Five Feet Apart Box Office Prediction

Youthful romance is center stage in the drama Five Feet Apart this Friday. Justin Baldoni directs Haley Lu Richardson (best known for Split) as a cystic fibrosis patient who catches the eye of Cole Sprouse (currently on TV’s “Riverdale”) with the same condition. Costars include Moises Arias, Parminder Nagra, and Claire Forlani.

The film is based on a novel by Rachael Lippincott. It came out in November of last year and the rights to its adaptation were sold well before its release. CBS Films is hoping this appeals to fans of The Fault in Our Stars. I believe the opening grosses of them will be many millions apart.

I’ll project this manages to reach double digits, though not by much.

Five Feet Apart opening weekend prediction: $10.7 million

For my Wonder Park prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/09/wonder-park-box-office-prediction/

For my Captive State prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/10/captive-state-box-office-prediction/

Operation Finale Box Office Prediction

Historical thriller Operation Finale sets out in theaters this Labor Day weekend, hoping to bring in an adult audience looking for very late summer entertainment. The tale of Jewish Nazi hunters comes from director Chris Weitz, whose eclectic filmography includes About a Boy and The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Melanie Laurent, Haley Lu Richardson, Lior Raz, Nick Kroll, and Joe Alwyn star.

Unlike most holiday frames, Labor Day is not known for huge debuts and Finale could struggle to find a decent start. While the Star Wars franchise has certainly given Isaac exposure, nothing has shown he can open a picture.

I’ll predict a high single digits gross over the long weekend. That means it should hit double digits when factoring in the Wednesday opening.

Operation Finale opening weekend prediction: $8.8 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Searching prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/14/searching-box-office-prediction/

For my Kin prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/21/kin-box-office-prediction/

For my Ya Veremos prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/27/ya-veremos-box-office-prediction/

For my The Little Stranger prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/08/27/the-little-stranger-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Support the Girls

Opening this weekend in limited release is Support the Girls, a working class comedy from indie director Andrew Bujalski. It premiered at the South by Southwest festival earlier this spring and reaction was quite positive. More reviews are now rolling out and with over a dozen in, it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Particular raves have gone to Regina Hall, who plays the caring manager of a low rent Hooters type sports bar. Nearly every reaction I’ve seen lauds her work and singles her out. Other costars include Haley Lu Richardson, James Le Gros, and AJ Michalka.

Support may be deemed too small to gather any Oscar buzz and a nomination for Hall is an extreme long shot. However, don’t be surprised if several critics point her out as someone whom Academy voters should pay attention to. That would put her in similar company to recent comedic turns that were ignored like Emma Stone in Easy A, Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen, and Hall’s Girls Trip costar Tiffany Haddish.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

We’ve seen plenty of coming of age teen dramedies since the 1980s and beyond. It’s the kind of thing John Hughes cornered a market on three decades ago. I have a feeling Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen would’ve made him smile. It presents teens who are smart and complicated. High schoolers who are capable of being wholly self-absorbed yet most of it stems from insecurity. Our central character Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) means well most of the time, at least in her own mind. And she’s the prime example of the traits listed above. With a truly impressive performance from an actress who broke out at age 14 in the Coens True Grit, both Steinfeld and Craig’s screenplay make Nadine feel authentic. You root for her even when you’re exasperated by her. Many a parent with teens could surely relate.

Nadine is an outsider – a high school junior with only one real friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). She’s always been a bit of a loner and the loss of her beloved father four years ago complicated it. Her overwhelmed Mom (Kyra Sedgwick) has a tough time figuring how to deal with her, while her super popular older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) seems to have life all figured out. When Darian and Krista begin dating, Nadine’s abandonment issues only worsen.

Throughout the picture, she turns to various people to try and alleviate her social awkwardness. This includes slightly nerdy student Erwin (Hayden Szeto), who’s crushing on her and too cool for school student Nick (Alexander Calvert), who she’s crushing on. Both relationships present with their own versions of humorous and recognizable awkwardness. Nadine also confides in her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson). He’s nowhere near the uncaring educator you’d witness in other genre pics nor the always wiser than thou teach you may have seen before. He clearly cares about Nadine, but his advice and comebacks are often genuinely surprising. There’s a subtly played moment where his pupil realizes her teacher has a life outside of the classroom and it feels just right. Most pleasingly, the role serves as another reminder that Harrelson has morphed into one of the most interesting character actors working today. He’s a pleasure to watch.

So is Steinfeld and the rest of the cast. The Edge of Seventeen might be more satisfying to viewers who have surpassed the age in the title by a few years. There may be more satisfaction for adults who can pick out their own remembrances of what it was like to be that age, when the highs couldn’t have seemed higher and the lows were literally the end of the world. Kelly Fremon Craig has crafted a perceptive, occasionally laugh out loud funny, and genuinely emotional snapshot of someone in that time period.

***1/2 (out of four)

Split Movie Review

Over the past two decades, audiences have witnessed the many personalities of director M. Night Shyamalan in his works. For instance, there’s his previous effort The Visit where I wrote that he seemed to thumbing his nose at both critics and moviegoers based on their disappointment for some of his films. There’s the Shyamalan that was heavily influenced by Spielberg and Hitchcock that contributed to high marks like The Sixth Sense and Signs. We have the comic book aficionado that made Unbreakable pretty special. And there’s whatever was going on his head while writing The Happening and its killer trees and pro hot dog chatter.

With Split, Shyamalan seems in the mode of returning to his former box office glories by throwing in everything that made his blockbusters break through. Not all those traits work, but they’re present in nostalgia inducing manner. There’s the stilted dialogue and characters reacting to dangerous situations that seem off kilter. On the other hand, there are occasional moments of truly well crafted tension. Some of the actors miss the mark, but you wonder if it’s because that’s how Night directed them. Finally, there’s one performance that is pretty awesome to behold and, yes, a major surprise ending that is quite satisfying.

Welcome back to the mixed bag of a world that Shyamalan creates with his pen. Split opens with three teen girls leaving a birthday party. Two of them (Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula) are your typical kids while Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) is more of an outsider. Quickly into our screen time, they are kidnapped by Dennis (James McAvoy), who locks them in a small yet very clean room as he’s got serious OCD. Then, the trio finds out they were also nabbed by Patricia, a proper sounding English older lady. They were also taken by Hedwig, a shy nine year old boy. There are others as these personalities (23 of them) all live inside the head of McAvoy’s Kevin and Casey and her sort of friends have to figure out a way for one of them to let them out.

The action in Split is not confined to Kevin/Dennis/Patricia/Hedwig’s choice of holding rooms. On the outside, he is mostly Barry, an insecure fashion designer who visits his psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley). The doctor is an expert in these types of disorders who believes those suffering from it behold powers that are beyond human. And when Kevin warns of a 24th person in that head called The Beast, Dr. Fletcher’s theories may get a chance to be proven right or wrong.

McAvoy is given the chance to play in a universe that any actor would cherish and he’s impressive. There are scenes when he transitions from person to person that are quite enjoyable to watch. It really is his show, though Casey’s character is given a backstory via flashback that helps flesh out her perspective on everything.

There are times in Split that feel like vintage Shyamalan, but they come in infrequent spurts. My criticism here is simple, other than the dodgy dialogue we’ve come to anticipate even in his finest pictures. Split just really isn’t that scary or suspenseful while you’re watching it. Some of the best parts are when the director wants you to laugh… intentionally I think.

I certainly won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it culminated this otherwise so-so experience with an unexpected surprise. In truth, I’ve thought more about what happened in the last 30 seconds than in the two previous hours and what it could mean in the future. That doesn’t excuse its faults, but at least Night wraps it up on that George Costanza high note.

**1/2 (out of four)

The Edge of Seventeen Box Office Prediction

Hailee Steinfeld first broke onto the film scene as a young teen in the Coen Brothers hit Western remake True Grit. The result? An Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress. Since then, she’s made a few screen appearances and also become a platinum selling musician.

Next weekend, she’s said to have yet another breakout role headlining The Edge of Seventeen, a coming of age comedic drama. The pic debuted to highly positive reviews at the Toronto Film Festival and is at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Kelly Fremon Craig directs and costars include Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson, and Kyra Sedgwick.

How it will fare at the multiplexes? Perhaps solid buzz could keep it going well in subsequent weekends, but I’m not anticipating anything above a low teens opening as the higher bar. For one thing, this is going for a teen audience who may well be preoccupied with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

I’ll predict Seventeen hits low double digits for its start.

The Edge of Seventeen opening weekend prediction: $10.9 million

For my Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/09/fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-box-office-prediction/

For my Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/09/billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk-box-office-prediction/

For my Bleed for This prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/10/bleed-for-this-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: The Edge of Seventeen

As the Toronto Film Festival has drawn to its conclusion, we have another picture to discuss and it’s a teen comedy drawing great reviews. The Edge of Seventeen stars Hailee Steinfeld as a high school junior whose brother starts dating her best friend. It costars Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson, and Kyra Sedgwick. Kelly Fremon Craig writes and directs and Seventeen is scheduled for a November 18th domestic release.

Six years ago, young Steinfeld was cast in the plum role of Mattie Ross in the Coen Brothers blockbuster True Grit. For it, she nabbed a Best Supporting Actress nod. Critics have been raving about her work here. Yet as has been discussed on this blog in recent days, 2016’s Actress race looks highly competitive and there may not be enough room for her this time around. Perhaps Craig could find herself in the mix for Original Screenplay if the film hits with audiences and the critical love continues.

Look for Oscar Watch posts as more hopefuls screen…