2019 Midyear Oscar Report

We are officially at the midpoint of this thing called 2019 and that means a midyear Oscar report is before you today on the blog. First things first: as awards watchers already know, the bulk of the eventual nominees will come your way in the second half of the year. It will likely be festivals such as Toronto and Venice that produce their initial screenings.

We have, however, already had Cannes and Sundance producing first looks at some contenders. The most high profile is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is out July 26 but debuted in the French Riviera. The celebrated auteur’s ninth feature immediately became a player in Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor), Brad Pitt (probably Supporting Actor), and Margot Robbie (Supporting Actress), as well as down the line tech races.

Cannes also served as the launching point for two contenders in the newly termed Best International Feature Film. They are Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which won the Palme d’Or. With Glory, expect lots of chatter for its star Antonio Banderas to receive his first nod in Actor.

As for other possibilities in the lead Actor derby, we have Taron Egerton’s portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman. If Rami Malek could take home the gold last year for Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s certainly feasible that Egerton will have his supporters. Cannes also debuted  the horror pic The Lighthouse with raves for Willem Dafoe. And though it’s a reach, there could be a push for Robert Downey Jr. to garner recognition for his decade plus embodiment of Tony Stark/Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame.

When it comes to Endgame, I would anticipate talk for a Picture nod, especially after Black Panther became the first comic book pic to get one last year. At this juncture, I’ll say it gets plenty of chatter and no nomination. Yet that paradigm could shift.

Sundance gave us the true life political drama The Report. That pic features both Adam Driver and Annette Bening in roles that drew acclaim. It’s out stateside in late September and is one to keep an eye on.

2019 has produced numerous female lead performances that could all be classified as dark horse contenders. The list includes Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Julianne Moore (Gloria Bell), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell), Elle Fanning (Teen Spirit), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), and Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose).

Despite its disappointing box office grosses, Olivia Wilde’s coming of age comedy Booksmart might be considered in Original Screenplay. Same goes for The Farewell ahead of its release in a couple weeks.

For Best Animated Feature, Toy Story 4 looks to be a slam dunk for a nomination and that also holds true for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Already released titles such as Missing Link and The Secret Life of Pets 2 are likely on the outside looking in.

As for documentaries, keep an eye on Apollo 11, The Biggest Little Farm, and Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese. I would say Apollo is a strong contender for inclusion.

And that’s your report, ladies and gentlemen! Get ready for a whole bunch of Oscar speculation in the second half of the year…

Oscar Watch – Spider-Man: Far From Home

SpiderMan: Far From Home opens on Tuesday next week with solid reviews in its corner. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, many critics are calling it an improvement on its direct predecessor – 2017’s SpiderMan: Homecoming.

When it comes to Oscar’s history with the Spider-Verse over multiple features, there is past and very recent occurrences. The first two editions of Sam Raimi’s Tobey Maguire trilogy garnered nods. 2002’s SpiderMan nabbed Sound and Visual Effects nominations. Its 2004 sequel won Visual Effects, in addition to Sound nods. Since then, the four live-action features (one more with Maguire, two with Andrew Garfield, and Homecoming) received no awards love. However, last year’s animated and acclaimed SpiderMan: Into the SpiderVerse was the winner of Best Animated Feature.

Far From Home is, of course, part of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe. If the studio pushes for Oscar votes, their attention in 2019 is likely to focus on Avengers: Endgame. So even with sturdy critical reaction, I would anticipate this being the fifth non-animated Spidey pic in a row to go empty handed. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Midsommar Box Office Prediction

Arriving smack dab in Hollywood’s version of midsummer is Ari Aster’s Midsommar next week. The horror pic is the filmmaker’s sophomore effort after his critically acclaimed debut Hereditary from last summer. Centered around a pair of couples who attend a mysterious Swedish festival that occurs every 90 years, the creepy flick stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, and Will Poulter.

Like Hereditary, Aster’s follow-up has garnered strong critical reaction with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 96%. Last June, Hereditary started off with $13.5 million with an eventual $44 million domestic gross. Reviewers liked it more than audiences did and word of mouth suggests that could apply to Midsommar.

It’s out on Wednesday to capitalize on the long July 4th holiday frame. A potential comp could be 2014’s Deliver Us From Evil, another scary title that opened over the same weekend. Evil took in nearly $10 million for the traditional Friday to Sunday period with $15 million when adding Wednesday and Thursday. I’ll say Midsommar falls a bit under those numbers.

Midsommar opening weekend prediction: $7.8 million (Friday to Sunday); $13.2 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my SpiderMan: Far From Home prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/25/spider-man-far-from-home-box-office-prediction/

Spider-Man: Far From Home Box Office Prediction

Peter Parker’s European vacation goes awry and Marvel looks to have its third massive 2019 blockbuster in a row when SpiderMan: Far From Home opens next week over a long holiday weekend. The sequel to 2017’s SpiderMan: Homecoming finds Tom Holland returning to the title role after appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in between. Jon Watts is back directing with familiar MCU faces Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, and Jon Favreau among the cast. Returnees from Homecoming include Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Jacob Batalon. Newbies to this cinematic universe are J.B. Smoove and Jake Gyllenhaal as main villain Mysterio.

The sequel should benefit tremendously from the MCU’s hot streak. Endgame and Captain  Marvel stand as the top two grossers of the year so far. Homecoming was well received two summers ago with a $334 million domestic haul. Advance word of mouth is strong.

Spidey flicks have a history of debuting over the July 4th frame. 2004’s SpiderMan 2 also had a six-day rollout and earned $180 million in that time frame. Same goes for 2012’s reboot The Amazing SpiderMan with $137 million from Tuesday to Sunday.

Far From Home gets underway on Tuesday and I believe earnings approaching $200 million is doable. I’ll say this manages a bit under $100 million from the traditional Friday to Sunday frame with just under the double century mark over the holiday.

Spider-Man: Far From Home opening weekend prediction: $92.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $190.4 million

For my Midsommar prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/26/midsommar-box-office-prediction/

June 28-30 Box Office Predictions

Another creepy doll looks to hit the runner-up spot while Toy Story 4 stays in first place this weekend as Conjuring Cinematic Universe entry Annabelle Comes Home debuts. We also have the high concept musical comedy Yesterday out and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both newcomers here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/18/annabelle-comes-home-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/21/yesterday-box-office-prediction/

It seems awfully risky in the summer of 2019 to project that a sequel will come close to meeting expectations. Not even Toy Story 4 managed to do that (more on that below), but that’s where I’m at by saying Annabelle will gross in the high 20s for its Friday to Sunday earnings and high 30s when taking in the Wednesday and Thursday money.

As mentioned, Pixar’s fourth pairing of Woody and Buzz should have no trouble maintaining top position. Toy Story 3 dipped 46% in its sophomore frame and I look for this to lose around half its volume.

Yesterday, in my view, once had breakout potential. However, so-so reviews don’t help. My estimate for The Beatles themed pic puts it just behind Aladdin in fourth place. The Secret Life of Pets 2 may stay put in fifth as I figure the drops for Child’s Play and Men in Black: International will be more severe.

And with that, my top five for the weekend:

1. Toy Story 4

Predicted Gross: $60.3 million

2. Annabelle Comes Home

Predicted Gross: $27.4 million (Friday to Sunday), $38 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

3. Aladdin

Predicted Gross: $9.7 million

4. Yesterday

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

5. The Secret Life of Pets 2

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million

Box Office Results (June 2123)

Pixar scored yet another hit with Toy Story 4. Yet the acclaimed sequel (arriving nine years after part three) unquestionably made less than anticipated at $120.9 million. While that’s $10 million over its predecessor, that’s a far cry from my $167.5 million forecast. And even if you think I was being generous, the floor for most projections was around $140 million. I wouldn’t feel too bad for Disney as they’re having a terrific year thus far.

The return of Chucky was met with ambivalence as Child’s Play was second with $14 million compared to my $17.6 million prediction. Look for it to fade fast, especially with that other dastardly doll arriving Wednesday. The reboot only cost a reported $10 million to make so United Artists shouldn’t be too upset either.

Aladdin was third with $13.2 million (I said $13 million) and it’s up to $288 million in the coffers.

Men in Black: International tumbled from first to fourth with $10.7 million, below my $13.1 million projection for just $52 million. This reboot, like Dark Phoenix before it, looks to come in under $100 million domestically.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 rounded out the top five with $10.2 million. I was higher at $12.6 million. The three-week tally is $117 million.

Finally, the Luc Besson action thriller Anna was a flop in ninth with $3.6 million. My prediction? $3.6 million! That almost makes up for being $40 million plus off Toy Story 4! Ok maybe not…

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

Oscar Watch: Wild Rose

After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, Wild Rose was released stateside in limited fashion this weekend. The musical drama casts Jessie Buckley as an ex con and mother of two who aspires to be a country crooner. Tom Harper directs and costars include Julie Walters and Sophie Okonedo.

Reviews have been strong and the pic stands at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Special attention has especially been paid to Buckley, who is also among the cast of HBO’s huge miniseries hit Chernobyl.

Rose struggled to blossom at the box office this weekend on four screens. It’s doubtful it will post significant numbers in multiplexes. Yet there could be a sizable push for Buckley to nab a Best Actress nod (and maybe Nicole Taylor’s original screenplay). My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Yesterday Box Office Prediction

Oscar winning director Danny Boyle, who clearly enjoys playing in multiple genres, tries his hand at a musical comedy next weekend with Yesterday. The high concept pic puts forth the theory that only one aspiring songwriter (Himesh Patel) rememberers The Beatles and cashes in on the world’s memory loss. Costars include Lily James, Kate McKinnon, and Ed Sheeran.

Mr. Boyle, as mentioned, has a varied filmography that includes Trainspotting and its sequel, 28 Days Later and its follow-up, Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, and Steve Jobs. When Yesterday premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, its so-so reception killed any potential awards chatter. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 68%.

While there’s legions of Fab Four fans out there, I don’t see this turning into a summer sleeper. I believe this will struggle to reach $10 million.

Yesterday opening weekend prediction: $9.1 million

For my Annabelle Comes Home prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/18/annabelle-comes-home-box-office-prediction/