Late Night Box Office Prediction

After achieving the highest limited per theater average of 2019, Late Night expands nationwide this weekend and hopes to attract eyeballs outside of major markets. The dramedy first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to sturdy reviews and it stands at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Nisha Ganatra, the film casts Emma Thompson as a talk show host who hires Mindy Kaling as her first female writer. Kaling wrote the screenplay. The supporting cast includes Max Casella, Hugh Dancy, John Lithgow, Denis O’Hare, Reid Scott, and Amy Ryan.

Over this past weekend, Late Night debuted in four theaters and raked in nearly $250,000. As mentioned, that’s strong enough to set the year’s best rollout for a platform release. Even with that designation, the pic could have issues reaching a mainstream audience. Original comedies have struggled recently and that includes those with positive critical reaction (Long Shot being a recent example).

Mid single digits is likely where this ends up as this plays in around 1500 theaters.

Late Night opening weekend prediction: $4.5 million

For my Men in Black: International prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/05/men-in-black-international-box-office-prediction/

For my Shaft prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/06/shaft-box-office-prediction/

For my The Dead Don’t Die prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/09/the-dead-dont-die-box-office-prediction/

Pet Sematary Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (04/04): On the eve of its premiere, I’m upping my estimate from $28.7 million to $34.7 million

Arriving in theaters 30 years following the movie it’s remaking, Pet Sematary hopes to bring scary flick fans to the multiplexes next Friday. The horror pic is based on Stephen King’s acclaimed 1983 bestseller. Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer co-direct (making their first high-profile release) with a cast including Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow.

It doesn’t hurt that this is the first King adaptation since, well, 2017’s massive success It. That film certainly upped the legendary author’s brand and should help this bring in some cash. To add to that, reviews for the 2019 version are an improvement over the 1989 original (91% vs. 50% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Competition is a factor. While Shazam! is of a different genre, the two features could compete for similar audience members. That superhero tale will almost certainly come out on top and likely double the gross of this. There’s also Us, which will be in its third weekend after a huge debut.

Even with those potential impediments, Pet Sematary could approach $30 million for a healthy start.

Pet Sematary opening weekend prediction: $34.7 million

For my Shazam! prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/27/shazam-box-office-prediction/

For my The Best of Enemies prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/30/the-best-of-enemies-box-office-prediction/

Daddy’s Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy’s Home was a rather unremarkable comedy that managed to elicit a few laughs and coast on the talents of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It also made a boatload of money and so we enter the territory of the likely unplanned sequel that often feels that way.

The concept, just as in part 1, is pretty simple. The 2015 original pitted softie stepdad Brad (Ferrell) against harder edged real dad Dusty (Wahlberg) vying for the kids attention. Part 2 finds them in a seemingly happy place as Co-Dads. That is until their papas travel to see them for Christmas. And wouldn’t you know it? They exhibit some of the opposite traits that caused Brad and Dusty their problems. John Lithgow is the squishy and overly attentive Brad dad and Mel Gibson is the alpha male and barely attentive Dusty dad. Their presence threatens to upend the recent harmony of their sons. As in the first, there’s an abundance of physical hijinks that follow… most of it directed toward Ferrell. Kids get drunk. They discover girls. Lots of father/son bonding and non bonding happens. The 1980s holiday relief anthem “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” gets more attention than it’s been granted in some time.

Like in the original Home model, the jokes here are mostly predicable and bland with a few genuinely funny parts sprinkled in. Anyone looking for sincere character motivations and real emotion in a Yuletide pic should look elsewhere. In fact, Gibson’s character is kind of an inexplicable monster when you stop and really think about it. It’s  not much worth doing so.

Daddy’s Home 2 isn’t bad and neither was its predecessor. It is utterly forgettable and a little more so than what preceded it. In my review of #1, I stated that when I think of Ferrell and Wahlberg together – my mind goes to the often inspired The Other Guys. I called Daddy’s Home “The Other Movie”. This is the other other one.

** (out of four)

Pitch Perfect 3 Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (12/20/17): I am revising my PP3 estimate from $40.6 million for the four-day to $33.6 million.

The Bellas are back for the holidays as Pitch Perfect 3 hits theaters next Friday. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, and Hana Mae Lee are among returnees alongside Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Newcomers to the series include Ruby Rose and John Lithgow. Trish Sie directs.

The 2012 original was a sleeper hit which grossed $65 million and then became more of a sensation once it became available for home viewing. The summer 2015 sequel shocked all prognosticators with a $69 million opening weekend (topping its predecessor’s entire domestic run) and $184 million overall.

It’s no surprise therefore that Universal Pictures wanted a third helping of accapella comedy. Two and a half years later, Pitch 3 faces competition even in its own musical genre with Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman debuting two days prior. That said, the Bellas appear to have a built-in audience and it could be dangerous to underestimate them.

I still believe Pitch 2 could turn out to be the high water mark in the franchise. A debut in the low to mid 40s would probably put part 3 in the #3 spot behind the second weekend of Star Wars and the first for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Yet with its reported smallish budget of $45 million, that should still be music to the studio’s ears.

Pitch Perfect 3 opening weekend prediction: $33.6 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/11/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-box-office-prediction/

For my The Greatest Showman prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/12/the-greatest-showman-box-office-prediction/

For my Downsizing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/13/downsizing-box-office-prediction/

For my Father Figures prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/12/14/father-figures-box-office-prediction/

A Supporting Actor Oscar History

In the eight decades of Oscar history, we have seen the Supporting Actor category honor actors from the same picture about one-fifth of the time. It’s a fairly rare occurrence, but it’s been especially so as of late. It’s been 26 years since the Academy last did so and that serves as the longest gap by a lot. 2017 could change that.

Before we get to that, a little history lesson…

The first multiple Supporting Actor nominees happened in 1939 when Harry Carey and Claude Rains were nominated for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. 

It was 14 years before it happened again with 1953’s Shane bestowing nods for Jack Palance and Brandon deWilde. The following year gave us our first three actor nominations when Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger all had their names up for On the Waterfront. The 1950s would do this twice more – in 1957’s Peyton Place for Arthur Kennedy and Russ Tamblyn and 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder for Arthur O’Connell and George C. Scott.

1961 would bring Scott another nod for The Hustler, along with Jackie Gleason. 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde nominated both Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard.

1971 was the first year when one of the multiple picture nominees actually won. Ben Johnson emerged victorious for The Last Picture Show, while costar Jeff Bridges was nominated.

The Godfather saga would bestow six nominations among its two classic films. The 1972 original nominated James Caan, Robert Duvall, and Al Pacino. The 1974 sequel had Robert De Niro winning the statue, along with the nominated Michael V. Gazzo and Lee Strasberg. 1976’s Rocky nominated both Mick (Burgess Meredith) and Paulie (Burt Young) while Jason Robards won for 1977’s Julia with Maximillian Schell getting a nod.

Timothy Hutton would win for Ordinary People in 1980 with costar Judd Hirsch nominated. Jack Nicholson won for 1983’s Terms of Endearment with John Lithgow getting recognition. 1986’s Platoon was granted two nominees – Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger.

And in 1991 – Harvey Keitel and Ben Kingsley were nominated for Bugsy. 

That is the 16th and final time this has happened.

As mentioned, this year could potentially change that and there’s a surprising four ways for it to happen.

The least likely of the four scenarios in my opinion would be Jason Mitchell or Garrett Hedlund for Mudbound. Perhaps Mitchell could sneak in, but even that’s a long shot and the chances of both getting in seems non-existent.

The other three scenarios are all plausible. There’s Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water. We have Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me by Your Name. It wouldn’t shock me for either to occur, but maybe the best chance is Sam Rockwell (a lock for a nod) and Woody Harrelson (less so) for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. 

It’s been a quarter century since two actors from the same film heard the names called in Supporting Actor. Will 2017 change that?

Stay tuned…

Daddy’s Home 2 Box Office Prediction

Nearly two years after its predecessor was a major holiday hit, Daddy’s Home 2 looks to replicate that success next weekend. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are back, but this time instead of concentrating on their rival dad scenario – it’s their dads joining the mix in the form of John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. Sean Anders returns as director. Other costars include Linda Cardellini and John Cena.

When the original Daddy’s opened on Christmas Day in 2015, it exceeded expectations with a $38 million opening weekend and $150 million eventual gross. Many comedic sequels don’t match the performance of the original. I suspect that will be the case here. For one thing, the Christmas weekend is a huge one but this sequel chose a November release date. A Bad Moms Christmas will be in its second weekend for humorous sequel competition, as well as other heavy hitters like the sophomore frame of Thor: Ragnarok and the premiere of Murder on the Orient Express.

My estimate has part 2 opening with a low to possibly 20s gross. That may actually put it in third behind Thor and Murder.

Daddy’s Home 2 opening weekend prediction: $21.8 million

For my Murder on the Orient Express prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/11/01/murder-on-the-orient-express-box-office-prediction/

The Accountant Movie Review

Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant is, on one hand, an often routine Jason Bourne style thriller with lots of decent fights. It even stars Mr. Bourne’s buddy Ben Affleck. On the other hand, Bill Dubuque’s screenplay contains some plot elements that left me shocked it was green lit. I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way. You just don’t see action flicks where the central character is an autistic math whiz who mows down bad guys everyday. Said script also comes with a generous heaping of plot holes and meandering subplots.

Affleck is Chris Wolff, suburban number cruncher by day who moonlights for criminal empires catching embezzlers for his real work. He gets paid in cash at times, but also with cool stuff like original Action Comics (appropriate for the newest Caped Crusader) and Picasso paintings. When Chris takes a seemingly legit job auditing a robotics company, he uncovers some questionable practices. Anna Kendrick is one of the business’s employees assisting him.

The myth of Chris and his exploits have caught the attention of a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons) looking to nab him. He’s about to retire because of course he is, so he blackmails a fellow agent with a shady past (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to join his mission. Jon Bernthal is a hit man whose motivations you’ll spot from a mile away, which by the way is about the distance where Chris can hit any target.

We’re also given flashback sequences detailing the title character’s childhood. It begins in 1989 as Chris’s parents are struggling to deal with his diagnosis. Mom leaves. Dad’s solution is to toughen him up, along with their other son. His military background helps turn the boys into badasses.

Does this all sound just slightly weird? Oh it is. The Accountant is loaded with a lot of plot and much of it ends up making little sense. It’s also written with an earnestness and directed with a soberness more than it warrants. This could have worked (maybe – just maybe) if the creative forces and actors just went all in on its B movie goofy as hell material.

Our lead actor plays this about as stone-faced and humorless as he can muster. No performances really stand out among the supporting players, though John Lithgow is always a welcome sight as he plays a corporate meanie. The talented Kendrick is thoroughly wasted.

I was more bemused by The Accountant than entertained by it. I’ll give it a small amount of credit for attempting to inject something different into an otherwise ordinary genre pic. Still, like The Joker said in a franchise Affleck is now part of: Why So Serious?? You may ask that at times along with “Are You Serious?”

** (out of four)