Mister Rogers isn’t the only PBS star getting the silver screen treatment this fall as DowntonAbbey hits theaters next weekend. Based on the acclaimed drama about an aristocratic British clan in the 1920s, the film picks up after the series finale from 2016. Julian Fellowes, creator of the program which aired stateside on the public access channel, did the screenplay. Michael Engler directs with numerous cast members returning including Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Elizabeth McGovern, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton, and Maggie Smith.
Abbey had lots of dedicated followers to go with its multitude of Emmys and they should be curious to see the saga continue. While some could choose to wait and watch the family on the small screen like they’re accustomed to, I suspect a sizable amount will turn up in the cinema.
I was surprised to see this is set to premiere on over 3000 screens. That puts it in contention to compete with Rambo: LastBlood and AdAstra as the weekend’s highest grossing newcomer. My estimate of just over $20 million puts it just ahead of Mr. Stallone and ahead of Mr. Pitt.
DowntonAbbey opening weekend prediction: $20.8 million
Fans of the British period piece series DowntonAbbey, which aired stateside on PBS, will get their fix nearly four years after its conclusion with a film version. Written by its creator Julian Fellowes, Abbey picks up shortly after the events of the series finale with many cast members (Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and more) returning to their roles.
The show was no stranger to major awards attention, including Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAGs, and dozens of Emmy nods. Could that TV love translate to Oscar voters noticing the cinematic rendering?
Probably not in major categories. Abbey has a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 80% and while reviews are solid, I don’t see this getting attention in Picture or the acting derbies. On the other hand, Production Design and especially Costume Design could be doable. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Apologies in advance for the pun, but Warner Bros is hoping for a “beary” pleasing result when Paddington2 debuts next weekend. It arrives three years after the original posted stellar results stateside during the MLK four-day frame. The family pic brings back Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title bear made famous by a series of childrens stories. Paul King returns in the director’s chair, as do cast returnees Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, and Peter Capaldi. New but familiar faces to the series include Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson.
The sequel received a bit of unexpected publicity this fall as it was originally to be distributed by the Weinstein Company. When controversy swirled around Harvey Weinstein, Warner swooped in and picked up distribution rights. The well-reviewed predecessor premiered in January 2015 to a $25 million long weekend opening with a $76 million eventual haul. Part 2 has already taken in nearly $100 million overseas and has critics on its side, with a 100% currently on Rotten Tomatoes.
There is still competition out there for family audiences as Jumanji should still be posting solid grosses. The sequel may not quite match the earnings of the first, but I’ll predict it manages to top $20 million out of the gate.
Paddington2 opening weekend prediction: $22.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)
Andrew Garfield goes for his second Best Actor Oscar nod in a row with Breathe, which has screened at the Toronto Film Festival. In it, Garfield plays a man diagnosed with polio who becomes a disabilities advocate. The drama marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, known most for giving life to CG creations in the LordoftheRings and PlanetoftheApes franchises. Other stars include Claire Foy and Hugh Bonneville.
Early reviews haven’t been too positive, but they’ve pointed out it wears its Oscar hopes on its sleeve. It’s been compared to TheTheoryofEverything, which did win Eddie Redmayne a statue. With Best Actor looking like it has some open slots (for now), a strong campaign could give Garfield nod #2 after last year’s HacksawRidge. Yet the troubling reviews won’t help.
It’s already achieved financial success in the United Kingdom and on Friday, StudioCanal Pictures is hoping Paddington posts solid numbers stateside as well. Based on the well known children’s stories by Michael Bond, this bear tale features Ben Whishaw (Q from the Bond flicks) as the voice of the title character. The cast includes several recognizable faces including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman.
Reviews have been quite strong as it holds a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Paddington could further benefit from a lack of family fare as Night at the Museum and Annie have now made the bulk of their money. I’ll predict this bear manages an opening somewhere between $20 and $25 million for a respectable beginning.
Paddington opening weekend prediction: $22.3 million