John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (05/15): My estimate has risen from $37.8 million to $45.8 million

Keanu Reeves is back in theaters next weekend as America’s favorite dog loving hitman when John Wick: Chapter 3Parabellum debuts. The action thriller hopes to build upon the momentum of 2017’s highly successful sequel. Chad Stahelski returns as director with familiar series faces including Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, and John Leguizamo. New stars in our third edition include Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, and Anjelica Huston.

Mr. Reeves found himself in an unexpected new franchise five years ago when John Wick opened to $14 million with a $43 million overall domestic gross. While that might not seem like enough to automatically warrant a follow-up, the pic achieved critical kudos and cult status when it arrived on demand. Three years later, Chapter 2 made $30 million for its start and $92 million total.

Parabellum has a solid shot at topping the opening weekend of its predecessor, which also garnered glowing reviews. I’ll say mid to high 30s is where this ends up.

John Wick: Chapter 3Parabellum opening weekend prediction: $45.8 million

For my A Dog’s Journey prediction, click here:

For my The Sun Is Also a Star prediction, click here:

Oscar Watch: The Mule

It seemed a little odd that Clint Eastwood’s The Mule held its review embargo for as long as it did (it’s out tomorrow). After all, the crime thriller which features Eastwood in front of the camera for the first time since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve certainly was an on paper awards contender based on history. The director is no stranger to Oscar attention as Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby both won Best Picture.

Critical reaction is out and it’s actually pretty decent with a current Tomato rating of 82%. However, I suspect the best comparison for this would be the last time Eastwood directed himself – 2008’s hit Gran Torino. That feature landed with audiences, but failed to garner a single nomination from the Academy.

Bottom line: while reviews are mostly positive, The Mule is likely to be more of a potential hit with audiences than Oscar voters. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The Mule Box Office Prediction

Clint Eastwood has been consistently behind the camera and offering about a movie a year for quite some time. His appearances in front of it have been far less frequent in recent years. That changes next weekend when the Oscar winner directs himself in The Mule. The pic is a true life crime tale with Eastwood as a World War II vet who becomes a courier for Mexican drug cartels. Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Pena, Dianne Wiest, and Andy Garcia are among the supporting cast.

As mentioned, we haven’t seen its star in a film since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve. He hasn’t directed himself since 2008’s blockbuster Gran Torino. Adult moviegoers will be targeted here and Eastwood’s involvement could do the trick. Whether or not it opens on a large-scale or plays well throughout the holiday weeks ahead is a little uncertain. That might depend on its reviews, which aren’t out yet.

If The Mule manages to top $18 million out of the gate, it would actually be Clint’s largest debut of a feature he’s acted in (the current record is held by 2000’s Space Cowboys). While the wide release of Torino generated nearly $30 million, it was released in limited fashion for a few weeks prior.

That’s not out of the realm of possibility, but I’ll project it falls just short of that as it hopes to leg out nicely in the weeks ahead.

The Mule opening prediction: $17.6 million

For my Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse prediction, click here:

For my Mortal Engines prediction, click here:

Ant-Man and the Wasp Movie Review

Size matters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the decade old multi-billion franchise reached its most epic heights in Avengers: Infinity War. The only superhero who’s had their own stand-alone pic not to appear in that gargantuan production was Ant-Man, the character brought to life by Paul Rudd in the summer of 2015. Sequel AntMan and the Wasp follows a traditional Avengers tale like the original did. To say it feels smaller in scope is an understatement. Part one often failed to strike a satisfying mix and surprisingly struggled to make Rudd’s title character a memorable one. Whereas Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord were instantly iconic heroes, it didn’t work that way in AntMan. That’s despite its star’s well-known ability to mix comedy and drama and some nifty visuals that made the third act a treat.

Rarely do we find an MCU effort without parental issues involved and they’re here. Scott Lang/Ant-Man is nearing the end of a two-year house arrest bid based on the events from Captain America: Civil War. His former love interest Hope/heroine Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and science wiz dad Hank (Michael Douglas) are hiding out as well while conducting experiments to find their mom and wife Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer). She’s been stuck for three decades in the quantum realm that Ant-Man briefly visited in the original. His experience there leads Hope and Hank to believe she’s alive and the search is on. The technology that leads to that mystical place is sought by a low life criminal (Walton Goggins) and his crew. The FBI is curious about it, including the main agent (Randall Park in amusing turn) tasked with monitoring Scott. And then there’s Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a molecular challenged young lady who has her own reasons to gain powers. She teams up with a former colleague of Hank’s played by Laurence Fishburne.

If you’re thinking that’s a lot of characters to follow, I haven’t even mentioned Scott’s returning daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson), ex-wife (Judy Greer), and current husband (Bobby Cannavale). There’s also his business partners and occasional fellow crime fighters including Michael Pena and T.I. So while there’s plenty of action to follow, the MCU knows how to make it easy to follow. Compared to Infinity War, the amount of subplots seems practically minuscule.

Wasp finds Rudd settling more comfortably in the role and more humorously. That’s an aspect that was oddly not around much in 2015. Finding Scott with Pfeiffer’s character in his head in one scene provides some genuine laughs. Like in the original, Mr. Douglas appears to be having a ball. He gets his own chance to save the day at one point while his counterparts are engaged in a visually impressive car chase in the streets of San Francisco. Lilly doesn’t just share title credit here. She does have more to do.

AntMan and the Wasp is an improvement over the first. That’s a trait shared by other MCU sequels, especially in the Captain America and Thor series. Peyton Reed returns as director and the whole production feels more confident. It also doesn’t have the burden of being an origin story… something we go through a lot with this constantly growing genre. Like many of its subjects, the importance of what happens in these two hours feels small compared to the grand scale of other stories in this universe. More so than in 2015, however, Ant-Man’s existence in it feels welcome.

*** (out of four)

The Mule Charges Into Oscar Contention

A bit of an awards season surprise turned up today when Warner Bros announced that Clint Eastwood’s The Mule will be out on December 14. The film casts Eastwood in the true story of a World War II vet who becomes a courier for Mexican drug cartels at age 80.

The Mule marks Eastwood’s first turn in front of the camera since 2012’s Trouble with the Curve. It’s the first time he’s directed himself since 2008’s hit Gran Torino. While it’s been a little while since he’s acted, he has been churning out directorial efforts every year. It’s no accident that every time he does, Oscar chatter follows.

Over the past quarter century plus, Eastwood has seen a number of his pictures win and be nominated. In 1992, Unforgiven won Best Picture and Director. Twelve years later, Million Dollar Baby was a surprise late addition to the awards season calendar (as this is). It also won Picture and Director. Additionally, Mystic River, Letters from Iwo Jima, and American Sniper all received nods in the big race.

Just last year, The 15:17 to Paris was assumed to be another possibility for inclusion for consideration. It ended up coming out in February of this year and was a commercial and critical failure. Paris is nowhere on the radar screen for Academy chatter this year.

Will The Mule be a different story? Another Million Dollar Baby that alters the Oscar race? While we’ll have to wait for buzz and reviews (there’s not even a trailer yet), some signs point to no.

There’s already rumors that Warner Bros is looking at this as more of a commercial venture  than one they will focus on for awards campaigning. The studio already has a very serious contender on its docket with A Star Is Born. Speaking of, Eastwood’s costars here include Bradley Cooper (director and star of Born) as well as Dianne Wiest, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne, Taissa Farmiga, and Alison Eastwood.

Even if Warner doesn’t see this as their largest Academy player, we will see if critics and audiences feel differently. One thing is for sure – we have another movie to keep an eye on in 2018.

Ant-Man and the Wasp Box Office Prediction

The 20th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe crawls into theaters next weekend with AntMan and the Wasp. The sequel to the 2015 original, Paul Rudd is back in the title role along with Evangeline Lilly  as his partner in heroics (aka Wasp). Peyton Reed returns is back directing along with returning cast members Michael Pena, T.I., Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, and Michael Douglas. New faces joining the MCU include Walton Goggins, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Laurence Fishburne.

This has been a banner year for Disney’s multi-billion franchise as Black Panther just hit $700 million domestically and Avengers: Infinity War not far behind. While AntMan was certainly a hit, its numbers three years ago weren’t quite on pace with numerous other MCU titles. It opened to $57 million (18th of the 19 series pics) with an eventual stateside gross of $180 million (17 out of 19).

That said, the MCU is on a roll and early word-of-mouth for this follow-up is encouraging. In the past decade, we’ve seen three examples of a direct MCU sequel making $20-$30 million more than the first during opening weekend. They are:

Iron Man 2 ($128 million), Iron Man ($98 million)

Thor: The Dark World ($85 million), Thor ($65 million)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65 million)

I feel there is a very strong chance AntMan and the Wasp will do the same and possibly hit that mark of close to $30 million higher than part 1. That would put it at #14 out of the 20 MCU movies between Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World.

AntMan and the Wasp opening weekend prediction: $86.4 million

For my The First Purge prediction, click here:

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 12th Edition

It’s Thursday and that means a fresh round of my weekly Oscar predictions in the eight major categories. Some thoughts from the past week:

I can’t help but wonder if the disappointing box office performance of Blade Runner 2049 will hurt its chances at nominations for Picture and Director. It certainly doesn’t help. I had the film and director Denis Villeneuve getting in last week. Today that changes, but we’ll see if it manages to rise back up in subsequent weeks.

Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel is slated to premiere at the New York Film Festival tonight and that means reviews will be up. I have it getting nominations in Picture, Actress, and Original Screenplay right now, but lots of questions will be answered in a matter of hours.

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project seems to be garnering a lot of goodwill and for the first time, I have it taking a major jump into an actual nomination. We’ll see if that sticks.

Finally, it appears Steven Spielberg’s The Post will qualify for Original Screenplay and not Adapted as previously thought. That change has been reflected here.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 6)

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

7. Mudbound (PR: 7)

8. Wonder Wheel (PR: 9)

9. The Florida Project (PR: 19)

Other Possibilities:

10. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

11. Last Flag Flying (PR: 12)

12. Detroit (PR: 13)

13. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 11)

14. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 15)

15. Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

16. The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

17. I, Tonya (PR: 17)

18. Downsizing (PR: 18)

19. Get Out (PR: 16)

20. All the Money in the World (PR: 21)

21. Wonderstruck (PR: 24)

22. Lady Bird (PR: 20)

23. The Big Sick (PR: 22)

24. Wind River (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Molly’s Game

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 7)

7. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 5)

8. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 8)

9. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 9)

10. Sean Baker, The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

12. Clint Eastwood, The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 14)

13. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

14. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 12)

15. Jordan Peele, Get Out (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 4)

4. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 3)

5. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 6)

7. Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying (PR: 8)

8. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel Esq. (PR: 7)

9. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 11)

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 9)

11. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 10)

12. Jeremy Renner, Wind River (PR: 13)

13. Christian Bale, Hostiles (PR: 12)

14. Algee Smith, Detroit (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jason Clarke, Chappaquiddick (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin

Best Actress 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 3)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

7. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 10)

11. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: 13)

12. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 11)

13. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 12)

14. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Jennifer Lawrence, mother!

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

5. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 7)

7. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

8. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 8)

9. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 11)

10. Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World (PR: 9)

11. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing (PR: 13)

12. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 12)

14. Colin Farrell, The Beguiled (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jim Belushi, Wonder Wheel (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying

Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 1)

2. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 4)

3. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 2)

4. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 5)

5. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

7. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 8)

8. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

9. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 9)

10. Claire Foy, Breathe (PR: 10)

11. Julianne Moore, Wonderstruck (PR: 11)

12. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck (PR: 12)

13. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel (PR: 13)

15. Sarah Paulson, The Post (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin

Cicely Tyson, Last Flag Flying

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 2)

2. Mudbound (PR: 3)

3. Molly’s Game (PR: 5)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Beguiled (PR: 10)

7. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 7)

8. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 6)

9. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 12)

10. All the Money in the World (PR: 9)

11. The Disaster Artist (PR: 11)

12. Stronger (PR: 13)

13. The Death of Stalin (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Thank You for Your Service (PR: 15)

15. Wonder (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

The Post (moved to Original Screenplay)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 1)

2. The Post (PR: Not Ranked, moved from Adapted Screenplay)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

4. Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Florida Project (PR: 11)

7. The Big Sick (PR: 5)

8. Get Out (PR: 6)

9. Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Dunkirk (PR: 7)

11. I, Tonya (PR: 8)

12. Downsizing (PR: 12)

13. Phantom Thread (PR: 13)

14. Wind River (PR: 14)

15. Detroit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Greatest Showman

And there you have it! I’ll be back at it next Thursday with fresh predictions…