Alita: Battle Angel Box Office Prediction

Based on a popular Japanese graphic novel, the sci-fi action spectacle Alita: Battle Angel is finally ready for release next Thursday. Robert Rodriguez serves as director with a screenplay from another well-known auteur by the name of James Cameron (as well as Laeta Kalogridis). Rosa Salazar provides the voice and motion capture work for the title character and other cast members include Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, and Jackie Earle Haley.

Alita was originally slated for release last summer before being pushed back to December. The folks at 20th Century Fox moved it from that crowded marketplace to Valentine’s Day. However, other movies should still be a factor. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will likely top the charts in its second frame while horror sequel Happy Death Day 2U opens and provides some direct audience competition.

The reported budget here is rumored to be possibly $200 million. The visuals have been praised while the film itself has had a mixed critical reaction (57% currently on Rotten Tomatoes). Alita is tracking to be a disappointment stateside considering the price tag and I agree with that assessment. I’ll say it manages high teens to low 20s for the traditional Friday to Monday portion of the Presidents Day frame, which should mean mid 20s when factoring in the Thursday gross.

Alita: Battle Angel opening weekend prediction: $19.7 million (Friday to Monday); $24.8 million (Thursday to Monday)

For my Happy Death Day 2U prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/02/06/happy-death-day-2u-box-office-prediction/

For my Isn’t It Romantic prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/02/07/isnt-it-romantic-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch – Alita: Battle Angel

James Cameron is no stranger to Oscar attention with Titanic winning Best Picture 21 years ago and Avatar picking up a slew of nominations in 2009. In two weeks, he serves as co-writer for Alita: Battle Angel along with Laeta Kologridis. It’s directed by Robert Rodriguez. The pic is based on a well-known series of cyberpunk graphic novels from Japan. Rosa Salazar voices the title character and provides motion capture work for her movements in this mix of live and CG action.

Reviews are out and they’re skewing negative, along with some positive here and there. The Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 44%. A lot of the critics are particularly picking apart the screenplay and that’s not an uncommon knock on Cameron’s writing.

Alita comes with a reported budget upwards of $200 million and it’s being seen as a potential costly flop stateside (foreign grosses could be a different story). While this clearly won’t contend for major categories in awards season, the state of the art visuals have been praised. And it’s worth noting that Cameron’s directorial efforts Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, and Avatar all won Best Visual Effects at the Oscars.

That said, there’s plenty of eye-popping blockbuster feasts on the schedule in 2019 (Avengers: Endgame and the next Star Wars included). With the possibility of negative buzz enveloping it, this may not even be a slam dunk in that category. In that sense, it could be similar to 2017’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which also had poor word-of-mouth and missed out in its most obvious slot for recognition. If this manages a nod, the two Sound races are possible as well.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The Dark Tower Movie Review

Stephen King fans have been eagerly awaiting his series of Dark Tower novels arriving on the big screen. Most of his other heralded works have already made it before the cameras and some of them in multiple iterations. The challenge with bringing forth this particular series is said to be the dense nature of its material. And now that we have a cinematic version of The Dark Tower, I can report a number of decisions made in making it happen are indeed dense. That’s definitely not a compliment.

The picture is an abridged and often aimless experience begging for more backstory and clarity. It’s led by uninspired performances and routine shoot-em-up interruptions. Tom Taylor stars as Jake, a New York City preteen who has vivid dreams about a Man in Black trying to destroy Earth and a gunslinger trying to stop him. Jake’s family and friends think he’s coo coo, but the kid has some legit psychic power. There is a Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) otherwise known as Walter and he is trying to take over Earth’s domain and the domains of unseen others. There is a gunslinger (Idris Elba) otherwise known as Roland and he teams up with Jake to stop the apocalypse. They also share some Daddy issues.

What follows is a bit of a head scratcher. The Dark Tower hints at a much larger universe that at least sounds kinda interesting. Yet it’s not shown. It suggests a potentially action packed past for Roland, but that’s it. I get that the idea of the movie is to set up future chapters, but it’s hard to anticipate further ones when the first is so unfulfilling.

Taylor’s lead performance is rather dull. Elba has a physical presence, but there’s no meat on the bones of what should be a far more captivating figure. McConaughey can be a terrific actor, but that’s not what we witness. His Man in Black is meant (I think) to be a scary one. McConaughey doesn’t seem to get that. His level of menace displayed here is about equal to his Lincoln commercial work.

The Dark Tower has a 95 minute length that suggests even its makers knew they had a losing hand. It represents a limp start for a building of worlds. And it’s one that may never seen the light because this fails to get it off the ground.

*1/2 (out of four)

The Dark Tower Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/03): Welp, the revising down continues on the eve of debut to $18.4 million

Blogger’s Note II (07/31): My estimate for The Dark Tower continues to trend downward. I am now revising down to $24.4 million for opening weekend.

Blogger’s Note (07/28): Just a day after posting my $34.6 million estimate, I’m beginning to sour a bit on the opening weekend. I’m revising down to $27.6 million and we’ll see if it continues to trend downward.

Stephen King’s acclaimed book series finally gets the big screen treatment when Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower debuts next weekend. The author eight novels combining elements of science fiction, horror, action, fantasy, and western themes first hit bookshelves 35 years ago, so there’s been decades of anticipation from its fans to see its adaptation. Idris Elba headlines as hero The Gunslinger with Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black. Costars include Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley, and Dennis Haysbert.

The release of The Dark Tower represents a bit of Stephen King renaissance at the box office as the long-awaited It opens in September. It’s been a while since two high-profile projects from the legendary writer have been teed up for release. A planned follow-up TV series (with Elba) is planned for later. Tower was produced for a reported $60 million (a relatively modest budget as summer flicks go).

It will be fascinating to see just how devoted the fan base is for this. As I see it, the opening could range anywhere from mid 20s to maybe mid 40s on the high end. Even though it’s not a totally fair comp (though genre mash-up elements are in common), I could see this debuting similarly to 2011’s Cowboys & Aliens, which started with $36 million at the same late July/early August time frame. From that same summer six years ago, Super 8 and its $35 million opening could be the same ballpark as well.

The Dark Tower opening weekend prediction: $18.4 million (REVISED PREDICTION)

For my Detroit prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/26/detroit-box-office-prediction/

For my Kidnap prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/26/kidnap-box-office-prediction/

The Birth of a Nation Box Office Prediction

When Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation debuted at the Sundance Film Festival all the way back in January, it garnered red-hot buzz that included awards chatter. Fox Searchlight quickly snatched up the rights and it rolls out in theaters next weekend. The pic tells the true life tale of slave rebellion leader Nat Turner in 1831. Parker directed, produced, wrote, and stars in the $10 million production. Costars include Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, and Penelope Ann Miller.

Since its wildly successful roll out this past winter, Birth has faced an interesting and sometimes troubling journey to the wide release date. While its 82% on Rotten Tomatoes indicates the aforementioned positive critical reaction, the film has seemed to diminish in the view of Oscar forecasters. Whether that’s due to buzz waning or other worthy pictures being screened since then is an open question.

And, yes, there’s the matter of Nate Parker’s personal life stemming from a 1999 rape case and his accuser’s suicide years later. The matter has received significant publicity over the last few months. How the story affects Nation‘s box office performance obviously seems inconsequential considering the larger picture, but it must be taken into consideration for any prediction.

All of those factors have contributed to Birth losing some luster and, truth be told, my opening weekend prediction post Sundance probably would’ve been higher. I’ll predict this manages to get past double digits, but not by much.

The Birth of a Nation opening weekend prediction: $10.5 million

For my The Girl on the Train prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/09/28/the-girl-on-the-train-box-office-prediction/

For my Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/09/28/middle-school-the-worst-years-of-my-life-box-office-prediction/

London Has Fallen Box Office Prediction

In 2013, there was a showdown of terrorism at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave pics between Olympus Has Fallen and Roland Emmerich’s White House Down. It is the latter that was expected to win the contest, but it didn’t turn out that way. Olympus debuted to $30.3 million on its way to a $98M domestic haul in the spring while its competitor opened at $24.8 million with a disappointing $73M overall gross.

While we won’t see Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in White House Down Again, we do have London Has Fallen out next weekend. The sequel returns Gerard Butler’s Secret Service agent, Aaron Eckhart’s POTUS, Melissa Leo’s Secretary of Defense and the soothing sounds of Morgan Freeman as the Speaker of the House alongside new cast members Angela Bassett and Jackie Earle Haley.

Olympus was well liked by critics and audiences, though I’m not totally confident that a follow-up is being clamored for. I have doubts that it will match the $30M achieved by its predecessor and it probably won’t reach its reported $105 million budget domestically. I’ll say a premiere in the lower to mid 20s is the safest bet.

London Has Fallen opening weekend prediction: $24.6 million

For my Zootopia prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/02/25/zootopia-box-office-prediction/

For my Whiskey Tango Foxtrot prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/02/25/whiskey-tango-foxtrot-box-office-prediction/

For my The Other Side of the Door prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/02/25/the-other-side-of-the-door-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: The Birth of a Nation

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Just one day after the Sundance Film Festival gave us our first 2016 Oscar contender with Manchester by the Sea, the second landed today in a very big way. It arrived in the form of Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which Mr. Parker also cowrote and stars in. Nation tells the story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. Costars include Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley, and Gabrielle Union. The $10 million production reportedly took Parker (a semi well known actor known who’s appeared in Red Tails and Non-Stop) seven years to get off the ground.

At today’s Sundance screening, Nation was greeted with rapturous word of mouth and a prolonged standing ovation. There is expected to be a feeding frenzy among studios to purchase the film’s rights. Expect fervent buzz for this get attention for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Actor with Parker seemingly on his way to becoming a household name.

Bottom line: two days at Sundance have already in January produced two real possibilities come next year at Oscar time.