Oscar Predictions: Wendell & Wild

Henry Selick burst onto the stop-motion big screen animation scene nearly 30 years ago with The Nightmare Before Christmas and continued on with James and the Giant Peach and Coraline (which received a Best Animated Feature). Note that the category didn’t exist when Christmas and Peach came out. His first feature in 13 years is Wendell & Wild, which premiered at Toronto and hits Netflix on October 28th (with an awards qualifying run a week prior).

A familiar comedic duo, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, voice the demon sibling title characters. Other performers behind the mic include Lyric Ross, Angela Bassett, James Hong, and Ving Rhames. The Canadian debut yielded a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Most reviews are not overwhelming raves and I don’t see this winning the top prize. Netflix’s biggest contender could be the forthcoming Pinocchio from Guillermo del Toro. I also wouldn’t discount their acclaimed The Sea Beast from earlier this year. Wild could easily make the top five when the dust settles though I wouldn’t say it’s a slam dunk. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero Box Office Prediction

Over three and a half years ago, Dragon Ball Super: Broly significantly exceeded expectations stateside. As summer closes out, the follow-up Super Hero hopes to do the same. The martial arts fantasy from Toei Animation is actually the 21st feature in the long running Japanese franchise. Tetsuro Kodama directs.

The pic already did brisk business in its native country when it opened in June. Over the long MLK frame in 2019, Broly got a kickstart to the weekend with a Wednesday bow. In its first two days of release, it captured $10.4 million with a six-day overall haul of over $22 million.

Hero is not slated for a hump day start nor is it premiering over a holiday. That makes comparisons to Broly a little tricky. There’s no doubt that this genre is extremely front loaded and I certainly see it hitting double digits. It could find itself in a battle for #1 with the Idris Elba headlined survival thriller Beast. Both could be competing for some of the same eyeballs. I’ll project $12-14 million is where this lands and that puts it barely behind where I have Beast at.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero opening weekend prediction: $13.2 million

For my Beast prediction, click here:

Beast Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions: Luck

Apple TV and a new production company are hoping luck comes their way this Friday with the release of the animated fantasy comedy Luck. From director Peggy Holmes, the inaugural offering from Skydance Animation comes with a reported eye popping budget of $140 million. Featuring the voices of Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Lil Rel Howery, and Pixar vet John Ratzenberger, this was originally slated for theaters last summer before going the streaming route.

Reviews might indicate the reasoning. Luck stands at a jeopardous 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. That kind of reaction indicates it could struggle to find eyeballs on Apple. And it certainly confirms that it will not find any luck finding its way into the Best Animated Feature conversation. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: DC League of Super-Pets

The Warner Animation Group kicked off nearly a decade ago with 2014’s The Lego Movie. This Friday, their 10th effort under the production banner is DC League of Super-Pets. It comes from director Jared Stern (who wrote The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie) and features the voices of Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson as Batman and Superman’s respective canine pals.

While some of their titles have performed pleasingly at the box office, none of the pics have caught the attention of awards voters. Super-Pets currently sits at a decent 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yet if Lego and its spin-offs and sequels didn’t block space on the Best Animated Feature final five, the competition from Disney and others will likely freeze this out too. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

DC League of Super-Pets Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (07/27): I am revising my estimate down considerably- from $42.6M to $33.6M

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart already share a successful cinematic history via Central Intelligence and the Jumanji franchise. On July 29th, they reunite to respectively provide the voices of Superman and Batman’s canine companions in the animated DC League of Super-Pets. The Warner Animation Group superhero tale (or rather… tail?) is directed by Jared Stern, who did work on the studio’s The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie. John Krasinski voices the Man of Steel while Keanu Reeves does so for the Caped Crusader. Other familiar names contributing vocal work are Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, Marc Maron, and Olivia Wilde.

The Legion of Super-Pets from the DC Comics dates all the way to 1962 and their connection to their iconic masters could get plenty of kids to the multiplexes. It might even get their parents slightly interested. The summer of 2022 has been unpredictable when it comes to animated features. Lightyear was a rare disappointment for Disney/Pixar and Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank outright bombed last weekend. On the other hand, Minions: The Rise of Gru was a massive hit that’s currently rising to a $300 million plus domestic haul. The Bad Guys was also a solid performer in the spring.

So what league will this premiere in? Estimates have it in the $40-50 million range. I see no reason why it would greatly exceed or fall short of expectations. I’m thinking it starts in the low to mid 40s though getting above $50 million is certainly doable.

DC League of Super-Pets opening weekend prediction: $33.6 million

 

Oscar Predictions – Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

The 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles rustled up three Oscar nominations and nearly 50 years later, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is loosely based on the Mel Brooks classic. Paramount and Nickelodeon are hoping family audiences turn out for the martial arts animated tale that is co-directed by Rob Minkoff (who helmed 1994’s The Lion King) and Mark Koetsier.

Box office success seems unlikely. Reviews are so-so with a current 65% Rotten Tomatoes score. They’re not sharp enough for the Academy to pay much attention. As far as animated fare hitting theaters widely tomorrow, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is the one that seems destined for awards chatter. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Oscar Predictions: The Sea Beast

After a brief theatrical run last month, the animated adventure tale The Sea Beast began its Netflix streaming run today. Chris Williams, a Disney vet who co-directed Big Hero 6 and Moana, helms the project. Actors behind the voices include Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Dan Stevens.

Reviews for the monstrous tale are quite positive with a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score. Its potential inclusion could hinge on whether Netflix mounts a major campaign. In the animation field, they may throw all their chips behind Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (due in December).

The critical reaction is a bonus for Beast. The question is whether it’s still fresh in voters minds a few months from now and if Netflix is reminding them of it. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank Box Office Prediction

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank from Paramount and Nickelodeon hopes to bite into the family audience market when it opens July 15th. The animated martial arts comedy takes its inspiration from the classic 1974 Western spoof Blazing Saddles. Rob Minkoff (a former Disney vet who co-directed 1994’s The Lion King) helms along with Mark Koetsier. The voice cast includes Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Michelle Yeoh, Samuel L. Jackson, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Gabriel Iglesias, and Mr. Mel Brooks himself.

Originally titled Blazing Samurai, Legend arrives two weeks after Illumination’s massive Minions: The Rise of Gru and two weeks before DC League of Super-Pets. This isn’t based on known IP and I suspect it may get lost in the summer shuffle.

Even lower tier animated offerings can over perform, but I’m putting this barely over double digits for a quiet start.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank opening weekend prediction: $10.5 million

For my Where the Crawdads Sing prediction, click here:

Where the Crawdads Sing Box Office Prediction

For my Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris prediction, click here:

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Box Office Prediction

Oscar Predictions – Minions: The Rise of Gru

Illumination Entertainment will rule the Fourth of July weekend at the box office when Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters on July 1st. This is the fifth entry in the franchise that began a dozen summers back with Despicable Me and the first in five years.

Some early reviews are out and they’re mostly indicating it’s a decent if unspectacular chapter of the series. With 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s higher than the two previous pics – 2015’s Minions (55%) and 2017’s Despicable Me 3 (59%). Of course, Gru‘s number will soon rise or fall as more critics weigh in.

2010’s Despicable Me (81%) and its 2013 sequel (75%) fared better, but only part two received awards attention. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Original Song with Pharrell’s inescapable “Happy”. Due to Disney’s Frozen and the equally omnipresent “Let It Go”, it lost both.

Based on early buzz, I see no path for Gru to find its way to the Animated Feature derby. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Minions: The Rise of Gru Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/30): On the eve of its premiere, upping my Minions estimate from $78.4M to $86.4M

Illumination and Universal Pictures should light up the Fourth of July weekend at the box office with Minions: The Rise of Gru. The sequel to the 2015 spinoff prequel and the fifth overall entry in the Despicable Me franchise, Kyle Balda directs with Steve Carell returning to voice the title character. Other performers in the booth include Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, and Alan Arkin. How’s that for eclectic? I’m pretty sure this marks the first collaboration between Van Damme and Andrews.

This series has proved to be a financial windfall for its studio. All four previous pics have made over $250 million domestically. Minions took in $115 million out of the gate seven summers back with $336 million overall. Immediate predecessor Despicable Me 3 from 2017, while still a hit, wasn’t as high. It premiered with $72 million and ended up with $264 million.

Three years was previously the longest wait between films. The five year gap is a bit risky as some of its fans are simply older. We’ve also seen a very recent example of an animated disappointment with Pixar’s Lightyear. 

That said, I suspect Gru will rise to the occasion with a four-day holiday haul in the $75-85 million range. I’m starting out on the lower end of that scale, but my estimate could go up in the days ahead.

Minions: The Rise of Gru opening weekend prediction: $86.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)