Oscar Predictions: Lightyear

The buzz for Disney/Pixar’s Lightyear is just fine, but it’s not in the stratosphere of some of the studio’s other efforts. The origin story for the co-lead of the Toy Story franchise (voiced by Tim Allen for those four pics and by Chris Evans here) is at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.

If Onward at 88% or Brave at 78% nabbed nominations in the Best Animated Feature Oscar derby, this should manage to do so as well pretty easily. However, let’s see how the competition plays out in the second half of the season. Pixar’s spring title Turning Red has probably reserved a spot and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio looms. Other hopefuls include Apollo 10 1/2 and Wendell & Wild. 

In the 22 years of its existence, Pixar has taken home exactly half of the Academy’s animation trophies (with Disney traditional picking up four more). Two of them were the third and fourth Toy Story sagas. The category wasn’t around for parts one and two and I bet both would’ve won. That bodes well for Lightyear though the somewhat mixed chatter could complicate matters. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Lightyear Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/16): On the eve of its premiere, I’m revising my Lightyear estimate down again – from $95.5M to $85.5M

Blogger’s Note (06/15): Revising my estimate down from $101.8M to $95.5M

Disney-Pixar is banking that the buzz for Lightyear will propel it to a nine figure opening orbit on June 17th. Serving as an origin story for one half of the beloved Toy Story duo, Angus MacLane makes his feature-length directorial debut. Captain America himself Chris Evans takes over vocal duties as the title character, replacing Tim Allen (who was heard in the four TS blockbusters). Additional actors providing the sounds are Keke Palmer, Peter Sohn, James Brolin, Taika Waititi, Uzo Aduba, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.

The Mouse Factory is moving onward with theatrical only outputs for its Pixar brand after Soul, Luca, and Turning Red all hit the streaming circuit on Disney+. The last big screen studio offering was over two years ago with… Onward. 

For over a quarter century, the Toy Story franchise has been a gold mine. In 2010, part 3 premiered with $110 million and eventually earned $415 million domestically. The fourth entry in 2019 built upon that with respective numbers of $120 million and $434 million. They also both took home the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Lightyear may not quite reach those stratospheric heights since it’s a spin-off, but I don’t think it’ll come in with a whole lot less. I do believe a launch of just under $100 million is feasible.

Lightyear opening weekend prediction: $85.5 million

Sisters Movie Review

The effortless chemistry of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler worked like a charm on Weekend Update but generated a disappointment in their first feature, 2008’s Baby Mama. Sisters is a generally more satisfying experience that finds its stars (specifically Fey) playing against type. The pic rarely wants to be anything more than a raunchy party comedy and it works well enough on that level, even while we know these players are capable of much more.

Sisters casts Poehler as Maura, a nurse who’s always trying to help and inspire people, often to a “bit too much” degree. Fey is Kate, an irresponsible stylist whose own teen daughter doesn’t wish to be around her very often. When the siblings parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) decide to sell the Orlando home where the girls grew up, they don’t take it so well. Their frustration eventually results in one last blowout party like they had in high school. This time though, Maura decides to let her freak flag fly while Kate is dubiously tasked with being the responsible one.

The screenplay by SNL writer Paula Pell occasionally gets emotional with messages about family and Fey and Poehler help greatly in selling it. As mentioned, however, this is content to be a fun R rated laugher complete with some sex, drugs supplied by John Cena, and early 90s hip hop like “Informer” by Canadian rapper Snow. There’s an obligatory romantic subplot for Maura with handyman James (Ike Barinholtz) that feels slightly forced but does produce a memorable moment with a music box. The script also finds some amusing moments for its stellar supporting cast, including Maya Rudolph as Kate’s old high school nemesis, Rachel Dratch as an eccentric old classmate, and Bobby Moynihan as that old friend constantly telling lame jokes. And a shout out to Greta Lee as nail salon worker Hae Won, who shines in her small role and has one of the pic’s funniest scenes with Poehler. On the other hand, John Leguizamo’s loser ex classmate role may have been the victim of the cutting room floor as he has little to do. And while Fey is always stellar, I’ll admit that I never fully bought her in this role.

We have seen both lead actresses do seriously terrific stuff on TV, whether on SNL or their shows “30 Rock” and “Parks and Recreation”. Sisters doesn’t match those achievements but provides two hours worthy of their talents and provides a party worth checking out.

*** (out of four)

Sisters Box Office Prediction

Nearly eight years after they had a decent size hit with Baby Mama, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler team up again for Sisters, out next Friday. The modestly budgeted $30 million comedy also stars Maya Rudolph, John Leguizamo, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, James Brolin, and Dianne Wiest.

Universal Pictures is hoping that Sisters will appeal to a female demographic that may not be chomping at the bit to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which this bravely opens against. The two stars certainly have their fans and the strategy may work. 2008’s Baby Mama earned $17.4 million out of the gate and an eventual gross of a sturdy $64 million.

Based on the competition alone, I feel Sisters will struggle to reach that opening number next weekend yet it could manage close to Mama’s grosses if it performs well over the subsequent holiday weekends.

Sisters opening weekend prediction: $13.9 million

For my Star Wars: The Force Awakens prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/12/08/star-wars-the-force-awakens-box-office-prediction/

For my Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/12/10/alvin-and-the-chipmunks-the-road-chip-box-office-prediction/

The 33 Box Office Prediction

Telling the true life story of the 2010 Chilean mining disaster, The 33 hits theaters next Friday and will attempt to jog moviegoers short term memory into a trip to the multiplex. The cast includes Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, and Lou Diamond Phillips.

The pic isn’t subtitled and that’s likely a choice made to cater to American audiences. Will it work? I’m not so sure. Strong reviews could have helped yet they’ve been mixed with a current rating of 44% on Rotten Tomatoes.

As I see it, The 33 could struggle to reach double digits out of the gate but I’ll predict it just manages to get there.

The 33 opening weekend prediction: $10 million

For my Love the Coopers prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/11/06/love-the-coopers-box-office-prediction/

For my My All-American prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/11/07/my-all-american-box-office-prediction/