When the DCEU superhero flick Shazam! landed in 2019, it did so with a 90% Rotten Tomatoes score and an A Cinemascore rating. It did not generate any awards attention and that includes tech races like Visual Effects where this genre often nabs spots. However, it’s the MCU usually getting those noms and not their rival DC.
Director David F. Sandberg and star Zachary Levi reunite for Shazam! Fury of the Gods this Friday. Early reviews suggest it is a step down from its predecessor and the RT score is 70%. Prognosticators are projecting the box office will also fall short of the original from four years ago.
As far as awards prospects, the call is simple. Lightning won’t strike again with this franchise. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
**Blogger’s Update (03/16): My Shazam! estimate continues to fall as I’m taking it down from $32.9M to $27.9M.
Blogger’s Update (03/15): Two days before its premiere, I’m significantly lowering my estimate from $42.9M to $32.9M
Arriving four years after its predecessor was a solid hit with critics and audiences, Shazam! Fury of the Gods hopes for box office luck and plenty o’ green beginning March 17th. The DCEU title finds Zachary Levi returning to the superhero role with Asher Angel (as alter ego Billy Batson), Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody, Ross Butler, and Djimon Hounsou back from the 2019 original. Newcomers to the franchise include Rachel Zegler, Lucy Liu, Meagan Good, and Helen Mirren. David F. Sandberg is again in the directorial chair.
Shazam! managed to slightly exceed its forecasts when it earned $53 million in its premiere with a $140 million eventual gross. Last fall’s spin-off Black Adam climbed with $67 million out of the gate and a $168 million domestic haul (the presence of Dwayne Johnson provided an assist).
Early tracking last week indicated potential trouble for the sequel. Some estimates had Fury as low as $35 million. That seems unlikely. In 2023, sequels are managing to build upon previous installments. Creed III and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania are recent examples.
That said, Ant-Man has not been a runaway success compared to expectations. Moviegoers could be experiencing a little sequelitis and comic book adaptation fatigue by the time this hits. And while Shazam! was well-received, I wouldn’t say it’s beloved (similar to Ant-Man).
I’ll project that this doesn’t match what part 1 accomplished and fall about $10 million under it.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods opening weekend prediction: $27.9 million (UPDATED PER ABOVE)
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…
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:
In the Yuletide battle for franchise supremacy, The King’s Man will undoubtedly come in fourth among the contenders. A prequel to the two Kingsman features that preceded it, the spy thriller was originally set for release over two years ago. COVID delays have pushed it all the way to December 22nd.
Matthew Vaughn returns in the director’s chair with a cast including Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans (who’s also costarring in Spider-Man: No Way Home), Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander (not to be confused with Tom Holland of Spidey fame), Harris Dickinson, Daniel Bruhl, Djimon Hounsou, and Charles Dance.
The aforementioned Spider-Man juggernaut will most certainly reign supreme over the holidays, followed by The Matrix Resurrections and Sing 2 in the 2-3 slots (the order of that is up for debate). Moviegoers punching their tickets for the superhero and Neo will siphon away plenty of viewers that may have an interest in this.
In February 2015, Kingsman: The Secret Service exceeded expectations with a Presidents Day weekend haul of over $40 million. 2017 sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle made $39 million in its September debut. Four years is quite a lag time between entries and the fact that it’s a prequel (and missing Colin Firth and Taron Egerton) doesn’t help. The 45% Rotten Tomatoes score doesn’t inspire great confidence either.
The five-day grosses should be able to reach low double digits to low teens, but it might only make single digits for the traditional Friday to Sunday frame. I believe the competition is just too steep for the King’s to shine.
The King’s Man opening weekend prediction: $8.8 million (Friday to Sunday); $13.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
For my The Matrix Resurrections prediction, click here:
The Abbott family is back in A Quiet Place Part II as they continue to hope that the sound of silence prevents acts of violence. John Krasinski continues to prove he’s quite adept at this horror/sci-fi genre. When I wrote my review for 2018’s predecessor, I stated that future sequels might be tempted to explore reasons why the creatures came to Earth in the first place. In my view, there’s really no pressing need to do that. Extraterrestrials are here. Keep your mouth shut or you’re getting pulverized. What more do you need?
The sequel doesn’t go down that potentially unnecessary route. Instead Part II expands its cinematic universe beyond the Abbott farmhouse. As you may recall (and spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched part I), we last left Evelyn (Emily Blunt) as a shotgun reloading widow who’d just given birth and was in full Mama Bear mode to her other children. Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is the deaf daughter responsible for cracking a code to kill the monsters.
The other child Marcus (Noah Jupe) is failing at cracking a baseball bat in the film’s prologue showing the last moments of normalcy before the invasion. This allows Krasinski’s patriarch to briefly return as idyllic small town life turns into a hostile takeover.
A year and change later, a radio transmission convinces Regan that hope for survival could exist elsewhere. The rest of the family unit is skeptical, but we’ve already learned in the original that this girl is determined. Another survivor Emmett (Cillian Murphy) finds himself as the partner on her journey. Evelyn, Marcus, and baby are stuck at a hideout in need of medical supplies.
A Quiet Place Part II is not the self contained unit that we witnessed before. The freshness of A Quiet Place‘s concept is gone. Yet this manages to produce some genuinely nifty and tense set pieces. Much of the credit goes to Michael P. Shawver and his tight editing. This includes the first few minutes at the ballpark as well as a train turned mortuary and especially at a marina that contains more threats than audibly superior aliens.
Simply put, this is better than most horror sequels. It broadens the story without bogging itself down in superfluous backstory. Blunt still exudes her fiercely protective demeanor though it’s Simmonds and Jupe who are the true all-stars. I’m not sure how long this franchise can continue to garner the vocal support of audiences and critics, but so far so good.
Fourteen months after its scheduled release, A Quiet Place Part II looks to make noise at the box office when it debuts over Memorial weekend. John Krasinski’s horror sequel starring wife Emily Blunt was days away from release before the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. The 2018 original was critically hailed and generated some Oscar buzz. However, it managed only a nod in Sound Editing (this was before Sound Editing and Sound Mixing were combined into one category). It lost to Bohemian Rhapsody.
The review embargo lifted today. The general consensus is that AQPII nearly matches the quality of its predecessor, but not quite. This is evident in the Rotten Tomatoes score. Part I reached 96%. Part II sits at 90%. The chances of a Best Picture nomination seemed rather unrealistic anyway. This does not hold true for Best Sound where it could make a play. There is bound to be serious competition in the form of musicals like In the Heights and West Side Story and spectacles such as Dune and Top Gun: Maverick.
Marco Beltrami’s score is getting some kudos (his work in the original received a Globe nod), but that could be a long shot as well. There is another higher profile race to mention. Millicent Simmonds, reprising her role as Blunt’s daughter, is being singled out. The deaf actress received raves for Part I and critics are saying her work here is a highlight. A Best Supporting Actress is not impossible, but there’s a major caveat.
It seems like an actress in a horror flick has been hyped up every year in recent times. This includes Toni Collette in Hereditary, Lupita Nyong’o for Us, and Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man. Yet the Academy seems to never take the bait. It is worth noting that Blunt won Supporting Actress at SAG for the original and then didn’t get in at the Oscars. Simmonds probably won’t make final cut though it’ll be worth monitoring the strength of this category in the months ahead.
Continuing with my series showcasing the voluminous amount of Oscar nominees and winners that have appeared in the 25 Marvel Cinematic Universe pictures (including the upcoming Black Widow and The Eternals), we arrive at Best Supporting Actor.
If you missed my previous posts covering the lead performers in Actor and Actress, you can find them here:
Supporting Actor, of the four acting categories, contains the most nominees at 36. However, there are only 4 wins represented. As a reminder, the MCU has given us 110 total nominees and 20 golden recipients.
Let’s start with the four gentlemen who made a trip to the podium:
Sam Rockwell, who costarred in Iron Man 2, took gold in 2017 for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Tommy Lee Jones, who appeared in Captain America: First Avenger, emerged victorious in 1993 for The Fugitive
Benicio del Toro, who memorably appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, won in 2000 for Traffic
J.K. Simmons, who popped up in Spider-Man: Far From Home reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson from the original Spidey trilogy, won in 2014 for Whiplash
And now the 29 additional performers who received nods:
Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr., received a nomination in 2008 for Tropic Thunder
Jeff Bridges, the Iron Man villain, is a four-time nominee for 1971’s The Last Picture Show, 1974’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, 2000’s The Contender, and Hell or High Water in 2016
Samuel L. Jackson, who has played Nick Fury in numerous MCU entries, got a nod in 1994 for Pulp Fiction
Edward Norton, who was the Hulk before Mark Ruffalo, is a two-time nominee for 1996’s Primal Fear and 2014’s Birdman
Tim Roth, bad guy in Norton’s The Incredible Hulk, for 1995’s Rob Roy
William Hurt, whose MCU appearances also began in The Incredible Hulk, for 2005’s A History of Violence
Sam Rockwell was nominated a year after his Billboards win in 2018 for Vice
Anthony Hopkins, Thor’s dad, for 1997’s Amistad and last year’s The Two Popes
Stanley Tucci, also of Captain America: First Avenger, in 2010 for The Lovely Bones
Mark Ruffalo is a three-time nominee: 2010’s The Kids Are All Right, 2014’s Foxcatcher, and in 2015 for Spotlight
Jeremy Renner, aka Hawkeye, in 2010’s The Town
Ben Kingsley, from Iron Man 3, is a two-time mention for 1991’s Bugsy and 2001’s Sexy Beast
Benicio del Toro also received a nomination for 2003’s 21 Grams
Bradley Cooper, Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy, for 2013’s American Hustle
Djimon Hounsou, who first appeared in Guardians, for both 2003’s In America and 2006’s Blood Diamond
John C. Reilly, another Guardians performer, for 2002’s Chicago
Josh Brolin, aka Thanos, for 2008’s Milk
Sylvester Stallone, who appeared in the Guardians sequel, for 2015’s Creed
Matt Damon, who had a cameo in Thor: Ragnarok, for Invictus in 2009
Jude Law, from Captain Marvel, received a nomination 20 years earlier for The Talented Mr. Ripley
Jake Gyllenhaal, villain for Spider-Man: Far From Home, for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain
And that does it for now, folks! I’ll have Supporting Actress up in short order…
An entire fourteen months plus after I originally wrote my opening weekend prediction for A Quiet Place Part II, it’s time to take a second crack at it. The horror sequel was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic when it was only days away from release in March 2020. I am preserving my original forecast below as more of a historical artifact than anything else. As you’ll see below, my initial estimate was $42.5 million.
The difference now is that AQPII is being unveiled over the long Memorial Day weekend. Godzilla vs. Kong managed a hearty $48 million over its five-day Easter rollout in March. I expect similar numbers here. The review embargo officially lifted today and the results should certainly excite Paramount. While several early critical reactions say it doesn’t quite match the first film, nearly all write-ups so far recommend it.
I will still predict that this falls short of the $50 million achieved by its predecessor. Yet with an extra day factored in, I will add a bit of cash ($1 million) to my projection made long, long ago.
A Quiet Place Part II opening weekend prediction: $43.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
Blogger’s Note (03/12/20): In what is becoming a new reality due to the COVID-19, the release of this film has been delayed indefinitely from its 03/20 opening. I’ll keep the prediction up, but certainly revisions are likely to be made once a future release date is secured.
ORIGINAL PREDICTION FROM MARCH 2020
Arriving two years after its predecessor made serious noise at the box office, A Quiet Place Part II hits theaters next weekend. The horror sequel to the acclaimed 2018 blockbuster sees John Krasinski returning as writer/director with his spouse Emily Blunt headlining. Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are back as her children. New cast members include Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou.
The original struck a loud chord with audiences and critics with a $50 million opening. Part one legged out impressively for its genre with an eventual $188 million overall domestic haul. It even earned some awards attention with Blunt winning a Supporting Actress SAG trophy.
All horror titles not named The Invisible Man have faced a tough road at multiplexes in 2020. However, with the first feature fresh in their minds, audiences should turn out for this follow-up. The X factor is, of course, worldwide events and this is likely to be a recurring theme in my projections for the foreseeable future. The impact of the Coronavirus on the moviegoing public is playing out in real time. At present, I will say Part II makes a few million under what the first accomplished.
A Quiet Place Part II opening weekend prediction: $42.5 million
The pitch is a rebooted cinematic version of the Charlie’s Angels franchise, but I suspect its opening gross will be far from perfect. Elizabeth Banks directs and costars with Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska in the three lead roles. The supporting cast includes Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, and Patrick Stewart.
In the early 2000s, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu brought the 1970s TV hit to the big screen with McG directing. The first entry in 2000 took in $125 million while the 2003 sequel earned $100 million.
Expectations are not as high this time around. While Stewart has been making the rounds (including an SNL hosting gig), I believe this could fall victim to the franchise fatigue we’ve already witnessed in 2019 with the Men in Black and Terminator series, to name a couple.
I would anticipate a #2 debut behind Ford v Ferrari and I question whether Angels can handle a start of over $20 million… or even $15 million.
Charlie’s Angels opening weekend prediction: $14.2 million