realize just how present he’s been in my movie watching existence over the last three decades plus. I first knew of him as Chet, the bullying older brother in Weird Science. If that is a guilty pleasure pic, his performance is one of the best pleasures in it. It’s a terrific comedic performance.

Just one year later, his role in Aliens stuck out in that fantastic sequel with one-liners like “Game Over, Man!” That same year, he starred in Kathryn Bigelow’s vampire cult classic Near Dark.

All told, Mr. Paxton has about a dozen DVDs and Blu-Rays sitting on my shelf. Like I said, he was truly a part of many of our collective filmgoing experiences from the 1980s on. He was alongside Tom Cruise just three years ago in the solid Edge of Tomorrow and was a rival tabloid cameraman to Jake Gyllenhaal in my favorite picture of 2014, Nightcrawler.

His TV credits include headlining HBO’s “Big Love” and just a few weeks ago, his CBS crime drama “Training Day” (based on the 2001 Denzel Washington film) premiered. His final movie will be The Circle with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. It opens in April.

Other notable onscreen efforts range from Predator 2 to Tombstone to A Simple Plan and U571. Today I wish to highlight a trio of lesser known titles worth seeking out:

Two are from 1992. Trespass finds him and William Sadler as firefighters who find a treasure map that pits them against drug dealers Ice Cube and Ice-T. It’s great gritty fun. One False Move is an intense crime thriller from director Carl Franklin and written by Billy Bob Thornton. Gene Siskel named it as his favorite movie of that year and it is impressive.

Paxton turned to directing himself in 2001 with Frailty, an underrated and effective thriller where the actor plays a religiously fanatical father. I just watched it again recently and it made me wish Paxton had directed more.

What Bill Paxton did leave us with is his own treasure trove of performances to enjoy. He will be missed.

Moonlight Movie Review

One not need to live in Chiron’s world in Moonlight to understand his struggles. We all have moments where we feel isolated. We all have had family drama. We all have moments where we strive to figure out who we are. The central character in this Barry Jenkins picture may experience it at an elevated level and in a universe where his identity is shunned. However, we manage to identify with him and that’s a tribute to an often subtle and smart script.

The film is told in three chapters as it follows various stages in Chiron’s life in Miami and eventually Atlanta. It begins under the heading “Little”, where we find him as a shy young boy. His mother Paula (Naomie Harris) is an absentee one and Little is soon befriended by drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monae). They serve as his de facto parents.

Second chapter “Chiron” finds him as a teenager who’s frequently targeted at school. Paula is now a drug addict, Teresa still cares for him, and Juan is no longer in the picture. He also has a complicated relationship with longtime friend Kevin that alters between romantic and antagonistic.

Chapter three “Black” finds Chiron as a twenty something whose life has veered into territory much like Juan’s. It would probably be something his father figure would despise. The years gone by have also gotten him out of touch with Kevin, but their paths coincide once again.

Moonlight finds three actors playing Chiron (and Kevin) in these stages. Alex Hibbert is the youngster in part one, Ashton Sanders is the teen, and Trevante Rhodes is the young man. All of them shine. Same goes for the supporting players, with note deserved to Ali for putting a fresh spin on a character who could’ve been far more stereotypical.

There are events key to Chiron’s story that aren’t shown here and while I understand the structural decision not to belabor them, it does occasionally take away from its overall dramatic impact.

Yet its staying power is still significant. The film is about someone discovering their sexuality and we finds ourselves for rooting for Chiron to get there. No matter your identity, you’ll recognize and sympathize with moments of family struggle, bullying, and loneliness. Jenkins (who wrote and directed) assuredly keeps the audience wondering where his subject’s journey turns next.

***1/2 (out of four)

Before I Fall Box Office Prediction

Looking for the teen dramatic thriller version of Groundhog Day? It appears you can find it next weekend when Before I Fall debuts. Based on a 2010 YA bestseller by Lauren Oliver, the pic centers on a teen (Zoey Deutch) living the final day of her life repeatedly. Costars include Halston Sage, Logan Miller, and Jennifer Beals (yep, the star of Flashdance!).

Fall premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to some positive reviews and it sits at 64%  currently on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, the Open Roads release isn’t expected to rise much with audiences. The marketing campaign has been rather low key and I suspect a mid to possibly high single digits opening is the probable result.

Before I Fall opening weekend prediction: $5.3 million

For my Logan prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/23/logan-box-office-prediction/

For my The Shack prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/24/the-shack-box-office-prediction/

The Shack Box Office Prediction

Next weekend, the faith-based drama The Shack hits theaters. Based on a bestselling 2007 novel by William P. Young, it hopes to lure in Christian audiences who have made various pictures exceed their opening weekend expectations.

Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Radha Mitchell, Alice Braga, and Tim McGraw are among the cast headlining this tale of a man experiencing a crisis of faith after his young daughter is murdered.

Movies of this genre are often tough to predict and, as mentioned, they can often surprise with more than anticipated numbers. Solid word of mouth could allow this to have legs in subsequent weekends. I’ll predict a high single digits debut is likely.

The Shack opening weekend prediction: $9.7 million

 

For my Logan prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/23/logan-box-office-prediction/

For my Before I Fall prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/25/before-i-fall-box-office-prediction/

Todd’s 2016 Final Oscar Winner Predictions

OK folks, this is it! For months, I have been pontificating on who and what will be nominated at the 89th Annual Academy Awards that air this Sunday evening. It’s time for the final predictions on the winners.

As readers of the blog know, there’s been plenty of analysis and we’re going to keep it simple for this final predictions post. Here’s my winners in all the feature film categories. I’ll have a post up Sunday night with my thoughts on how I did and the show itself…

Best Picture: 

La La Land

Best Director:

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress

Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences

Best Adapted Screenplay

Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay

Manchester by the Sea

Best Animated Feature

Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film

The Salesman

Best Documentary Feature

I Am Not Your Negro

Best Cinematography

La La Land

Best Costume Design

Jackie

Best Film Editing

La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Star Trek Beyond

Best Original Score

La La Land

Best Original Song

“City of Stars” from La La Land

Best Production Design

La La Land

Best Sound Editing

Hacksaw Ridge

Best Sound Mixing

La La Land

Best Visual Effects

The Jungle Book

Logan Box Office Prediction

After nearly 17 years playing the most popular cinematic character in the X-Men universe, Hugh Jackman is Wolverine for reportedly the final time in Logan, out next weekend. This is the third stand-alone feature focused on Jackman’s character following 2009’s XMen Origins: Wolverine and 2013’s The Wolverine. Like the 2013 entry, it’s directed by James Mangold. Patrick Stewart appears here as Professor X and other supporting players include Boyd Holbrook and Richard E. Grant.

One thing is for certain: Logan is receiving easily the best reviews of the trio and it currently sits at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a considerable upgrade of the 38% of Origins and 69% of The Wolverine. On the flip side, the franchise as a whole suffered a minor setback when last summer’s XMen: Apocalypse was the second lowest grosser of the six X pics, with only XMen: First Class earning less.

Let us take a further trip down stand-alone lane, shall we? Origins made $85 million for its start in summer ’09 with an overall $179M haul. Four years later, The Wolverine managed a $53 million opening weekend with $132M overall.

So where does Logan land? The solid reviews should help (something Apocalypse didn’t have). So should the report that it’s Jackman’s swan song. It should land higher than The Wolverine, but not achieve what Origins accomplished (it was the first X flick to open after franchise highest grosser The Last Stand).

I suspect mid to high 60s is the result.

Logan opening weekend prediction: $68.6 million

For my The Shack prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/24/the-shack-box-office-prediction/

For my Before I Fall prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/25/before-i-fall-box-office-prediction/

Jackie Movie Review

Pablo Larrain’s Jackie presents a subject in a horrific stage of grief on a stage very few can identify with. Dealing with loss is a universal feeling. The universe watching you grieve is rare and was even more so in November 1963 when the 35th President of the United States was assassinated. A country turned to Jackie Kennedy and her decisions in the days following the tragedy are explored here.

Yet the most effective moments in the picture belong to Jackie’s quieter moments as she deals with her husband’s death. They are made even more powerful by Natalie Portman’s portrayal of her. In what is easily her finest performance since her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan, Jackie is propelled by her even when narrative shortcomings present themselves.

The film is primarily set in the immediate days after President Kennedy’s fateful ride in Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy is tasked with planning a funeral when national security concerns are at a fever pitch. She’s also already grappling with how to preserve his legacy and we  witness that through her interview with a journalist (Billy Crudup). It is here we see Jackie’s recollection of the proper way to memorialize a slain leader. How extravagant should the funeral be from a First Lady accused of being a bit extravagant? We see brief glimpses of tension with President Johnson (John Carroll Lynch) and especially his aide Jack Valenti (Max Casella).

Some of Jackie’s decisions literally have potential world implications. Far more personal ones are there like informing two young children. We also witness her bond with Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard) and childhood friend Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig). Her psyche is explored in another flashback narrative as she talks about it with a priest, played by the late John Hurt.

The dual flashback setup often feels a tad familiar and sometimes stale. Those with a passing knowledge of the JFK assassination aftermath won’t learn much here. What is rewarding is Portman’s mesmerizing work. There’s also a haunting musical score by Mica Levi. John F. Kennedy has been called the first TV President. One thing does come through here with his First Lady’s recounting of events is her understanding of that. In her darkest moments, she also realizes that she must do all she can to control the story before others do. This does provide some fascinating moments of conversation with Crudup’s reporter. Even in her fragile and stricken state, Jackie feels the duty to write this chapter of history her way.

*** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: February 24-26

It’s a weekend where the bulk of movie lovers attention may be focused on Sunday’s Oscar ceremony and not what’s playing in the multiplex itself. There are three releases going wide: Jordan Peele’s race themed horror pic Get Out, animated musical comedy Rock Dog, and Felicity Jones led action thriller Collide. You can peruse my detailed individual predictions on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/15/get-out-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/15/rock-dog-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/02/15/collide-box-office-prediction/

The real question in this last weekend of February, as I see it, is how the critically acclaimed Get Out performs. I have it in the mid teens, which almost certainly means a second place showing to The Lego Batman Movie in its third frame. However, the horror flick certainly has breakout potential and could go higher (61% of my blog readers believe my estimate is too low).

Both Rock Dog and Collide appear headed for dismal showings. My respective predictions of $4.4 million and $2.1 million have them outside of the top five.

And with that, the top 5 predictions for what should be a rather slow weekend:

1. The Lego Batman Movie

Predicted Gross: $22.1 million (representing a drop of 32%)

2. Get Out

Predicted Gross: $16.3 million

3. Fifty Shades Darker

Predicted Gross: $9.9 million (representing a drop of $51%)

4. John Wick: Chapter 2 

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million (representing a drop of 48%)

5. The Great Wall

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million (representing a drop of 55%)

Box Office Results (February 17-20)

It was a rather ho-hum Presidents Day Weekend as three newcomers all failed to connect with audiences. The Lego Batman Movie easily maintained the top spot with $42.7 million over the four-day holiday, under my $49.4M estimate. Its total has built up to $107M.

Fifty Shades Darker stayed in second with $22.6 million, in line with my $21.3M prognosis for an overall $91M gross.

Matt Damon’s expensive action epic The Great Wall debuted at a disappointing third with $21.5 million, shy of my $25.6M prediction. With mediocre reviews, look for it to crumble quickly.

John Wick: Chapter 2 was fourth with $18.9 million (I said $21.5M) for a two-week tally of $61M.

The Ice Cube/Charlie Day Fist Fight was punched out by audiences with only a $14.1 opening in fifth, well under my generous $25.1M guesstimate.

Finally, the Gore Verbinski directed A Cure for Wellness was DOA in 11th place with just $5 million (less than half my $10.2M forecast).

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…