Monthly Archives: February 2017

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…

Collide Box Office Prediction

Action thriller Collide, out next weekend, was filmed nearly three years ago and has collected dust on the stateside shelf. It was scheduled to be released domestically nearly a year and a half ago back before Relativity Media filed for bankruptcy.

On the plus side, at least one of the actors in it has become considerably more famous since. Felicity Jones is among the cast and her profile has gone up immensely since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It shouldn’t matter much. Other stars include Nicholas Hoult, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, and Marwan Kenzari.

The bank heist flick has received very limited promotion and it looks like it’s essentially being dumped into an uninterested marketplace. I believe Collide may not even reach $3 million and be On Demand your viewing pleasure quite soon.

Collide opening weekend prediction: $2.1 million

For my Get Out prediction, click here:

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

For my Rock Dog prediction, click here:

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

Rock Dog Box Office Prediction

For dogs about to rock… we salute you? That’s the question audiences will answer next weekend when the animated tale (tail?) Rock Dog hits theaters. The 3D generated comedy was co-produced by a Chinese studio and already opened in that country to lackluster results.

The voice cast features Luke Wilson as a canine with musical aspirations. Other well-known faces behind the mic include J.K. Simmons, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Sam Elliot, Kenan Thompson, Jorge Garcia, and Matt Dillon. Family audiences should still be checking out Lego Batman in its third weekend and the recent musical ‘toon Sing was a box office smash.

As I see it, Rock Dog is highly likely to get lost in the shuffle with its intended crowd. I have doubts this will even reach $5 million for its start.

Rock Dog opening weekend prediction: $4.4 million

For my Get Out prediction, click here:

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

For my Collide prediction, click here:

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

Get Out Box Office Prediction

A performer known for a groundbreaking comedy sketch show directing a horror film with racial overtones? Get Out is certainly not your typical genre fare nor are its reviews. We’ll see how this mix plays with audiences next weekend. Jordan Peele (one half of Comedy Central’s Key and Peele) is behind the camera for the tale of an interracial couple who visit the girl’s Caucasian parents. They find a history of African Americans disappearing in the community.

Daniel Kaluuya. Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, and Catherine Keener headline the cast. When Get Out premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, it did so to many raves and it currently sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The electric word of mouth should provide a boost, but I’m skeptical as to how much of one. Traditional slasher horror fans may not know what to make of it and the edgy subject matter may not necessarily bring others in.

That said, I believe a debut in the mid teens is likely which would be a perfectly acceptable roll out.

Get Out opening weekend prediction: $16.3 million

For my Rock Dog prediction, click here:

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

For my Collide prediction, click here:

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

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

We’ve seen plenty of coming of age teen dramedies since the 1980s and beyond. It’s the kind of thing John Hughes cornered a market on three decades ago. I have a feeling Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen would’ve made him smile. It presents teens who are smart and complicated. High schoolers who are capable of being wholly self-absorbed yet most of it stems from insecurity. Our central character Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) means well most of the time, at least in her own mind. And she’s the prime example of the traits listed above. With a truly impressive performance from an actress who broke out at age 14 in the Coens True Grit, both Steinfeld and Craig’s screenplay make Nadine feel authentic. You root for her even when you’re exasperated by her. Many a parent with teens could surely relate.

Nadine is an outsider – a high school junior with only one real friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). She’s always been a bit of a loner and the loss of her beloved father four years ago complicated it. Her overwhelmed Mom (Kyra Sedgwick) has a tough time figuring how to deal with her, while her super popular older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) seems to have life all figured out. When Darian and Krista begin dating, Nadine’s abandonment issues only worsen.

Throughout the picture, she turns to various people to try and alleviate her social awkwardness. This includes slightly nerdy student Erwin (Hayden Szeto), who’s crushing on her and too cool for school student Nick (Alexander Calvert), who she’s crushing on. Both relationships present with their own versions of humorous and recognizable awkwardness. Nadine also confides in her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson). He’s nowhere near the uncaring educator you’d witness in other genre pics nor the always wiser than thou teach you may have seen before. He clearly cares about Nadine, but his advice and comebacks are often genuinely surprising. There’s a subtly played moment where his pupil realizes her teacher has a life outside of the classroom and it feels just right. Most pleasingly, the role serves as another reminder that Harrelson has morphed into one of the most interesting character actors working today. He’s a pleasure to watch.

So is Steinfeld and the rest of the cast. The Edge of Seventeen might be more satisfying to viewers who have surpassed the age in the title by a few years. There may be more satisfaction for adults who can pick out their own remembrances of what it was like to be that age, when the highs couldn’t have seemed higher and the lows were literally the end of the world. Kelly Fremon Craig has crafted a perceptive, occasionally laugh out loud funny, and genuinely emotional snapshot of someone in that time period.

***1/2 (out of four)