Alicia Vikander won a Supporting Actress trophy for 2015’s The Danish Girl and she looks for her first lead nod as Catherine Parr, the sixth spouse of Jude Law’s Henry VIII in Firebrand. The period drama comes from Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz with a supporting cast including Sam Riley, Eddie Marsan, Simon Russell Beale, and Erin Doherty.
Buzz coming from its screening at Cannes is of the mixed variety and that’s evidenced by the 50% Rotten Tomatoes score. Even the recommendatory write-ups aren’t exactly glowing. Law is getting the best ink. However, his third nod (after 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley in supporting and 2003’s Cold Mountain in lead) is highly unlikely to come to fruition as well as any hope for Vikander. I suppose a Costume Design nod could occur, but Firebrand should be put out of contention by the time nominations are out. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
My second round of ranked predictions in the six major categories for the 96th Academy Awards comes two days before the 76th Annual Cannes Film Festival gets underway in the south of France. It will conclude on May 27th and you can expect my third round of forecasts shortly thereafter.
At Cannes, we will receive our first reviews and buzz for numerous heavy hitters. Those pictures include Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, May December from Todd Haynes, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, Monster from Hirokazu Kore-eda, Firebrand with Alicia Vikander, Pixar’s Elemental, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Here is my pre-Cannes outlook on Picture, Director, and the four acting derbies and let’s see how this gets shook up in a couple of weeks!
1. Killers of the Flower Moon (Previous Ranking: 1) (Even)
2. Past Lives (PR: 2) (E)
3. The Color Purple (PR: 3) (E)
4. Dune: Part Two (PR: 4) (E)
5. Oppenheimer (PR: 5) (E)
6. Poor Things (PR: 6) (E)
7. Saltburn (PR: 7) (E)
8. The Holdovers (PR: 12) (+4)
9. Air (PR: 9) (E)
10. May December (PR: 10) (E)
11. Maestro (PR: 11) (E)
12. Barbie (PR: 14) (+2)
13. Blitz (PR: 13) (E)
14. Challengers (PR: 8) (-6)
15. The Zone of Interest (PR: Not Ranked)
16. Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 15) (-1)
17. Flint Strong (PR: 19) (+2)
18. Napoleon (PR: 16) (-2)
19. The Killer (PR: 21) (+2)
20. Rustin (PR: 20) (E)
21. The Nickel Boys (PR: 24) (+3)
22. The Book of Clarence (PR: 17) (-5)
23. Ferrari (PR: 23) (E)
24. Strangers (PR: 18) (-6)
25. Asteroid City (PR: 22) (-3)
1. Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)
2. Celine Song, Past Lives (PR: 3) (+1)
3. Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part Two (PR: 2) (-1)
4. Blitz Bazawule, The Color Purple (PR: 5) (+1)
5. Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer (PR: 4) (-2)
7. Emerald Fennell, Saltburn (PR: 7) (E)
8. Todd Haynes, May December (PR: 9) (+1)
9. Alexander Payne, The Holdovers (PR: 13) (+4)
10. Greta Gerwig, Barbie (PR: 10) (E)
11. Ben Affleck, Air (PR: 12) (+1)
12. Steve McQueen, Blitz (PR: 11) (-1)
13. Bradley Cooper, Maestro (PR: 14) (+1)
14. Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest (PR: Not Ranked)
15. Ridley Scott, Napoleon (PR: Not Ranked)
Luca Guadagnino, Challengers
David Fincher, The Killer
1. Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple (PR: 1) (E)
2. Greta Lee, Past Lives (PR: 2) (E)
3. Emma Stone, Poor Things (PR: 4) (+1)
4. Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: 7) (+3)
5. Natalie Portman, May December (PR: 5) (E)
6. Margot Robbie, Barbie (PR: 6) (E)
7. Carey Mulligan, Maestro (PR: 9) (+2)
8. Zendaya, Challengers (PR: 3) (-5)
9. Saoirse Ronan, Blitz (PR: 8) (-1)
10. Regina King, Shirley (PR: 11) (+1)
11. Kate Winslet, Lee (PR: 15) (+4)
12. Annette Bening, Nyad (PR: 12) (E)
13. Sandra Hüller, The Zone of Interest (PR: Not Ranked)
14. Ryan Destiny, Flint Strong (PR: 14) (E)
15. Amy Adams, Nightbitch (PR: 10) (-5)
Aunjanue Ellis, The Nickel Boys (moved to Supporting)
1 . Colman Domingo, Rustin (PR: 1) (E)
2. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 2) (E)
3. Barry Keoghan, Saltburn (PR: 3) (E)
4. Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers (PR: 9) (+5)
5. Bradley Cooper, Maestro (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer (PR: 7) (+1)
7. Teo Yoo, Past Lives (PR: 4) (-3)
8. Kingsley Ben-Adir, Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 8) (E)
9. Matt Damon, Air (PR: 14) (+5)
10. Joaquin Phoenix, Napoleon (PR: 10) (E)
11. Anthony Hopkins, Freud’s Last Session (PR: 11) (E)
12. Mike Faist, Challengers (PR: 5) (-7)
13. Ed Harris, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: Not Ranked)
14. John David Washington, The Piano Lesson (PR: Not Ranked)
15. Andrew Scott, Strangers (PR: Not Ranked)
Andre Holland, The Actor
Paul Mescal, Strangers (moved to Supporting)
Adam Driver, Ferrari
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)
2. Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple (PR: 2) (E)
3. Taraji P. Henson, The Color Purple (PR: 4) (+1)
4. Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers (PR: 7) (+3)
5. Viola Davis, Air (PR: 6) (+1)
6. Julianne Moore, May December (PR: 3) (-3)
7. Rosamund Pike, Saltburn (PR: 5) (-2)
8. Audra McDonald, Rustin (PR: 8) (E)
9. Lashana Lynch, Bob Marley: One Love (PR: 9) (E)
10. Tilda Swinton, The Killer (PR: 13) (+3)
11. Aunjanue Ellis, The Nickel Boys (PR: Not Ranked, moved from lead)
12. Claire Foy, Strangers (PR: 11) (-1)
13. Danielle Deadwyler, The Piano Lesson (PR: 10) (-3)
14. Jodie Foster, Nyad (PR: 15) (+1)
15. Rebecca Ferguson, Dune: Part Two (PR: Not Ranked)
Jodie Comer, The Bikeriders
Moon Seung-ah, Past Lives
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Jesse Plemons, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 1) (E)
2. Willem Dafoe, Poor Things (PR: 2) (E)
3. John Magaro, Past Lives (PR: 5) (+2)
4. Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon (PR: 3) (-1)
5. Samuel L. Jackson, The Piano Lesson (PR: 4) (-1)
6. Ryan Gosling, Barbie (PR: 7) (+1)
7. Ben Affleck, Air (PR: 12) (+5)
8. Charles Melton, May December (PR: 6) (-2)
9. Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things (PR: 11) (+2)
10. Colman Domingo, The Color Purple (PR: Not Ranked)
11. Richard E. Grant, Saltburn (PR: 8) (-3)
12. Jeremy Strong, Maestro (PR: Not Ranked)
13. Brian Tyree Henry, Flint Strong (PR: 10) (-3)
14. Ben Foster, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (PR: Not Ranked)
Justin Chon’s Blue Bayou has a compelling message about a touchy political issue. In its final moments, it serves as an angry takedown on the country’s immigration policies. This is spliced with moments of melodrama and a generous heaping of subplots. The mix is often just a little off in this overflowing gumbo of storylines though it occasionally has the recipe right for an emotional payoff.
The director serves as star and writer here. Chon is Antonio LeBlanc and he’s lived just outside of New Orleans for his cognizant life. A tattoo artist with a criminal past, Antonio is on the right track with his pregnant wife Kathy (Alicia Vikander) and precious stepdaughter Jessie (Sydney Kowalske). He remembers little (or so he says) about his first years in South Korea before becoming a foster child stateside, which too is off limits for discussion.
Kathy’s ex (Mark O’Brien) is a police officer who wants more face time with Jessie. That domestic dynamic puts Antonio in jeopardy when an encounter calls his naturalization status into question. Facing deportation, Bayou shifts to showing the impossibly jumbled procedural morass to remain in the only home that Antonio has truly known.
Speaking of shifting and jumbling, there’s a lot of it in this screenplay. In addition to the looming court date, our protagonist strikes up a friendship with a cancer stricken Vietnamese woman (Lanh Dan Pham). Their interactions touchingly show Antonio a life of family and fellowship that’s often escaped him.
Regarding his past criminal offenses involving stolen motorcycles, Antonio’s quick need for cash has him pondering a return to that life. This causes major tension between him and Kathy. Vikander is quite good in the role. She’s not your typical suffering spouse. One gets the impression that she’s the one holding it all together for her small but growing family. The actress gets a lovely moment in which she croons the track serving as the title.
We delve into Antonio’s abusive past – both in Louisiana and overseas. He also happens to be good buds with an ICE agent (a hulking Tony Vitrano) who might be escorting him onto a plane at some point. There’s Kathy’s disapproving mother. In the film’s worst characterization, there’s the partner of Kathy’s former boyfriend. He’s played by Emory Cohen as an exaggerated coconut drink sipping buffoon who’s either being the main reason for Antonio’s troubles or talking about andouille sausage. Cohen’s role has about as much subtlety as J.W. Pepper, the loud and crude Bayou sheriff from Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun (Roger Moore’s first two James Bond features).
The heart of Blue Bayou is certainly well-placed and its urgent call for reform is best felt in the epilogue displaying real cases of injustice and the legal loopholes that caused them. In the midst of all the subplots and busy work of the script, Antonio’s connection with Jessie is the one that may get you misty eyed. Chon is passionate about his subject matter. Yet it frequently feels like the passion could have been harnessed into a more cohesive structure and not this unwieldy result.
James Gunn’s version of The Suicide Squad hits theaters and HBO Max streaming this Friday and it’s got surprisingly terrific reviews as a bonus feature to bring viewers out. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:
The first Squad from 2016 (the one without the THE in front of the title) landed just a 26% Rotten Tomatoes score while THE reboot is perched at an unexpectedly lofty 96%. However, with the Delta variant in play and the availability to HBO subscribers, I have this Squad achieving a low to possibly mid 40s start.
Margot Robbie and her devious friends represent the only newcomer. Jungle Cruise opened a bit above most projections (including mine). The question is whether its Disney Plus simultaneous debut will cause it to drop precipitously like Black Widow and other recent titles. I suspect the sophomore frame dip may not be quite as severe and mid 50s is my forecast.
The holdover battle for the #3 spot could be close between M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, critical favorite The Green Knight, and Black Widow. I actually think Widow could rise from 4th to 3rd with the smallest drop (assuming Old falls about 50%). Knight, despite the laudatory reviews and a larger than expected debut, only nabbed a C+ Cinemascore grade and that could mean a 60% range dip is in the cards.
And with that, my top 5 take on the frame ahead:
1. The Suicide Squad
Predicted Gross: $40.8 million
2. Jungle Cruise
Predicted Gross: $15.5 million
3. Black Widow
Predicted Gross: $3.7 million
Predicted Gross: $3.5 million
5. The Green Knight
Predicted Gross: $2.7 million
Box Office Results (July 30-August 1)
Disney had reason to celebrate over the weekend as Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt opened at the high end of projections. The theme ride based adventure, sporting mostly positive reviews, landed with $35 million (ahead of my $28.4 million estimate). Additionally, the studio’s streamer Disney Plus reported $30 million in rental action. That’s about as rosy as scenario possible given the continuing complications for theaters.
Old dropped to second with a near 60% plummet at $6.8 million, in line with my $6.6 million take. It’s earned $30 million so far and that’s decent considering the small budget.
The Mouse Factory wasn’t the only studio that exceeded projections as The Green Knight was third with $6.7 million – well beyond my meager $3.4 million guesstimate. As mentioned above, the middling audience reaction could halt its momentum in weekend #2, but that’s certainly a better start than anticipated.
Black Widow was fourth with $6.4 million (I said $5.6 million) to bring its tally to $167 million.
Matt Damon’s Stillwater premiered in fifth with a muted $5.1 million. That’s right in line with my $5.2 million estimate as mostly solid reviews couldn’t bring adult moviegoers out in substantial fashion.
Space Jam: A New Legacy was sixth with $4.2 million (I was close with $4.5 million) for a three week $60 million total.
Lastly, Snake Eyes nosedived in its second outing after a disastrous opening with $4 million (I said $4.7 million). The ill-fated G.I. Joe reboot has amassed just $22 million.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s theme ride based Disney adventure Jungle Cruise should have no trouble topping the charts as July rolls to August at the box office. It opens alongside the Matt Damon drama Stillwater and David Lowery’s medieval tale The Green Knight with Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on all of them here:
After a rather sluggish weekend where no newcomer topped $20 million, Jungle should easily cruise to that and more. Whether it tops $30 million is more of a question mark (especially with the Delta variant complicating matters). I’m putting it just under $30M while no other title should hit $10 million.
The jockeying for slots 2-5 could be interesting. Let’s get The Green Knight out of the way. While Lowery is an acclaimed indie filmmaker, I don’t see this having much initial crossover appeal. I have yet to see a theater count and my estimate of $3.4 million puts it well outside the top 5 (my estimate could change based on number of screens). **Blogger’s Update (07/28): the 2500 estimated screen count has revised my estimate for this up from $2.2M to $3.4M
Stillwater is a bit more of a head scratcher. It has solid reviews yet I can’t shake the feeling that this might have been better positioned for an autumn release. It could certainly open higher than my $5.2 million projection, but I also wouldn’t shocked if it went lower.
The position of Stillwater in the top 5 will be determined by the sophomore drops of Old and Snake Eyes and the fourth weekend performance of Black Widow.
Widow and Space Jam: A New Legacy have experienced hefty declines in their second frames. With mixed to negative reviews, I see no reason why Old and Snake Eyes won’t suffer the same fate. Both could see their fortunes fall in the mid 50s (that could be best case) or 60% or more. I’m thinking the latter. There’s a chance that Space Jam could stay in the high five if Snake Eyes dips in the mid 60s (I think it’ll be awfully close)
Here’s how I have all the action playing out:
1. Jungle Cruise
Predicted Gross: $28.4 million
Predicted Gross: $6.6 million
3. Black Widow
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million
Predicted Gross: $5.2 million
5. Snake Eyes
Predicted Gross: $4.7 million
6. Space Jam: A New Legacy
Predicted Gross: $4.5 million
Box Office Results (July 23-25)
Considering its low budget, the performance of M. Night Shyamalan’s Old isn’t necessarily bad news for Universal. However, it definitely came in on the low end of expectations with $16.8 million for a gold medal showing. I was more generous at $19.8 million. Word-of-mouth doesn’t seem very encouraging and I anticipate a sophomore drop in the 60% range.
There’s really no way to spin the Snake Eyes gross in a positive way for Paramount with its disappointing silver medal. The hoped for G.I. Joe reboot tanked with just $13.3 million compared to my $17.2 million projection. You could say it was a real American no show with audiences. With a budget in the reported $100 million range, this should easily put this franchise on the skids for some time.
Black Widow took the bronze in weekend #3 with $11.6 million (I went a little higher at $12.9 million). The MCU stand-alone feature has made $154 million thus far and will be one of the lowest performers of the MCU library.
Space Jam: A New Legacy plummeted from its #1 perch to fourth with a near 70 percent fall. The $9.5 million gross was way under my take of $15.8 million and the two-week tally is $51 million. There’s no chance the LeBron and Looney Tunes sequel will make $100 million stateside.
F9 was fifth with $4.8 million (I said $5.1 million) to bring its total to $163 million.
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions was sixth in its second outing with only $3.5 million (I went with $4.5 million) for $16 million overall.
David Lowery has had the critics on his side for years with efforts including Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, A Ghost Story, and The Old Man & the Gun. His filmography has been called out by critics associations, but his pictures have yet to garner any Oscar attention.
Could that change with The Green Knight? Coming out Friday, the medieval fantasy had its embargo lifted today and the results are encouraging. Sporting a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score, it’s being called an epic experience with lush visuals. The lead performance of Dev Patel is also highly praised.
It will be interesting to see if distributor A24 mounts a major campaign. They could be preoccupied with The Tragedy of Macbeth from Joel Coen which is out this autumn.
Patel could be in the mix though I suspect he’s a bit of a long shot. He’s been nominated once before for Lion in supporting and drew some chatter that never panned out for The Personal History of David Copperfield. Costar Alicia Vikander (2015 Supporting Actress winner for The Danish Girl) might see a more serious campaign for Blue Bayou.
My hunch is that Knight could succeed in being Lowery’s first feature to get a nomination or two and that it could be in tech races. Visual Effects and Costume Design spring to mind. The Score is also getting kudos. I would also add that it’s highly possible Knight could be ignored altogether.
Bottom line: The Green Knight will need to sustain momentum over the season to be a competitor. Strong reviews could help the cause. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Blogger’s Update (07/28): The theater count has been put out at approximately 2500, which is higher than I expected. Therefore I am revising my estimate up from $2.2M to $3.4M
David Lowery has become a favorite indie director of the critics with pics like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and A Ghost Story. This Friday, he goes the bigger Arthurian medieval fantasy route with The Green Knight. Originally scheduled for May 2020 before its COVID delay, Knight stars Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan, and Ralph Ineson.
A24 is handling distribution duties and early word of mouth is positive (as has been the case with the filmmaker’s previous efforts). How this translates to box office business is certainly questionable.
I have yet to see a theater count and that could alter my forecast, but my feeling is that this starts quite low as it struggles to find an audience.
The Green Knight opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million
Last year’s Best Actress race was one of the most unpredictable and competitive in ages. Five different performers took the Oscar, Golden Globes (since they split between Drama and Musical/Comedy), SAG, and Critics Choice Award.
And, while it’s very early, 2021 appears that it could be a humdinger of a contest yet again. This is the final acting derby I am doing projections on in these initial forecasts. By far, Best Actress was the hardest one to whittle down and there were even potential contenders beyond the 15 listed that I believe could easily get into the mix.
Speaking of those earlier posts, you can peruse them here if you didn’t catch them:
When I did my inaugural 2020 posts in Actress, I correctly identified 2 of the 5 eventual nominees: winner Frances McDormand (Nomadland) and Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). Carey Mulligan was named in Other Possibilities while I did not yet call out Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) or Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman).
Justin Chon is known to many moviegoers as Eric Yorkie from the Twilight franchise, but he’s also a burgeoning director who’s debuted his latest feature at the Cannes Film Festival. Blue Bayou is Chon’s third effort behind the camera. The immigration drama stars the filmmaker as a Korean-American facing deportation with Alicia Vikander (2015’s Supporting Actress winner for The Danish Girl) portraying his wife. Costars include Mark O’Brien, Linh Dan Pham, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Emory Cohen.
Reviews coming from France aren’t all completely laudatory. It stands at 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet plenty are quite positive. Focus Features could be able to mine the urgent subject matter for awards consideration when it premieres stateside in September. This includes top line races such as Original Screenplay (Chon wrote the script) and his own lead performance as well as Vikander’s.
Could Best Picture be in the mix? It’s possible. The film is said to be an effective tearjerker and that never hurts. This season has a ways to go to determine whether Bayou could be 2021’s Minari in terms of contention, but it’s in the mix. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
My annual recounting of the cinematic seasons that preceded 30, 20, and 10 years prior continues on the blog today with the summer of 2001! It was a frame dominated by an animated jolly green giant that kicked off a massive franchise for its studio.
As is tradition, I’ll run through the top 10 domestic grossers as well as other notables pics and some flops. If you missed my post covering 1991’s May-August output, you can find it here:
Eddie Murphy returned as the doc who talks to animals in this sequel that managed to cross the century mark, but failed to approach the $144 million earned by its 1998 predecessor. This would mark the end of Eddie’s involvement in the franchise, but a direct to DVD third helping came in 2006.
9. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Domestic Gross: $131 million
Angelina Jolie (fresh off an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted) headlined the video game adaptation that, despite weak reviews, spawned a sequel and an eventual reboot with Alicia Vikander that will soon get its own follow-up.
8. The Fast and the Furious
Domestic Gross: $144 million
We first saw Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and those souped up whips 20 years ago. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or haven’t heard of The Rock), this begat a franchise which is still running strong today. F9 is currently the #1 movie in America in this series that has topped a billion bucks.
7. American Pie 2
Domestic Gross: $145 million
Universal quickly green lighted this sequel to 1999’s smash hit comedy. The gross out gags in part 2 (which resulted in another theatrical effort in 2003 and numerous direct to DVD entries) stands as the largest worldwide earner of the bunch.
6. Planet of the Apes
Domestic Gross: $180 million
Tim Burton’s reimagining of the 1968 classic didn’t result in the new franchise that 20th Century Fox hoped for. Critics had their knives out for Mark Wahlberg’s lead performance and the surprise ending that didn’t pack the wallop of Charlton Heston’s encounter with the Statue of Liberty. The studio would get their successful trilogy a decade later beginning with Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which will be covered in 2011’s blog post).
5. Jurassic Park III
Domestic Gross: $181 million
Joe Johnston took over directorial duties from Steven Spielberg is this threequel. Sam Neill was back in this dino-tale that (while profitable) failed to reach the heights of the first two commercially. A reboot 14 years later would get the series back in billion dollar good standing.
4. Pearl Harbor
Domestic Gross: $198 million
Michael Bay’s romantic war epic failed with reviewers but still approached $200 million domestically and $450 million worldwide. Its six Golden Raspberry nominations topped its four Oscar nods.
3. The Mummy Returns
Domestic Gross: $202 million
Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz returned for this adventure sequel to the 1999 hit that topped part 1 domestically by nearly $50 million. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would join the fun here and was rewarded with his spin-off (The Scorpion King) the next year. A third Mummy landed with disappointing results in 2008.
2. Rush Hour 2
Domestic Gross: $226 million
It was the best of times for director Brett Ratner and stars Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan as this action comedy built upon the grosses of the 1998 original. A third would follow six years later.
Mike Myers as the title character ogre, Eddie Murphy stealing scenes with his voice work as Donkey, and Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona proved that Disney wasn’t the only animation game in town. Shrek even competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in this DreamWorks game changer that resulted in three sequels and a stage musical.
And now for some other notables flicks from the summer that was:
The Princess Diaries
Domestic Gross: $108 million
Disney’s live-action fairy tale served as a breakout role for Anne Hathaway and a return to the studio for Julie Andrews for the first time since Mary Poppins. A 2004 sequel followed.
Domestic Gross: $96 million
With its own Sixth Sense style twist ending, this gothic horror pic with Nicole Kidman earned solid reviews and got genre fans to turn out.
Domestic Gross: $96 million
Shrek isn’t the only feature to spawn a Broadway treatment. So did this Reese Witherspoon hit which also resulted in a sequel and a third Blonde that is slated for May 2022.
Cats & Dogs
Domestic Gross: $93 million
Dr. Dolittle wasn’t the only animal game in town. This kiddie pic featuring featuring talking creatures also began a franchise.
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
Domestic Gross: $78 million
Long planned as a project for Stanley Kubrick (who passed away in 1999), Steven Spielberg directed this sci-fi visual feast with Haley Joel Osment. The film elicited strong reactions from critics and crowds (both positively and negatively). It may not have reached $100 million domestic, but it’s still a picture people like to debate about today and that’s more that can be said for most titles on this list.
Domestic Gross: $69 million
Hugh Jackman and John Travolta headlined this action pic which somewhat underperformed expectations. This is mostly known as the film that paid Halle Berry an extra $500,000 to go topless during a few seconds of screen time.
Domestic Gross: $57 million
Baz Luhrmann’s postmodern musical with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor scored 8 Oscar nominations and has its legions of fans that have endured over the past two decades.
Domestic Gross: $6 million
This crime drama is mostly known for its menacing supporting turn from Sir Ben Kingsley, who was rewarded with an Oscar nod.
Domestic Gross: $6 million
Terry Zwigoff’s dark comedy (based on a late 90s comic book) earned raves for its screenplay and for costars Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi.
And now for some pictures that did not meet expectations:
Domestic Gross: $93 million
Yes, it may have approached $100 million, but this rom com starring Julia Roberts and featuring John Cusack, Billy Crystal (who cowrote), and Catherine Zeta-Jones didn’t come near what her previous blockbusters like My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill, and Runaway Bride managed.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Domestic Gross: $84 million
Disney’s animated sci-fi adventure was a letdown that didn’t recoup its reported $100 million budget domestically. A hoped for franchise with TV spin-offs and Disneyland ride attraction never rose to the surface.
Scary Movie 2
Domestic Gross: $71 million
This rushed horror spoof follow-up to the 2000 surprise smash couldn’t get close to the $157 million of the original. However, this didn’t stop several sequels from following that achieved greater success.
Domestic Gross: $38 million
Director Ivan Reitman and supernatural comedy sure worked well in 1984 with Ghostbusters. Not so much here in this DreamWorks flop with David Duchovny which earned less than half its budget in North America.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Domestic Gross: $32 million
Tomb Raider was an example of a video game adaptation that made money. Not so here with this rendering of the popular role playing fantasy series that didn’t score with audiences.
Ghosts of Mars
Domestic Gross: $8 million
It wasn’t a good day at the box office for this science fiction flop from director John Carpenter and Ice Cube.
Domestic Gross: $3 million
Moviegoers didn’t turn out for this comedy written and directed by Louis C.K. that originated from a sketch on The Chris Rock Show (who costars). Despite the failed run at the box office, it has since become a cult hit.
And that does it for 2001, folks! Look for my post about summer 2011 in the coming days…