After premiering to solid reviews at the London Film Festival last week, the sci-fi animated comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong hits multiplexes on October 22. From directors Jean-Philippe Vine and Sarah Smith, the voice cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, and Rob Delaney.
Wrong is the first effort from Locksmith Animation, a British outlet. Distributed by 20th Century Studios (a subsidiary of Disney), future Locksmith titles will be handled by Warner Bros. This is a rare wide release animated work not based on existing IP that isn’t coming specifically from the Mouse Factory or Illumination or DreamWorks.
Reviews are decent with an 84% Rotten Tomatoes score. Yet I really question whether family audiences are even aware of its existence. There’s not much competition for kiddos (The Addams Family 2 will be in its fourth weekend). I still am skeptical that this reaches double digits for the start.
Ron’s Gone Wrong opening weekend prediction: $8.4 million
The computer animated sci-fi comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong has debuted at the London Film Festival prior to its UK bow next weekend and US premiere on October 22nd. The film marks the first effort from Locksmith Studios which is owned by 20th Century Studios. Jean-Philippe Vine and Sarah Smith co-direct and the voice cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Justice Smith, and Rob Delaney.
Buzz coming from London is mostly solid though measured in its praise. The Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 80%. I’m not confident this will serve as a major contender in Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. It has no chance of winning. In my estimation, there are arguably three slots filled (Flee, Luca, The Mitchells vs. the Machines). Disney’s forthcoming Encanto certainly has the resume to contend. Assuming it makes the cut, that leaves one spot that could be filled by Belle, Vivo, or something else. I don’t foresee Ron’s having quite the right ingredients to fill it.
My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…
Blogger’s Update (05/08): I am downgrading my estimate from $74.8 million to $64.8 million
Ryan Reynolds hangs up the Deadpool costume for a bit in order to lend his voice to another hoped for franchise when PokemonDetectivePikachu debuts next weekend. Based on a 2016 video game, the Pokémon series has been thriving for nearly a quarter century in various iterations on Nintendo and on the big screen. Rob Letterman, who was behind the camera on Gulliver’sTravels and Goosebumps, directs. A mix of live-action and animation, the supporting cast includes Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Suki Waterhouse, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy.
Warner Bros is certainly hoping a slew of follow-up features are in the cards. A sequel has already been commissioned. With Reynolds in the lead and the popularity of the source material, the studio might find itself in luck. Estimates for the opening weekend gross are wide-ranging – everywhere from $50 million to over $100 million. If it falls on the lower end of that spectrum, it may not top the box office due to the third weekend of the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame.
In 1999, Pokemon: TheFirstMovie opened to $31 million and ended up with $85 million. Sequel Pokemon: TheMovie2000 couldn’t replicate that success with a $19 million start and $43 overall gross. By 2001, the series had run out of gas when Pokemon3: TheMovie opened to $8 million and petered out at $17 million.
Expectations are different this time around. I’ll say Pikachu (The Movie) has an opening in the middle of its huge range and that’s about $10-15 million under what the first movie accomplished overall 20 years ago.
PokemonDetectivePikachu opening weekend prediction: $64.8 million
The central theme of the Jurassic franchise is whether the scientific re-creation of dinosaurs for profit is enough reason to justify their existence. Of course, the real reason these movies exist is so we can gaze upon glorious CG creatures that took our breath away 25 years ago in Steven Spielberg’s JurassicPark. Three years ago, Colin Trevorrow gave us JurassicWorld. It did just enough to tap into our nostalgia for the original while keeping another central theme prominent in all series entries – the humans are less interesting than their prehistoric counterparts.
In the inevitable sequel JurassicWorld: FallenKingdom, we have a newer problem in that the dinosaurs are becoming increasingly less fascinating. When we left that theme park in 2015, it was in tatters due to the havoc wrought by its main attractions. We’re informed that the dinos still roam the deserted Isla Nublar and there’s a political debate as to what to do with them. That conversation is accelerated as a volcano is about to erupt on the island and incinerate everything. As audience members, let’s just choose to forget that even if the park had become successful and free of T-Rex breakouts, it would’ve only existed for three years because of that volcano. We don’t watch Jurassic pics for logic, after all.
The impending meltdown gets the attention of Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park’s former operations manager, who’s now an advocate for the dinosaurs survival. Her nephews from JurassicWorld aren’t seen or mentioned. Perhaps they were smart enough to want nothing to do with all this. She’s recruited by Ben Lockwood (James Cromwell), the ailing former partner of the late John Hammond, to gather up Isla Nublar’s famous residents. Claire recruits her ex-flame and dino whisperer Owen (Chris Pratt) to join her, along with a ragtag group of assistants and military types led by mercenary and hunter Ted Levine. It turns out Lockwood’s assistant (Rafe Spall, a rather bland villain) might have conjured up other ideas for the creatures true purposes. Oh and Lockwood has a granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon). Kids in Jurassic flicks are mandatory. She’s got a spotty British accent and an eventual revelation about her character that is downright bonkers.
Our return to Jurassic World does allow for a couple imaginative action sequences that are well choreographed and filmed by franchise newcomer J.A. Bayona (Trevorrow isn’t behind the camera but has co-writing credit). In the second half, the pic moves to a more insulated setting. This section is less satisfying. While Bayona and company get a wee bit of credit for trying something different, the execution falters.
That’s the real issue here. 25 summers ago, the visuals of JurassicPark were brand new and stunning. The technology, while still state of the art, isn’t fresh anymore. Human characters here aren’t compelling either. The dynamic between Pratt and Howard is as dull as before. Jeff Goldblum turns up as Dr. Malcolm for the first time since 1997’s TheLostWorld, but his presence is brief and forgettable. What wowed us a quarter century ago is now a listless undertaking occasionally punctuated by genuine excitement. Put another way, JurassicWorld: FallenKingdom has a tough time justifying its existence.
Blogger’s Note (06/15): I am revising my prediction down from $155.4 million to $140.4 million
Arriving three years after its predecessor set a series of box office records, JurassicWorld: FallenKingdom looks to flex its dino might next weekend. The fifth picture in the massive franchise that just turned 25 years old, Kingdom is the sequel to JurassicWorld and brings back Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jeff Goldblum (for the first time since 1997’s TheLostWorld). New cast members include Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, and Ted Levine. J.A. Bayona takes over directorial duties from Colin Trevorrow.
The history of this franchise setting opening weekend milestones is significant. Steven Spielberg’s original in 1993 had the largest debut ever at $47 million a quarter century ago. TheLostWorld would achieve the same honor four years later with $72 million. And, of course, JurassicWorld stunned prognosticators in 2015 with $208 million out of the gate, which stood as the greatest premiere until StarWars: TheForceAwakens topped it six months later.
FallenKingdom will not and is not expected to break records. JurassicWorld seemed to have its stars aligned for a spectacular opening. It had been nearly a decade and a half since the previous installment and the nostalgia factor was off the charts. Mostly positive reviews didn’t hurt and Mr. Pratt was coming off a star making role in GuardiansoftheGalaxy.
Critical reaction is mixed. The sequel currently sits at 59% on Rotten Tomatoes (World got to 71%). The film is already out in a number of foreign markets and it earned $151 million worldwide over the weekend (a bit above expectations).
The stateside tracking for Kingdom is between $130-$150 million. My general feeling is that this franchise has continually exceeded expectations and may do so here, albeit not by much. JurassicWorld was a phenomenon while this is looked at as another summer sequel. It just happens to be one with a huge fan base who love returning to see these CG creatures.
JurassicWorld: FallenKingdom opening weekend prediction: $140.4 million