Oscar Watch – Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t the only high-profile sequel to a 2015 release coming to a theater near you this month. Sicario: Day of the Soldado follows up on the critically acclaimed Denis Villeneuve crime drama that garnered three Oscar nominations in that year. Soldado debuts a week from tomorrow and reviews are already out.

The verdict? Somewhat mixed as it stands at 65% on Rotten Tomatoes at press time. That’s a pretty far cry from the 93% that its predecessor earned. Interestingly, I’ve seen at least two critical reactions that compare it to Rambo: First Blood Part II. Go figure. Even with its great buzz from reviewers, 2015’s Sicario missed out on the big nominations, including Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Benicio del Toro for Supporting Actor. The pic did receive nods for the Cinematography of Roger Deakins, the late Johann Johannsson’s Score, and Sound Editing. Deakins does not return here and he finally won a long deserved statue for last year’s Blade Runner 2049. Villeneuve was busy with 2049 as well and Stefano Sollima takes over directorial duties here.

Bottom line: the Soldado reaction leaves it as an extreme long-shot for any recognition, while part 1 found itself more in the mix.

Uncle Drew Box Office Prediction

A convergence of current and former NBA stars and comedians gather for Uncle Drew, out next weekend. The sports comedy that comes with prosthetic makeup aplenty is based on a title character first seen in Pepsi commercials with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving playing him. Other basketball notables in the cast include Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie. On the funny side – Lil Rel Howery, Nick Kroll, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, and Mike Epps. Charles Stone III, perhaps best known for making Drumline, directs.

Uncle Drew hopes to bring in a sizable African-American crowd and lovers of the game it humorously covers. The pic could certainly achieve sleeper status with a gross in the high teens. It actually has a somewhat similar opening weekend range as Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which debuts against it. The two newcomers should battle for third place between Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2.

For now, I’m giving Drew a slight edge with a forecast between $16-$17 million.

Uncle Drew opening weekend prediction: $16.4 million

For my Sicario: Day of the Soldado prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/19/sicario-day-of-the-soldado-box-office-prediction/

Sicario: Day of the Soldado Box Office Prediction

Not your traditional summer sequel involving superheroes, dinosaurs or animated characters, Sicario: Day of the Soldado arrives in theaters next weekend and hopes to serve as counter programming to said seasonal blockbusters. The pic is a follow-up to 2015’s Sicario, Denis Villeneuve’s critically acclaimed crime thriller that garnered three Oscar nominations. Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin (this summer’s reigning sequel king) reprise their roles from the original, though Emily Blunt does not appear (she’s been busy with A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns). New costars include Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, and Matthew Modine. As for Villeneuve, he’s moved onto Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 and Italian director Stefano Sollima is now on board. The original’s screenwriter, Taylor Sheridan (who also is responsible for Hell or High Water and Wind River), is back penning this sequel.

Sicario opened in the fall of 2015 and its first wide release weekend brought in $12.1 million with an eventual gross of over $46 million domestically (it earned $85 million total worldwide against a reported budget of $30 million). Soldado may manage to slightly outpace that debut number of part 1 and a sequel is apparently already in the works. That premiere could put it in a battle for third place with the weekend’s other newcomers (Uncle Drew) and behind Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado opening weekend prediction: $13.8 million

For my Uncle Drew prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/19/uncle-drew-box-office-prediction/

Box Office Predictions: June 22-24

There’s only one new wide release this weekend, but it’s a big one as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom stomps into multiplexes. The sequel to the 2015 record breaker hopes to hold onto a large chunk of its predecessor’s audience. You can peruse my detailed prediction post here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/12/jurassic-world-fallen-kingdom-box-office-prediction/

Jurassic World took in an astonishing $208 million three summers ago (which set the opening weekend record until Star Wars: The Force Awakens snatched it away six months later). Kingdom is not expected to match that performance. My estimate has decreased from an initial prediction of just over $155 million last week to just over $140 million.

Incredibles 2 broke its own records this past weekend by smashing the all-time animated feature debut (more on that below). With an A+ Cinemascore grade, the sequel to the 2004 Pixar superhero tale has turned into quite the event film. How much it dips in weekend #2 is an intriguing question. Looking at past sequels from the studio, 2010’s Toy Story 3 and 2016’s Finding Dory (the previous animated record holder) both fell 46%. Last summer’s Cars 3, which was a rare Pixar disappointment, fell a steeper 55%. It’s a legit question as to how front loaded Incredibles 2 is and whether it had a must-see factor in weekend #1. That said, repeat business could be strong even with the considerable dino competition. I’ll project a 48% drop, similar to 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. 

Kingdom and Incredibles 2 will surely dominate the charts this weekend as Ocean’s 8 and Tag should be third and fourth, respectively. The five-spot could be a battle between Solo and Deadpool 2 and I’ll give Han a slight edge. And with that, my top 6 predictions for the frame ahead:

1. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Predicted Gross: $140.4 million

2. Incredibles 2

Predicted Gross: $94.9 million

3. Ocean’s 8

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million

4. Tag

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million

5. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Predicted Gross: $5.4 million

6. Deadpool 2

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

Box Office Results (June 15-17)

As mentioned, Incredibles 2 was indeed incredible this weekend as it obliterated the all-time animated feature record. The well-reviewed sequel took in $182.6 million, smashing the numbers of Finding Dory by nearly $50 million. That figure is good for the 8th largest domestic debut in history and that ranks third for 2018 (behind Marvel behemoths Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther). It, um, did a little better than my $138.1 million forecast… oops.

Ocean’s 8 was second in its sophomore outing with $18.9 million, coming in below my $21.2 million estimate. The heist caper has made $78 million thus far.

Newcomer comedy Tag was third with $14.9 million, faring slightly better than my $13.4 million projection. The Warner Bros pic performed right in line with expectations.

Solo: A Star Wars Story placed fourth with $10 million (above my $8.4 million prediction) for $193 million total.

Deadpool 2 rounded out the top five with $8.6 million (I said $8.2 million) for $294 million overall.

Superfly debuted in sixth with $6.8 million and $9 million since its Wednesday roll out, managing to outpace my respective calls of $5.3 million and $7.2 million. I’d look for the crime remake to fade quickly.

Hereditary was seventh and it held up well for a horror release with $6.8 million (I said $6.3 million) to bring its two-week earnings to $27 million.

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

Music Biopics: The Name Game

A growing trend in movies for the past few years (and a bit beyond) is the musical biopic that incorporates one of the band or artist’s songs into the title. The latest example will come out this fall with Bohemian Rhapsody, the behind the scenes story of Queen.

2019 will bring us Rocketman with Taron Egerton as the legendary Elton John.

We’ve seen this trend in years past. For instance, the 1980s saw La Bamba about Richie Valens.

The 1990s gave us Angela Bassett in her Oscar nominated role playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

In 2005, we had Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy nominated turn as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning as June.

More recent ones have been in the hip hop world with Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.) and All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur). There’s also Get On Up with Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

So this got me thinking. What would be some other movie/song titles if certain iconic musicians got their biopic? For this blog post’s purposes, I tried to focus on artists where I feel a big screen treatment on them is at least feasible. In other words, while Rico Suave might be a spectacular title, I don’t envision two hours on Gerardo coming anytime soon.

There is already a Madonna flick reportedly in the works and it takes its name not from a tune, but from one of her tours – Blond Ambition. I suppose Material Girl or Like a Prayer could have worked, but Blond Ambition is just about perfect.

Some choices seem obvious. You gotta call the Bon Jovi story Livin on a Prayer, after all. And My Way seems like the natural fit for Frank Sinatra. And Born to Run for Bruce Springsteen. And there’s Piano Man for Billy Joel.

It doesn’t end there. Respect (Aretha Franklin) and Fire and Rain (James Taylor).

When it comes to some recently dearly departed legends, Prince presents a challenge because you can’t call it Purple Rain. And a number of his other massive hits don’t fit. When Doves Cry is probably the name the studio would go for considering it’s his biggest hit. Personally, I rather like the thought of My Name is Prince, taken from his Love Symbol album of 1992.

With Michael Jackson, Thriller would work but it’s hard to imagine Man in the Mirror not being the choice.

For David Bowie, Starman seems like the winner, but that’s also the name of a fairly well-known 1980s science fiction effort starring Jeff Bridges. That may not matter, but if so, Space Oddity or simply calling it Ziggy Stardust might fit.

Tom Petty? How about Free Fallin or Runnin Down a Dream. George Michael? Faith or Freedom. Whitney Houston? Tough one. Perhaps a studio would want I Will Always Love You. Maybe So Emotional works as well.

Some bands have more than one title that seem appropriate. Aerosmith has three great ones: Dream On, Sweet Emotion, or Walk This Way. With AC/DC – Back in Black or Thunderstruck.

Guns n Roses is an interesting one. Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic, but it was just the subtitle for the blockbuster Jumanji reboot. In this matter, you might have to go with their album name Appetite for Destruction, which is ideal.

Metallica could have For Whom the Bell Tolls or Enter Sandman. Nirvana might have Smells Like Teen Spirit as the studio choice, but I’m a little partial to Come As You Are.

I like Runnin with the Devil for Van Halen and I suppose Stairway to Heaven would be the choice for Led Zeppelin.

Let’s move off rock. How about Britney Spears? That may depend on what direction the studio goes. It could be Toxic or Stronger. Maybe Baby One More Time instead.

Stevie Wonder? Superstition or Sir Duke are possibilities, but I like Higher Ground.

With Bob Marley, maybe Get Up, Stand Up or One Love.

Circling back to hip hop, Fight the Power is the clear pick for Public Enemy and the same may hold true for Mama Said Knock You Out with LL Cool J.

And then there’s my favorite… the Rick James biopic Super Freak. Why hasn’t this been made already?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s see if any of these suggested titles end up playing out in the future. Maybe there will be surprises… Barbie Girl: The Aqua Story, anyone?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/15): I am revising my prediction down from $155.4 million to $140.4 million

Arriving three years after its predecessor set a series of box office records, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom looks to flex its dino might next weekend. The fifth picture in the massive franchise that just turned 25 years old, Kingdom is the sequel to Jurassic World and brings back Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jeff Goldblum (for the first time since 1997’s The Lost World). New cast members include Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, and Ted Levine. J.A. Bayona takes over directorial duties from Colin Trevorrow.

The history of this franchise setting opening weekend milestones is significant. Steven Spielberg’s original in 1993 had the largest debut ever at $47 million a quarter century ago. The Lost World would achieve the same honor four years later with $72 million. And, of course, Jurassic World stunned prognosticators in 2015 with $208 million out of the gate, which stood as the greatest premiere until Star Wars: The Force Awakens topped it six months later.

Fallen Kingdom will not and is not expected to break records. Jurassic World seemed to have its stars aligned for a spectacular opening. It had been nearly a decade and a half since the previous installment and the nostalgia factor was off the charts. Mostly positive reviews didn’t hurt and Mr. Pratt was coming off a star making role in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Critical reaction is mixed. The sequel currently sits at 59% on Rotten Tomatoes (World got to 71%). The film is already out in a number of foreign markets and it earned $151 million worldwide over the weekend (a bit above expectations).

The stateside tracking for Kingdom is between $130-$150 million. My general feeling is that this franchise has continually exceeded expectations and may do so here, albeit not by much. Jurassic World was a phenomenon while this is looked at as another summer sequel. It just happens to be one with a huge fan base who love returning to see these CG creatures.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opening weekend prediction: $140.4 million

Box Office Predictions: June 15-17

Pixar should easily rule the weekend and it may do so in record-breaking fashion as Incredibles 2 debuts. We also have the openings of comedy Tag and action remake Superfly. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the three of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/05/incredibles-2-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/05/tag-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/07/superfly-box-office-prediction/

The computer animated superhero sequel arrives nearly 14 years ago after The Incredibles, but anticipation appears sky-high as part 2 looks to set a personal best for the massively successful studio. In order to accomplish that, Incredibles 2 would need to outdo the $135 million achieved out of the gate by Finding Dory two summers ago. My estimate gets it there by just over $3 million.

Tag could potentially serve as decent counter programming, but I’m not quite sold that it breaks out in a significant way. My lower teens projection places it firmly in third behind the sophomore weekend of Ocean’s 8 (which I see losing close to half its audience in weekend #2).

The 4-7 slots could be interesting to watch. One question mark is how Hereditary performs. The horror pic was a hit with critics and easily set an opening weekend record for studio A24. However, its Cinemascore audience grade was a dismal D+. That could mean a hefty sophomore decline. On the other hand, A24’s The Witch was saddled with a C- Cinemascore score and dropped just 42% in its second outing. I have Hereditary dropping over 50% and that should put it in 6th and that would be ahead of Superfly (as my prediction for it has steadily declined since my original post last week). As a reminder, Superfly debuts on Wednesday. That means the 4-5 spots should belong to Solo and Deadpool 2 (and it could be a dead heat between them).

And with that, let’s make it a top 7 projections for the weekend ahead:

1. Incredibles 2

Predicted Gross: $138.1 million

2. Ocean’s 8

Predicted Gross: $21.2 million

3. Tag

Predicted Gross: $13.4 million

4. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

5. Deadpool 2

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

6. Hereditary

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

7. Superfly

Predicted Gross: $5.3 million (Friday to Sunday), $7.2 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

Box Office Results (June 8-10)

Ocean’s 8 got off to a healthy start and came in right in line with most expectations. The female led heist caper achieved the best debut of the franchise with $41.6 million. I was close with $42.6 million.

Solo: A Star Wars Story dropped to second with $15.7 million compared to my $14.3 million estimate. The three-week total is $176 million.

Deadpool 2 was third with $14.1 million (I said $13.2 million) to bring its four-week tally to $279 million.

Hereditary opened on the higher end of expectations in fourth with $13.5 million, topping my $10.2 million estimate. As mentioned, its negative audience reaction could serve as a hindrance for long-term viability.

Avengers: Infinity War rounded out the top 5 with $7.2 million (I said $6.7 million). The Marvel juggernaut is up to $655 million.

Adrift was sixth with $5.2 million and I was a touch higher at $6.1 million. The Shailene Woodley sailing drama has made $21 million in two weeks.

Finally, Hotel Artemis failed to generate many check-ins, opening in 8th place with $3.2 million (below my take of $5 million).

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