McConaughey: Everything’s Not Alright Alright

When this blog started in the fall of 2012, Matthew McConaughey was coming off a solid two-year period which saw him headline the surprise legal drama hit The Lincoln Lawyer and attract rave reviews for his supporting role in Magic Mike.

Yet 2013 elevated the actor to a whole new stratosphere. His work in the acclaimed indie pic Mud garnered Oscar chatter. He had a memorable cameo alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. It ironically turned out that McConaughey’s scene partner in that film was his biggest competition for an Oscar. Dallas Buyers Club would see the Texan playing Ron Woodruff, a real life AIDS patient in the 1980s. McConaughey’s work was praised and he took home the gold statue. His luck streak continued into the following year starring in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which stands as his largest grossing live-action feature.

Since then? Well, let’s just say the McConaissance has been interrupted. Or borrowing his most famous catchphrase from 1993’s Dazed and Confused – it’s not Alright Alright.

This weekend, his stoner comedy The Beach Bum tanked at the box office. Its approximate $1.8 million opening is the worst release of the actor’s career. And it follows a pattern of now seven live-action duds (he did provide voice work in the animated pics Sing and Kubo and the Two Strings). And to give a modicum of credit, he did skip the subpar sequel Magic Mike XXL.

At least Nicolas Cage had a string of action hits after his Oscar before delving into VOD territory. McConaughey hasn’t been so fortunate and he quickly needs a critical or commercial success to redeem things. His list of recent material is an unsuccessful and largely forgettable one. In three years, we’ve had:

  • Free State of Jones, his summer 2016 Civil War drama that took in $20 million domestically against a $50 million budget. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was 46%.
  • The Sea of Trees from later that summer. The drama wasn’t even released wide and didn’t make a million dollars (13% RT score).
  • True life crime drama Gold in January 2017. 42% RT. $14 million gross stateside.
  • The Dark Tower in summer 2017. The critically maligned Stephen King adaptation had a 16% RT rating and immediately ended the possibility of a franchise with earnings of $50 million.
  • Another based on actual events crime drama from last fall – White Boy Rick. 58% RT and $24 million gross.
  • Noir thriller Serenity from earlier this year. Barely promoted, it made an embarrassing $8 million total with a 23% RT score.

And now The Beach Bum, which won’t reach $10 million domestically either. It’s time for McConaughey’s people to find him some better stuff. His most memorable appearances lately have been in car commercials. If they can’t manage to do so, there’s always 2013.

The Best of Enemies Box Office Prediction

Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell headline true life drama The Best of Enemies, out this Friday. Set in 1971, the film casts Henson as a civil rights activist tasked with co-chairing a community meeting with Rockwell’s KKK leader. Robin Bissell directs with a supporting cast including Babou Ceesay, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, and Bruce McGill.

Enemies hopes to bring in a similar audience that caused Green Book to nearly make $90 million domestically. However, this doesn’t have Oscar buzz and while its two leads are certainly highly respected, neither can open a movie.

Considering that, I see $10 million as too high a bar for this. Mid single digits is more likely.

The Best of Enemies opening weekend prediction: $5.9 million

For my Shazam! prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/27/shazam-box-office-prediction/

For my Pet Sematary prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/28/pet-sematary-box-office-prediction/

Pet Sematary Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (04/04): On the eve of its premiere, I’m upping my estimate from $28.7 million to $34.7 million

Arriving in theaters 30 years following the movie it’s remaking, Pet Sematary hopes to bring scary flick fans to the multiplexes next Friday. The horror pic is based on Stephen King’s acclaimed 1983 bestseller. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer co-direct (making their first high-profile release) with a cast including Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow.

It doesn’t hurt that this is the first King adaptation since, well, 2017’s massive success It. That film certainly upped the legendary author’s brand and should help this bring in some cash. To add to that, reviews for the 2019 version are an improvement over the 1989 original (91% vs. 50% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Competition is a factor. While Shazam! is of a different genre, the two features could compete for similar audience members. That superhero tale will almost certainly come out on top and likely double the gross of this. There’s also Us, which will be in its third weekend after a huge debut.

Even with those potential impediments, Pet Sematary could approach $30 million for a healthy start.

Pet Sematary opening weekend prediction: $34.7 million

For my Shazam! prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/27/shazam-box-office-prediction/

For my The Best of Enemies prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/30/the-best-of-enemies-box-office-prediction/

Shazam! Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (04/04): On the eve of its premiere, my estimate has changed from $59.5 million to $52.5 million

The DC Extended Universe adds another cinematic hero to its stable with the release of Shazam! next weekend. The tale of a teenager who morphs into a superhero was first introduced in comic book pages nearly 80 years ago. David F. Sandberg directs with Zachary Levi as the title character and Asher Angel as his younger self. Costars include Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, and Grace Fulton.

Said to heartfelt and funny, Shazam! is already a winner with critics and sporting a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score. DC, while not quite up to MCU levels, has been hitting its stride lately with mega performers like Wonder Woman and Aquaman. There were previews of this that surprisingly managed to outdo what Jason Momoa’s creation did late last year. However, that was during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

The range expected is $40-$60 million. I have a hunch its good word of mouth will propel it to the upper reaches of those expectations. It’s feasible the range could be surpassed, but I’ll say high 50s.

Shazam! opening weekend prediction: $52.5 million

For my Pet Sematary prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/28/pet-sematary-box-office-prediction/

For my The Best of Enemies prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/30/the-best-of-enemies-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Dumbo

Disney’s live-action version of their 1941 classic Dumbo arrives in theaters on Friday and the review embargo was lifted today. Tim Burton’s take on the flying elephant is the first of four Mouse Factory updates on their animated tales hitting screens in 2019.

The advance word out is quite mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 51%. No one seriously expected this would contend for Best Picture, but previous Disney updates in recent years have fared well with Oscar voters with technical nods.

Burton’s own Alice in Wonderland in 2010 won Best Art Direction (now Production Design) and Costume Design and landed a nomination in Visual Effects. Costume Design nods were received by Maleficent in 2014 and by Cinderella the following year. In 2016, The Jungle Book emerged victorious in Visual Effects. Beauty and the Beast nabbed nods for Production and Costume Design.

That’s a solid track record. Where’s that leave Dumbo? Tough to say at this juncture. Even the negative skewing reviews have praised the visuals. Yet there will be a lot of competition and that includes the other three live-action updates arriving later: Aladdin, The Lion King, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Even more potentially serious competitors include Avengers: Endgame and the next Star Wars.

Costume Design and Production Design remain more realistic possibilities. Bottom line: Dumbo could continue the recent tradition of this sub genre getting down the line category attention, but competition will be key. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

March 29-31 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Note (03/27): My Dumbo prediction has dropped from $65.6 million to $55.6 million.

After Us rocked the box office this past weekend, a quartet of newcomers open nationwide on Friday: Tim Burton’s live action rendering of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo, true life action thriller Hotel Mumbai, Pure Flix pro-life drama Unplanned, and Matthew McConaughey stoner comedy The Beach Bum. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/20/dumbo-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/hotel-mumbai-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/unplanned-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/the-beach-bum-box-office-prediction/

Dumbo should have little trouble flying into the winners circle. I have it slated for a mid 60s opening. That’s far from what the Mouse Factory achieved with the non drawn versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book and more in line with 2015’s Cinderella.

The remainder of the premieres may all have trouble reaching the top five. Mumbai could fare the best after a decent limited release start, even though it’s on less screens than Unplanned or The Beach Bum. I have those titles hitting just $2.6 million and $1.6 million, respectively. I’m a bit more optimistic with Mumbai, putting it at $3.4 million.

A big question this weekend is how far Us will drop after its fantastic performance out of the gate (more on that below). It stands to reason that this will be more front loaded than Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which rode a wave of water cooler chatter. I foresee a dip in the mid to possibly high 40s range.

Captain Marvel, Five Feet Apart, and Wonder Park could populate the rest of the high-five, assuming none of the new trio not named Dumbo manages to exceed expectations.

Here’s my take on the weekend ahead:

1. Dumbo

Predicted Gross: $55.6 million

2. Us

Predicted Gross: $38.4 million

3. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $20.2 million

4. Five Feet Apart

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

5. Wonder Park

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

Box Office Results (March 2224)

As mentioned, acclaimed horror flick Us dominated the charts and proved that its maker Jordan Peele is a valuable commodity at the moment. Taking in $71.1 million (well past my $58.8 million projection), Us is the largest live action feature based on original material since 2009’s Avatar. It doubled the $33 million brought in by Peele’s breakout Get Out. With a meager $20 million budget, it’s safe to assume the champagne bottles are popping over at Universal.

Captain Marvel dropped to second after two weeks on top with $34.2 million, just under my $36.4 million estimate. The MCU effort has amassed $320 million thus far.

Wonder Park was third with $8.7 million. I was a little higher at $10.4 million. The two-week tally is $29 million.

Five Feet Apart was close behind in fourth with $8.5 million (I said $7.7 million) and $26 million overall. I expect Park and Feet to flip positions this weekend.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World rounded out the top five with $6.5 million compared to my $6.1 million prediction. Its total is $145 million.

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

Hotel Mumbai Box Office Prediction

The true life action thriller Hotel Mumbai expands nationwide this weekend after its limited engagement over this past one. Recounting the 2008 Taj Mahal Palace Hotel terror attacks in India, the film marks the directorial debut of Anthony Maras. Dev Patel and Armie Hammer headline with costars including Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs.

Mumbai was originally screened at the Toronto Film Festival last fall to mostly positive reviews. It stands at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. Over the weekend, it managed a per theater average of over $20,000 on four screens.

That’s pretty decent, but that average should dip significantly as it’s scheduled to hit about 800 this weekend. The number is lower than other new wide releases like Unplanned and The Beach Bum. However, Mumbai could top the grosses of those titles – making it the biggest earning newcomer that isn’t named Dumbo.

Hotel Mumbai opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million

For my Dumbo prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/20/dumbo-box-office-prediction/

For my Unplanned prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/unplanned-box-office-prediction/

For my The Beach Bum prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/the-beach-bum-box-office-prediction/