2017: The Year of Tiffany Haddish

Like yesterday’s Year of 2017 honoree Kumail Nanjiani, Tiffany Haddish started 2017 as a stand-up comic not known to a large swath of the American public. Yet as the year draws to its close, Haddish is now quite well-known due to her scene stealing performance in the summer’s comedic sleeper hit.

Alongside Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith, it was Haddish who garnered the most buzz in Girls Trip, which surprised all prognosticators when it grossed $115 million. It was 2016’s Keanu that gave Haddish her first notable role, but that picture was largely ignored. Yet her raw, profane and outlandish Dina character gave the actress a showcase filled with standout moments.

Critics groups and Hollywood have certainly taken notice. Haddish became the first African American comic to host “Saturday Night Live” this fall. In 2018, she will reunite with Trip director Malcolm D. Lee for Night School with Kevin Hart.

Expect to see lots of Haddish in the coming years and 2017 was unquestionably her breakout.

Oscar Watch: Get Out

A horror flick written and directed by a comic actor potentially receiving Oscar attention? Get out, you might say! And Get Out is right and it’s the name of a Sundance premiere that’s drawing lots of positive attention.

This is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” and last year’s so so Keanu. It focuses on a black man dating a white woman. When it’s time to meet her parents, he discovers a rather scary community where others of his race have a tendency to disappear. Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, and Catherine Keener star in this rather bold premise with a pretty darn effective trailer.

The film’s Sundance debut has drawn raves and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The chances of this getting into the Best Picture convo is unlikely. However, depending on level of competition, it could be in the mix for Peele’s Original Screenplay if voters remember it nearly a year after its February 24th domestic debut.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Keanu Movie Review

It may be called Keanu with an adorable kitten named after the actor who gave us Neo/Johnny Utah/John Wick, but the debut feature starring Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” could’ve been titled George Michael as well. The iconic 1980s British crooner gets his props throughout this action comedy that may have felt right at home in theaters when “Faith” and “Father Figure” were burning up the charts.

The duo’s basic cable program was a rather groundbreaking show with some truly inspired bits. You won’t really find that here. Instead, Keanu is a breezy if rather forgettable tale of the tail of the cat who captures the hearts of everyone who comes in contact with it. Jordan Peele is Rell, who’s depressed after his girlfriend broke up with him when that darn kitty comes into his possession. His best bud/cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) is stuck in a dull middle class existence with a bored wife (Nia Long) who’s out of town for the weekend. The pair soon learn that Keanu is actually the property of a drug kingpin whose employees were recently mowed down by assassins known as The Allentown Boys (also played by Key and Peele). Before you know it, Rell and Clarence are posing as them in an effort to get the kidnapped Keanu back.

Their journey brings them to the underground L.A. drug scene and a crew led by Cheddar (Method Man) and Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish), who Rell has the hots for. Of course, they need nifty nicknames, too. Tectonic and Shark Tank suffice. As they try to find that fabulously cute feline, the guys teach some criminals the joys of George Michael in a humorous bit that just keeps going and going.

Maybe that’s part of the problem here. The shark out of water premise of Keanu barely can sustain itself for 100 minutes. There are moments sprinkled throughout that work well. An unexpected cameo from Scary Movie lead Anna Faris is amusing. Key and Peele do succeed in proving that their charisma on the small screen translates to the big one. And, yes, that kitten really is a gem. Yet the concept of these guys having to “get hard” (to borrow a phrase from a far worse Kevin Hart vehicle that uses similar plotting) is a rather familiar one. This is a talented pair at work, though. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up when they get “One More Try”, as that hit song says from Mr. Michael.

**1/2 (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: May 13-15

The second weekend of summer should bring further domination from Captain America and his Marvel friends and foes as Civil War will easily reign supreme in weekend #2. There are two new entries: Jodie Foster’s thriller Money Monster starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts and the Blumhouse horror flick The Darkness. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts of each of them right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/04/money-monster-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/04/the-darkness-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, Money Monster will likely settle for a third place showing with Mother’s Day and The Darkness fighting it out for the four spot.

Civil War had an impressive opening that still came in below many prognosticators (including this one) were saying… more on that below. These Disney/Marvel ventures typically drop in the mid-high 50s and I expect the same here (the first Avengers pic, it’s worth noting, dropped just 50%).

As for The Jungle Book, I expect a fairly small decline for it (as is typical with many pictures in the second weekend of May) and it should have no problem staying in the runner-up position.

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Predicted Gross: $76.8 million (representing a drop of 57%)

2. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $18.6 million (representing a drop of 24%)

3. Money Monster

Predicted Gross: $12.7 million

4. The Darkness

Predicted Gross: $5.6 million

5. Mother’s Day

Predicted Gross: $4.7 million (representing a drop of 58%)

Box Office Results (May 6-8)

Summer 2016 started off as so many others have in recent years with Marvel ruling the charts as Captain America: Civil War took in $179.1 million. That’s good for the fifth largest domestic opening of all time, nestled between other MCU entries Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 3. The debut is just fine, but also on the lower end of its expectations (I put it at $205.6M).

The Jungle Book fell to second after three weeks on top with $24.4 million, in line with my $23.5M projection for a total of $287M.

Perhaps the story of the weekend was Mother’s Day, which jumped 32% in its second weekend to $11 million (more than doubling my meager $5.1M prediction). Lesson to be learned: a movie called Mother’s Day (no matter how bad its reviews may be) is going to do well on Mother’s Day. Its two-week total is $22M and I would expect a pretty big dip next weekend.

The Huntsman Winter’s War was fourth with $3.9 million (I said $4.5M) for a weak $40M haul while Keanu rounded out the top five with $3.2 million (I went higher with $4.9M). Keanu‘s total is just $15M. Zootopia was sixth – also with $3.2 million and under my $4.8M prognosis for a $328M tally.

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: May 6-8

Disney and Marvel once again stake claim to the first weekend of May’s box office spot as they have for six of the last eight years when Captain America: Civil War invades theaters this weekend. It is the first summer movie of the year and it stands an excellent chance at being the biggest of them all. You can read my detailed prediction post on it right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/27/captain-america-civil-war-box-office-prediction/

My $205.6 million opening weekend prediction puts it at #4 all-time, just below 2012’s The Avengers at $207M and above last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, which bowed to $191M. The company it finds itself in between is appropriate as Civil War is essentially a third Avengers pic, with Iron Man, Black Widow, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, and more joining Chris Evans’ title character.

As for holdovers, Disney should have no trouble at the #2 position as The Jungle Book will slip there after three weeks on top. Keanu, The Huntsman Winter’s War, Zootopia and Mother’s Day should make up the rest in a tightly bunched formation that I have with all around  $5M.

And with that, my top six predictions for the weekend:

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Predicted Gross: $205.6 million

2. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $23.5 million (representing a drop of 46%)

3. Mother’s Day

Predicted Gross: $5.1 million (representing a drop of 39%)

4. Keanu

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million (representing a drop of 48%)

5. Zootopia

Predicted Gross: $4.8 million (representing a drop of 14%)

6. The Huntsman Winter’s War

Predicted Gross: $4.5 million (representing a drop of 54%)

Box Office Results (April 29-May 1)’

As expected, Disney’s The Jungle Book slayed its competitors for a third weekend on top with $43.7 million (higher than my $37.9M estimate) for a grand total of $253M. The Mouse Factory’s mega-hit will finally be replaced by another Mouse Factory mega-hit this weekend.

And now for the non mega-hits. The Huntsman Winter’s Way remained in second with $9.6 million for a tepid total of $34M. It did manage to top my $8.1M projection.

Newbies did not fare well. Despite mostly positive reviews, Key and Peele’s comedy Keanu managed just $9.4 million in third, well below my generous $17.6M prediction.

The news was even worse for Mother’s Day (which got scathing reviews) which debuted in fourth with only $8.3 million (I said $14.7M).

Barbershop: The Next Cut rounded out with top five with $6 million – in line with my $6.2M estimate for a three-week take of $44M.

The video game inspired Ratchet & Clank disappointed in seventh with only $4.8 million, just under my $5.2M prediction. That meant Disney’s Zootopia (in weekend #8) was sixth with $5.3 million ($323M total) and I incorrectly had it outside the top six.

And that’ll for now, ladies and gentlemen! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: April 29-May 1

Three new entries populate the box office this weekend as the Key and Peele comedy Keanu, Jennifer Aniston/Julia Roberts dramedy Mother’s Day, and video game based animated pic Ratchet & Clank open. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/22/keanu-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/22/mothers-day-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/23/ratchet-clank-box-office-prediction/

None of them are likely to knock Disney’s The Jungle Book off its perch at #1, which will be the third weekend on top for Mowgli and friends.

Keanu and Mother’s Day should nab the #2 and #3 positions. I have The Huntsman Winter’s War dropping to fourth and it should have a pretty hefty decline after its disappointing opening (more on that below).

I’m not expecting much out of Ratchet & Clank and have it fighting for fifth with the third weekend of Barbershop: The Next Cut and slightly losing that battle.

And with that, a top 6 predictions for the weekend:

  1. The Jungle Book

Predicted Gross: $37.9 million (representing a drop of 38%)

2. Keanu

Predicted Gross: $17.6 million

3. Mother’s Day

Predicted Gross: $14.7 million

4. The Huntsman Winter’s War

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million (representing a drop of 58%)

5. Barbershop: The Next Cut

Predicted Gross: $6.2 million (representing a drop of 41%)

6. Ratchet & Clank

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

Box Office Results (April 22-24)

Disney’s The Jungle Book kept swinging along in its sophomore frame with $61.5 million, just above my $59M projection for a two-week tally of $192M. As mentioned, it should easily retain its #1 status next weekend before another Mouse Factory entry – Captain America: Civil War – does its thing in a few days.

The weekend’s major newcomer was also quite a high-profile flop. The Huntsman Winter’s War, the sort of prequel/sequel to 2012’s hit Snow White and the Huntsman, earned just $19.4 million (lower than my $26.3M estimate). With a reported $115 million budget, War couldn’t overcome toxic reviews and the absence of Kristen Stewart (aka Snow White). The pic may struggle to even reach the $56 million that Snow White made in its opening weekend. Ouch.

Barbershop: The Next Cut was third in its second weekend with $10.5 million, in line with my $11.2M prediction for a total of $35M.

Zootopia was fourth with $6.5 million, higher than my estimate of $5M for a $316M total.

Melissa McCarthy’s The Boss rounded out the top five with $6.2 million, ahead of my $4.9M projection for a three-week take of $49M (pretty low for one of her comedies).

And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…

Keanu Box Office Prediction

The comedic stylings of Key (Keegan-Michael Key) and Peele (Jordan Peele) come to the big screen with Keanu, out next weekend. The R rated laugher centers around a cat theft and our leads getting caught up with some violent criminals. Method Man, Gabrielle Union, Nia Long, Will Forte, Luis Guzman, and, yes, Keanu Reeves costar.

Keanu’s dynamic duo are known for their hit Comedy Central show, which just ended its run last year. Their first film vehicle premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival to solid buzz and its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 75%.

Will audiences follow Key and Peele to the multiplex? If this got to over $20 million in its premiere, Warner Bros would be over the moon. I believe a more likely result is in the mid to high teens.

Keanu opening weekend prediction: $17.6 million

For my Mother’s Day prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/22/mothers-day-box-office-prediction/

For my Ratchet & Clank prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/04/23/ratchet-clank-box-office-prediction/