Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Box Office Prediction

The cavalcade of 2019 Disney live-action reimaginings continues next weekend with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. The fantasy adventure is the sequel to 2014’s Maleficent, which focused on the villainous title character from Sleeping Beauty. Angelina Jolie returns along with Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Newcomers to the fold include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ed Skrein, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Joachim Rønning (who recently co-directed the Mouse Factory’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) takes over for Robert Stromberg.

When it comes to comps for how Mistress might perform, that’s a tricky calculation. Since the release of part 1 five summers ago, there’s been eight Disney updates of their classic animated material. The last two from this summer (Aladdin and The Lion King) were massive blockbusters based on beloved 1990s pics. This spring’s Dumbo, on the other hand, premiered with a so-so $45 million.

What about Maleficent itself? It opened just under $70 million with a $241 million eventual domestic haul. Yet five years is a fairly long break between sequels and some of the kiddos who attended could take a pass here. That brings up the example of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. In 2010, Wonderland was the first significant reimagining in several years. It debuted to $116 million. Six years later, Looking Glass was a huge flop and earned in the mid 20s for its start. For a non Disney example, Snow White and the Huntsman kicked off with a robust $56 million in 2012. Four years, its follow-up The Huntsman: Winter’s War sputtered with a meager $19.4 million.

While I don’t anticipate the drop-off here will be quite as dramatic as the last two scenarios, I do feel Evil will come in markedly lower than its predecessor. I’ll predict low to mid 30s could be the range and that means around half of the bounty from half a decade ago.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opening weekend prediction: $32.3 million

For my Zombieland: Double Tap prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/10/09/zombieland-double-tap-box-office-prediction/

Best Supporting Actress: A Look Back

Today begins a new blog series where I’m looking back at five of the major Oscar categories from 1990 to the present: the four acting races and Best Picture. This is essentially the time period where I’ve closely watched and analyzed. My charge? Picking the three largest upsets in each said category and the three least surprising winners… a film or performer where it truly would have been a shock if they didn’t emerge victorious.

We begin with Best Supporting Actress and this is one in which there have been some genuine upsets over the past quarter century plus. Unlike some other races we’ll get to later, it was not a challenge to pick three unexpected winners.

The other agenda item here is I’m picking my personal selections for strongest and weakest overall field among the five nominees in the acting derby’s and five-ten for Best Picture.

For starters, here’s the list of women that won gold statues in the supporting race from 1990 to now:

1990 – Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost

1991 – Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King

1992 – Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

1993 – Anna Paquin, The Piano

1994 – Dianne Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway

1995 – Mira Sorvino, Mighty Aphrodite

1996 – Juliette Binoche, The English Patient

1997 – Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential

1998 – Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love

1999 – Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted

2000 – Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock

2001 – Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind

2002 – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago

2003 – Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

2004 – Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

2005 – Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardner

2006 – Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

2007 – Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton

2008 – Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona

2009 – Mo’Nique, Precious

2010 – Melissa Leo, The Fighter

2011 – Octavia Spencer, The Help

2012 – Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

2013 – Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

2014 – Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

2015 – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

2016 – Viola Davis, Fences

2017 – Allison Janney, I, Tonya

I’ll begin with the least surprising winners. Truthfully, there are plenty of selections (and will be in each race) to pick from here. It’s normal procedure for the front runner to actually win. Here’s three that did just that:

3. Dianne Wiest, Bullets Over Broadway

Of the 28 recipients to choose from, note that 3 of them were under the direction of Woody Allen. None were surprise winners. That’s most evident with Wiest’s showcase work as an aging diva here. Her win here came just eight years following her Oscar winning role in another Allen pic, Hannah and Her Sisters.

2. Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Fans of the Broadway play this is based upon knew Ms. Hudson could have a legitimate breakthrough part here. She nailed it and her win was never in much doubt.

1. Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Similar to Hudson’s victory, Hathaway’s casting as Fantine and her “I Dreamed a Dream” dramatic solo made her the odds-on favorite from the moment the project was announced. That never changed.

Now we get to the upsets and there were four to choose from. I could easily include Anna Paquin in The Piano, who became the second youngest winner when she beat out favorite Winona Ryder for The Age of Innocence. Here’s 3 I rank as even more surprising:

3. Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock

Harden had won no significant precursors and Kate Hudson was expected to have her name called for Almost Famous. She wasn’t even nominated for a Golden Globe or SAG.

2. Juliette Binoche, The English Patient

While the film itself was the anticipated winner for Picture (which it did), the Oscars were expected to select the legendary Lauren Bacall for her work in Barbra Streisand’s The Mirror Has Two Faces. Yet it was Binoche’s performance that was unexpectedly honored.

1. Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny

For starters, comedic roles are rarely nominated and wins are even more unheard of. Tomei was a newcomer in a picture that wasn’t a factor in any other category. Her competition was a list of venerable actresses: Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives), Joan Plowright (Enchanted April), Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End), and Miranda Richardson (Damages). The victory here was so shocking that conspiracy theories emerged that presenter Jack Palance had accidentally read the wrong name. That’s been debunked, but Tomei’s trip to the stage remains one of Oscar’s largest jaw droppers.

As for the fields, I’m going with 1991 for the weakest link in the chain. I probably would have given the award to Juliette Lewis in Cape Fear. However, the group was not particularly strong:

Mercedes Ruehl, The Fisher King (Winner)

Diane Ladd, Rambling Rose

Juliette Lewis, Cape Fear

Kate Nelligan, The Prince of Tides

Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes

For the strongest field overall, I went with 2004 when Cate Blanchett won for her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. The other nominees:

Laura Linney, Kinsey

Virginia Madsen, Sideways

Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda

Natalie Portman, Closer

And there you have it! I’ll have Supporting Actor up soon…

Unbroken: Path to Redemption Box Office Prediction

This weekend, Harold Cronk (director of God’s Not Dead and its first sequel) has the faith-based war drama God Bless the Broken Road opening in theaters. Next weekend, the busy filmmaker releases Unbroken: Path to Redemption. It is deemed a “spiritual sequel” to 2014’s Unbroken. Pure Flix Entertainment is the distributor and I have a feeling we are about to see one of the largest opening weekend disparities from predecessor to follow-up.

Four years ago, Angelina Jolie made the first entry. It opened on Christmas Day and took in $46 million over the holiday weekend with an eventual domestic haul of $115 million. None of the principles behind that hit are back. Samuel Hunt takes over the lead role that Jack O’Connell played and the supporting cast includes Merritt Patterson, Vanessa Bell Calloway (most known as Eddie Murphy’s arranged wife 30 years ago in Coming to America), Bob Gunton, Gary Cole and evangelist Will Graham (who plays his late grandfather Billy).

I’m not so sure moviegoers are even aware of this sequel’s existence. Redemption is currently slated to premiere on a rather low 1200 screens. I have this weekend’s Harold Cronk movie (Broken Road) estimated at $2.1 million. I’ll bump this one a tad bit more, but not by much.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption opening weekend prediction: $2.5 million

For my The Predator prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/05/the-predator-box-office-prediction/

For my A Simple Favor prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/05/a-simple-favor-box-office-prediction/

For my White Boy Rick prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/09/06/white-boy-rick-box-office-prediction/

Tomb Raider Movie Review

Tomb Raider finds Alicia Vikander following in the career footsteps of Angelina Jolie – win yourself a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and headline a big-budget adaptation of a well-known video game. Lara Croft is back in a reboot that finds this London girl’s life as a bike courier interrupted by her tomb raidin’ father’s discoveries on a remote island.

Vikander’s Croft has been separated from father Richard (Dominic West) for seven years after he took off on a mission called Himiko and vanished. His task was to locate the resting place of a mythical queen on a remote island who can destroy the world. When Lara finds clues to the island’s whereabouts, she sails off with Hong Kong captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to find it.

Once there, she finds ruthless archaeologist Mathias (Walton Goggins) also looking for the grave. He’s got a group of mercenaries commanding a slave labor force. This portion of the running time could be deemed “Get Back to Work!” on the Blu Ray, since that line of dialogue is shouted loudly and repeatedly. Lara also discovers a lot of Papa Croft’s motivations on the island when not preoccupied by grand action set pieces. Both Mathias and Richard are guilty of neglecting many a daddy/daughter dance due to their occupations.

One of these days, the protagonist in an adventure will be faced with an extremely long jump over an object that is disintegrating quickly. They will make said jump and clear the crumbling item by about ten feet and be shocked by their solid performance skills. In Tomb Raider and everything else, that hurdle is cleared by approximately one inch and then the fall and then the subsequent Herculean effort to pull oneself back up. The first feature where the hero manages to do it with room to spare will elicit deserved laughter from the audience, if set up correctly.

Moving on, Tomb Raider doesn’t reinvent the wheel but earns some points by embracing its video game heritage. There are segments where it truly feels like the action could be generated by a controller. And it’s a testament to the direction of Roar Uthaug, the sturdy work of Vikander, some gorgeous scenery and well-placed humor that Tomb Raider is as engaging as it is. It’s far from perfect, but it’s more impressive than your typical video game adaptation and that includes both of Jolie’s Croft works.

*** (out of four)

Tomb Raider Box Office Prediction

Warner Bros hopes to kick off a new franchise nearly two decades after the first one when Tomb Raider debuts next weekend. Based on the iconic video game, it finds Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft that was first portrayed by Angelina Jolie. Directed by the awesomely named Roar Uthaug, the adventure costars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Nick Frost, and Kristin Scott Thomas.

In the summer of 2001, original adaptation Lara Croft: Tomb Raider premiered to $47 million with an eventual $131 million overall gross. The 2003 sequel The Cradle of Life experienced a significant dip with a $21 million opening and $65 million total. That was a long time ago and it will be interesting to see if old and new fans of the many video games will turn out.

There is potential for a bigger than anticipated roll out. In fact, the nearly $50 million generated by the first Raider certainly exceeded projections. Yet I believe this is more likely to earn a touch higher than the sequel 15 years ago.

Tomb Raider opening weekend prediction: $26.4 million

For my Love, Simon prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/07/love-simon-box-office-prediction/

For my I Can Only Imagine prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/11/i-can-only-imagine-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: First They Killed My Father

Three years ago, Angelina Jolie’s war drama Unbroken was looked at as a major awards contender until it screened for critics. While it performed well at the box office, her second directorial effort received three technical nominations outside of the major categories.

Now, First They Killed My Father (her fourth feature behind the camera) could be looking at a Best Picture nod, but in a different manner. The pic, which played at the Telluride and Toronto fests and is currently available on Netflix, has received the best reviews of the director’s career (89% on Rotten Tomatoes).

The 1970s set dramatic thriller will be Cambodia’s official entry into the Best Foreign Language Film race and it stands a very real shot at recognition. I don’t see it getting into the conversation for Picture itself, but Jolie could still find herself in the Oscar mix in a way that fell through in 2014.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Allied Box Office Prediction

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard join forces in the World War II set romantic thriller Allied, out next week over the Thanksgiving frame. Robert Zemeckis, who’s made plenty of hits but misfired with last year’s The Walk, handles directorial responsibilities and the supporting cast includes Lizzy Caplan, Jared Harris, and Matthew Goode.

Paramount Pictures is hoping that adult crowds will turn out over the holiday weekend. It must be noted that Mr. Pitt has obviously been the subject of much press over the last few months due to his separation from Angelina Jolie. How that plays into box office dollars is an unknown. The star’s filmography is not short of WWII era titles, as he headlined both Inglourious Basterds and Fury (which made $120M and $85M, respectively).

Whether Allied gets to that level could be a question mark, but solid reviews would certainly help (there’s none at press time). I’ll say this debuts to mid teens over the traditional Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend with low 20s a realistic estimate for the five-day gross. That could eventually get it to Fury level, though Basterds numbers would be a reach.

Allied opening weekend prediction: $14.2 million (Friday to Sunday), $21.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Moana prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/16/moana-box-office-prediction/

For my Bad Santa 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/16/bad-santa-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Rules Don’t Apply prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/16/rules-dont-apply-box-office-prediction/