Blogger’s Note (11/16): I’ve upgraded my estimate from $113.7M to $126.7M
Today, frozen is the word described by many as what they’re experiencing when they attempt to view Disney Plus on its first day of launch. Next weekend, Frozen II looks to heat up a sleepy box office and continue the Mouse Factory’s stellar year. This is the sequel to the 2013 smash hit that earned over a billion dollars worldwide. The computer animated musical fantasy has Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad returning to voice their known characters along with newbies Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Marsha Plimpton, and Jason Ritter. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee make a return engagement behind the camera.
Six years ago in November, part 1 turned into a phenomenon. Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, the critically hailed Oscar winner took in $93 million and legged out impressively to a domestic haul of $400 million. This time around, expectations are understandably sky high. A gross north of $100 million out of the gate is anticipated.
With its rather short span between entries, Frozen II should achieve that status. I suspect earnings in the neighborhood of what Toy Story 4 ($120.9 million) took in this summer is the range. I’ll put it a few million over that mark.
Frozen II opening weekend prediction: $126.7 million
For my A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood prediction, click here:
Among a whole bunch of live action contenders vying for Oscar attention in Toronto, Dreamworks Animation’s Abominable made its debut today ahead of its September 27th release. The computer drawn adventure comes from director Jill Culton, who’s been involved in numerous genre pics including making 2006’s hit OpenSeason. Eddie Izzard and Sarah Paulson are some recognizable faces providing voice work
Early word is that this is fair to decent. That’s probably not enough to earn this a slot in the Best Animated Feature race. For starters, Dreamworks is likely to focus its attention on HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld. It received far better critical ink and its two predecessors were nominated. There will also be Disney’s flicks like ToyStory4 (the front runner) and the as yet unseen Frozen2. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
The fourth edition of ToyStory is unveiled in theaters next weekend and reviews are out today. It is the 21st film for Pixar that began in 1995 with… ToyStory. And when it comes to Oscar voters honoring the studio’s works, there’s a rich history.
Critics so far have given a 100% stamp of approval to the sequel. The Academy established the Best Animated Feature in 2001. There’s been 18 winners and half of them are Pixar pics. The studio has also nabbed two nods in Best Picture with 2009’s Up and 2010’s… ToyStory3.
First things first: there is approximately zero doubt that part four will get Animated Feature recognition. And unless something special comes along in the second half of the year (perhaps Frozen2?), it has an excellent shot at winning. It’s also feasible that it could land Pixar’s third Picture nod, but that is far less certain at this juncture.
Another category where ToyStory4 could contend is Best Original Song. There’s two possibilities: Randy Newman’s “I Can’t Let Yourself Throw Away” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy”, which was written by Newman and is performed by country superstar Chris Stapleton.
2019 is shaping up to be a year where the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars could be dominated by sequels. HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld already opened to raves and seems destined for a nod just like its two predecessors. Disney has ToyStory4 and Frozen2 on deck.
TheSecretLifeofPets2 is Universal’s shot at Academy recognition. It’s out on June 7, following up on the 2016 animal tale smash hit. Early reviews indicate part deux is an overall improvement in quality. The first Pets achieved a 73% Rotten Tomatoes rating while this currently sits at 91%.
This puts the likely mega blockbuster in contention, but it’ll need to stick around in a competition where the three previously mentioned sequels may well garner more votes. Only time will tell if that’s feasible. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
The stop-motion animated adventure MissingLink hits theaters next weekend and it’s the latest effort from the studio Laika. Reviews have been sturdy for the Bigfoot tale featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, and Zach Galifianakis. Its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 91%.
When it comes to Oscar nominations for their material, Laika has quite the batting average… as in 100%. For their four previous efforts, they’ve also all lost to Disney titles. In 2009, Coraline lost to Up. ParaNorman came up short to Brave in 2012. In 2014, it was BigHero6 over TheBoxtrolls. Two years later, KuboandtheTwoStrings couldn’t emerge over Zootopia.
Could history repeat itself? Absolutely. While critical reaction is solid, Link has little chance at winning the Best Animated Feature award. And, yes, Mouse Factory competition is legit with sequels ToyStory4 and Frozen2. There’s another sequel already released from DreamWorks – HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld – that also looks to nab a nod.
With five slots, there’s a chance Link could be the first Laika flick to miss a nomination. However, their track record is considerable and I wouldn’t count it out. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
The Lego franchise has made nearly half a billion dollars at the domestic box office for Warner Bros since 2014 and TheLegoMovie2: TheSecondPart will add to those coffers next weekend. It’s money hauls, however, have not translated to success with Oscar voters.
TheLegoMovie was critically acclaimed and seemed assured an Academy nod in Animated Feature four years ago. It was one of the most surprising snubs when it didn’t make the cut. There were two Lego pics in 2017 (TheLegoBatmanMovie, TheLegoNinjagoMovie). Neither of them managed to make the race that year.
While reviews for TheSecondPart are strong, several critics have said it doesn’t quite match the first part. Competition from animated sequels alone in 2019 (HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld, Frozen2, ToyStory4) is serious. Therefore it appears highly unlikely that this will be the year where Lego builds any standing with the awards crowd.
We are just two days into the new year, but it’s already time for my first Oscar Watch post of 2019. That’s because HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld comes out in Australia tomorrow before its stateside release on February 22. Early reviews are out and the third and final installment of the Dreamworks Animation franchise is receiving solid ones. The action fantasy sequel stands at 100% currently on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2010, the original Dragon nabbed a Best Animated Feature nod at the Oscars. Four years later, part 2 accomplished the same. Both pictures lost to titles coming from the mighty Mouse Factory – ToyStory3 and BigHero6, respectively. The Disney competition will be fierce this year with ToyStory4 and Frozen2.
That said, even at this extraordinarily early date, the latest Dragon already looks like a serious contender for a nomination given the history of the series. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…