Monthly Archives: April 2018

Box Office Predictions: May 4-6

It’s gonna by May at the box office and there’s a trio of newcomers hitting screens: rom com remake Overboard with Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris, critically acclaimed comedic drama Tully with Charlize Theron, and horror thriller Bad Samaritan. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/24/overboard-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/26/tully-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/28/bad-samaritan-box-office-prediction/

I have none of the trio of newcomers even breaking $10 million. Overboard should lead the pack and is likely to place second. Tully could get a 4th or 5th place showing, coming in behind A Quiet Place or a bit ahead or slightly behind I Feel Pretty. My $2.1 million estimate for Bad Samaritan leaves it outside the top 5.

This weekend will once again be all about the superheroes as Avengers: Infinity War enters its sophomore frame after its record shattering debut (more on that below). So how will Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and so many others hold up in weekend #2? 2012’s The Avengers dropped 50% in its sophomore outing with 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron falling 59%. I have this dropping somewhere in between. Let’s put it at 54%. That would be #2 as far as all-time second weekends (vaulting over Black Panther), but not as high as the $149 million achieved by Force Awakens (which had the benefit of its follow-up frame falling over the Christmas holiday).

**If you’d like to read my review of Infinity War (spoiler free), it can be found here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/28/avengers-infinity-war-movie-review/

And with that, here’s my top 5 projections for the weekend:

1. Avengers: Infinity War

Predicted Gross: $118.1 million

2. Overboard

Predicted Gross: $11.8 million

3. A Quiet Place

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million

4. I Feel Pretty

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

5. Tully

Predicted Gross: $5 million

Box Office Results (April 27-29)

Avengers: Infinity War made history at the box office this weekend. Not only did the Marvel gathering of its heroes have the biggest domestic debut of all time – it did so rather easily. War amassed $257.6 million, besting the previous high mark set by 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens at $247.9 million. It blasted past my projection of $240.2 million. Will the fourth Avengers title coming in one year top this one? Time shall tell. One thing is for sure – Marvel/Disney is having an unbelievable year with this and Black Panther. 

A Quiet Place took the runner-up spot with $11 million, in line with my $11.8 million prediction for $148 million overall.

I Feel Pretty stayed in third place in weekend #2 with $8.1 million (I was close with $7.6 million) for a $29 million tally.

Rampage placed fourth with $7.2 million, below my $9.1 million forecast for a total of $78 million.

I gave Super Troopers 2 too much credit and had it in the top 5 at $5.6 million. It came in lower with $3.7 million for sixth place and has made $22 million thus far.

The aforementioned Black Panther ended up rounding out the top five with $4.7 million to bring its gross to $688 million.

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

Fifty Shades Freed Movie Review

A franchise can’t run out of steam if it never gathered any to begin with. That is the legacy of the Fifty Shades films and it climaxes limply with Fifty Shades Freed. The third and final (!) entry in the romantic saga of Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele-Grey (Dakota Johnson), we open with the lovebirds tying the knot. And by tying the knot, I mean they’re getting married and not just tying some knot as part of their wild sex escapades. We’ve seen that before and it’s a major reason why the pictures (based on the E.L. James bestsellers) have their legions of fans.

Their wedded bliss is relatively short-lived, though describing anything as short-lived is generous in this sluggishly paced series. For one thing, Ana’s stalker Jack (Eric Johnson) is causing mischief once again. There’s also feelings of jealousy happening with Christian’s former flame (Kim Basinger). That subplot actually gets less screen time than the relationship woes of Ana’s best bud (Eloise Mumford) and Christian’s brother (Luke Grimes). What do these storylines have in common? None of them are interesting. For a trilogy wanting to burst with lustful excitement, Freed and its predecessors have been so very listless.

I was never familiar with the source material from which these movies were spawned. Upon viewing Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time, I was more than willing to keep an open mind and try to understand how the novels become phenomenons. Three tales later, I just don’t get it and that certainly applies to its cinematic renderings. The performances of Johnson and Dornan still come across as flat. My previous descriptions of the “hot scenes” being no more gripping than late night Cinemax still stands (the writing is no better either).

Thankfully I can now officially close that once open mind when it comes to Christian and Anastasia. I am freed.

* (out of four)

Bad Samaritan Box Office Prediction

The horror thriller Bad Samaritan arrives in theaters next weekend and it seems to be flying pretty far under the radar. Dean Devlin directs his sophomore pic, but he’s been no stranger to audiences for decades. He was the producing partner of Roland Emmerich and was behind the scenes with efforts including Stargate, Independence Day, and the unfortunate 1998 version of Godzilla. Just last year, he put out his debut – disaster flick Geostorm. That mega-budgeted effort took in a weak $33 million domestically. Compared to what I expect Samaritan to do, Geostorm might be considered a blockbuster.

David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, and Kerry Condon are among the cast members in the home invasion tale that turns into a fright fest. Genre fans have had their fix as of late with A Quiet Place and Truth or Dare.

Samaritan is slated to open on roughly 1800 screens, which is actually higher than Overboard or Tully (the two features opening on the same day). Even with more showings, I’ll project this premieres third of the three new releases in theaters that should be a quiet place of their own.

Bad Samaritan opening weekend prediction: $2.1 million

For my Overboard prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/24/overboard-box-office-prediction/

For my Tully prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/26/tully-box-office-prediction/

Avengers: Infinity War Movie Review

A decade into its multi-billion dollar cinematic universe, Avengers: Infinity War invites viewers to marvel at its gathering of superhero titans to fight another – a villain from planet Titan who reverses  one frequent MCU debit (a weak villain). It’s an experience that yields many positive results packed with the action and humor we’ve come to anticipate from the best of this franchise. This movie is massive and it feels that way. The 19th entry in the MCU that started with 2008’s Iron Man, here we have nearly all the significant characters from its catalog banding together. If you ever wondered how Thor (Chris Hemsworth) would get along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the answer is humorously provided. How do the egos of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) meld? You’re about to find out. What happens when the original Avengers and others pick up their weapons alongside Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in Wakanda? Giddyup!

All of this runs the risk of Infinity War coming off as gimmicky, but it mostly doesn’t. That’s because directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do a remarkable job sticking these giants into the blender and creating something that goes down smooth. This is not necessarily a sequel to 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron or 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (essentially the third Avengers flick). Rather it’s a follow-up to almost every MCU title. It’s important to know what happened in the actual Avengers pics and Civil War, but I’d suggest having knowledge of the Guardians, Panther, and so on. Lucky for Disney and Marvel Studios, you probably do. The gathering of these comic book and box office behemoths leads Infinity War to often feel like the continuation of a long running TV serial – albeit one with huge stars and an unlimited budget.

What brings all the characters together is Thanos (Josh Brolin). He has the proportions of the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and a similar sized ambitions of world destruction. Thanos is hell-bent on collecting the Infinity Stones, six potent gems that would render him all-powerful and capable of wiping out populations of many galaxies. After the breakup of the Avengers in Civil War two years ago, it’s Thanos that causes Mr. Stark and Captain America (Chris Evans) to put their differences aside. Thus begins the jigsaw puzzle of matching up Guardians and Asgardian gods with Wakanda kings and mystical doctors and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

As you may recall, Thanos has history with one particular character – Gamora (Zoe Saldana). She’s his adopted daughter after he decimated her home planet when she was a little girl. For those who might have assumed the Guardians of the Galaxy would have a glorified cameo in this universe, that is certainly not the case. It’s Gamora’s backstory with Thanos that puts meat on his character’s bones and assists in making him one of the franchise’s best villains. Brolin, for his part, gives the performance his menacing all in crafting him.

Delving too far into what happens in Infinity War would feel like cheating in any review. Part of the fun here is discovering just how these dozens of heroes and villains coexist. Some general observations: Thor alongside Groot and Rocket is a joy, as is witnessing Groot as a bratty teen with its attention rooted to a video game device. The return to Wakanda and its whip smart inhabitants feels welcome just weeks after Panther’s stand-alone effort. And after 10 years of Tony Stark onscreen in numerous MCU titles, Downey Jr.’s portrayal of him is still as strong as ever. There’s never been a moment in the decade where it felt like Downey was slumming it. He’s the heart of this franchise.

The conclusion of Infinity War leaves a lot open for the sequel that will arrive next year. When the credits roll before the inevitable post-credits sequence, we witness something both powerful and perhaps not as powerful as it seems after careful thought (saying more would be a spoiler). There’s no doubt, however, that this comic book all-star game is a winner.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch – Avengers: Infinity War

This weekend is all about Avengers: Infinity War at the box office as it barrels toward a potentially record-setting debut. The film looks, at the least, poised to set the all-time opening weekend record for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the 19th picture in the MCU as the multi-billion dollar franchise is about to hit its ten-year anniversary. 

Infinity will certainly make its mark financially, but could Academy voters take notice? In short – probably not. The pic stands at 85% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s a bit below the original Avengers from 2012 (92%) and a bit above 2015 sequel Age of Ultron (75%). No MCU title or any comic book adaptation has managed a Best Picture nomination and I see no reason to think this will.

Having said that, the Marvel folks stand their best opportunity yet to score a nod in the biggest category of them all. And that would be Black Panther, which was released in February. It stands a real shot. Looking through the Oscar history with this franchise, The Avengers scored a Best Visual Effects nomination in 2012 and lost to Life of Pi. No nominations were given to Ultron.

Bottom line: Infinity War could find itself in the mix for Visual Effects and possibly even the Sound categories. Yet any real MCU love from voters will go to King T’Challa.

Tully Box Office Prediction

A brave airline pilot executes a miraculous landing on the Hudson River…

Ok, wrong movie as Jason Reitman’s Tully is delivered to theaters next weekend. The comedic drama stars Charlize Theron as a frazzled mom who gets some help from a kindly sitter played by Mackenzie Davis. Ron Livingston costars.

Tully debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to strong critical notices and it sits at 93% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. The film reunites Theron with her Young Adult director and screenwriter Diablo Cody, who also scripted Reitman’s Oscar nominated Juno. It’s a break from the action for Theron after pics including Mad Max: Fury Road, The Fate of the Furious, and Atomic Blonde.

Scheduled to debut on a rather low 1200 screens, Tully may open to a fairly smallish gross with hopes of legging out well in future weekends.

Tully opening weekend prediction: $5 million

For my Overboard prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/24/overboard-box-office-prediction/

For my Bad Samaritan prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/04/28/bad-samaritan-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Disobedience

The forbidden love tale Disobedience debuts stateside in limited release tomorrow and it’s got some glowing reviews on its side. The romantic drama comes from director Sebastian Lelio, whose last picture was the Oscar winner for Foreign Language Film, A Fantastic Woman. It casts Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams as lovers whose relationship is dangerous in their Orthodox Jewish setting.

Disobedience originally was screened last fall at the Toronto Film Festival and buzz was strong. The current Rotten Tomatoes score is 95%. The two leads (as well as costar Alessandro Nivola) have garnered acclaim for their work. Weisz is a previous winner in 2005 as Supporting Actress for The Constant Gardner. Weisz was nominated in the same category in 2015 for Spotlight.

Distributor Bleecker Street will likely need to mount an exuberant campaign for the film to be remembered come nomination time. However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the two Rachel’s could be in the mix (probably with Weisz in Lead and McAdams in Supporting).

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…