Oscar Predictions – Jennifer Lopez: Halftime

The title Halftime refers to Jennifer Lopez’s joint Super Bowl extravaganza with Shakira in 2020 (at a time when we were just beginning to hear the term coronavirus). The documentary from filmmaker Amanda Micheli has opened this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. While some of its focus lies with that performance, it also takes us through Lopez’s Oscar campaign for Supporting Actress in Hustlers. As you may recall, she was a frontrunner for a nod that never came to fruition.

Perhaps the Academy will reward this after the general feeling that she was snubbed three years ago. Halftime may stand at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on a handful of reviews, but they’re not raves. Premiering on Netflix on June 14th, I doubt this will be a threat to make the final five in Documentary Feature. And, this time around, Lopez’s exclusion will not be a surprise. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

February 25-27 Box Office Predictions

Blogger’s Update (02/23): The theater count for Studio 666 has been announced and it’s higher than expected with just over 2300 screens. I’m upping my estimate a bit from $1.4 million to $2.1 million.

As February closes out and we await the massive release of The Batman to begin March, the top five may look the same this weekend. There are two new titles: the musical romantic drama Cyrano with Peter Dinklage and the Foo Fighters led horror comedy Studio 666. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on them here:

Cyrano Box Office Prediction

Studio 666 Box Office Prediction

I’ve got both of the newcomers posting debuts in the $2 million range- $1.8 million for Cyrano and $2.1 million for 666. That would put both outside of the top five.

As for the holdovers, the post President’s Day weekend usually sees rather large drops for those returnees. After as its terrific debut (more on that below), Uncharted could be headed for a slide in the 50 percent range with Dog in the low to mid 40s. Spider-Man: No Way Home, Death on the Nile, and Jackass Forever should hold their spots in the 3-5 positions.

So as the Caped Crusader readies for his closeup and a nine figure start (my box office prediction for it will be up tomorrow), here’s how I see things happening this weekend:

1. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $21.8 million

2. Dog

Predicted Gross: $8.4 million

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $6 million

4. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $3.7 million

5. Jackass Forever

Predicted Gross: $2.8 million

Box Office Results (February 18-21)

It’s Tom Holland’s world and we’re just living in it as his adventure flick Uncharted with Mark Wahlberg dominated the four-day holiday frame with a much bigger than anticipated $51.3 million. That blows away my forecast of $33.7 million and shows that its lead’s star power extends beyond him in the Spidey suit. Expect a sequel to be fast tracked.

Channing Tatum received a welcome return after a lengthy starring role absence as his directorial debut Dog took in $17.3 million, lapping my $13.3 million estimate. With an A- Cinemascore grade, this could perform well over subsequent weeks as Tatum has The Lost City lined up with Sandra Bullock a month from now.

That other franchise of Holland’s – Spider-Man: No Way Home – was third with $9.2 million as it swung past my $7.3 million take. At $772 million, it’s perched at #3 domestically all-time.

Death on the Nile stalled in its sophomore frame and fell from first to fourth with $7.7 million (I went higher at $9.8 million). The underwhelming two week total is $26 million.

Jackass Forever was fifth with $6 million (I said $5.7 million) for a three week tally of $47 million.

Finally, Jennifer Lopez’s rom com Marry Me was sixth in its second go-round with $4.3 million compared to my more generous $6 million prediction. It’s made $17 million.

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

February 18-21 Box Office Predictions

The video game adaptation Uncharted with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg looks to rule the #1 spot over the four-day President’s Day weekend while Channing Tatum’s directorial debut Dog hopes for a solid second place showing. They’re the newbies coming on Friday and you can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both of them here:

Uncharted Box Office Prediction

Dog Box Office Prediction

While reviews are mixed (50% currently on Rotten Tomatoes) for Uncharted, it should easily take a commanding lead for the POTUS frame. My low to mid 30s take puts it at about two and half times the gross of Dog, which finds Mr. Tatum in his first starring role in nearly half a decade.

As for holdovers, the long weekend should allow for smallish drop-offs. We’ve seen that play out previously during the mid February time period. Death on the Nile, following its mediocre start, might flirt with staying in double digits (I have it just under) with Spider-Man: No Way Home (that other Holland pic), Marry Me, and Jackass Forever filling out the rest of the chart.

Here’s how I envision the top 6 and these are estimates over the Friday to Monday holiday:

1. Uncharted

Predicted Gross: $33.7 million

2. Dog

Predicted Gross: $13.3 million

3. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $9.8 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $7.3 million

5. Marry Me

Predicted Gross: $6 million

6. Jackass Forever

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million

Box Office Results (February 11-13)

As mentioned, Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile (his follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express) went a bit off the tracks with $12.8 million. That’s shy of my $14.3 million projection and it’s less than half of what Orient accomplished out of the gate.

Jackass Forever dropped to second with $8 million. The 65% drop was the largest of the five picture franchise and under my prediction of $11.3 million. The prankster sequel stands at $37 million after ten days.

Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson couldn’t get audiences to fall for them as Marry Me debuted in third with $7.9 million. That didn’t match my expectation of $11.2 million. Its simultaneous Peacock streaming start might have caused many couples to simply view from home.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was fourth with $7.5 million (I said $7.1 million) for $759 million overall. The MCU smash is just $1 million away from Avatar and becoming the third largest domestic earner of all-time (obviously it will hit that mark this week).

Liam Neeson’s latest revenge thriller Blacklight performed in line with his other COVID genre tales Honest Thief and The Marksman. The fifth place tally was $3.5 million, in range with my $3.8 million estimate.

Finally, Moonfall took a giant step down to #8 and fell 70% with $2.9 million in its sophomore outing (I was a little more generous with $3.5 million). Sing 2 and Scream managed to leap it for the sixth and seventh spots. The putrid gross is just $15 million.

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

Oscar Predictions: Marry Me

Jennifer Lopez is back in rom com territory tomorrow with Marry Me, which debuts in theaters and Peacock streaming. It’s hoping to be a midsize Valentine’s Day frame hit. The reviews are in and they’re not half bad with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 60%.

You’d be correct in wondering why this material warrants an Oscar post. This is due to the soundtrack in which the star contributes numerous tracks. Some singles are already out such as “Pa’ Ti + Lonely” (a duet with her costar Maluma) and “On My Way”.

Universal could focus on either of them or other ditties for an Original Song push. If Lopez does manage to find herself in the mix, it would mark her first Academy nod. As you may recall, J-Lo was heavily favored to land a Supporting Actress mention two years ago for Hustlers and her omission was a surprise. There’s plenty of songs to come in the next year, but it stands to reason that she’ll be campaigned for her musical contributions. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

February 11-13 Box Office Predictions

It’s been pretty easy to predict each weekend’s #1 film for a while – a lot of Spidey, a one-week interruption by Scream, and Johnny Knoxville and his pranksters in Jackass Forever. That gets a little more complicated this time around as three new pics enter the marketplace: Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express follow-up Death on the Nile, the Jennifer Lopez/Owen Wilson musical rom com Marry Me, and the latest Liam Neeson revenge saga Blacklight. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the trio right here:

Death on the Nile Box Office Prediction

Marry Me Box Office Prediction

Blacklight Box Office Prediction

Let’s start with Blacklight. Had this Neeson led tale (his granddaughter gets taken in it) come out in February a decade ago, we might be having a different conversation. However, grosses for these genre exercises with the actor have dwindled over the past couple of years (see Honest Thief and The Marksman). Therefore my $3.8 million estimate puts it at the tail end of the top five.

Then there’s Marry Me. It’s shrewdly placed during Valentine’s Day weekend where couples could be searching out something to view on date night. They will have the opportunity to do so with Marry Me in the theater and on Peacock and that could eat into the earnings. I have it barely topping double digits, but will admit that it could over perform and even snatch the #1 spot.

Jackass Forever is the fifth feature in the 20-year-old franchise and the fifth to open at #1. Looking over previous sophomore frame dips for earlier pics, I was surprised at their low drops. For 2002’s Jackass: The Movie, it was 44%.  2006’s Jackass: Number Two fell 49% while 2010’s Jackass 3D was the steepest at 57% (it was coming off a massive $50 million premiere). Spinoff Bad Grandpa in 2013 only had a 37% decline. I’ll say Forever loses about 50% That could be good enough for anywhere from the 1-3 slot depending on how Nile and Marry pan out. There could be a photo finish for that two spot.

Murder on the Orient Express tracked a solid $28 million haul just over four years ago. Yet it didn’t leg out particularly well and I question whether audiences are truly excited for another dose of Hercule Poirot and his many suspects. I suspect it should still make around half of what its predecessor took in. That would get it to #1, but we’re in a situation where we could have three genuine contenders for the top spot.

Spider-Man should stay in the top five with Moonfall potentially dropping out. The Roland Emmerich disaster tale managed just a C+ Cinemascore grade to go with its weak opening. A sophomore fall in the 60% range appears likely.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a certain game between the Bengals and Rams taking place Sunday. We usually don’t see three high-profile releases on Super Bowl weekend and it’s fair to assume grosses will take a hit on that date.

Here’s how I see it shaking out for your top 6:

1. Death on the Nile

Predicted Gross: $14.3 million

2. Jackass Forever

Predicted Gross: $11.3 million

3. Marry Me

Predicted Gross: $11.2 million

4. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

5. Blacklight

Predicted Gross: $3.8 million

6. Moonfall

Predicted Gross: $3.5 million

Box Office Results (February 4-6)

The Jackass franchise is five for five when it comes to opening #1 at the box office. Jackass Forever performed in line with estimates at $23.1 million, a touch ahead of my $21.8 million projection. It ranks fourth in terms of the quintet of debuts (just ahead of the original), but it’s certainly an impressive number given the circumstances.

As for Roland Emmerich’s disaster pic Moonfall… not so much. The big budget ($140 million) lunar saga cratered with only $9.8 million (I went higher with $12.8 million). As mentioned above, expect a precipitous drop in its sophomore frame.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was third with $9.5 million, swinging a bit above my $8.1 million take. The total has reached $748 million as it inches ever closer to 3rd domestically all-time (currently held by Avatar with $760 million).

Scream was fourth with $4.7 million (I said $4.4 million) and it’s scared up an overall tally of $68 million.

Sing 2 rounded out the top five with $4.2 million compared to my $3.6 million estimate. Total is $139 million.

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

Marry Me Box Office Prediction

It’s been 20 years since the heyday of Jennifer Lopez rom coms like The Wedding Planner and Maid in Manhattan, but the actress returns to the genre (with a heavy dose of music) on February 11th in Marry Me. Directed by Kat Coiro, Lopez stars as a spurned pop star who strikes up a romance with Owen Wilson. The supporting cast includes Maluma, John Bradley, and Sarah Silverman.

Originally scheduled for Valentine’s Day weekend 2021 before the inevitable COVID delay, it will be available on Peacock streaming same day. Clearly hoping for a healthy female turnout, plenty of viewers could opt to RSVP from home rather than walk down the theater aisle.

J-Lo’s last foray into this territory was 2018’s Second Act, which debuted over a packed Christmas weekend to only $6.5 million (it legged out decently to nearly $40 million). I’ll project Marry Me manages to top that figure, but it still could struggle to reach double digits. I’ll say it just manages to.

Marry Me opening weekend prediction: $11.2 million

For my Death on the Nile prediction, click here:

Death on the Nile Box Office Prediction

For my Blacklight prediction, click here:

Blacklight Box Office Prediction

Death on the Nile Box Office Prediction

Hercule Poirot is back in mystery solving form (quite a while after he was supposed to be) when Death on the Nile sets sail in theaters on February 11th. The follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express finds Kenneth Branagh back as the famed Agatha Christie sleuth. As he did with Express, the star directs himself. Tom Bateman reprises his role from the predecessor. The supporting cast includes Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer (the pic was shot was shot prior to troubling details about his personal life surfaced), Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright.

Budgeted at a reported $90 million, Nile was originally slated for multiplexes in December 2020 before numerous COVID delays. In that time, Branagh made Belfast and it’s become one of the favorites to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

Back in 2017, Orient debuted to a better than anticipated $28 million. It stalled a bit in subsequent weekends, but eventually hit just over $100 million domestically. At that time, audiences gave it a B Cinemascore grade – not bad though certainly not impressive.

That calls into question whether moviegoers will be excited for another dose of Poirot and his suspects. Furthermore, Nile will attempt to skew towards a female crowd. Some could be distracted with the release of the Jennifer Lopez rom com Marry Me. There’s also a football game on Sunday that could eat into the grosses.

I deduce that this might make about half of what Express accomplished for its start.

Death on the Nile opening weekend prediction: $14.3 million

For my Marry Me prediction, click here:

Marry Me Box Office Prediction

For my Blacklight prediction, click here:

Blacklight Box Office Prediction

Summer 2000: The Top 10 Hits and More

As I do every summer on the blog, I am looking back at the cinematic seasons of 30, 20, and 10 years ago and recounting the top ten hits, other notable pics, and some misfires. A week ago, I covered the summer of 1990 (when we all were “ghosted”). If you missed it, you can peruse it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/18/summer-1990-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

Today brings us to the dawn of the new century. What struck me is that there weren’t a whole lot of outright flops, but the ones that were are rather significant bombs. Let’s take a trip down memory lane of 2000 and were we not entertained?!?!

10. The Patriot

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger teamed up with disaster flick specialist Roland Emmerich for this Revolutionary War era drama that managed to just achieve blockbuster status and barely top its reported $110 million budget stateside.

9. Big Momma’s House

Domestic Gross: $117 million

Negative reviews couldn’t prevent this Martin Lawrence comedy from nearly quadrupling its $30 million budget and spawning two eventual sequels. 30% also happens to be its Rotten Tomatoes score.

8. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Domestic Gross: $123 million

Eddie Murphy’s sequel to his 1996 hit certainly didn’t get the reviews of its predecessor, but it fell only $5 million short of the domestic gross of part 1 and introduced superstar Janet Jackson as his new love interest. Part 2 also greatly expanded Eddie’s work as other members of the Klump brood. As you can see from numbers 8 and 9, it was a big summer for comedians in fat suits.

7. Dinosaur

Domestic Gross: $137 million

The prehistoric Disney animated adventure is not one of their most talked about titles in recent decades, but it was still a profitable venture that grossed nearly $350 million worldwide.

6. What Lies Beneath

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Despite mixed reviews, Robert Zemeckis’s Hitchcockian thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer landed big with audiences. Its filming schedule is a memorable one. Zemeckis was shooting Cast Away with Tom Hanks and there was a long break in filming so its star could shed weight and grow his long beard. It was enough time for the director to fit in Beneath. 

5. Scary Movie

Domestic Gross: $157 million

The summer’s biggest comedy was a Scream spoof from filmmaker Keenan Ivory Wayans. Shot for less than $20 million, it spawned four sequels and became its own franchise.

4. X-Men

Domestic Gross: $157 million

I recently wrote about the 20th anniversary of X-Men here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/14/x-men-at-20-a-look-back/

That post talks about its significant impact on the comic book genre that has dominated the 21st century.

3. The Perfect Storm

Domestic Gross: $182 million

Wolfgang Peterson’s fact based disaster drama with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg was not much of a hit with critics, but crowds were swept up in the waves.

2. Gladiator

Domestic Gross: $187 million

Ridley Scott’s historical action drama kicked off summer 2000 and made a global superstar out of Russell Crowe and provided a juicy supporting part for Joaquin Phoenix. The film became an Oscar darling – winning Best Picture and Crowe taking Best Actor. This is the rare summer popcorn pic that achieved awards glory.

1. Mission: Impossible 2

Domestic Gross: $215 million

This sequel cruised to the top spot of earners for the season. Now that there’s been six editions in the franchise, this John Woo directed experience is generally (and rightfully) considered the weakest of the bunch. Yet that didn’t prevent huge grosses.

And now for some other notable features:

Chicken Run

Domestic Gross: $106 million

This still stands as the highest grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time and it doubled its budget domestically. A sequel is in development, but it was recently announced that lead voice Mel Gibson will not be part of the proceedings.

Gone in 60 Seconds

Domestic Gross: $101 million

Despite poor reviews, Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie’s remake of the 1970s heist pic still zoomed (barely) past $100 million and was a solid performer overseas.

Me, Myself & Irene

Domestic Gross: $90 million

The Farrelly Brothers reunited with their Dumb and Dumber star Jim Carrey for this comedy that earned mixed reaction. This was nowhere near the hit that the brothers had two years earlier with their runaway success There’s Something About Mary, but it still made money.

Space Cowboys

Domestic Gross: $90 million

Clint Eastwood guided this “old guys in space” tale alongside Tommy Lee Jones to a very respectable gross and decent critical reaction.

Hollow Man

Domestic Gross: $73 million

Paul Verhoeven’s take on the H.G. Wells novel starred Kevin Bacon and earned a Visual Effects Oscar nomination (losing to Gladiator). While it didn’t make its budget back stateside, it ended up doubling its price tag when factoring in foreign markets. A direct to video sequel followed.

Shaft

Domestic Gross: $70 million

Samuel L. Jackson took over the iconic private dick role from Richard Roundtree (who costarred here) in this sequel from the late John Singleton. Christian Bale memorably plays a villain here. Another sequel followed in 2019 and it was an outright flop.

Bring It On

Domestic Gross: $68 million

Made for only $11 million, this teen cheerleading comedy was an unexpected hit that gave Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union a boost in their careers. Five direct to video sequels followed as well as a stage musical.

The Cell

Domestic Gross: $61 million

Despite so-so reviews, this twisty supernatural thriller with Jennifer Lopez easily topped its $33 million budget. It has continued to have ardent admirers including the late Roger Ebert, who awarded it four stars.

Coyote Ugly

Domestic Gross: $60 million

This tale about saloon life with Piper Perabo and John Goodman managed to take in over $100 million worldwide against a $45 million budget and has become a cult favorite since.

The Original Kings of Comedy

Domestic Gross: $38 million

A stand-up comedy pic grossing this much in theaters is notable. Spike Lee directed Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer and audiences turned out.

As I mentioned, the total bombs aren’t plentiful here. However, they’re notable:

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Domestic Gross: $26 million

A pet project of Robert De Niro, this loose take on the 1960s animated series grossed a third of its budget domestically and was quickly forgotten.

Titan A.E.

Domestic Gross: $22 million

20th Century Fox had a big failure here at the start of the 21st century with this animated sci-fi tale with Matt Damon as a leading voice. The price tag was reportedly around $90 million and it made just $36 million worldwide.

Battlefield Earth

Domestic Gross: $21 million

Based on a work from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, audiences and critics savaged this sci-fi tale with John Travolta. It won a then record 7 Golden Raspberry Awards and was mocked relentlessly for its poor quality.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have 2010 recounted on the blog in the coming days…

Oscars 2019: The Case of Laura Dern

My Case of outlines for Oscar contenders brings us to the second post for Supporting Actress players – Laura Dern in Marriage Story. The breakdown:

The Case for Laura Dern

Dern is already an Emmy and SAG winner and five-time Golden Globe recipient, but she has yet to pick up an Oscar. She’s been nominated twice before in 1991 for Rambling Rose and for 2015’s Wild. A well-respected veteran from a Hollywood family, Dern has balanced blockbusters and indies for years. Her role a whip smart and ruthless divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s latest drew raves. Yet this is also seen as a career achievement prize given her zero previous wins. Dern has won all major precursors – Globes, SAG, Critics Choice, and a handful of critics groups awards.

The Case Against Laura Dern

There’s not much of one. Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers was seen as her strongest competitor, but she was snubbed on nominations morning. Dern’s Marriage Story costar Scarlett Johansson is a double nominee, recognized in this race for Jojo Rabbit. The Academy could feel obliged to give ScarJo a victory here. Interestingly, Dern’s Little Women costar Florence Pugh is up as well.

The Verdict

Dern is a huge front runner and anyone else winning would be seen as a sizable upset.

My Case of posts will continue with another of Dern’s costars… Adam Driver in Marriage Story!

Oscars 2019: The Case of Kathy Bates

My Case of posts on the major nominees for the Oscars brings us to our first contender for Supporting Actress – Kathy Bates in Richard Jewell. Let’s see what the verdict is for the veteran thespian:

The Case for Kathy Bates

She’s a critically acclaimed performer who’s excelled in drama, horror (earning an Emmy for TV’s American Horror Story), and comedy (she’s famously Adam Sandler’s Mama in The Waterboy). In 1990, she went from relative obscurity to winning the Best Actress Oscar for her terrifying role in the Stephen King adaptation Misery. Since then, she’s picked up two Supporting Actress nods for 1998’s Primary Colors and 2002’s About Schmidt. For her work in Clint Eastwood’s Jewell playing the title character’s mother, Bates also nabbed a Golden Globe nomination and a win from the National Board of Review.

The Case Against Kathy Bates

Even with the Globes recognition and NBR victory, she didn’t make the SAG cut. Her nomination was a bit of a surprise with most prognosticators assuming it might go to Annette Bening (The Report), Nicole Kidman (Bombshell), and especially Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers. Her nomination represents the only one for Jewell, which had decent reviews but struggled mightily at the box office.

The Verdict

Considering her inclusion wasn’t totally expected, I would rank Bates 5th out of five in terms of likelihood for the win.

My Case of posts will continue with the second Best Actor hopeful… Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!