Over a decade ago, comedian Jenny Slate and director Dean Fleischer-Camp teamed up for the acclaimed animated short films Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. They were centered on a character that fits the description of that title. At Telluride over Labor Day weekend last year, the feature length version of their creation was screened to winning reviews.
Slated for release on June 24th via A24, Shell‘s vocal contributions (besides Slate and Fleischer-Camp) include Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, and Isabella Rossellini. The mockumentary also includes Conan O’Brien, Lesley Stahl, and Brian Williams playing themselves.
With a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, Marcel could certainly turn the heads of Academy voters. It might come down to how serious a campaign its studio wages for it and how various Disney and Netflix animated works are received in the months ahead. Bottom line – Shell should be in the mix for the five Animated Feature slots and my Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
Top Gun: Maverick isn’t the only Memorial Day weekend release currently holding at an impressive 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. The other is The Bob’s Burgers Movie, the cinematic version of the long running animated series. The Emmy winning series hopes that the big screen rendering serves up meaty box office numbers over the holiday.
Will Oscar voters take notice? Even with the impressive score, most reviews indicate it’s a generally pleasing Burgers episode with a longer runtime. If 2007’s The Simpsons Movie (which was a massive hit) couldn’t manage a Best Animated Feature nod, I doubt this will. However, if future animated titles for 2022 don’t meet expectations, that narrative could shift. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
I will readily admit that I’m no expert when it comes to this prediction as I’ve never seen an episode of Bob’s Burgers. The cinematic adaptation is slated to debut over Memorial Day weekend. Based on the Fox series that began in 2011 and recently completed season #12, Bernard Derriman directs. Voice actors participating from the show include H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts, Zach Galifianakis, and Kevin Kline. Familiar faces joining the fun are Aziz Ansari, Gary Cole, Jenny Slate, and Stephanie Beatriz.
Burger’s was originally ordered up for summer of 2020 before its COVID delays. The TV program certainly has its dedicated admirers, but I’m not convinced it will translate to a robust holiday weekend. Plenty of fans could simply wait until it’s available to stream. In other words, this might make about a tenth of what The Simpsons Movie made ($74 million) for its beginning.
I’ll also confess that I could be underestimating this based on my unfamiliarity with the source material. A four-day take near $20 million would be pleasing for the studio considering the reported $60-70 million price tag. I’m not willing to go that high.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie opening weekend prediction: $9.2 million (Friday to Sunday); $11.6 million (Friday to Monday)
Coming off terrific reviews and a sizzling limited rollout, Everything Everywhere All at Once debuts in wide release on April 8th. The sci-fi action comedy comes from Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as Daniels) with an acclaimed leading performance from Michelle Yeoh. The supporting cast includes Ke Huy Quan (Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data from The Goonies!), Stephanie Hsu, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum Jr., James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Sporting a 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating, Everything grossed just over half a million bucks on only 10 screens last weekend (that’s a $50k average). It’s fair to assume that the A24 tale will play stronger on the coasts than in between.
That said, the buzz that began at South by Southwest should result in this earning its reported $25 million budget back domestically. I’ll project $7-10 million for the expansion.
Everything Everywhere All at Once opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million
For my Sonic the Hedgehog 2 prediction, click here:
Prior to its theatrical release on March 25th, Everything Everywhere All at Once has premiered at South by Southwest over the weekend. The sci-fi comedy comes from directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who are collectively known as Daniels. This is the follow-up to their acclaimed 2016 surrealist debut Swiss Army Man with Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. Everything features Michelle Yeoh experiencing numerous multiverses of action with a supporting cast including Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, Jenny Slate, James Hong, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Quan, by the way, you may know as Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data from The Goonies.
When the Internet chatter broke last night, lots of bloggers were raving about this unconventional pic with particular praise toward Yeoh. The veteran actress has had acclaimed performances in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Crazy Rich Asians, but she’s yet to surface for awards attention. The original screenplay (from the filmmakers) is also being touted for its boldness.
That said, this could be a prime example of a movie that has its fervent champions and doesn’t materialize in Oscar discussions (despite inevitable Twitter talk). The Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 67% with both Variety and Hollywood Reporter logging so-so reviews. If A24 does mount a campaign, they’ll have supporters but that may not be enough. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…
In Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, Laura (Rashida Jones) spends a lot of unanticipated time with her wealthy and impulsive playboy dad Felix (Bill Murray). They share a mission to find out whether her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is cheating and that’s a subject Felix considers himself an expert in. As they push forward in screwball comic fashion to get answers, Laura has some fun while recognizing the flaws of her paternal copilot. And that kind of describes the picture itself. It’s often fun because Bill Murray is by her side. The flaws are also on display. This is often a meandering and predictable journey with only occasionally insightful dialogue about marriage and father/daughter relationships.
Laura is a writer in New York City and Dean is constantly traveling as his business is beginning to flourish. We get a quick glimpse of their romantic wedding night before flashing forward to their domesticated existence with two young girls. She may be suffering writer’s block, but her imagination takes hold with possible hints of her partner’s infidelity. Felix is more than ready to help her get to the bottom of it all and is in fact the driving force to do so.
Those who follow Murray (and why wouldn’t you) should know the folklore of Bill Murray Stories. The legendary actor is known to be unpredictable by showing up unannounced at random parties and having odd and sometimes hilarious interactions with fans. Coppola, who directed him in the far superior Lost in Translation, cheekily plays with that persona here. When he’s speeding through NYC with daughter in tow in a red convertible and devouring caviar, I couldn’t help but think that might be something the actor might do. When they’re pulled over and he charms his way out of a ticket, the same rule applies.
In that sequence, watching Bill Murray in said convertible with said caviar and using his iconic charms to keep on speeding is pleasing enough. The same could be said for a scene where he regales a group of strangers who are now his friends with his energetic singing. It feels as if an outtake might have been committed to film. His chemistry with Jones is just fine, though I wouldn’t think too much about how fantastic his interactions with Scarlett Johansson were in Translation. Maybe that’s not fair as Rocks doesn’t aim near as high as that previous collaboration.
Towards the conclusion, Coppola squeezes in some decent material about how Felix has shaped Laura’s views on men. It helps explain the increasingly ridiculous amateur detective shenanigans they find themselves in. On the Rocks is certainly watchable and entertaining enough and it’s primarily due to the guy in the convertible. I just wish a better story drove the action.
Illumination Entertainment is back in the summer blockbuster animation game next weekend with the release of TheSecretLifeofPets2. The follow-up to the 2016 smash has Chris Renaud back in the director’s chair. Returning voices include Kevin Hart, Eric Stonestreet, Ellie Kemper, Bobby Moynihan, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, and Jenny Slate. Patton Oswalt takes over the lead role of Max after Louis C.K. was dropped after recent controversies. Other familiar faces providing new voiceover work to the franchise include Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and Harrison Ford.
Three summers ago, the first Pets had a scorching start with a $104 million start and $368 million eventual domestic gross. It’s worth noting that competition on its opening weekend wasn’t as strong as DarkPhoenix will premiere against this. This sequel is garnering reviews in line with its predecessor. Part 1 ended up with a 73% Rotten Tomatoes score while this is at 68%.
I look for this to perform similarly to Illumination’s last two efforts. DespicableMe3 earned $72 million for its beginning two summers ago and Dr. Seuss’ TheGrinch made $67 million and perhaps a bit under.
TheSecretLifeofPets2 opening weekend prediction: $65.2 million
2019 is shaping up to be a year where the Best Animated Feature at the Oscars could be dominated by sequels. HowtoTrainYourDragon: TheHiddenWorld already opened to raves and seems destined for a nod just like its two predecessors. Disney has ToyStory4 and Frozen2 on deck.
TheSecretLifeofPets2 is Universal’s shot at Academy recognition. It’s out on June 7, following up on the 2016 animal tale smash hit. Early reviews indicate part deux is an overall improvement in quality. The first Pets achieved a 73% Rotten Tomatoes rating while this currently sits at 91%.
This puts the likely mega blockbuster in contention, but it’ll need to stick around in a competition where the three previously mentioned sequels may well garner more votes. Only time will tell if that’s feasible. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
A comic book origin story that often masquerades as an otherworldly buddy comedy, Venom will likely be remembered for the weirdly inspired performance of Tom Hardy and not much else. We’ve seen the title character before with Topher Grace in Spider–Man3. The alien creature made of black goo played as a superfluous extra villain in that picture. Now Venom is ready for his closeup.
Hardy is Eddie Brock, a San Francisco investigative reporter with a lovely DA fiancée Anne (Michelle Williams) and a penchant for asking one too many questions. He does just that with gazillionaire inventor Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed), who’s a beloved mogul in the community. He’s also, unbeknownst to the masses, experimenting on poor people with a mysterious alien life form that his company the Life Foundation discovered in outer space. Eddie’s inquires into these practices lead to his firing as a journalist and the dissolution of his romance.
A few months later as Eddie is down on his luck, one of Drake’s scientists spills the beans to him about further tomfoolery at the Foundation. This leads to a break-in at their research facility and one of those nasty and gooey extraterrestrials attaching themselves to Eddie. It turns out these visitors intend to destroy Planet Earth.
Yet we also find out that Eddie’s new inhabitant of his vessel has a sense of humor. And Hardy’s performance filled with strange noises, facial tics, and general bizareness makes for an often memorable duo. Venom himself is inside Eddie’s head constantly with what sounds like Christian Bale’s basement octave range from TheDarkKnight series. I’m really not sure if Hardy’s work here is what you’d call good, but it’s definitely not forgettable. He seems committed to whatever the heck he’s decided Brock/Venom is and that itself is fun.
Unfortunately there’s lots of other forgettable aspects to the movie itself. This would include lots of the dialogue, the action sequences, Williams as the love interest, and Ahmed as the bad guy. Important stuff generally. It’s also amusing how crystal clear it is that director Ruben Fleischer (who’s done better with Zombieland) and the screenwriters so want this to be rated R. I assume Sony said otherwise, but the script has to reach the absolute highest level of profanity and heads being bitten off without achieving the restricted tag. I will give the writers a thumbs up for setting this in San Francisco and avoiding the umpteenth climactic battle at the Golden Gate Bridge.
I can’t deny that Hardy’s bewildering and bewitching and sometimes annoying acting nearly make this worth of the price of admission. There’s just a bit too much muck attached to it.
Sony Pictures hopes to kick off a franchise and set an October opening record next weekend when Venom debuts. The picture’s namesake is an anti-hero spawned from the Spider-Man comics. Moviegoers first saw him in the form of Topher Grace in Spider–Man3. That rendering of the character didn’t sit too well with comic book aficionados.
The studio hopes this version changes that. Ruben Fleischer, best known for Zombieland, serves behind the camera. Playing Venom and his alter ego Eddie Brock is Tom Hardy. Costars include Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Scott Haze, Reid Scott, Jenny Slate, and Woody Harrelson.
Sequels and spin-offs are hoped for and the marketing campaign has been pervasive. The reaction to trailers has been mostly positive, but word is that reviews won’t be published until the day before release. That’s not always a good sign. Similar buzz greeted SuicideSquad (among others) and it managed to meet expectations and gross $133 million in its first weekend. That stands as the largest August debut ever.
The correlation is that Venom could do the same in October, but estimates aren’t as high here. This is expected to gross between $60-$70 million. Even if it reached the low-end of that spectrum, this would top October record holder Gravity at $55 million. I’ll note that Halloween (out October 19) also stands a solid shot at exceeding that.
My feeling is this will meet projections, but on the lower end of the spectrum. How it performs in subsequent weekends will be dependent on buzz and that may be the biggest indicator on whether Sony gets its longed for cinematic universe.