Oscar Watch: The Banker Bounced

The AFI Film Festival is ongoing and it serves as the final opportunity for releases to stake their claim for Oscar consideration in the fest format. George Nolfi’s The Banker had been selected to close the proceedings tomorrow evening. Not only was this a chance for it to enter into awards chatter, but it’s also among the first feature films that will be shown on Apple TV’s new streaming service. In other words, while Netflix looks to have a banner 2019 when it comes to various contenders like The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, and Dolemite Is My Name – this picture marks a way for Apple TV to get into the game.

However, the surprise announcement came this afternoon that AFI organizers are pulling its gala screening. Details are rather scarce as reports indicate there’s potential allegations surfacing about a member of the family played by Anthony Mackie’s character. Expect those details to be fleshed out in short order. Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson star in this true tale of two African American businessmen in the 1960s. Costars include Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, Jessie Usher, and Colm Meaney.

The Banker is scheduled for a December 6th theatrical release prior to Apple’s streaming rollout early next year. That early December slot put in contention for nominations and now its release at this juncture now appears to be in doubt. I was planning to do an Oscar Watch post on it by the end of the week, but it looks like that’s in the vault for the foreseeable future. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Almost Christmas Box Office Prediction

Next weekend comes the first Christmas themed title as Almost Christmas presents itself in theaters. The pic comes from director David E. Talbert, maker of 2008’s First Sunday and 2013’s Baggage Claim. The comedic drama focuses on a dysfunctional holiday family gathering with a cast that includes Kimberly Elise, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union, Danny Glover, Jessie Usher, Danny Glover, Nicole Ari Parker, Omar Epps, John Michael Higgins, and Romany Malco.

Christmas should benefit from both its release date and the fact that it could attract a sizable African American audience. One decent comp would be 2007’s This Christmas, which debuted to $17.9 million. A more unlikely comp would be 2013’s The Best Man Holiday, which shocked the industry with an opening of over $30M.

I’ll say Almost Christmas manages a merry start in the high teens range.

Almost Christmas opening weekend prediction: $18.3 million

For my Arrival prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/02/arrival-box-office-prediction/

For my Shut In prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/11/02/shut-in-box-office-prediction/

Independence Day: Resurgence Box Office Prediction

20 years after its predecessor became the biggest summer hit of 1996 (and the year for that matter), the long gestating sequel Independence Day: Resurgence invades theaters next weekend. Long gestating? Absolutely. Long awaited? That remains to be seen.

Disaster director extraordinaire Roland Emmerich is back behind the camera for the reported $200 million budget alien pic and he’s brought along some of the original cast from two decades ago. That includes Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner and Vivica A. Fox mixed in with new cast members Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Sela Ward, and William Fichtner. Conspicuously missing? Will Smith, whose character has been killed off (not a spoiler: the trailers say so). This wouldn’t have been the case if the Fresh Prince had signed up, but he’s got a more breathlessly anticipated summer ’16 flick coming with Suicide Squad.

The original was a phenomenon that took in $306 million domestically, which is equivalent to nearly $600 million today adjusted for inflation. Comparing the opening of the first Day is a tricky proposition. Independence Day opened on a Tuesday over the long Fourth of July weekend, generating $96 million over its six day roll-out. The Friday to Sunday take was $50 million.

Resurgence faces challenges that the first one did not. Will Smith was an emerging box office sensation at the time of release and he’s nowhere to be seen here. This summer has proven that there’s a touch of sequelitis occurring at the multiplex. Then there’s this – will younger audiences turn out in droves when part 1 was released when they were in diapers or before they were born?

While Resurgence shouldn’t have too much trouble topping that $50 million figure earned in the traditional Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend, it’s highly unlikely to reach the over $300M accomplished by the first one. I’ll predict an opening gross in the low to mid 60s for a so-so debut.

Independence Day: Resurgence opening weekend prediction: $63.5 million

For my Free State of Jones prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/06/15/free-state-of-jones-box-office-prediction/

For my The Shallows prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/06/15/the-shallows-box-office-prediction/