One of America’s best known spooky families returns in animated form on October 1 with The Addams Family 2. The sequel to the 2019 hit brings back the vocal stylings of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Bill Hader, and Wallace Shawn. Javon Walton replaces Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley. Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan direct once again.
Two Octobers ago, the original started with a better than expected $30 million and wound up at $100 million. It came in second behind Joker. The follow-up will undoubtedly also be in runner-up status to another comic book character with Venom: Let There Be Carnage (which opens against it). In fact, with Venom being PG-13, it could siphon away some younger viewers.
The other challenge is that Universal made the curious decision to make part 2 available for home rental on the same day. This was a bit of a surprise considering family entertainment has fared relatively well given the COVID circumstances.
Due to those factors, my snap judgment is that The Addams Family 2 may earn just over half of what the first nabbed out of the gate.
The Addams Family 2 opening weekend prediction: $16.6 million
For my Venom: Let There Be Carnage prediction, click here:
Back in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Flee was a home run with critics. The film has the very rare distinction of fitting multiple categories – it’s animated. It’s a documentary. And it comes from the nation of Denmark.
Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen (and executive produced by last year’s Best Actor nominee Riz Ahmed), Flee tells the true life story of an Afghan refugee’s trials and tribulations. Based on nearly 50 reviews, it holds a pure 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating.
Flee is unique in that it could contend in all four races at the Academy Awards honoring feature-length efforts: Best Picture, International Feature Film, Animated Feature, and Documentary Feature. The recent news coverage from Afghanistan could contribute to its urgent nature.
Bowing in theaters on December 3rd via Neon, the acclaim for Flee should get this in at least half of the categories where it is eligible. Just last year, Collective managed to do so in International Feature Film and Documentary. It remains to be seen whether this is the Danish pick for the former competition. My hunch is, if so, it could show up in both races.
Animated Feature is also a strong possibility though I’ve written before about how packed it could be. Other viable hopefuls include The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Raya and the Last Dragon, Luca, Vivo, and the forthcoming Encanto and Wendell and Wild.
Best Picture is obviously the toughest one to breach, but I wouldn’t count it out. I could even envision a narrative developing rooting Flee on for inclusion in the entire quartet.
Bottom line: expect to see Flee in the mix in more than one category next year. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Let us begin with what might be the obvious disclaimer: I did not think I would be writing an Oscar Watch post on PAW Patrol: The Movie. Opening Friday, the cinematic rendering of Nickelodeon’s popular kids show was simply not on my radar screen for potential contenders in Best Animated Feature.
I’m not losing my marbles here. You won’t see me pontificating about whether Kim Kardashian gets a Supporting Actress nod for her voice work. Yet the fact of the matter is this… Patrol stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. Some caveats: this is based on 13 reviews thus far. And a lot of the critical reaction isn’t exactly claiming this is a masterpiece. The general consensus is that fans of the show will lap it up and their attending adults might even be reasonably entertained.
So could this actually land a nomination? Well, it’s possible but still doubtful. As I’ve discussed before in my previous OW posts, this particularly race is already getting crowded. The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Luca, Vivo, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Flee (not out yet but recipient of Sundance raves) are all more likely contenders. And that’s five. Additionally, Encanto and Wendell and Wild are still to come and, on paper, should be serious hopefuls.
Bottom line: Tomatoes meter notwithstanding, don’t count on this getting in. However, it is certainly more of a possibility than anyone could have envisioned just days ago. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Blogger’s Note (08/18): I am revising my PAW Patrol: The Movie estimate up from $7.9M to $10.8M.
Will young pups across North America be begging their guardian masters for the opportunity to see PAW Patrol: The Movie next weekend? That’s what Paramount is hoping for as the Canadian based Nickelodeon series hits the big screen. The animated show has been on tube since 2013 and the voice regulars (Kingsley Marshall, Keegan Hedley, Shayle Simons, Lilly Bartlam, and Ron Pardo) are heard here. We also have some famous to sorta famous faces lending their vocal talents. They include Iain Armitage, Marsai Martin, Yara Shahidi, Kim Kardashian, Randall Park, Dax Shepard, Tyler Perry, and Jimmy Kimmel. Cal Brunker (maker of Escape from Planet Earth and The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature) directs.
So will the intended crowd be down with PP? Clearly the TV show has a following. However, it certainly skews younger than most animated titles so the kiddie pool is limited. This will also be premiering simultaneously on Paramount+. While it may not have the reach of the streaming big daddies, it could still siphon away some viewers. Perhaps most importantly, mid to late August is a tricky time for this genre as children are heading back to school.
Family entertainment offerings like Space Jam: A New Legacy and Jungle Cruise have slightly exceeded expectations lately. It’s fair to say they didn’t face some of the hurdles PAW does. A slightly better comp might be The Boss Baby: Family Business, which recently debuted with just over $17 million. I’d be surprised if PAW matched it. It might be lucky to earn half of that and that’s what I’m thinking.
PAW Patrol: The Movie opening weekend prediction: $10.8 million
While we wait to see whether or not most of the Best Picture contenders truly are viable, the Animated Feature race is already packed with contenders. Vivo is available on Netflix today. The Sony Pictures effort comes from director Kirk DeMicco (best known for making The Croods) and features original songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The voice cast includes Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, Michael Rooker, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, and Gloria Estefan.
The film’s reviews are solid with an 89% Rotten Tomatoes rating. In a lighter year, that might automatically warrant inclusion in the final five. Not so fast in 2021. The list of other hopefuls already released includes Raya and the Last Dragon, Luca, Belle and The Mitchells vs. the Machines (another Netflix title that they should campaign heavily for). Additionally, Miranda has Mouse Factory effort Encanto this autumn which is another likely player. Add to the list the critically acclaimed animated doc Flee and Henry Selick’s Wendell and Wild and Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 1/2 (also both upcoming from Netflix). So, yeah, it’s crowded.
If Vivo doesn’t make the cut, it could still make a play in Original Song. Estefan has the track “Inside Your Heart”. That particular competition is also expected to have plenty of tracks competing against each other.
Bottom line: there’s a lot of pics and songs in the mix, but Vivo is at least on the radar for attention. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Three years ago, Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai scored a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars (ultimately losing to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). The Japanese director has unveiled his follow-up effort Belle at the Cannes Film Festival (receiving a 14 minute standing ovation) and this looks to be another contender in an already bustling 2021 field.
Critics are praising the visuals of Hosoda’s latest creation and it’s even drawing references to The Matrix for its style. It opens in Japan today with North American distribution anticipated for the fall. As mentioned, we have already seen a handful of serious hopefuls for the Academy to consider. This includes Netflix’s The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon and Luca, and another Cannes selection with Where Is Anne Frank. The Mouse Factory also has Encanto later in 2021 while Netflix has Wendell and Wild and Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 1/2 on deck.
Bottom line: add Belle as one more legit contestant for inclusion. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Oscar voters are already quite familiar with Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi as are the festival goers in Cannes. Ten years ago, A Separation won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (as it was called at the time) and the pic was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. In 2016, The Salesman took the foreign film prize at the Oscars. Both The Salesman and his previous effort Everybody Knows held their debuts in the French Riviera.
Farhadi is back at Cannes with A Hero, his latest drama that looks to be another awards player. That could certainly happen. It stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and some posts indicate this is the kind of story that could take the Palme d’Or (the fest’s top honor). On the other hand, some of the thumbs up reviews point out that this isn’t in the league of Farhadi’s most lauded predecessors.
Bottom line: I would expect that Iran will submit A Hero as its selection for Oscar consideration. We will see how the competition plays out, but it definitely stands a decent chance at making the cut (while not being the sure thing that his others were). And there’s even a fair possibility that Farhadi could enter the Best Director conversation. A Palme d’Or victory wouldn’t hurt the cause. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
In 2008, Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman received heaps of acclaim for his animated war docudrama Waltz with Bashir. It took home the Best Foreign Language prize from the Golden Globes in addition to winning the Annie Award. Bashir was in the Academy’s five nominees in their international feature competition. His 2013 follow-up The Congress did not match the bonafides of its predecessor as far as awards chatter.
At the Cannes Film Festival, Folman’s latest drawn feature Where Is Anne Frank has screened. As you can tell from the name, this is another title dealing with serious subject matter. Frank is told from the perspective of Kitty, the imaginary girl whom the title character addressed her letters.
While some early reviews are positive, the current 71% Rotten Tomatoes rating puts in the same realm as The Congress. That causes me to doubt whether this makes the cut in what is shaping up to be a competitive Animated Feature Oscar race in 2021. Disney already has a trifecta of hopefuls with the already released Raya and the Last Dragon and Luca and the forthcoming Encanto. Netflix has a strong contender with The Mitchells vs. the Machines and could have another in Wendell and Wild. And there’s already a checked box with animated fare showcasing more dramatic themes in Flee (which screened at Sundance earlier this year).
Bottom line: I wouldn’t completely count this out and we’ll see if it picks up any steam. Yet this could certainly be on the outside looking in come nomination morning.
The Boss Baby: Family Business looks to pacify little ones and their parents over the Independence Day weekend. The DreamWorks animated sequel follows up on the March 2017 pic which greatly over performed with its target audience. Alec Baldwin is back voicing the title character alongside James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Ariana Greenblatt, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and Jeff Goldblum. Tom McGrath resumes directorial duties.
In the spring of 2017, The Boss Baby was projected to earn around $30 million for its start. However, it blew past those estimates with $50.2 million in its opening frame and eventually took in $175 million domestically. Several factors are likely to complicate that kind of debut for part II.
For one, some of the little viewers who flocked to see it are four years older now. COVID-19 is still somewhat limiting potential. This was originally slated for March before its pandemic related delay. Family Business is also hitting streamer Peacock on the same day and some may simply choose to hold their Baby viewing from the comfort of home. That said, Peacock is not anywhere in the spectator realm of the big boys like Netflix, Amazon, or HBO Max as of yet.
Estimates have this reaching approximately $20 million over the holiday. I’ll give it a slight Baby bump considering its predecessor easily managed to top forecasts.
The Boss Baby: Family Business opening weekend prediction: $21.7 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
Two days ahead of its streaming debut on Disney Plus, Pixar’s latest comedic fantasy Luca has seen its review embargo lifted. It marks the feature-length directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa (who’s done story artist work on some of the studio’s pics) and has a cast voice cast that includes Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, and Jim Gaffigan.
Set in the Italian Riviera, the coming-of-age tale is taking the same distribution route as last year’s Soul by passing multiplexes for home viewing. In 2020, Soul was seen as the sturdy frontrunner for Best Animated Feature and that narrative never changed. That Pixar effort sported a 95% Rotten Tomatoes score and ended up winning gold at the Oscars. The path for Luca could be trickier.
Its Tomato meter currently sits at 89% and while that’s quite good, many critics are saying Luca is not in the upper echelon of Pixar fare. I would say the question is not whether Luca gets nominated (it will), but whether it wins. The score by Dan Romer also has a shot in that race. Disney already has another entry from this spring that could make the final five in Animated Feature (Raya and the Last Dragon), but Luca would have an edge. However, there’s also The Mitchells vs. the Machines from Netflix and it should serve as major competition for the top prize. This is in addition to films slated for the second half of 2021 (remember the names Flee and the Mouse Factory’s own Encanto).
Bottom line: You can never count out Pixar. Luca will likely hear its name included when the Animated Features contenders are named. Its victory presents a more challenging path than Soul experienced. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…