2019 Midyear Oscar Report

We are officially at the midpoint of this thing called 2019 and that means a midyear Oscar report is before you today on the blog. First things first: as awards watchers already know, the bulk of the eventual nominees will come your way in the second half of the year. It will likely be festivals such as Toronto and Venice that produce their initial screenings.

We have, however, already had Cannes and Sundance producing first looks at some contenders. The most high profile is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is out July 26 but debuted in the French Riviera. The celebrated auteur’s ninth feature immediately became a player in Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor), Brad Pitt (probably Supporting Actor), and Margot Robbie (Supporting Actress), as well as down the line tech races.

Cannes also served as the launching point for two contenders in the newly termed Best International Feature Film. They are Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, which won the Palme d’Or. With Glory, expect lots of chatter for its star Antonio Banderas to receive his first nod in Actor.

As for other possibilities in the lead Actor derby, we have Taron Egerton’s portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman. If Rami Malek could take home the gold last year for Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s certainly feasible that Egerton will have his supporters. Cannes also debuted  the horror pic The Lighthouse with raves for Willem Dafoe. And though it’s a reach, there could be a push for Robert Downey Jr. to garner recognition for his decade plus embodiment of Tony Stark/Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame.

When it comes to Endgame, I would anticipate talk for a Picture nod, especially after Black Panther became the first comic book pic to get one last year. At this juncture, I’ll say it gets plenty of chatter and no nomination. Yet that paradigm could shift.

Sundance gave us the true life political drama The Report. That pic features both Adam Driver and Annette Bening in roles that drew acclaim. It’s out stateside in late September and is one to keep an eye on.

2019 has produced numerous female lead performances that could all be classified as dark horse contenders. The list includes Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Julianne Moore (Gloria Bell), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell), Elle Fanning (Teen Spirit), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), and Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose).

Despite its disappointing box office grosses, Olivia Wilde’s coming of age comedy Booksmart might be considered in Original Screenplay. Same goes for The Farewell ahead of its release in a couple weeks.

For Best Animated Feature, Toy Story 4 looks to be a slam dunk for a nomination and that also holds true for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Already released titles such as Missing Link and The Secret Life of Pets 2 are likely on the outside looking in.

As for documentaries, keep an eye on Apollo 11, The Biggest Little Farm, and Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese. I would say Apollo is a strong contender for inclusion.

And that’s your report, ladies and gentlemen! Get ready for a whole bunch of Oscar speculation in the second half of the year…

Oscar Watch: The Secret Life of Pets 2

2019 is shaping up to be a year where the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars could be dominated by sequels. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World already opened to raves and seems destined for a nod just like its two predecessors. Disney has Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 on deck.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 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…

Oscar Watch: Missing Link

The stop-motion animated adventure Missing Link 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 Big Hero 6 over The Boxtrolls. Two years later, Kubo and the Two Strings 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 Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. There’s another sequel already released from DreamWorks – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – 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…

March 29-31 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Note (03/27): My Dumbo prediction has dropped from $65.6 million to $55.6 million.

After Us rocked the box office this past weekend, a quartet of newcomers open nationwide on Friday: Tim Burton’s live action rendering of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo, true life action thriller Hotel Mumbai, Pure Flix pro-life drama Unplanned, and Matthew McConaughey stoner comedy The Beach Bum. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/20/dumbo-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/hotel-mumbai-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/unplanned-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/the-beach-bum-box-office-prediction/

Dumbo should have little trouble flying into the winners circle. I have it slated for a mid 60s opening. That’s far from what the Mouse Factory achieved with the non drawn versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book and more in line with 2015’s Cinderella.

The remainder of the premieres may all have trouble reaching the top five. Mumbai could fare the best after a decent limited release start, even though it’s on less screens than Unplanned or The Beach Bum. I have those titles hitting just $2.6 million and $1.6 million, respectively. I’m a bit more optimistic with Mumbai, putting it at $3.4 million.

A big question this weekend is how far Us will drop after its fantastic performance out of the gate (more on that below). It stands to reason that this will be more front loaded than Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which rode a wave of water cooler chatter. I foresee a dip in the mid to possibly high 40s range.

Captain Marvel, Five Feet Apart, and Wonder Park could populate the rest of the high-five, assuming none of the new trio not named Dumbo manages to exceed expectations.

Here’s my take on the weekend ahead:

1. Dumbo

Predicted Gross: $55.6 million

2. Us

Predicted Gross: $38.4 million

3. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $20.2 million

4. Five Feet Apart

Predicted Gross: $5.9 million

5. Wonder Park

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

Box Office Results (March 2224)

As mentioned, acclaimed horror flick Us dominated the charts and proved that its maker Jordan Peele is a valuable commodity at the moment. Taking in $71.1 million (well past my $58.8 million projection), Us is the largest live action feature based on original material since 2009’s Avatar. It doubled the $33 million brought in by Peele’s breakout Get Out. With a meager $20 million budget, it’s safe to assume the champagne bottles are popping over at Universal.

Captain Marvel dropped to second after two weeks on top with $34.2 million, just under my $36.4 million estimate. The MCU effort has amassed $320 million thus far.

Wonder Park was third with $8.7 million. I was a little higher at $10.4 million. The two-week tally is $29 million.

Five Feet Apart was close behind in fourth with $8.5 million (I said $7.7 million) and $26 million overall. I expect Park and Feet to flip positions this weekend.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World rounded out the top five with $6.5 million compared to my $6.1 million prediction. Its total is $145 million.

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

March 22-24 Box Office Predictions

This weekend at the box office, it’s all about Us – as in Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed and eagerly awaited follow-up to his breakthrough hit Get Out. It’s the only new wide release before us and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/12/us-box-office-prediction/

I have the horror pic slated for a mid to high 50s debut and that should easily nab it the top spot, knocking Captain Marvel off after two weeks in first. The rest of the top five should be populated by holdovers Wonder Park and Five Feet Apart, which both exceeded expectations in their premieres, as well as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. Us

Predicted Gross: $56.8 million

2. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $36.4 million

3. Wonder Park

Predicted Gross: $10.4 million

4. Five Feet Apart

Predicted Gross: $7.7 million

5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Predicted Gross: $6.1 million

Box Office Results (March 1517)

Captain Marvel easily held onto first in its sophomore frame with $67.9 million, a touch below my $71.3 million projection. The Marvel blockbuster has amassed $264 million in its first ten days of release.

Animated Wonder Park placed second with $15.8 million, well beyond my $10.3 million prediction. Considering its reported $100 million budget, that’s still nothing spectacular, but it is definitely on the highest end of estimates.

Romantic drama Five Feet Apart was third with $13.1 million, ahead of my $10.7 million forecast. Unlike Wonder Park, the price tag here was a measly $7 million and it nearly doubled that out of the gate.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was fourth with $9.2 million (I said $9.4 million) for $135 million overall.

I didn’t give Mr. Perry enough credit as A Madea Family Funeral rounded out the top five with $7.8 million compared to my $5.6 million take. The three-week tally is $58 million.

Spanish comedy sequel No Manches Frida 2 was sixth, opening with $3.8 million on under 500 screens. I was close at $3.4 million.

In seventh, the barely publicized alien invasion thriller Captive State took in just $3.1 million (I said $2.8 million).

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

March 15-17 Box Office Predictions

Captain Marvel looks to make another giant pot of box office gold in its sophomore frame while a quartet of newcomers could struggle to get noticed. There’s the animated Wonder Park, youthful romantic drama Five Feet Apart, and alien invasion flick Captive State debuting and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

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

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/09/five-feet-apart-box-office-prediction/

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

I’m not expecting much from the newbies. I didn’t do an individual post for Mexican comedy sequel No Manches Frida 2, which hits the smallest number of screens at around 450. It will likely post the highest per screen average of the premieres and I’ll forecast a $3.4 million debut for sixth place. That’s better than my take on Captive State. It opens in almost five times as many venues, but I’m projecting a measly $2.8 million.

Park and Feet could find themselves in a close battle for second. I’m giving the latter a slight edge. It’s also feasible that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World could stay in the runner-up spot behind the latest MCU juggernaut.

Here’s how I have the top 5 playing out:

1. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $71.3 million

2. Five Feet Apart

Predicted Gross: $10.7 million

3. Wonder Park

Predicted Gross: $10.3 million

4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Predicted Gross: $9.4 million

5. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

Box Office Results (March 1517)

I’ll give myself a little pat on the back with my Captain Marvel prediction as it made $153.4 million and I was just a million off at $154.4 million. That’s a sterling start for Brie Larson’s heroine and I look for this to fall around 53% in its second frame.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World fell to second with $14.6 million. I was a touch higher at $16.6 million. Total is $119 million.

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral was third with $12.4 million (I said $11 million) for $46 million overall in two weeks.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part made $3.8 million for fourth place. My $3.9 million forecast was right there. It’s nearly at the century mark with $97 million.

Alita: Battle Angel rounded out the top five with $3.2 million (I said $4 million) for $78 million to date.

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

March 8-10 Box Office Predictions

The MCU will undeniably be the captain this weekend at the box office as Captain Marvel blasts into multiplexes. The pic comes off a banner 2017 for the studio that saw Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War dominate the year. You can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/02/27/captain-marvel-box-office-prediction/

My forecast north of $150 million gives it the seventh largest opening of the franchise. I believe it will help tremendously that it’s seen as a bridge between Infinity War and next month’s Avengers: Endgame.

No other studio bothered to open anything against the MCU juggernaut. That means two-time champ How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World will dip to second position. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral opened well, but it should experience a rather hefty decline as other Madea titles have. Holdovers Alita: Battle Angel and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part might be close vying for fourth place.

And with that, my top 5 take on the Marvel-ous weekend:

1. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $154.4 million

2. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Predicted Gross: $16.6 million

3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

Predicted Gross: $11 million

4. Alita: Battle Angel

Predicted Gross: $4 million

5. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Predicted Gross: $3.9 million

Box Office Results (March 13)

As mentioned, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World stayed atop the charts for a second time despite Madea. The Dreamworks Animation pic took in $30 million, a bit under my $32.2 million projection. It’s staring at the century mark with $97 million.

Tyler Perry has claimed A Madea Family Funeral is the character’s swan song. If so, she went out on a high note with $27 million compared to my $22.8 million estimate. That’s the franchise’s third best starting haul.

Alita: Battle Angel was third with $7.2 million (I said $6.3 million) for $72 million overall.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was fourth with $6.6 million. I was lower at $5.3 million. It’s built its earnings up to $91 million.

Fighting with My Family was fifth at $4.6 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five. It’s made $14 million in two weeks.

Greta was the weekend’s non-Madea newbie and it debuted in eighth place with a ho-hum $4.4 million. I had it at $5.6 million.

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