April 22-24 Box Office Predictions

It’s likely to be a top heavy family friendly box office chart this weekend as DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys makes a play for the #1 spot. The well-reviewed action comedy could find itself in a battle with the second weekend of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (after a lackluster start) and the third frame of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The adults have fresh product to choose from as well. There’s the Viking epic The Northman from director Robert Eggers and Nicolas Cage headlining the meta comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. My detailed prediction posts on the trio of newbies can be accessed here:

The Bad Guys Box Office Prediction

The Northman Box Office Prediction

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Box Office Prediction

Considering Beasts easily had a Wizarding World franchise low opening (more on that below), even a mid teens start for The Bad Guys could mean it’ll manage to nab first place. If Sonic fell nearly 60% in its sophomore frame, I’m saying Beasts plummets in the mid 60s and it could be a close contest for second between the two holdovers.

The Northman and Talent should hold the four and spots and maybe not in that order. That’s how I have it, however, with Northman just surpassing double digits and Talent falling just under. Both features have solid critical support and could overperform, but I’m being cautious with each.

And with that, my take on the weekend ahead:

1. The Bad Guys

Predicted Gross: $16.7 million

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $15.5 million

3. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $15.1 million

4. The Northman

Predicted Gross: $10.3 million

5. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Predicted Gross: $7.9 million

Box Office Results (April 15-17)

It was an Easter to forget for Warner Bros as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore remained a secret to many. The third entry in the series took in a lowly $42.1 million, below my $48.1 million projection. That’s about $20 million under 2018 predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald and it genuinely brings into question whether the studio will move forward with planned fourth and fifth installments.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 dropped to second with $29.3 million and a larger than anticipated 59% drop. I was more generous at $35.8 million. The video game based sequel is up to a nevertheless impressive $118 million after 10 days.

The Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum rom com The Lost City was third with $6.2 million, on target with my $6.3 million take. Total is $78 million.

Everything Everywhere All at Once increased its screen count by nearly 1000 venues and boasted a 2% increase in weekend #2 with $6.1 million (I said $5.5 million). The potential awards contender has made $17 million.

Mark Wahlberg’s faith-based and fact based drama Father Stu opened in fifth with a muted $5.4 million from Friday to Sunday and $7.7 million since its Wednesday debut. That’s on pace with my respective takes of $5.7 million and $8.5 million.

Morbius was sixth with $4.7 million, a tad ahead of my $4.3 million prediction for $65 million overall.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Ambulance continued to stall with $4 million (I went with $4.5 million) for a two-week tally of only $15 million.

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

April 15-17 Box Office Predictions

**Blogger’s Note (04/13): Updated to include Everything Everywhere All at Once in the top five after finding out it is expanding to approximately 2000 screens from its current 1250

Warner Bros is hoping for good returns from a potentially fading franchise as Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore debuts this Easter weekend. We also have the Mark Wahlberg led faith-based drama Father Stu as it hopes to capitalize on the holiday. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Box Office Prediction

Father Stu Box Office Prediction

I have Dumbledore conjuring up about $15 million less than 2018 predecessor The Crimes of Grindelwald. The gross just north of $50 million should be enough to nab it the #1 slot with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (after a terrific start) sliding to second. The video game adapted sequel may lose around half its audience.

Father Stu is a bit of a head scratcher. It could over perform. With a Wednesday premiere, my mid single digits Friday to Sunday estimate puts it in fourth just behind The Lost City. 

Ambulance and Morbius, both struggling, might battle it out for the five spot. And with that, my take on the top 7:

1. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Predicted Gross: $48.1 million

2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Predicted Gross: $35.8 million

3. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

4. Father Stu

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million (Friday to Sunday); $8.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

5. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $5.5 million

6. Ambulance

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million

7. Morbius

Predicted Gross: $4.3 million

Box Office Results (April 8-10)

Paramount had plenty to celebrate as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 posted the high score with a better than anticipated $72.1 million. That’s nearly $10 million ahead of my $62.5 million prediction. You can bet a third installment is already being planned as this grossed more from Friday to Sunday than the 2020 original took in during the long President’s Day weekend.

Morbius was second with a steep 74% tumble in its sophomore outing with $10.2 million, a bit shy of my $11.2 million projection. The vampire tale is not bringing in new blood after a weak beginning.

The Lost City was third with $9 million (I said $8 million) and the Sandra Bullock comedy stands at $68 million with $100 million in its sights.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s action flick Ambulance stalled in fourth with only $8.6 million, well below my generous $13.7 million estimate. The Michael Bay directed enterprise (which earned decent reviews) couldn’t find a crowd as moviegoers may simply wait until streaming.

The Batman made $6.4 million and I incorrectly had it outside the top five. The grand tally is $358 million.

Finally, the critically heralded Everything Everywhere All at Once was sixth with $6 million. While not reaching my guesstimate of $8.4 million, the trippy sci-fi pic had the second best per theater average on its 1200+ screens.

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

April 8-10 Box Office Predictions

Video game based sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Michael Bay’s action thriller Ambulance with Jake Gyllenhaal, and critically hailed sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once all debut this Friday. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio here:

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Box Office Prediction

Ambulance Box Office Prediction

Everything Everywhere All at Once Box Office Prediction

Sonic should have no trouble hitting #1 and I have it scoring in the high 50s to low 60s (about the same as its 2020 predecessor). While there is no mystery for what will be on top, the number two slot could get interesting.

Morbius had a ho-hum start (especially for its genre) and I suspect its weak C+ Cinemascore could mean a sophomore drop between 65-70%. If that occurs, Ambulance should manage a runner-up start.

The real wild card might be Everything, which has had sizzling per theater averages in limited release. I’ve got it just under double digits for fourth, but it could over perform.

The Lost City should fall from 2nd to 5th with the newbies being ushered in. Here’s how I see it breaking down:

1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 

Predicted Gross: $62.5 million

2. Ambulance 

Predicted Gross: $13.7 million

3. Morbius

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

5. The Lost City

Predicted Gross: $8 million

Box Office Results (April 1-3)

It might be the third best premiere of 2021, but the $39 million earned by Morbius is far from impressive. The Jared Leto vampiric superhero tale (in which most of the reviews said it kinda sucked) came in under my $45.8 million estimate. As mentioned, I look for it to fade quickly.

The Lost City fell to second with $14.7 million. For a pic of its genre, the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum adventure comedy’s 52% dip is a little high. I projected $16.4 million. It’s made $54 million in ten days.

The Batman was third with $11 million compared to my $12 million take and the DC juggernaut is up to $349 million.

Uncharted was fourth with $3.6 million (I said $3.1 million) for $138 million overall.

Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was fifth with $1.9 million. I incorrectly had it outside the top five as the tally is $29 million.

Finally, RRR: Rise, Roar, Revolt tumbled 83% for $1.6 million in sixth. Total is $11 million.

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

Ambulance Box Office Prediction

Michael Bay is hoping that action fans will transform Ambulance into a hit when it debuts April 8th. Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza Gonzalez headline the modestly $40 million budgeted hostage thriller (it’s about one-sixth the cost of Bay’s last Transformers pic).

Originally slated for February before being pushed back to its current slot, reviews are decent with a 74% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Based on a 2005 Danish film, the best case scenario might be a $20 million start. It could also stall in the $10 million range.

Lower teens seems more likely and that could put it in position for a number two or three debut behind Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Morbius (depending on how far it plummets in the sophomore frame).

Ambulance opening weekend prediction: $13.7 million

For my Sonic the Hedgehog 2 prediction, click here:

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Box Office Prediction

For my Everything Everywhere All at Once prediction, click here:

Everything Everywhere All at Once Box Office Prediction

Spider-Man: No Way Home Review

Spider-Man’s neighborhood grows exponentially in No Way Home, our third iteration of Tom Holland’s web slinger adventures with Jon Watts back directing. Not all the visitors he encounters are of the friendly sort. As you may recall, the conclusion of predecessor Far From Home had the scheming Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) reveal Peter Parker’s identity to the masses. That has serious repercussions as Peter/Spidey’s anonymity is gone and the Daily Bugle and others paint him as a bad guy.

It might be easier to erase that divulgence so Peter visits his old avenging buddy Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell to accomplish that. It doesn’t go as planned and it opens to a portal to a multiverse of characters who knew of Spider-Man’s alter ego. THIS IS WHERE WE GO INTO SPOILERS SO CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED.

Crashing into this trilogy are the antagonists from Spider-tales of old. As in the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield entries that we witnessed from 2002-2014. The sinister company consists of the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church).

With the great power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes a responsibility to tap into our nostalgic leanings and No Way Home does it in heavy doses. Seeing Dafoe’s maniacal Goblin and Molina’s Doc from the first two Maguire installments is a kick. As for the rest, they came from lesser pics (Maguire’s last and both Garfield excursions). That said, Foxx’s characterization is a lot more fun than what we saw in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

My reviews of Homecoming and Far From Home concentrated on the best moments being the most grounded. Holland (the most effective Spidey in my view) and his interactions with love interest MJ (Zendaya), Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), and bestie Ned (Jacob Batalon) were highlights. That holds true here, but No Way Home is anything but grounded. The third go-round is bigger in every sense.

In many ways, it’s the most satisfying since Maguire’s original double feature. Is it gimmicky? Absolutely and there’s an overload of exposition to plow through in the first act. Yet it also reminds us how unique Spider-Man is in the realm of superheroes. It’s also a plus that the villains in this series are complicated ones (for the genre at least) whose motivations are varied and often understandable.

I could go even further down spoiler territory and it’s fair to say the most amazing moments are ones I won’t delve into. No Way Home does provide humorous retribution for one hero in particular (you’ll know when you see it). This is grand entertainment that occasionally approaches the scale of the wars and endgame of Spider-Man’s former team. He’s got a fresh troupe of buddies to collaborate with to save humanity in this trilogy capper. The teamwork provide multiple thrills.

*** (out of four)

Oscar Predictions: The Guilty

Despite numerous critically acclaimed performances, Jake Gyllenhaal has but one Oscar nomination to his credit in Supporting Actor for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain. On October 1, his crime thriller The Guilty streams on Netflix. Based on a heralded 2018 Danish pic, it has premiered at the Toronto Film Festival over the weekend.

Early reviews are decent at 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. Interestingly enough, some claim viewers may like it more if they haven’t seen the superior original. The Guilty is helmed by Antoine Fuqua, who directed Denzel Washington to a Best Actor win and Ethan Hawke to a Supporting Actor nod in 2001’s Training Day. Hawke costars here along with Riley Keough, Christina Vidal, Eli Goree, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano, and Peter Sarsgaard.

In 2014, Gyllenhaal was snubbed (in the opinion of many, including this blogger) for Nightcrawler. More recently, the Academy bypassed his leading roles in Nocturnal Animals and Stronger. The Toronto verdict indicates that nomination #2 probably isn’t coming with The Guilty. My Oscar Predictions posts for the films of 2021 will continue…

Shoulda Been Oscar Contenders: Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

2014 was an admittedly sturdy year in the Best Actor category with Eddie Redmayne winning the prize for The Theory of Everything. The other nominees were Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), and Michael Keaton (Birdman). However, one could argue that Carell could have fit into the Supporting Actor derby (and he probably would have been nominated over his costar Mark Ruffalo).

So while all five contenders above turned in fine performances, I still cannot fathom how Jake Gyllenhaal’s work in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler was left out. As a demented Los Angeles photojournalist, the actor (whose only Academy nod is for supporting in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain) turned in a career best performance. In fact, Nightcrawler itself is my favorite movie of its year and should’ve certainly been a Best Picture nominee too.

This was the second year in a row where I feel an obviously worthy turn was ignored. In 2013, it was Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips. Gyllenhaal’s exclusion is just as baffling and that’s especially true because he was nominated at the Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards.

Oscar Watch: Spirit Untamed

In 2002, the horse drawn animated adventure Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron managed a Best Animated Feature nomination (ultimately losing to Spirited Away). Nearly two decades ago, the pic received mostly positive reviews with a 70% Rotten Tomatoes rating and decent box office. Since then, a Netflix series focused on the main character led to Spirit Untamed, which opens in theaters today. It features the voices of some familiar faces like Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore

So how are its odds to race to awards voters ballots? Not good. Untamed has mostly stalled with critics and its Tomato meter is a mere 44%. We already have solid contenders to make the final cut (Raya and the Last Dragon and The Mitchells vs. The Machines) and there’s plenty more on deck for the second half of the year including the soon to be released Luca from Pixar.

Bottom line: I can’t imagine Dreamworks Animation will mount a spirited campaign for this one. Gyllenhaal’s only equestrian related Oscar contender should remain Brokeback Mountain. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Spirit Untamed Box Office Prediction

All the way back in 2002, the animated horse adventure Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron debuted over Memorial Day weekend and performed fairly well. With Matt Damon voicing the title character, the pic galloped to a Best Animated Feature Oscar nod and a $73 million domestic gross. A Netflix spin-off series has aired since 2017 and Spirit Untamed is a joint venture between Universal and DreamWorks to bring the character back to the big screen. Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan Jr. co-direct with a voice cast that includes Isabela Merced, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Julianne Moore, Walton Goggins, and Eiza Gonzalez.

I will confess to not knowing how popular the streaming series is, but it seems to me that 19 years is a long break between theatrical releases. That could certainly be a nagging problem as to Spirit‘s potential. Additionally, some family audiences might still be checking out Cruella in its sophomore frame.

Untamed stands no shot at reaching what its predecessor accomplished. I’m even skeptical that it reaches $5 million out of the gate and will go a bit under that.

Spirit Untamed opening weekend prediction: $4.4 million

For my The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2021/05/26/the-conjuring-the-devil-made-me-do-it-box-office-prediction/

Oscar History: 2014

Six years ago in Oscar history began an impressive two year run for filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with Birdman emerging as the big winner of the evening. The film took Best Picture and Director over its major competitor – Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. This was a ceremony in which the largest category did have some suspense. Birdman took the prize over the aforementioned Boyhood and six other pics: American Sniper (the year’s top grosser), The Grand Budapest Hotel (marking Wes Anderson’s first and only Picture nominee), The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash. 

In this blogger’s perfect world, Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler would have been recognized. It was my favorite movie of that year so get used to seeing it pop up in this post. Other notable selections from 2014 left on the cutting room floor: David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. 

Mr. Miller did have the notable distinction of being nominated for Best Director despite his work not showing up in Best Picture (very rare these days). As mentioned, Inarritu took the gold over Miller as well as Linklater, Anderson, and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game). Gilroy, Fincher, and Joon-ho might have warranted consideration in my view as well as Chazelle’s bravura debut in Whiplash. 

One could argue that Nightcrawler isn’t your prototypical Picture contender. However, Jake Gyllenhaal being left out of the five Actor contenders stands as one of the noteworthy snubs in recent history. It was Eddie Redmayne emerging victorious for The Theory of Everything over his closest competitor Michael Keaton (Birdman). Other nominees: the three C’s of Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, picking up his third nomination in a row), and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game).

There is a voluminous list of solid performances beyond just Gyllenhaal’s that were left wanting. It includes Ben Affleck (Gone Girl), Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up), Bill Murray (St. Vincent), David Oyelowo (Selma), Joaquin Phoenix (Inherent Vice), Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), and Miles Teller (Whiplash).

In Best Actress, Julianne Moore triumphed for Still Alice after four previous nominations without a win. She took the honor over Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), and Reese Witherspoon (Wild). Moore’s selection was one of the easiest to project as she’d been a sturdy frontrunner all season.

Looking back, how about Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow? Its action genre trappings probably prevented consideration, but she might have made my quintet. Amy Adams won the Golden Globe for Actress in Musical/Comedy, but missed here.

Another easy (and absolutely deserved) winner was J.K. Simmons in Supporting Actor for Whiplash over Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman), and Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher).

I will yet again mention Nightcrawler as I might have considered Riz Ahmed. There’s also Josh Brolin in Inherent Vice.

Boyhood nabbed its major race victory in Supporting Actress with Patricia Arquette. Other nominees were Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman), and the always in contention Meryl Streep for Into the Woods.

As for others, I’ll start with (surprise) Rene Russo in Nightcrawler. Others include both Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts for St. Vincent in addition to Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year) and Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice).

My Oscar History will continue soon with 2015 as Mr. Inarritu will dominate the director race yet again while the Academy chose to spotlight something in Best Picture!