Anna Box Office Prediction

Luc Besson loves assassins and his latest action thriller Anna features another one in the form of Russian supermodel Sasha Luss. She stars in the reported $30 million budgeted pic with Luke Evans, Helen Mirren, and Cillian Murphy in the supporting cast. As mentioned, the director has played in the genre before with La Femme Nikita and The Professional. His recent filmography includes hits (2014’s Lucy) and big budget flops (2017’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets).

Expectations are low here. Its best hope could be for a bountiful European gross. The blockbuster earnings of Lucy were greatly assisted by its lead Scarlett Johansson. No such headliners exist here.

Rolling out on approximately 2150 screens, I think $5 million could even be too high of a mark.

Anna opening weekend prediction: $3.6 million

For my Toy Story 4 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/12/toy-story-4-box-office-prediction/

For my Child’s Play prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/13/childs-play-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Disney’s expensive rendering of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms dances into theaters on Friday and it does so with mostly negative reviews. It stands at just 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and the studio may have a rare commercial disappointment on their hands (the budget is a reported $130 million).

So why in the world am I doing an Oscar Watch post on it? Well, the one positive aspect most critics point out is its set design and outfits adorning the actors. That could put Nutcracker in a similar situation with the Mouse Factory’s live-action version of Alice in Wonderland in 2010.

That also received middling reviews (though it did very well financially). It was rewarded with nominations in Art Direction (now called Production Design) and Costume Design. Realms could certainly play in both of those categories and perhaps Makeup and Hairstyling. Wonderland also won Best Visual Effects, but that race could be a reach with this.

Bottom line: even though word-of-mouth is not strong, Nutcracker has a shot at some down-the-line categories.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Best Actress: A Look Back

Back at it again with my look back at major Oscar races from 1990 to the present! We’ve arrived at Best Actress. If you missed my previous posts covering the Supporting performers, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/25/best-supporting-actor-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/20/best-supporting-actress-a-look-back/

As I did with those posts, I’m selecting my top 3 least surprising winners and top 3 upsets. I’m also giving you my personal pick for strongest and weakest fields from the past 28 years.

For starters, here’s the list of winners from 1990 to now:

1990 – Kathy Bates, Misery

1991 – Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs

1992 – Emma Thompson, Howards End

1993 – Holly Hunter, The Piano

1994 – Jessica Lange, Blue Sky

1995 – Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking

1996 – Frances McDormand, Fargo

1997 – Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets

1998 – Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love

1999 – Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry

2000 – Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

2001 – Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball

2002 – Nicole Kidman, The Hours

2003 – Charlize Theron, Monster

2004 – Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

2005 – Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

2006 – Helen Mirren, The Queen

2007 – Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

2008 – Kate Winslet, The Reader

2009 – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

2010 – Natalie Portman, Black Swan

2011 – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

2012 – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

2013 – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

2014 – Julianne Moore, Still Alice

2015 – Brie Larson, Room

2016 – Emma Stone, La La Land

2017 – Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

When it comes to Best Actress, I must say it’s probably the race with the least amount of genuine upsets. Nearly every year, there’s a pretty strong front-runner and they win – even more so than in Actor and the Supporting players. Of many non-surprises, here’s my top ones:

3. Holly Hunter, The Piano

Hunter’s work as a mute piano player in Jane Campion’s period piece was the clear favorite over significant competition that included Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got to Do With It? and the previous year’s winner Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day. 

2. Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars had already received nods for Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman and there was little question that Brockovich would earn Roberts her first and only (so far) trip to the Oscar stage.

1. Charlize Theron, Monster

Theron’s metamorphosis into serial killer Aileen Wuornos swept all precursors. The rest of the field was also fairly weak that year, making her the obvious victor.

And now the “upsets”…

3. Kate Winslet, The Reader

While not a surprise when she won Oscar night, the multi-nominated Winslet was expected for much of the year to get a nod for Revolutionary Road instead. Yet it was this Stephen Daldry drama that was selected instead.

2. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

This was a two-way contest between Cotillard and veteran Julie Christie for Away from Her, with many believing the latter had the edge. It didn’t turn out that way.

1. Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry and Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

This #1 comes with a caveat. It wasn’t much of an upset by the time Swank won her double Oscars. What’s interesting here is that she single-handedly denied two prime opportunities for the winless Annette Bening to get a statue for American Beauty and Being Julia. 

We move to the fields. For weakest field, I’m selecting 1994 when Jessica Lange won for the little-seen Blue Sky. Other nominees were Jodie Foster in Nell, Miranda Richardson in Tom&Viv, Winona Ryder for Little Women, and Susan Sarandon in The Client. 

Strongest group in my opinion goes to 2010 with Natalie Portman’s victorious role in Black Swan. The rest of that impressive field is Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence’s first nomination in Winter’s Bone, and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).

Best Actor is next, folks! Stay tuned…

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Box Office Prediction

Disney is hoping for a sizable family and female audience next weekend when The Nutcracker and the Four Realms dances into theaters. The fantasy adventure is based on both the 1816 E.T.A. Hoffmann story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and Tchaikovsky’s ballet with a cast including Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew MacFadyen, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren, and Morgan Freeman. Realms shares directing credit between Lasse Hallstrom (who shot most of it) and Joe Johnston (who came in for late re-shoots). In a strange twist of irony, the pic’s directorial drama is shared by Bohemian Rhapsody, which opens on the same day.

Unlike many Mouse Factory properties, The Nutcracker is a big question mark as to its box office viability. Buzz for this doesn’t seem on the level with many of their other productions. While Disney has been churning out one blockbuster after another, we have seen both A Wrinkle in Time and Christopher Robin come in with less than anticipated opening weekends. Both of those features struggled to eventually reach the $100 million mark. While Realms won’t have much family competition its first weekend out, that will change quickly as Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Ralph Breaks the Internet all debut shortly afterwards.

I believe this could struggle to join the century club like Wrinkle and Robin. It appears poised to come in second to the aforementioned Rhapsody. That said, I don’t want to underestimate the studio’s marketing prowess too much. Yet my gut says a gross in the $20 million range is where this starts and word-of-mouth will decide the rest.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms opening weekend prediction: $19.4 million

For my Bohemian Rhapsody prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/23/bohemian-rhapsody-box-office-prediction/

For my Nobody’s Fool prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/10/24/nobodys-fool-box-office-prediction/

Oscar History: 2012

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done an Oscar History post (about two and a half years) and I’m at 2012. It was a year in which Seth MacFarlane hosted the show – fresh off his comedy smash Ted. Here’s what transpired in the major categories with some other pictures and performers I might have considered:

The year saw nine nominees for Best Picture in which Ben Affleck’s Argo took the top prize. Other nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook (my personal favorite of the year), and Zero Dark Thirty. 

Many Wes Anderson fans would contend that Moonrise Kingdom should have made the cut. And I could certainly argue that The Avengers (perhaps the greatest comic book flick and the year’s biggest grosser) was worth a nod.

The nominations in Best Director were a huge surprise at the time. While Argo won the top prize of all, Affleck was not nominated for his behind the camera efforts. It was the first time since Driving Miss Daisy‘s Bruce Beresford where an Oscar-winning Picture didn’t see its filmmaker nominated.

Instead it was Ang Lee who was victorious for Life of Pi over Michael Haneke (Amour), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).

In addition to Affleck, it was surprising that Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) was not included. And I certainly would have put in Tarantino for Django.

The race for Best Actor seemed over when the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln was announced. And that’s exactly how it played out as he won his third Oscar over a strong slate of Bradley Cooper (Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), and Denzel Washington (Flight).

The exclusion of John Hawkes in The Sessions could have been welcomed, but I’ll admit that’s a solid group.

Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings over Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

Again, no major qualms here. I did enjoy the work of Helen Mirren in Hitchcock (for which she did get a Golden Globe nod).

Supporting Actor was competitive as Christoph Waltz won his second statue for Django (three years after Inglourious Basterds). He was a bit of a surprise winner over Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln. Other nominees: Alan Arkin (Argo), Robert De Niro (Playbook), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master).

Here’s a year where there’s a lot of others I thought of. Waltz won, but I think the work of Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson in Django was equally impressive. There’s Javier Bardem as one of the greatest Bond villains ever in Skyfall. Or John Goodman’s showy role in Flight. As for some other blockbusters that year, how about Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers or Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike? And my favorite comedic scene of that year was due to Giovanni Ribisi in Ted…

In Supporting Actress, Anne Hathaway was a front-runner for Les Miserables and there was no upset. Other nominees: Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), and Jacki Weaver (Playbook).

Judi Dench had more heft to her part as M in Skyfall that year and I’ll also give a shout-out to Salma Hayek’s performance in Oliver Stone’s Savages.

And there’s your Oscar history for 2012! I’ll have 2013 up… hopefully in less than two and a half years!

Winchester Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (01/31): I am revisiting my Winchester prediction from $14.1 million to $9.1 million

Helen Mirren goes into horror mode next weekend with the release of Winchester. The supernatural period piece comes from Michael and Peter Spierig, directors of Daybreakers and last year’s Jigsaw. Costars include Jason Clarke, Angus Sampson, and Sarah Snook.

Subtitled The House that Ghosts Built, the Lionsgate release is hoping to bring in genre fans. Horror pics have experienced a good run over the last several months and that could propel this to a more than anticipated debut.

That said, while there’s no competition opening against it, there is a certain football game between New England and Philadelphia on Sunday. The Super Bowl weekend is typically not a robust one at the box office as February heavy hitters wait in the wings.

I’ll project a low to mid teens debut.

Winchester opening weekend prediction: $9.1 million

2017 Golden Globe Predictions

The most high-profile Oscar precursor arrives Sunday night when Seth Meyers hosts the Golden Globe awards. Of course, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association operates a bit differently by divvying its major categories (Picture, Actor, Actress) into Drama and Musical/Comedy.

As has been a common theme lately, one of the “Musical/Comedy” entries is a bit questionable – Jordan Peele’s Get Out. To be fair, it is a difficult picture to classify. The Golden Globes can often shed some light on Oscar contenders or solidify front runners. Here are my predictions, race by race, on who and what will emerge victorious and my runner-up picks:

Best Picture (Drama)

Nominees: Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: The Shape of Water

Runner-Up: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: The Disaster Artist, Get Out, The Greatest Showman, I, Tonya, Lady Bird

Predicted Winner: Lady Bird

Runner-Up: The Disaster Artist

Best Director

Nominees: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World), Steven Spielberg (The Post)

Predicted Winner: del Toro

Runner-Up: Nolan

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Tom Hanks (The Post), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.)

Predicted Winner: Oldman

Runner-Up: Chalamet

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Meryl Streep (The Post), Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World)

Predicted Winner: Hawkins

Runner-Up: McDormand

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes), Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

Predicted Winner: Franco

Runner-Up: Jackman

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Judi Dench (Victoria and Abdul), Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes)

Predicted Winner: Ronan

Runner-Up: Robbie

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Armie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Predicted Winner: Plummer

Runner-Up: Rockwell

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Hong Chau (Downsizing), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Predicted Winner: Janney

Runner-Up: Metcalf

Best Screenplay

Nominees: Lady Bird, Molly’s Game, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Runner-Up: Lady Bird

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent

Predicted Winner: Coco

Runner-Up: Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Language Film 

Nominees: A Fantastic Woman, First, They Killed My Father, In the Fade, Loveless, The Square

Predicted Winner: First, They Killed My Father

Runner-Up: A Fantastic Woman

Best Score

Nominees: Dunkirk, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Predicted Winner: Dunkirk

Runner-Up: The Shape of Water

Best Song

Nominees: “Home” from Ferdinand, “Mighty River” from Mudbound, “Remember Me” from Coco, “The Star” from The Star, “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman

Predicted Winner: “This is Me”

Runner-Up: “Remember Me”

I’ll have a recap up Sunday night with how I did! Until then…