The Lost City Review

Coasting on the adequate chemistry of its two leads, The Lost City might stick with you for about as long as the romance paperbacks penned by Sandra Bullock’s character. In other words – not for long but you won’t feel guilty while it lasts. This isn’t a remake of 1984’s Romancing the Stone though it certainly feels thematically similar.

Like Kathleen Turner’s character in that action comedy from nearly four decades ago, Loretta Sage (Bullock) writes steamy love stories while her own existence is a lonely one. She’s recently widowed from her archaeologist husband whose work influenced her novels. After prodding from her determined publisher Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Loretta reluctantly embarks on a book tour alongside Alan (Channing Tatum). He’s the cover model for her bibliography (think Fabio) and he’s known as Dash. His fame eclipses the author and she’s prepared to kill him off and retire to her bathtub with a glass of Chardonnay.

The plan hits a snag when kooky billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) snags Loretta. He’s convinced she can decipher a code to a lost treasure – make that Lost City – mentioned in one of her books. The locale is a remote one in The Atlantic so Alan pursues her along with the mysterious man of action Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt). Think of him as a bit like Michael Douglas’s lead in Romancing without actually being the lead.

Decked out in a glittery purple onesie that she wouldn’t dare don had she known kidnapping would be involved, what you expect is what you get from Bullock. Same goes for Tatum. Fortunately for us, they’re both better than serviceable. The supporting players elevate the material at times, especially Radcliffe playing against type and Randolph (so good in Dolemite Is My Name) providing solid comic relief.

Directed by brothers Adam and Aaron Nee, The Lost City often feels built from the spare parts of superior vehicles. It never crashes and burns due to the talent involved. Both Loretta and Alan have moments searching for the right words as their plot mandated courtship blossoms. I don’t have to search too hard – this is passable.

**1/2 (out of four)

April 22-24 Box Office Predictions

It’s likely to be a top heavy family friendly box office chart this weekend as DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys makes a play for the #1 spot. The well-reviewed action comedy could find itself in a battle with the second weekend of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (after a lackluster start) and the third frame of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The adults have fresh product to choose from as well. There’s the Viking epic The Northman from director Robert Eggers and Nicolas Cage headlining the meta comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. My detailed prediction posts on the trio of newbies can be accessed here:

The Bad Guys Box Office Prediction

The Northman Box Office Prediction

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Box Office Prediction

Considering Beasts easily had a Wizarding World franchise low opening (more on that below), even a mid teens start for The Bad Guys could mean it’ll manage to nab first place. If Sonic fell nearly 60% in its sophomore frame, I’m saying Beasts plummets in the mid 60s and it could be a close contest for second between the two holdovers.

The Northman and Talent should hold the four and spots and maybe not in that order. That’s how I have it, however, with Northman just surpassing double digits and Talent falling just under. Both features have solid critical support and could overperform, but I’m being cautious with each.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $16.7 million

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $15.1 million

4. The Northman

Predicted Gross: $10.3 million

5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million

Box Office Results (April 15-17)

It was an Easter to forget for Warner Bros as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore remained a secret to many. The third entry in the series took in a lowly $42.1 million, below my $48.1 million projection. That’s about $20 million under 2018 predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald and it genuinely brings into question whether the studio will move forward with planned fourth and fifth installments.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 dropped to second with $29.3 million and a larger than anticipated 59% drop. I was more generous at $35.8 million. The video game based sequel is up to a nevertheless impressive $118 million after 10 days.

The Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum rom com The Lost City was third with $6.2 million, on target with my $6.3 million take. Total is $78 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once increased its screen count by nearly 1000 venues and boasted a 2% increase in weekend #2 with $6.1 million (I said $5.5 million). The potential awards contender has made $17 million.

Mark Wahlberg’s faith-based and fact based drama Father Stu opened in fifth with a muted $5.4 million from Friday to Sunday and $7.7 million since its Wednesday debut. That’s on pace with my respective takes of $5.7 million and $8.5 million.

Morbius was sixth with $4.7 million, a tad ahead of my $4.3 million prediction for $65 million overall.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Ambulance continued to stall with $4 million (I went with $4.5 million) for a two-week tally of only $15 million.

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

April 8-10 Box Office Predictions

Video game based sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Michael Bay’s action thriller Ambulance with Jake Gyllenhaal, and critically hailed sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once all debut this Friday. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Box Office Prediction

Ambulance Box Office Prediction

Everything Everywhere All at Once Box Office Prediction

Sonic should have no trouble hitting #1 and I have it scoring in the high 50s to low 60s (about the same as its 2020 predecessor). While there is no mystery for what will be on top, the number two slot could get interesting.

Morbius had a ho-hum start (especially for its genre) and I suspect its weak C+ Cinemascore could mean a sophomore drop between 65-70%. If that occurs, Ambulance should manage a runner-up start.

The real wild card might be Everything, which has had sizzling per theater averages in limited release. I’ve got it just under double digits for fourth, but it could over perform.

The Lost City should fall from 2nd to 5th with the newbies being ushered in. Here’s how I see it breaking down:

1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 

Predicted Gross: $62.5 million

2. Ambulance 

Predicted Gross: $13.7 million

3. Morbius

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

5. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $8 million

Box Office Results (April 1-3)

It might be the third best premiere of 2021, but the $39 million earned by Morbius is far from impressive. The Jared Leto vampiric superhero tale (in which most of the reviews said it kinda sucked) came in under my $45.8 million estimate. As mentioned, I look for it to fade quickly.

The Lost City fell to second with $14.7 million. For a pic of its genre, the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum adventure comedy’s 52% dip is a little high. I projected $16.4 million. It’s made $54 million in ten days.

The Batman was third with $11 million compared to my $12 million take and the DC juggernaut is up to $349 million.

Uncharted was fourth with $3.6 million (I said $3.1 million) for $138 million overall.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was fifth with $1.9 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five as the tally is $29 million.

Finally, RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt tumbled 83% for $1.6 million in sixth. Total is $11 million.

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

April 1-3 Box Office Predictions

After a lengthy COVID delay, Morbius with Jared Leto sinks its teeth into multiplexes this weekend. It’s the only new release and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Morbius Box Office Prediction

The third entry in the Spider-Man Extended Universe after the massively successful Venom flicks, Morbius likely won’t approach their numbers. Mid to high 40s, however, should easily nab it the #1 spot.

After an impressive start, look for the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum comedic adventure The Lost City to dip in the mid 40s with The Batman sliding to third. The five spot could be close between the sophomore frame of RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt (which should experience a steep decline) and Uncharted.

Here’s how I see it playing out:

1. Morbius

Predicted Gross: $45.8 million

2. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $16.4 million

3. The Batman

Predicted Gross: $12 million

4. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

5. RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

Box Office Results (March 25-27)

As mentioned, The Lost City premiered on the high end of estimates with $30.4 million (reaching just past my $28.4 million take). After a pair of Netflix hits, Bullock posted a pleasing debut and Tatum has his second solid performer in a row after Dog. 

The Batman fell to second after three weeks on top with $20.4 million, in range with my $21.6 million projection. The Caped Crusader reboot has amassed $331 million.

The Indian action drama RRR had the best per screen average as it began with $9.5 million, rising ahead of my $7.8 million prediction.

Uncharted was fourth with $5 million, falling short of my $6.1 million guesstimate. The six-week tally is $133 million.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 rounded out the top five with $4.5 million (I said $5 million) for a two-week haul of $27 million.

was sixth with $2.2 million, a tad under my $2.7 million prediction for $8 million overall in its first 10 days.

Dog was seventh with $2.2 million. I went with $2.7 million and the gross is $57 million.

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

March 25-27 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Update (03/24): The Indian period adventure RRR is slated for a release on over 1100 screens and it could be a sleeper hit for the weekend based on buzz and pre-sales. I’m adding it in the mix for a third place debut.

Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, and Daniel Radcliffe will try to dislodge The Batman from its three-week perch atop the charts when The Lost City debuts this Friday. It’s the only newcomer this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on the comedic adventure here:

The Lost City Box Office Prediction

My mid to high 20s estimate for the well reviewed City gets it to first place as long as The Batman sees a drop in the high 30s to low 40s range. It could end up being a close race, but I’m giving Bullock and company the benefit of the doubt.

As for the rest of the top 5, current #2 Jujutsu Kaisen 0 easily surpassed expectations in its debut (more on that below), but the sophomore drop should be steep (similar to the 70% fall of animated manga tale Demon Slayer). That would leave Uncharted in third with Kaisen fourth. In the five spot, Dog (also with Channing Tatum) may have a slighter dip than in what might be a tight race for that position.

And with that, here’s my take on this Oscar frame’s top 7 performers:

1. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $28.4 million

2. The Batman 

Predicted Gross: $21.6 million

3. RRR

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

4. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

5. Jujutsu Kaisen 0

Predicted Gross: $5 million

6. Dog

Predicted Gross: $2.9 million

7. X

Predicted Gross: $2.7 million

 

Box Office Results (March 18-20)

While there were newbies to view, The Batman ruled the roost while Jujutsu had a terrific premiere. Robert Pattinson’s debut as the DCEU Crusader took in $36.7 million, below my projection of $42.1 million. The three-week tally sits at an impressive $300 million.

Jujutsu blew away prognostications with $17.6 million. The FUNimation entry (which was already a hit overseas) easily toppled my meager $9.8 million take. Like other genre fare, its opening frame should represent a large portion of the overall domestic gross.

Uncharted was third with $7.8 million. I was right on target at $7.7 million. Total earnings are $125 million.

Horror pic from A24 capitalized on solid reviews and came in fourth with a decent $4.4 million. That’s ahead of my $2.9 million estimate and it will hope for solid holds in coming weekends.

Dog rounded out the top five with $3.9 million, a touch below my $4.6 million prediction. It’s up to $54 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was sixth with $3.1 million (I said $3.7 million) and the massive haul is $797 million.

Finally, crime drama The Outfit with Mark Rylance started in 8th place with a muted $1.4 million. That is better than my $1 million forecast, however.

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

Oscar Predictions: The Lost City

At the Golden Globes honoring the pictures of 1984, Romancing the Stone managed to win the Musical/Comedy race. In doing so, it beat out sturdy competitors like Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, and Splash. Furthermore, Kathleen Turner took home Best Actress for her performance while costar Michael Douglas wasn’t nominated.

Why am I talking about this comedic adventure from nearly 40 years ago? The Lost City (out March 25th) is being compared to it a lot in the early reviews (which currently sit at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes).

From filmmakers Adam and Aaron Nee, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum headline with a supporting cast including Brad Pitt (the critics are praising him), Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, and Bowen Yang. Here’s the deal… this isn’t really an Oscar Predictions post. I don’t think it’ll be in the running from Academy voters.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a different branch and could be a different story. Depending on the level of competition from future musicals and comedies in 2022, The Lost City‘s early buzz indicates it could make a play in that feature film competition or for Bullock. That would keep those comps to Stone relevant. My Oscar (and Globe) Prediction posts will continue…

The Lost City Box Office Prediction

Sandra Bullock is fresh off widely seen Netflix titles like Bird Box and The Unforgivable. Channing Tatum’s Dog is currently performing well in multiplexes. The two team up on March 25th for The Lost City, a romantic comedy adventure drawing comparisons to 1984’s Romancing the Stone. Adam and Aaron Nee co-direct. The two leads aren’t the only big names in the cast as Brad Pitt (said to be a standout) and Daniel Radcliffe join the party alongside Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Bowen Yang.

It’s a rare title in this era where the release date was pushed up (from April). City screened at South by Southwest last weekend to pleasing results. Based on 12 reviews thus far, it’s at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is exactly the type of escapist fare that should appeal widely to action fans and with a female demographic to boot. It could end The Batman‘s reign atop the charts. I do believe a gross north of $30 million is totally possible, but I’ll put it a bit below that mark. That should set up a showdown between this and the Caped Crusader for box office supremacy.

The Lost City opening weekend prediction: $28.4 million

March 11-13 Box Office Predictions

With no new wide releases this weekend (or the next one), The Batman should easily maintain its perch atop the charts. The question is how much it drops in the sophomore frame.

I’m projecting a dip in the low to mid 50s range which would give it around $60-$65 million. Other holdovers should maintain their current rankings in the top five with smallish declines considering the lack of competition.

Here’s how I see it breaking down:

1. The Batman

Predicted Gross: $62.5 million

2. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $6.7 million

3. Dog

Predicted Gross: $4.4 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

5. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $1.9 million

Box Office Results (March 4-6)

As was widely expected, The Batman easily achieved the second best opening of the COVID era (behind Spidey). Robert Pattinson’s introduction as the Caped Crusader took in $134 million. That’s not near as high as my $155.2 million projection but it’s still a solid haul. With an A- Cinemascore grade and little competition, it will rule the month of March until The Lost City arrives on March 25th.

Uncharted dropped to second with $11.1 million, a tad ahead of my $10.5 million forecast. Tom Holland’s almost sure to be newest franchise sits at a cool $100 million.

Channing Tatum’s Dog was third with $6.1 million (I said $6.4 million) for a three-week take of $40 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was fourth at $4.5 million compared to my $3.8 million prediction. The massive tally is $786 million.

Death on the Nile rounded out the top five with $2.7 million (I went with $2.5 million). Total is $37 million.

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

March 4-6 Box Office Predictions

It’s an eagerly awaited weekend at the box office as The Batman looks to have the second highest debut of the COVID era (behind only Spider-Man: No Way Home). The DCEU reboot with Robert Pattinson as the Caped Crusader is the only new release of this weekend (and the majority of March) and my detailed prediction post on it can be found here:

The Batman Box Office Prediction

The range of possibility is wide (anywhere from $100 to $200 million depending on what you’re reading). I believe a gross just north of $150 million is most likely and my projection gives it the 20th largest domestic opening of all time.

Holdovers should experience heftier dips than this past weekend with Uncharted, Dog, Spider-Man, and Death on the Nile all sliding a spot. Here’s how I see it looking:

1. The Batman

Predicted Gross: $155.2 million

2. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $10.5 million

3. Dog

Predicted Gross: $6.4 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

5. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

Box Office Results (February 25-27)

The leftovers didn’t spoil during the last frame of February while the two newcomers didn’t prove appetizing to moviegoers.

Uncharted ruled the charts for the second frame with $23 million, just ahead of my $21.8 million forecast for a two-week total of $83 million. Tom Holland, as I mentioned last week, has himself another promising franchise.

Channing Tatum’s Dog was a good boy in its sophomore outing with $10.1 million, outpacing my $8.4 million take. The two-week haul is $30 million.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was third with $5.8 million (I said $6 million) for a gargantuan take of $779 million.

Death on the Nile was fourth with $4.4 million, edging my $3.7 million prediction for a stalled $32 million overall.

Jackass Forever rounded out the top five with $3.1 million (I went with $2.8 million). It’s up to $52 million.

The fresh product managed respective 8th and 9th place starts. Studio 666, the horror comedy from the Foo Fighters, made only $1.5 million compared to my $2.1 million estimate. Cyrano with Peter Dinklage fared even worse with $1.3 million (I said $1.8 million).

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

February 25-27 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (02/23): The theater count for Studio 666 has been announced and it’s higher than expected with just over 2300 screens. I’m upping my estimate a bit from $1.4 million to $2.1 million.

As February closes out and we await the massive release of The Batman to begin March, the top five may look the same this weekend. There are two new titles: the musical romantic drama Cyrano with Peter Dinklage and the Foo Fighters led horror comedy Studio 666. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Cyrano Box Office Prediction

Studio 666 Box Office Prediction

I’ve got both of the newcomers posting debuts in the $2 million range- $1.8 million for Cyrano and $2.1 million for 666. That would put both outside of the top five.

As for the holdovers, the post President’s Day weekend usually sees rather large drops for those returnees. After as its terrific debut (more on that below), Uncharted could be headed for a slide in the 50 percent range with Dog in the low to mid 40s. Spider-Man: No Way Home, Death on the Nile, and Jackass Forever should hold their spots in the 3-5 positions.

So as the Caped Crusader readies for his closeup and a nine figure start (my box office prediction for it will be up tomorrow), here’s how I see things happening this weekend:

1. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $21.8 million

2. Dog

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $6 million

4. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $3.7 million

5. Jackass Forever

Predicted Gross: $2.8 million

Box Office Results (February 18-21)

It’s Tom Holland’s world and we’re just living in it as his adventure flick Uncharted with Mark Wahlberg dominated the four-day holiday frame with a much bigger than anticipated $51.3 million. That blows away my forecast of $33.7 million and shows that its lead’s star power extends beyond him in the Spidey suit. Expect a sequel to be fast tracked.

Channing Tatum received a welcome return after a lengthy starring role absence as his directorial debut Dog took in $17.3 million, lapping my $13.3 million estimate. With an A- Cinemascore grade, this could perform well over subsequent weeks as Tatum has The Lost City lined up with Sandra Bullock a month from now.

That other franchise of Holland’s – Spider-Man: No Way Home – was third with $9.2 million as it swung past my $7.3 million take. At $772 million, it’s perched at #3 domestically all-time.

Death on the Nile stalled in its sophomore frame and fell from first to fourth with $7.7 million (I went higher at $9.8 million). The underwhelming two week total is $26 million.

Jackass Forever was fifth with $6 million (I said $5.7 million) for a three week tally of $47 million.

Finally, Jennifer Lopez’s rom com Marry Me was sixth in its second go-round with $4.3 million compared to my more generous $6 million prediction. It’s made $17 million.

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