2022 Oscar Shortlists Reaction

Shortlists covering seven of the feature film races at the Oscars were unveiled this afternoon. We now know the 15 pictures that will contend for Best Original Score, Original Song, International Feature Film, and Documentary Feature. Additionally, we have our 10 finalists for Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound, and Visual Effects.

I’ll go over each competition below, but I went 62 for 90 in my overall picks. It was a good day for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and All Quiet on the Western Front. They got in everywhere they reasonably could have.

With The Batman and Everything Everywhere All at Once, it was a mixed announcement as both made the cut for some and not others where they were expected to. The documentary Good Night Oppy had perhaps the worst day. It was widely anticipated to get in for Documentary and (to a lesser degree) Visual Effects and made neither.

Let’s break it down! **Selections that I correctly called are in bold

Best Original Score

Nominees:

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Devotion

Don’t Worry Darling

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Nope

She Said

The Woman King

Women Talking

HOW I DID: 9/15

The most notable omissions here are Empire of Light and The Batman while Devotion in particular wasn’t expected to be included. I also incorrectly named Bardo, Living, RRR, and White Noise. My top 5 from my projections 3 days ago (Women Talking, Babylon, The Fabelmans, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, The Banshees of Inisherin) remain.

Best Original Song

Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

Carolinafrom Where the Crawdads Sing

“Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

“Dust and Ash” from The Voice of Dust and Ash

“Good Afternoon” from Spirited

“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“My Mind & Me” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me

“Naatu” from RRR

“New Body Rhumba” from White Noise

“Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water

“Stand Up” from Till

“This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

“Til You’re Home” from A Man Called Otto

“Time” from Amsterdam

HOW I DID: 10/15

As expected, there’s some heavy hitters in the mix with Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Selena Gomez (who I didn’t predict). The highest profile omission is Billie Eilish for “Nobody Like U” in Turning Red. My other misses were “Keep Rising” from The Woman King, “On My Way (Marry Me)” from Marry Me (a miss for Jennifer Lopez), and “Ready As I’ll Ever Be” from The Return of Tanya Tucker – Featuring Brandi Carlile.

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)

Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)

Bardo (Mexico)

The Blue Caftan (Morocco)

Cairo Conspiracy (Sweden)

Close (Belgium)

Corsage (Austria)

Decision to Leave (South Korea)

EO (Poland)

Holy Spider (Denmark)

Joyland (Pakistan)

Last Film Show (India)

The Quiet Girl (Ireland)

Return to Seoul (Cambodia)

Saint Omer (France)

HOW I DID: 13/15

My best showing as I incorrectly had Spain’s Alcarras and Mars One from Brazil. India saved a little face with Last Film Show getting in. They didn’t select RRR and it could have won. There are really no major surprises here.

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Bad Axe

Children of the Mist

Descendant

Fire of Love

Hallelujah: Leonardo Cohen, a Journey, a Song

Hidden Letters

A House Made of Splinters

The Janes

Last Flight Home

Moonage Daydream

Navalny

Retrograde

The Territory

HOW I DID: 10/15

I took a swing by not including The Territory and it got in. As for the aforementioned Good Night Oppy and Sr., they were anticipated to be here and are not. My other whiffs were Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, Riotsville, U.S.A., and Wildcat. My high five from December 18th – All That Breathes, Navalny, Fire of Love, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Descendant – remain.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front

Amsterdam

Babylon

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Blonde

Crimes of the Future

Elvis

Emancipation

The Whale

HOW I DID: 7/10

Here’s a race where Everything Everywhere isn’t to be found. I also went with Three Thousand Years of Longing and The Woman King. Once again my top five from the weekend is in. The Crimes of the Future nod is truly unexpected.

Best Sound

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Moonage Daydream

Top Gun: Maverick

HOW I DID: 7/10

Once again my quintet of picks from 3 days ago are safe. Nope is a significant omission as is RRR (Thirteen Lives is my other miss). The unexpected addition of the Bowie doc Moonage Daydream is being praised.

Best Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Jurassic World: Dominion

Nope

Thirteen Lives

Top Gun: Maverick

HOW I DID: 6/10

Here’s where my predicted five will undoubtedly be altered when I make my update. I had Everything Everywhere and RRR at 3rd and 4th, respectively. They are gone. I also incorrectly called Good Night Oppy and Thor: Love and Thunder. This means Avatar (which should win), Maverick, and Multiverse are the trio remaining that I projected. In my view, this bodes well for Panther getting in. The fifth slot is far trickier to estimate at the moment.

And that does it for now, folks! I’ll have updated predictions in all races up before Christmas!

Don’t Worry Darling Review

The halcyon neighborhood in Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling looks like something a production designer would mount for a 1950s suburban setting (think Pleasantville or Edward Scissorhands). In the director’s sophomore feature after the winning Booksmart, that begins to make more sense as time passes. The male characters are all about appearance and maintaining a certain Mad Men vibe. Their wives are expected to maintain the home (though there are more frequent opportunities for cocktails given the pined for time period). You don’t need to be a cinephile to suspect this idealized community could be a facade and that dark secrets lurk. You might be reminded of several films with similar themes that were more successful. Meanwhile… that production design and other tech aspects? They’re exquisite. So is the lead performance. They’re also contained in a story that’s often baffling in its narrative design.

Alice Chambers (Florence Pugh) is a resident of Victory, California where everyone seems to have a winning attitude. Her husband Jack (Harry Styles), along with the rest of the townsmen, work at Headquarters where their uniform job description is developing “progressive materials”. Alice and the rest of the spouses have no clue what that means and seem more concerned with the sheets being properly folded and the roast being cooked at the proper temperature. The unofficial ruler of Victory is Frank (Chris Pine). In addition to being the boss at Headquarters (where the ladies are strictly forbidden from visiting), he has daily indoctrination monologues disguised as a radio show. The call letters could be CULT.

The tranquil facade is threatened when Alice’s friend Margaret (KiKi Layne) begins making accusations about the hierarchy. Shortly thereafter, Alice’s experiences have her questioning this reality. That doesn’t sit well with Frank or Jack, who’s climbing up the corporate ladder. She also finds little support from next door neighbor and bestie Bunny (Wilde), who seems perfectly content with the setup. Same with Frank’s doting wife Shelley (Gemme Chan).

Don’t Worry Darling, with a screenplay from Booksmart scribe Katie Silberman, finds influences from many sources. Notable ones include The Matrix, The Truman Show, and obviously The Stepford Wives. For a while (easily the first half), it’s a decently intriguing and gorgeously rendered paranoia thriller. Yet I couldn’t shake where I thought it was headed and once it got there, it felt as empty as Alice’s daytime activities. This is no fault of the actress playing her. Pugh is a firecracker and that’s not matched by her costars. The charisma of Styles, so evident in his role as Biggest Male Pop Star on the Planet, isn’t evident here.

Silberman’s script leaves plenty of questions burning in the Victory sun. When the credits rolled, I was only mildly interested in the light being shed on them. The style is present with Darling. The substance slows down the progression of this material.

**1/2 (out of four)

October 14-16 Box Office Predictions

Horror should rule the box office with Halloween Ends debuting and Smile continuing its impressive run. Jamie Lee Curtis’s alleged final battle with Michael Myers is the only new release this weekend and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

Halloween Ends Box Office Prediction

Predecessor Halloween Kills from last year made considerably less out of the gate than its predecessor from 2018. Even with a simultaneous release on Peacock (same as Kills), I will give Ends a start in the mid to high 40s. That’s on pace with Kills. 

Smile should easily hold the #2 spot after a very sturdy hold in its sophomore outing (more on that below). Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (after a unimpressive opening) may experience a high 30s second weekend fall while The Woman King and bomb Amsterdam round out the top five.

Here’s how I see it:

1. Halloween Ends

Predicted Gross: $47.6 million

2. Smile

Predicted Gross: $11.8 million

3. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Predicted Gross: $7.2 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $4.1 million

5. Amsterdam

Predicted Gross: $3 million

Box Office Results (October 7-9)

I expected Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile to take a bigger bite out of the charts and open in first place. That didn’t occur as the family friendly musical took in $11.4 million for second place. This is well below my prediction of $17.6 million.

That’s because Smile had a remarkable hold (especially for its genre) at $18.4 million. I was lower at $13.3 million. The low budget Paramount scare fest has amassed $50 million in ten days and looks like a solid contender to make nine digits domestically.

Despite the star power of Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and many more, David O. Russell’s critically lambasted Amsterdam was a dud with $6.4 million, under my $8.4 million take. Look for this see a drop in the mid 50s (at least) and sink fast.

The Woman King was fourth with $5.1 million (I said $4.7 million) and it’s reached $54 million total.

Don’t Worry Darling rounded out the top five with $3.5 million (I was right there with $3.4 million) for $38 million overall.

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

October 7-9 Box Office Predictions

Family friendly Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile hopes to make its mark on the charts and easily win the weekend as the star studded Amsterdam also debuts. My detailed prediction posts on the newcomers can be found here:

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Box Office Prediction

Amsterdam Box Office Prediction

We’ve had about a two month break between movies geared toward kids and that should help Lyle achieve a low 20s start. It’s unlikely to have any trouble hitting the #1 spot.

Despite the considerable ensemble of Oscar winners and nominees, David O. Russell’s first feature in seven years is garnering mostly mediocre reviews from critics. The marketing campaign has been so-so in my view. Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, and company could elevate this to low double digits or even teens. However, I’m estimating it’ll flop in high single digits.

That would put it in third behind the sophomore frame of Smile. The horror pic got off to an impressive debut (more on that below) and I’ll say the second weekend dip might be in the low to mid 40s.

Holdovers The Woman King and Don’t Worry Darling should round out the top five. Bros had a very disappointing opening (more on that below too), but it did nab an A Cinemascore grade. If it manages a smallish decline, it might give Darling a run for its money in the five spot.

Here’s how I see it shaking out:

1. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Predicted Gross: $17.6 million

2. Smile

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million

3. Amsterdam

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $4.7 million

5. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

6. Bros

Predicted Gross: $3.1 million

Box Office Results (September 30-October 2)

Paramount is undoubtedly doing just what the title says as Smile opened widely to a pleasing $22.6 million. That’s ahead of my $18.7 million projection. The B- Cinemascore is actually fairly decent for a horror flick and it could play well next weekend before Halloween Ends arrives the following one.

Don’t Worry Darling cratered in weekend #2 with $6.8 million, not matching my $8 million call. Even with the 65% plummet, it’s nearly managed to outgross its budget domestically in just 10 days with $32 million (price tag was reportedly $35 million).

The Woman King was third and it also made $6.8 million to bring its three-week take to $46 million. I forecasted slightly more at $7.4 million.

The Avatar re-release was fourth with $5 million (I was more generous at $6.6 million) as the 2009 juggernaut now has $779 million in the bank.

Bros with Billy Eichner, billed as the first wide release LGBTQ rom com from a major studio, was a massive disappointment. In fifth place with only $4.8 million, it came nowhere near my $12.1 million prediction. You can bet the marketing department at Universal is furiously second guessing themselves today, but it struggled mightily to find an audience beyond coastal metro areas. That aforementioned A Cinemascore does indicate it could find plenty of fans eventually… just not in multiplexes.

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

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 28th Edition

For the time being at least, I’m settling on Edward Berger’s antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front as Netflix’s strongest contender. It moves into my predicted BP hopefuls for the first time and that takes out Triangle of Sadness. Additionally, Berger is in the quintet for Director and it’s Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) that drops. The Quiet love shows up in International Feature Film where it moves to first place with Leave sliding to runner-up status.

We also have a category placement change to discuss. While nothing has been announced, it makes a lot of sense for Babylon‘s Margot Robbie to move to Supporting Actress after Michelle Williams (rather inexplicably) elevated to Best Actress for The Fabelmans. Robbie moves there (hopefully Paramount lets us know soon) so Danielle Deadwyler is back in Best Actress. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) is now on the outside looking in for supporting.

There’s a change in Actor as I’m finally putting Diego Calva (Babylon) in over Bill Nighy (Living). In Original Screenplay, The Fabelmans is now #1 over Everything. 

The New York Film Festival starts this weekend. By the time of my next update, we will know what the real prospects are for Till with She Said soon to follow.

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tar (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Whale (PR: 7) (-1)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Decision to Leave (PR: 9) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

11. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (-1)

12. The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Elvis (PR: 15) (+2)

14. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Empire of Light (PR: 13) (-2)

Dropped Out:

She Said

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (E)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (E)

5. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (E)

10. James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Darren Aronofsky, The Whale 

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Carey Mulligan, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Babylon – moved to Supporting Actress

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Paul Mescal, Aftersun (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jeremy Pope, The Inspection 

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 2) (E)

3. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Best Actress

4. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: 9) (E)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Vanessa Kirby, The Son

Jean Smart, Babylon 

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 6) (E)

7. Judd Hirsch, Women Talking (PR: 7) (E)

8. Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time 

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+2)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (-1)

3. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Babylon (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Armageddon Time (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Bros (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Broker (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Empire of Light

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 4) (E)

5. White Noise (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+4)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Till (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Living (PR: 6) (-3)

10. The Son (PR: 8) (-2)

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 1) (E)

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Strange World (PR: 5) (+2)

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 4) (E)

5. Wendell and Wild (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 7) (+1)

7. The Sea Beast (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Bad Guys (PR: 8) (E)

9. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Lightyear (PR: 9) (-1)

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Decision to Leave (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (E)

5. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Holy Spider (PR: 8) (+2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Klondike (PR: Not Ranked)

9. EO (PR: 9) (E)

10. Alcarras (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Eight Mountains 

Plan 75

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 1) (E)

2. Navalny (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Descendant (PR: 2) (-1)

4. All That Breathes (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 6) (E)

7. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 8) (E)

9. Last Flight Home (PR: 5) (-4)

10. Sr. (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Black Ice

Riotsville, U.S.A.

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (-1)

4. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+3)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Bardo (PR: 6) (-1)

8. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Batman (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tar

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 5) (+1)

5. The Woman King (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 6) (E)

7. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Corsage (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Living (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Amsterdam (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Three Thousand Years of Longing 

Don’t Worry Darling 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Elvis (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+3)

7. Women Talking (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 4) (-2)

7. The Woman King (PR: 7) (E)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. (PR: 10) (E)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 2) (+1)

2. The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Tar (PR: 8) (+3)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 6) (-1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-1)

9. The Batman (PR: 9) (E)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 3) (E)

4. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 5) (+1)

5. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities: 

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (E)

7. “Vegas” from Elvis (PR: Not Ranked)

8. “I Ain’t Worried” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: Not Ranked)

9. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 7) (-2)

10. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

“Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys

“Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues 

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (+2)

5. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Empire of Light (PR: 5) (-1)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+1)

8. Amsterdam (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Batman (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Bardo 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. The Batman (PR: 6) (E)

7. Nope (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 7) (-2)

10. The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Batman (PR: 4) (E)

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 10) (+4)

7. Nope (PR: 8) (+1)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (-3)

10. RRR (PR: 9) (-1)

And that equates to these movies getting these numbers of nominations:

13 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

6 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Women Talking 

5 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, Top Gun: Maverick, The Whale

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water

3 Nominations

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Empire of Light, Tar

2 Nominations 

Decision to Leave, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All That Breathes, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Argentina, 1985, The Batman, Close, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Marry Me, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Saint Omer, She Said, The Son, Strangle World, Tell It Like a Woman, Till, Triangle of Sadness, Wendell and Wild, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King 

September 30-October 2 Box Office Predictions

Horror pic Smile and Bros, the first gay rom com from a major studio, look to lead the end of September/early October box office. Both are getting solid notices with respective Rotten Tomatoes scores of 79% and 95%. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newbies here:

Smile Box Office Prediction

Bros Box Office Prediction

Smile has had a shrewd marketing campaign with a creepy teaser trailer that played in front Top Gun: Maverick all summer (so a lot of moviegoers saw it). My mid to high teens projection should put it in first place.

That’s unless Bros with Billy Eichner exceeds forecasts. However, my low teens estimate would give it runner-up status. I would not be surprised if it legs out well in subsequent weekends (I suspect word-of-mouth will be strong). **Speaking of forecasts, as of this writing, it remains to be seen if Hurricane Ian could negatively impact the weekend ahead.

With a B- Cinemascore, current champ Don’t Worry Darling could be headed towards a hefty sophomore drop after its solid premiere (more on that below). A mid to high 50s fall is possible. It should hold the 3 spot though The Woman King could give it a run for its money.

King and the Avatar re-release should fill out the rest of the top five and here’s how I envision it panning out:

1. Smile

Predicted Gross: $18.7 million

2. Bros

Predicted Gross: $12.1 million

3. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $8 million

4. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $7.4 million

5. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $6.6 million

Box Office Results (September 23-25)

Don’t Worry Darling, the much publicized thriller from Olivia Wilde and starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles, started out strong and diminished throughout the weekend. Taking in $19.3 million, it just outdid my $18.9 million projection. It looked like $20 million plus was likely with a $3 million Thursday night start until it dwindled. With a reported $35 million budget, it’s a pleasing debut regardless.

The Woman King fell to second with $11 million, under my $13.2 million take. The acclaimed historical epic with Viola Davis has made $36 million in its first ten days.

Three months ahead of its long in development sequel, James Cameron’s Avatar was re-released and earned $10.5 million for third (surging beyond my $8.5 million projection). The fourth highest grossing domestic earner of all time is now at $771 million with that extra coin.

Barbarian continued its meager declines with a fourth place showing of $4.8 million. I was right on target with $4.9 million as the critically appreciated horror flick has made $28 million.

See How They Run was fifth in its sophomore outing and I incorrectly had it outside of the quintet. With $1.9 million, the weak two-week tally is $6 million.

Pearl was sixth as it also made $1.9 million. My guess? $1.9 million! Like Run, $6 million is its the total.

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

2022 Oscar Predictions: September 21st Edition

So I wasn’t planning to do a new predictions post just five days after the last one, but a lot can change in five days! When I made those previous picks, I was sitting in my hotel room in Toronto getting ready to return to United States. On this inaugural trip to the festival, I saw awards hopefuls including The Fabelmans, Women Talking, The Whale, The Banshees of Inisherin, Empire of Light, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and The Son. 

The headline this afternoon is a shocker that’s resulted in universal confusion. Michelle Williams, considered to be a lock for Supporting Actress, will be campaigned for in lead Actress by Universal Pictures. I am doubly surprised because, having seen the film, there would be zero controversy with her in the supporting field. In fact, I would say it is more of a supporting performance than lead. Furthermore, a Williams victory seemed likely in the race she won’t be in. Best Actress is an entirely different ball game with Cate Blanchett (Tar), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Margot Robbie (Babylon), and Olivia Colman (Empire of Light). Nevertheless I’ll slot Williams in third place and she knocks out Danielle Deadwyler for the as yet unseen Till. There’s another dynamic potentially at play. Two years ago, Lakeith Stanfield was being touted in Best Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. The Academy went ahead and nominated him in Supporting Actor. Don’t discount the idea that this could happen with Williams though I won’t predict that.

This Williams news isn’t the only unexpected developments of the week. RRR, RMN, and Godland were all ignored by their native countries as their submissions to the International Feature Film derby. There’s reporting that India’s RRR, in particular, will get a spirited campaign for Best Picture and tech races. Yet IFF was probably its strongest chance to show up on Oscar night.

In other developments:

    • An alteration in BP as I’m putting Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave in over Empire of Light. I’ll be honest – this was basically a coin flip between Decision to Leave or All Quiet on the Western Front. This also results in Chan-wook making the director cut over Todd Field for Tar. 
    • Due to the Williams news, Claire Foy is the new #1 in Supporting Actress for Women Talking. Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere) also joins the quintet.
    • In Supporting Actor, Brad Pitt (Babylon) is back in the mix due to the removal of Micheal Ward for Empire of Light. 

You can read all the movement below!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (Previous Ranking: 1) (E)

2. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Babylon (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 7) (+2)

6. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 6) (E)

7. The Whale (PR: 5) (-2)

8. Tar (PR: 8) (E)

9. Decision to Leave (PR: 11) (+2)

10. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (E)

Other Possibilities:

11. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 13) (+2)

12. She Said (PR: 12) (E)

13. Empire of Light (PR: 9) (-4)

14. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 14) (E)

15. Elvis (PR: 15) (E)

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans (PR: 1) (E)

2. Damien Chazelle, Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Sarah Polley, Women Talking (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Todd Field, Tar (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 9) (+2)

8. Edward Berger, All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (E)

9. Ruben Ostlund, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Darren Aronofsky, The Whale (PR: 10) (E)

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Cate Blanchett, Tar (PR: 1) (E)

2. Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 2) (E)

3. Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (PR: Not Ranked) – moved from Supporting Actress

4. Margot Robbie, Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Olivia Colman, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Danielle Deadwyler, Till (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Viola Davis, The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Ana de Armas, Blonde (PR: 6) (-3)

10. Naomi Ackie, I Wanna Dance with Somebody (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Florence Pugh, The Wonder

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Brendan Fraser, The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Austin Butler, Elvis (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Hugh Jackman, The Son (PR: 4) (E)

5. Bill Nighy, Living (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Diego Calva, Babylon (PR: 6) (E)

7. Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (E)

8. Song Kang-ho, Broker (PR: 8) (E)

9. Adam Driver, White Noise (PR: 9) (E)

10. Jeremy Pope, The Inspection (PR: 10) (E)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Claire Foy, Women Talking (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Hong Chau, The Whale (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Vanessa Kirby, The Son (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Janelle Monae, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Jean Smart, Babylon (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Zoe Kazan, She Said (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Sadie Sink, The Whale (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans (moved to Best Actress)

Nina Hoss, Tar

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Paul Dano, The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Brad Pitt, Babylon (PR: 6) (+2)

5. Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ben Whishaw, Women Talking (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Micheal Ward, Empire of Light (PR: 4) (-4)

9. Woody Harrelson, Triangle of Sadness (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time (PR: 9) (-1)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Babylon (PR: 4) (E)

5. Triangle of Sadness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tar (PR: 6) (E)

7. Decision to Leave (PR: 7) (E)

8. Bros (PR: 10) (+2)

9. Broker (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Empire of Light (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Armageddon Time 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Women Talking (PR: 1) (E)

2. The Whale (PR: 2) (E)

3. She Said (PR: 3) (E)

4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 5) (+1)

5. White Noise (PR: 4) (-1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Living (PR: 7) (+1)

7. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 8) (+1)

8. The Son (PR: 6) (-2)

9. Till (PR: Not Ranked)

10. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (E)

Dropped Out:

Bones and All 

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 1) (E)

2. Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. Wendell and Wild (PR: 6) (+3)

4. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (PR: 4) (E)

5. Strange World (PR: 3) (-2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Sea Beast (PR: 5) (-1)

7. My Father’s Dragon (PR: 9) (+2)

8. The Bad Guys (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Lightyear (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Minions: The Rise of Gru (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Decision to Leave (PR: 1) (E)

2. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 2) (E)

3. Close (PR: 3) (E)

4. Saint Omer (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Eight Mountains (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. Argentina, 1985 (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Holy Spider (PR: 5) (-3)

9. EO (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Plan 75 (PR: 9) (-1)

Dropped Out:

RMN

RRR

Best Documentary Feature:

1. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (PR: 1) (E)

2. Descendant (PR: 2) (E)

3. Navalny (PR: 3) (E)

4. Fire of Love (PR: 4) (E)

5. Last Flight Home (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Territory (PR: 6) (E)

7. Black Ice (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Moonage Daydream (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Good Night Oppy (PR: 9) (E)

10. Riotsville, U.S.A. (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

All That Breathes 

Best Cinematography 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Empire of Light (PR: 2) (E)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 3) (E)

4. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bardo (PR: 6) (E)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 4) (-3)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 10) (+2)

9. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Tar (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Whale

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 2) (E)

3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Woman King (PR: 5) (+1)

5. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (-2)

7. Corsage (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 7) (-1)

9. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: 8) (-1)

10. Don’t Worry Darling (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Northman 

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 3) (+1)

3. Babylon (PR: 2) (-1)

4. The Fabelmans (PR: 4) (E)

5. Women Talking (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities: 

6. Elvis (PR: 6) (E)

7. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 8) (E)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Tar (PR: 7) (-3)

Dropped Out:

Triangle of Sadness

Decision to Leave 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Whale (PR: 1) (E)

2. Babylon (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 3) (E)

4. The Batman (PR: 4) (E)

5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 5) (-1)

7. The Woman King (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Three Thousand Years of Longing (PR: Not Ranked)

9. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+1)

10. (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Blonde

The Fabelmans

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (+1)

2. Babylon (PR: 1) (-1)

3. Empire of Light (PR: 3) (E)

4. Women Talking (PR: 4) (E)

5. The Banshees of Inisherin (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 8) (+2)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 10) (+3)

8. Tar (PR: 5) (-3)

9. The Batman (PR: 9) (E)

10. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 7) (-3)

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. “Nobody Like U” from Turning Red (PR: 2) (E)

3. “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman (PR: 5) (+2)

4. “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing (PR: 4) (E)

5. “On My Way” from Marry Me (PR: 6) (+1)

Other Possibilities:

6. “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 3) (-3)

7. “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (PR: 7) (E)

8. “New Body Rhuma” from White Noise (PR: 8) (E)

9. “Good Tonight” from The Bad Guys (PR: 9) (E)

10. “Paper Airplanes” from A Jazzman’s Blues (PR: 10) (E)

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Babylon (PR: 1) (E)

2. Elvis (PR: 3) (+1)

3. The Fabelmans (PR: 2) (-1)

4. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 4) (E)

5. Empire of Light (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (PR: 9) (+2)

8. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: Not Ranked)

9. The Batman (PR: 10) (+1)

10. Bardo (PR: 8) (-2)

Dropped Out:

Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 1) (E)

2. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 2) (E)

3. Elvis (PR: 4) (+1)

4. Babylon (PR: 3) (-1)

5. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 7) (+2)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Batman (PR: 5) (-1)

7. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (-1)

8. Nope (PR: 9) (+1)

9. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 8) (-1)

10. The Fabelmans (PR: 10) (E)

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water (PR: 1) (E)

2. Top Gun: Maverick (PR: 2) (E)

3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (PR: 4) (+1)

4. The Batman (PR: 3) (-1)

5. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PR: 5) (E)

Other Possibilities:

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PR: 6) (E)

7. All Quiet on the Western Front (PR: 8) (+1)

8. Nope (PR: 10) (+2)

9. RRR (PR: 7) (-2)

10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (PR: 9) (-1)

And this equates to these pictures garnering the following numbers of nominations:

12 Nominations

Babylon

9 Nominations

The Fabelmans 

8 Nominations

Everything Everywhere All at Once

7 Nominations

The Banshees of Inisherin, Women Talking 

6 Nominations

Top Gun: Maverick

5 Nominations

Elvis, The Whale 

4 Nominations

Avatar: The Way of Water, Empire of Light

3 Nominations

Decision to Leave

2 Nominations

All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Tar, Triangle of Sadness, Turning Red

1 Nomination

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Close, Descendant, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Eight Mountains, Fire of Love, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Last Flight Home, Living, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Marry Me, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Navalny, Saint Omer, She Said, The Son, Strange World, Tell It Like a Woman, Wendell and Wild, Where the Crawdads Sing, White Noise, The Woman King

September 23-25 Box Office Predictions

Olivia Wilde’s psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles will test the “all publicity is good publicity” theory when it opens this weekend. We also have the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 phenomenon Avatar ahead of the December debut of sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Avatar Box Office Prediction

Darling, with my projected high teens start, should manage a first place showing. Yet it may need to worry a little about the sophomore hold of The Woman King (more on its opening below). I still think the former should edge the latter fairly easily.

Avatar is a little tricky to project (the reported 1800 screen count is lower than I would’ve thought). $10 million could be a reach and my estimate is in higher single digits. Either way, it’s looking at 3rd place.

As for the rest of the top 5, it should be filled with horror holdovers Barbarian and Pearl. 

Here’s how I see it:

1. Don’t Worry Darling

Predicted Gross: $18.9 million

2. The Woman King

Predicted Gross: $12.4 million

3. Avatar

Predicted Gross: $8.5 million

4. Barbarian

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

5. Pearl

Predicted Gross: $1.9 million

Box Office Results (September 16-18)

Viola Davis and company were crowned box office champions as The Woman King made $19 million. That’s better than my $14.7 million prediction as the historical action tale opened on the north end of its anticipated range. There’s better news still as it’s only the second 2022 release to nab an A+ Cinemascore grade (the other is Top Gun: Maverick). That should mean minimal drops in coming weekends and I only have it falling about 15% in weekend #2.

Barbarian held up well in its follow-up frame (especially for a horror pic) with $6.5 million (I was lower at $5 million). The critically heralded scary movie has made $21 million in ten days.

The fright fest competition may have hurt Pearl, which opened in third with $3.1 million (in line with my $3.4 million take). That’s more than a million under what its spring predecessor did out of the gate.

Audiences weren’t into solving the mystery of See How They Run as the Saoirse Ronan/Sam Rockwell caper posted a fourth place debut with $3 million (I was close with $3.2 million).

Finally, Bullet Train rounded out the top five with $2.5 million. This is on track with my $2.3 million estimate and the total is $96 million.

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

Avatar Box Office Prediction

20th Century Studios is hoping moviegoers are ready for a return trip to Pandora (and its Papyrus font) when it re-releases Avatar into multiplexes on September 23rd. It arrives three months before James Cameron’s long gestating sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. The original 2009 3D tale revolutionized that technology and it broke the director’s own record to become the highest grossing domestic earner of all time. (topping Titanic). That designation stood for six years until Star Wars: The Force Awakens came along.

Journeying to approximately 1800 venues, Avatar will look to add to the $760 million already in its coffers. The best case scenario is that it could top the charts over Don’t Worry Darling or The Woman King. A far likelier outcome, in my view, is a third place showing in the high single digits.

Avatar re-release opening weekend prediction: $8.5 million

For my Don’t Worry Darling prediction, click here:

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Don’t Worry Darling Box Office Prediction

Much has been written about the behind the scenes happenings with Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling over the past several weeks. Her follow-up to 2019’s Booksmart, it has been a favorite of gossip pages. This involves everything from whether or not Shia LaBeouf was fired or quit before filming began or whether Wilde and Florence Pugh are on speaking terms. There was also SpitGate which focused on whether Harry Styles spat on costar Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival. Spoiler alert: probably not. Will this ink mean pleasing returns when Darling debuts on September 23rd?

Wilde’s sophomore effort stars Pugh and Styles with costars including Wilde, Gemma Chan, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll, and Pine. Said to be a Stepford Wives like psychological thriller, early reviews have been rather lackluster. Its Rotten Tomatoes meter is 40%.

Pugh is a rising star and, obviously, Styles has his legions of super fans. Yet that translates to music for the latter and we’ve yet to see if his pop star status can translate to big box office numbers. If you subscribe to the “all publicity is good publicity” theory, Darling could manage to top expectations and gross over $20 million for its start. I’m not so sure. I think the current projections of mid to high teens sounds about right.

Don’t Worry Darling opening weekend prediction: $18.9 million

For my Avatar prediction, click here:

Avatar Box Office Prediction