June 3-5 Box Office Predictions

With no wide release newcomers coming our way as June kicks off, Tom will easily cruise to another weekend atop the charts after the history making debut of Top Gun: Maverick. 

The long in development sequel set holiday records (more on that below). Many Memorial Day weekend openers see hefty declines in their sophomore frames, but that fate may not apply here. Maverick received a rare A+ Cinemascore meaning audiences (like critics) are loving what they’re seeing. That may draw out viewers who didn’t wish to deal with the crowds in addition to repeat viewers. I’ll say it dips less than 50%.

Slots 2-5 should remain stagnant with Jurassic World: Dominion on deck for the following weekend. Here’s how I see it:

1. Top Gun: Maverick

Predicted Gross: $67.5 million

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Predicted Gross: $9.1 million

3. The Bob’s Burgers Movie

Predicted Gross: $5.3 million

4. Downton Abbey: A New Era

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

5. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (May 27-30)

As mentioned, Tom Cruise soared to the largest debut of his career with room to spare. Top Gun: Maverick amassed $126.7 million over the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and $160.5 million for the four-day. That eclipses my respective takes of $113.4 million and $138 million. Cruise’s previous all-time starter was 2005’s War of the Worlds with $65 million. Maverick also moved past the 15-year-old Memorial frame record that belonged to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End with its $139 million Friday to Monday haul.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse dropped to second after three weeks on top with $20.3 million, on pace with my $22.1 million forecast. The total is $374 million.

The Bob’s Burgers Movie certainly didn’t earn Simpsons type of coin ($74 million). However, it did manage to surpass my expectations. The animated pic made $12.4 million for the three-day and $14.8 million over the long portion. The third place showing ran ahead of my projections of $9.2 million and $11.6 million.

Downton Abbey: A New Era proved rather front loaded with a fourth place sophomore gross of $7.4 million compared to my $9.5 million estimate. The two-week gross is $29 million.

The Bad Guys rounded out the top five with $5.6 million (I said $6.2 million) for $82 million overall.

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

Oscar Predictions: Close

In 2o18, Belgian director probably came close to seeing his feature Girl nab an International Feature Film nod. It came up short, but he’s got another shot this year with Close.

The coming-of-age drama re-teams him with Girl screenwriter Angelo Tijssens. While it didn’t win the top prize Palme D’Or at the French film festival, it did tie with Stars at Noon for the Grand Prix (essentially second place).

With a 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating, I would expect Belgium could make this their selection for the Academy’s derby. If it makes the shortlist, it certainly stands a decent chance at inclusion. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Triangle of Sadness

Five years after his satire The Square won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund has won the top prize for another satire. That picture is Triangle of Sadness which stars Harris Dickinson and Charibi Dean as models stranded on an island with a group of billionaires, including Woody Harrelson.

Sadness was a bit of a surprise honoree over pics that received stronger reviews such as Broker and Decision to Leave. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 71% with some raves and others calling it a disappointment.

Perhaps the buzz garnered by the Cannes victory could propel it to a Best Picture nod. However, that’s far from a guarantee. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

2022 Oscar Predictions: May 29th Edition

As May comes to a close and the Cannes Film Festival wraps up, I’m giving you a fresh update in the six major Oscar categories!

In Best Picture, I’m elevating Empire of Light from Sam Mendes into the top ten and that takes Rustin out. The Daniels from Everything Everywhere All at Once vault into Director to the detriment of Sarah Polley for Women Talking. 

Empire of Light also benefits in Best Actress with Olivia Colman in over Carey Mulligan from She Said. While Actor and Supporting Actress remain unchanged, there’s two alterations in Supporting Actor with Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere…) and Jesse Plemons (Killers of the Flower Moon) in over John David Washington (Amsterdam) and Tom Hanks (Elvis).

You can peruse all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Son (PR: 5) (E)

6. Women Talking (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 8) (+1)

8. She Said (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Empire of Light (PR: 16) (+7)

10. The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

11. Rustin (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Decision to Leave (PR: 12) (-1)

14. Amsterdam (PR: 11) (-3)

15. White Noise (PR: 13) (-2)

16. Thirteen Lives (PR: 21) (+5)

17. Elvis (PR: 20) (+3)

18. Poor Things (PR: 14) (-4)

19. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 15) (-4)

20. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

21. Armageddon Time (PR: 19) (-2)

22. Till (PR: 18) (-4)

23. Next Goal Wins (PR: 25) (+2)

24. Tar (PR: 17) (-7)

25. Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Woman King

Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

    1. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (E)

3. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Dan Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Bardo (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Florian Zeller, The Son (PR: 7) (E)

8. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Sam Mendes, Empire of Light (PR: 15) (+6)

10. Hirokazu Kore’eda, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Maria Schrader, She Said (PR: 8) (-4)

13. David O. Russell, Amsterdam (PR: 13) (E)

14. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 12) (-2)

15. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 14) (-1)

Dropped Out:

George C. Wolfe, Rustin 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 9) (+5)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: 3) (-3)

7. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 8) (E)

9. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Laura Dern, The Son (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 10) (-1)

12. Michelle Williams, Showing Up (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Helen Mirren, Golda (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 14) (E)

15. Saoirse Ronan, See How They Run (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling

Tilda Swinton, Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Song Kang-Ho, Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Christian Bale, Amsterdam (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Bardo (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 7 (-3)

11. Michael Fassbender, Next Goal Wins (PR: 12) (+1)

12. Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives (PR: 11) (-1)

13. Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans (PR: 8) (-5)

14. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Joaquin Phoenix, Disappointment Blvd.

Idris Elba, Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 6) (E)

7. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: 7) (E)

8. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 13) (+5)

9. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Patricia Clarkson, She Said (PR: 12) (+2)

11. Whoopi Goldberg, Till (PR: 8) (-3)

12. Margot Robbie, Amsterdam (PR: 9) (-3)

13. Dakota Johnson, Cha Cha Real Smooth (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Anne Hathaway, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rooney Mara, Women Talking 

Margaret Qualley, Poor Things

Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 9) (+4)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Colin Firth, Empire of Light (PR: 15) (+8)

8. John David Washington, Amsterdam (PR: 5) (-3)

9. Glynn Turman, Rustin (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 11) (+1)

11. Andre Holland, Shirley (PR: Not Ranked)

12. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 12) (E)

13. Seth Rogen, The Fabelmans (PR: 14) (+1)

14. Tom Hanks, Elvis (PR: 4) (-10)

15. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 10) (-5)

Dropped Out:

Frankie Faison, Till 

Oscar Predictions: Showing Up

Kelly Reichardt is an acclaimed indie filmmaker behind the recent Certain Women and First Cow. Her latest, which premiered at Cannes, is Showing Up and it casts Michelle Williams as a sculptor in the family drama. Costars include Hong Chau, Judd Hirsch, John Magaro, Andre Benjamin, and James Le Gros.

Reviews say this is a lighter take on Reichardt’s material and the 100% Rotten Tomatoes indicates a winner. In what is becoming a common refrain in these posts, the distributor is A24. It will be a juggling act when it comes to their Oscar campaigns (Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Whale, and Aftersun are just three of their hopefuls).

Williams is drawing early raves. She’s seeking her fifth nomination after two lead nods for 2010’s Blue Valentine and 2011’s My Week with Marilyn and two supporting mentions for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and 2016’s Manchester by the Sea. While she could draw attention here, there’s also Steven Spielberg’s upcoming The Fabelmans where she could make an appearance in supporting.

It’s important to remember that First Cow starting garnering some awards chatter that ended up petering out. That could happen here but the strong Cannes start helps its case. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Holy Spider

Ali Abbasi’s 2018 fantasy Border won plenty of acclaim and was Sweden’s designee for International Feature Film. It didn’t end up making the final cut, but it did score a nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling (coming up short to Vice).

The filmmaker’s latest is the crime thriller Holy Spider and its Cannes premiere is drawing plenty of solid critical attention. The Rotten Tomatoes rating is 88%. Zar Amir Ebrahimi is a reporter tracking Mehdi Bajestani’s serial killer. Said to be dark and gruesome, it would need a spirited Oscar campaign to contend for International Feature Film. My hunch is it ends up on the outside looking in like Border did. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Stars at Noon

From acclaimed French titles like 1999’s Beau Travail to the recent Robert Pattinson horror pic High Life, filmmaker Claire Denis has her ardent admirers. Based on the 1986 novel by Denis Johnson, her latest is Stars at Noon. It has made its premiere at Cannes.

The romantic thriller features Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn in the lead roles with Danny Ramirez, Benny Safdie, and John C. Reilly providing support. The reviews are decent though not overwhelmingly positive and the Rotten Tomatoes rating is 78%.

I suspect the stars won’t align for this to receive any sort of significant awards push in the coming months. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Broker

Had it not been for Roma in 2018, Hirokazu Kore’eda’s Shoplifters might have been the winner for the international competition at the Oscars. His latest is Broker and it has debuted at Cannes. Said to be a crowdpleaser, the drama focused on abandoned babies stars Song Kang-Ho of Parasite fame.

Early critical write-ups put this at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some of the reviews say it isn’t quite  in Shoplifters territory. That said, if South Korea selects this as the hopeful in International Feature Film, it would stand an excellent shot at making the cut. However, that is a big if because the nation also has Park Chan-wook’s acclaimed Decision to Leave (also a Cannes player) in the mix.

At the moment, I’m giving Broker the slight edge to be the pick. If so, it’s one to remember come picking time (and perhaps in Original Screenplay too). My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: Decision to Leave

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook is highly acclaimed for features including Oldboy and The Handmaiden. His latest is the romantic thriller Decision to Leave, which has premiered at Cannes.

Starring Tang Wei and Park Hae-il, critics are praising Chan-wook’s effort with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 92%. As is often the case with the director, the cinematography by Kim Ji-yong is drawing particular raves. Oscar voters have yet to honor its maker’s filmography. Despite the positive buzz, Leave could face an uphill battle for the Academy’s attention.

The primary reason is the country of origin. I have a feeling South Korea may select another pic from one of its best known directors – Hirokazu Kore’ada’s Broker – as their contestant for International Feature Film. It also premiered in France and its kudos are arguably louder. That would leave Decision out of the running. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Shoulda Been Oscar Contenders: Ray Liotta in GoodFellas

Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas is one of the greatest motion pictures of all time (it’s in my top ten) and the Academy recognized that with six Oscar nominations in 1990. It won Best Supporting Actor for Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco received a Supporting Actress mention for Supporting Actress as the wife of Henry Hill. That’s in addition to the superb acting from Robert De Niro and Paul Sorvino and others. The Best Picture and Director nods should’ve been victories over Dances with Wolves. 

Furthermore, we ought’ve seen at least a seventh nomination for Best Actor with Ray Liotta as the main character. Henry Hill’s onscreen journey from a naive kid learning the ropes of Mob life to that riveting, unforgettable and coke addled last half hour of paranoia complete with black helicopters is cinema at its most addictive. And it’s Liotta’s performance that fuels it. Through the course of Scorsese’s mastery, we witness its lead shift from tender to menacing with total believability. It’s a star making role for a man who turned out to be an ace character actor.

I should’ve written this post a while ago. It’s unfathomable that the film’s central performance went unrecognized. Liotta had just achieved his biggest exposure a year earlier as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the beloved Field of Dreams. GoodFellas announced him as a leading man and he would continue on with more memorable roles with above the title credits and supporting parts. For those seeking out worthy titles, check out Something Wild and Unlawful Entry. Watch his descent into madness in Cop Land or his acclaimed role in Narc. There’s his recent turn in the Oscar nominated Marriage Story as a divorce lawyer (his costar Laura Dern won a gold statue).

Sadly – I write this post today as we learn of Ray Liotta’s passing at the age of 67. He was on location shooting his latest effort with at least 2 pictures in the can. For GoodFellas alone, he will forever be a part of the history of this medium we love. Yes, he should’ve been a contender for it. Ray Liotta, through decades of impressive performances, won us over time and again.