Tag Archives: Jude Law

Oscar Watch – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry is back in theaters next weekend with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s the second in a series of five planned features as it looks to conjure up huge box office dollars like predecessor Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them did.

Early reviews are out and the reaction is mixed at 56% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Not even the most acclaimed Harry Potter pics were ever considered awards contenders for major categories. However, down the line technical races are another story.

Two years ago, the first Beasts managed two Oscar nominations: Production Design and Costume Design. It won the latter. There’s no reason to think it couldn’t be a factor in both of those categories again. That said, voters could feel they’ve already honored the franchise with part 1. Visual Effects and Makeup and Hairstyling are in the realm of possibility, if unlikely.

Bottom line: the costumes especially could garner attention, but don’t expect Grindelwald to exceed (and maybe not match) the first movie.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Box Office Prediction

The wizarding world of J.K. Rowling is back next weekend when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald debuts. This is the follow-up to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which precedes the events of the massive Harry Potter franchise. David Yates (who made the last four Potter flicks and the first Beasts) is back directing. Returning cast members include Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, and Johnny Depp, whose role as the villainous title character will expand from his cameo in the predecessor. Jude Law joins the party as a younger Dumbledore.

There is no doubt that Grindelwald will easily top the charts upon its release, just as all Rowling universe titles have. The real question is how it opens in comparison to 2016’s effort, which premiered on the same November weekend. I believe there’s some solid historical data to consider.

In 2001, the first Potter film (The Sorcerer’s Stone) made $90 million out of the gate. One year later, follow-up Chamber of Secrets made just a tad less at $88 million. This seems like a likely scenario with Grindewald. 

The first Beasts took in $74.4 million for its start two years ago and I’ll put the sequel right under that for a low 70s beginning.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opening weekend prediction: $72.1 million

For my Widows prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/07/widows-box-office-prediction/

For my Instant Family prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/07/instant-family-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Vox Lux

Three years ago, director Brady Corbet took home the Best Director prize and Best Debut film at Venice for The Childhood of a Leader. In 2018, he’s back at the festival with his follow-up Vox Lux. Said to be a haunting tale of a pop music princess (Natalie Portman), early word of mouth is quite encouraging for Corbet’s second effort behind the camera. Some reviewers have commented that it’s a darker take on the same themes of another festival favorite, Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born. 

Portman’s work is said to be fantastic. Her costars include Jude Law, Raffey Cassidy, and Willem Dafoe (on narrator duties), but expect any awards chatter to go to its lead. Portman has been nominated three times already for 2004’s Closer, 2010’s Black Swan (for which she won), and 2016’s Jackie. It may not hurt that Oscar voters are aware of her performance in Annihilation earlier this year, which also earned positive notices.

One important point worth noting: Vox Lux has yet to secure U.S. distribution, so it’s possible this may not hit theaters stateside in 2018. However, based on reaction from Italy, I expect that to occur in short order.

Bottom line: International pop star Lady Gaga has likely made the short list in Best Actress for A Star Is Born. Natalie Portman could potentially join that short list playing an international pop star.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Box Office Prediction

Director Guy Ritchie has, in recent years, brought back Sherlock Holmes to pleasing box office results and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to less than pleasing returns. Next weekend comes his take on another well-known character as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword debuts.

Charlie Hunnam is the title character in this adventure epic that costars Jude Law, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Eric Bana. The Warner Bros production comes with a budget just north of $100 million.

The last time the legend of King Arthur was on the screen in the summer was 13 years ago and the result was a flop. Antoine Fuqua’s take that starred Clive Owen and Keira Knightley managed just a $15 million opening weekend and $51M eventual domestic gross.

Legend of the Sword should fair better, but by how much? Well, there is a considerable roadblock with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being in its second weekend. Poor reviews won’t help. I’ll predict this gets to low to mid 20s, which could put it in a battle for second place with Snatched (though Sword is getting the edge).

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opening weekend prediction: $24.4 million

For my Snatched prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/05/03/snatched-box-office-prediction/

Spy Movie Review

After her terrific breakout role in 2011’s Bridesmaids, the filmography of Melissa McCarthy has nagged at me in one significant way. While her character in Bridesmaids was hilariously rough around the edges, what stood out was her innate likability. It’s a trait that was lacking in varying degrees in all her follow up work – Identity Thief, The Heat, and Tammy.

This situation is rectified in Spy, which teams McCarthy up for the third time with director Paul Feig after Bridesmaids and The Heat (they’ll collabo again next summer in the Ghostbusters reboot). Spy finds McCarthy playing more to her strengths and it’s a welcome sight. Yet it doesn’t totally mask that this effort is a fairly generic 007 genre spoof where the laughs are hit or miss.

McCarthy is Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst whose job consists mostly of assisting debonair agent Bradley Fine (a game Jude Law) by talking in his earpiece and helping him out of international intrigue jams. She’s head over heels for her assigned agent as well, which leads to a humorous fancy dinner scene with him where she’s a bit out of her element. Circumstances soon lead to Susan becoming a field agent responsible for tracking Rayna (Rose Byrne), who’s in possession of a nuke. Our newly minted spy must also work with rough and tumble agent Ford (Jason Statham, showcasing real comedic chops) who is far worse at his profession than he believes. His anecdotes about previous missions provide some of the larger laughs, such as when he had to reattach his arm with his other arm.

Spy follows the playbook of Bond spoof to a tee – various exotic locations, big and complicated action sequences, etc… McCarthy’s character, who gets to don various disguises, gives the actress the most she’s had to work with in a bit. The pic fits the bill as a lazy afternoon couch viewing experience and not much more.

One problem is that Feig has learned one unenviable trait from former colleague Judd Apatow. His movies are about 20 minutes too long and Spy’s premise doesn’t deserve the padded two hour running time. There is filler mixed with genuinely solid set pieces. Flaws aside, it’s nice to see McCarthy shine in a manner she’s not been afforded since her Oscar nomination for her standout part four years ago. I hope her material continues to improve.

**1/2 (out of four)

2015 Early Oscar Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

Continuing on with part two of my impossibly early Oscar predictions for 2015, we move to Best Supporting Actor. As I mentioned in the previous Supporting Actress piece, the predictions that I did at this time of the year in 2014 yielded two out of the five eventual nominees. Same goes for Supporting Actor last year, though it’s worth noting that last year in early September – I mentioned all five eventual nominees in the predicted or other possibilities category.

Unlike Supporting Actress, where Rooney Mara seems to be a shoo in for a nod in Carol, there are no obvious nominees in this category as of yet. One thing seems very possible – Quentin Tarantino has a knack for getting his supporting players attention and that may bode well for either Kurt Russell or Samuel L. Jackson. Right now, I’ll give Russell the edge.

David O. Russell is also known for his performers receiving Academy love and his December release Joy could mean nods for either Bradley Cooper or Robert De Niro. We’ll go with Mr. Cooper at press time.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant could garner plenty of attention and Tom Hardy could benefit from it in this category. It doesn’t hurt that he’s had a terrific year coming off the acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road.

The Cannes Film Festival brought forth raves for the indie drama Youth and Harvey Keitel’s work in it while this fall’s Steven Spielberg drama Bridge of Spies seems to have a major supporting role for character actor Mark Rylance.

Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs may mean nods for either Jeff Daniels or Seth Rogen. The Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy has both John Cusack and Paul Dano (depending on who the studio puts in which category). The Catholic Church sex scandal drama Spotlight has Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. Past winner Benicio del Toro is said to be a standout in this September’s Sicario. And on and on.

In other words, lots of possibilities here and we shall see how it shakes out. For now:

TODD’S FIRST PREDICTIONS – BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Bradley Cooper, Joy

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Harvey Keitel, Youth

Kurt Russell, The Hateful Eight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Other Possibilities:

Steve Carell, Freeheld

John Cusack, Love and Mercy

Jeff Daniels, Steve Jobs

Paul Dano, Love and Mercy

Benicio del Toro, Sicario

Robert De Niro, Joy

Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight

Michael Keaton, Spotlight

Jude Law, Genius

Ewan McGregor, Miles Ahead

Seth Rogen, Steve Jobs

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Billy Bob Thornton, Our Brand is Crisis

And that’ll do it for now! Best Actress coming up tomorrow…

You can peruse my Supporting Actress early picks here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/30/2015-early-oscar-predictions-best-supporting-actress/

 

Spy Box Office Prediction

Ever since Bridesmaids some four years ago, Melissa McCarthy has become a potent box office force and while her comedies have yielded financially pleasing returns, critics haven’t always been on her side – see last summer’s Tammy. This Friday’s Spy is a notable exception as it boasts a terrific 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. The action comedy pairs her yet again with her Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig. The supporting cast includes Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law and Allison Janney.

McCarthy’s star power plus the critical love should lead to a very nice debut for Spy. As I see it, the question is whether or not it manages to top the $39 million earned by The Heat to create McCarthy’s largest domestic opening of all time. I am predicting it’ll just manage to get there and its solid word of mouth should continue its healthy run forward for the weeks to come.

Spy opening weekend prediction: $42.1 million

For my Entourage prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/05/31/entourage-box-office-prediction/

For my Insidious: Chapter 3 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/05/31/insidious-chapter-3-box-office-prediction/