The Photograph Box Office Prediction

Looking to bring in viewers for the four-day Valentine’s Day/President’s Day frame, the romantic drama The Photograph debuts in theaters this coming weekend. From director Stella Meghie, the pic features Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Chelsea Peretti, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lil Rel Howery, and Courtney B. Vance.

The Photograph comes from Will Packer Productions, which has had a series of lower budget hits that include thrillers like No Good Deed and comedies such as Girls Trip and Night School. This genre is somewhat new territory to them.

Three years back, Meghie directed Everything, Everything – a younger skewing romantic tale which took in $11.7 million over three days. I believe a strong African-American audience could get this over that given the extra day of grosses.

The Photograph opening weekend prediction: $17.4 million

For my Sonic the Hedgehog prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/02/06/sonic-the-hedgehog-box-office-prediction/

For my Fantasy Island prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/02/06/fantasy-island-box-office-prediction/

For my Downhill prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/02/09/downhill-box-office-prediction/

Good Boys Movie Review

Yes, there’s an apt comparison to be made between Good Boys and 2007’s Superbad. This is kind of the middle school version of that movie from over a decade ago. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the latter and they serve as producers here. Both involve young boys with their dirty minds trying to make it to a party that they view as potentially life changing (all events are greatly elevated in status at these ages).

What both get right is portraying the naïveté of their central characters. They may talk a good game in their minds, but there’s a whole lot about sex and drugs that they simply don’t understand yet. There’s inherent humor in that. Plenty of raunchy youth comedies are simply in it for the gross out humor. Another layer exists here and it’s one of sweetness to occasionally balance out the R rated aspects.

Max (Jacob Tremblay), Lucas (Keith L. Williams), and Thor (Brady Noon) have just entered the wild world of middle school. Their curiosity level when it comes to girls, beer, and after school get togethers is in peak form. They christen themselves The Beanbag Boys since a good chunk of their lives are spent playing games and conversing while sitting on them. Max has a crush on a fellow student and might have an opportunity to make his move at a party that the cool kids invite him to. Thor is more interested in excelling at the school musical (an ill conceived pint size rendering of Rock of Ages), but struggles with that since the cool kids don’t think that’s cool. Lucas has a happy life that’s disrupted by parental divorce. He’s unlikely to ever be the cool kid and doesn’t quite know that yet.

The boys friendship is tested over a long day where they skip school, steal Max’s dad’s fancy drone, and turn into amateur ecstasy dealers so they don’t get in deeper trouble (it all makes sense in context). The laugh ratio here is pretty high as the trio must learn about kissing (the porn sites they go don’t help much) and dealing with college kids to score drugs.

Tremblay is the famous kid of the bunch as he’s known for his impressive serious work in Room and Wonder. He gets to drop some F bombs for the first time and he looks precocious doing it. I would say it’s Williams, however, that shines the brightest. The couple scenes with his splitting parents are comedic highlights. They display what makes Good Boys work best. It’s funny, but with an undertone of these kids learning the real world for the first time. Like Superbad, the central figures come to discover life will exist beyond their childhood friendships. It takes plenty of crass jokes to get them there, but those gags work more often than they don’t.

*** (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Brittany Runs a Marathon

Perhaps this is more of a Golden Globes Watch when it comes to the new comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon. The pic features Jillian Bell as a hard partying single lady whose life is altered when she competes for the NYC Marathon. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival back in January to solid buzz. The Rotten Tomatoes score is currently 93% ahead of its release this weekend.

Bell has been a scene stealer on TV’s “Workaholics” and features such as 22 Jump Street. This appears to be her breakout starring role and some reviews have suggested it could be a minor hit if Amazon handles marketing correctly. While this holds little chance at Oscar recognition, it will be interesting to see if the studio mounts a campaign for Bell for Best Actress in Musical/Comedy at the Globes. She could follow in the footsteps of Amy Schumer in Trainwreck for a similar part that got nominated. That said, Brittany is definitely lower profile. My Oscar (or GG) Watch posts will continue…

Good Boys Box Office Prediction

Good Boys is looking to become this summer’s Superbad when the raunchy comedy debuts next weekend. Marking the directorial debut of Gene Stupnitsky, the film centers on three preteens doing R rated shenanigans. The kids are played by Jacob Tremblay of Room and Wonder fame, as well as unknowns Keith L. Williams and Brady Noon. Costars include Will Forte, Molly Gordon, and Lil Rel Howery.

Keeping with the Superbad theme, Boys comes from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s production company, who wrote that 2007 hit. The pic was first unveiled in March at the South by Southwest Festival to positive reaction. The Rotten Tomatoes score is at 78%.

That said, the buzz for this doesn’t seem as high. The chance for this to over perform is there. Yet I’m skeptical this earns half of the $33 million achieved by Superbad, which premiered over the same late summer weekend a dozen years ago. In fact, its debut might be in the preteens just like its stars.

Good Boys opening weekend prediction: $14.3 million

For my The Angry Birds Movie 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/06/the-angry-birds-movie-2-box-office-prediction/

For my 47 Meters Down: Uncaged prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/08/47-meters-down-uncaged-box-office-prediction/

For my Blinded by the Light prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/11/blinded-by-the-light-box-office-prediction/

For my Where’d You Go, Bernadette prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/08/11/whered-you-go-bernadette-box-office-prediction/

Bird Box Movie Review

Susanne Bier’s Bird Box, based on a 2014 novel by Josh Malerman, imagines a post apocalyptic world where we all must develop a blind side. How fitting, I suppose, that Sandra Bullock is the headliner. It is she and some of her cast mates that holds this concoction together, at least for a while.

We first meet Bullock’s Malorie as she instructs two young children that they are about to embark on a dangerous trip with her. She is soon rowing and rowing and rowing a boat not so gently down a choppy stream to an unknown destination. They’re all blindfolded.

A flashback to five years earlier finds the pregnant Malorie getting a checkup with her sister (Sarah Paulson). She seems none too excited about her impending delivery. Different complications arise as people start committing suicide suddenly all over the globe. It’s soon discovered opening your eyes and looking at some never seen creatures brings on the self violence.

Our soon to be parent manages to hole up with a group of strangers that includes the home’s boozy owner (John Malkovich), another expectant mom (Danielle Macdonald), and a war vet (Trevante Rhodes) who connects with Malorie. It’s in these initial scenes where Bird Box is at its most engrossing. There’s nothing terribly fresh here as the group figures out how to survive, but there’s some interesting characters and actors playing them to make it worthwhile. Jacki Weaver, Lil Rel Howery, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly are part of the eclectic mix as well.

This gets about an hour’s worth of mileage from its premise and the wrinkle of the sighted having to go blind is a newish twist once they venture out (thank goodness for GPS). Eric Heisserer’s screenplay never concerns itself with what the heck really happened to cause this anyway. We do know birds can sense the monsters. The unexplained phenomena of what did happen isn’t all that important, but total ignorance is a tad surprising. Heisserer did significantly superior work with his adapted script for Arrival.

The picture is as much an allegory about motherhood than it is a science fiction horror thriller. There’s also elements of M. Night Shyamalan’s unfortunate The Happening. It had more unintentional laughs than this, but it also found cooler ways for spellbound victims to off themselves.

Bullock’s performance is committed and she certainly makes this watchable. The Oscar winner has played maternal instinct impressively before (the already mentioned The Blind Side, Gravity) and we see it here. Yet the true gravity of this whole situation never feels as suspenseful as it quite should. Maybe it’s the details left unseen or maybe it’s the familiar themes we’ve seen plenty of times already.

**1/2 (out of four)

Uncle Drew Box Office Prediction

A convergence of current and former NBA stars and comedians gather for Uncle Drew, out next weekend. The sports comedy that comes with prosthetic makeup aplenty is based on a title character first seen in Pepsi commercials with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving playing him. Other basketball notables in the cast include Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie. On the funny side – Lil Rel Howery, Nick Kroll, Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, and Mike Epps. Charles Stone III, perhaps best known for making Drumline, directs.

Uncle Drew hopes to bring in a sizable African-American crowd and lovers of the game it humorously covers. The pic could certainly achieve sleeper status with a gross in the high teens. It actually has a somewhat similar opening weekend range as Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which debuts against it. The two newcomers should battle for third place between Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2.

For now, I’m giving Drew a slight edge with a forecast between $16-$17 million.

Uncle Drew opening weekend prediction: $16.4 million

For my Sicario: Day of the Soldado prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/19/sicario-day-of-the-soldado-box-office-prediction/

Tag Box Office Prediction

Improbably based on a true story, the comedy Tag hits theaters next weekend. Based on a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, the film focuses on a group of pals who engage in a long-term version of the kids game. Stars include Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Brian Dennehy, and Lil Rel Howery. It marks the directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic.

The ads hype the “actually based on real stuff” angle, but I felt the trailer could’ve been a bit stronger. I’m not confident this holds any significant breakout potential. The Warner Bros release would likely love the achieve the $17 million debut of this spring’s Game Night and that might be the generous ceiling here. I’d say even with the cast of familiar faces, it doesn’t have the relative star power or laugh out loud promo materials. And I wouldn’t count Renner as this isn’t the genre he’s known for… see The House from a year ago.

Outside of the Hangover franchise, Helms has had a rough road recently as Father Figures was a dud and even his Vacation reboot fell a bit shy of $60 million three summers back. I’ll project this reaches low double digits to mid teens for a so-so showing. As we await the blockbuster comedic pic of this season, I have a hunch Tag is not it.

Tag opening weekend prediction: $13.4 million

For my Incredibles 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/05/incredibles-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Superfly prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/07/superfly-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Will Get Out Get In?

Way back on January 29th of this year, I wrote my Oscar Watch post for Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which had just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival nearly a month before its opening.

At the time, I wrote: “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.”

Of course, since then, Get Out became a box office phenomenon, taking in $175 million domestically. Furthermore, it became a water cooler picture with its focus on racial themes that have often dominated the news.

From late January until this Monday, I have yet to put Get Out in my predicted nine films to be named for Best Picture at the Oscars. However, recent precursor action has done nothing except up its chances.

The National Board of Review named it among their 10 best movies of 2017. Mr. Peele was also honored with Best Directorial Debut. The Critics Choice Awards named their nominees this week and Get Out was among six Picture nominees and Peele made the cut for seven nominated directors. The Washington D.C. Film Critics Association nominated it for Picture, Director, and Actor (Daniel Kaluuya).

So where does Get Out stand now 10 months following my original post? Well, the chances of it getting into the Best Picture convo isn’t unlikely… it’s here. There’s a very good chance that I’ll be predicting its inclusion into Best Picture when I update my Oscar predictions this Monday. Peele wasn’t even in my top 10 listed possibilities for his direction three days ago and he most certainly will be now. Kaluuya has yet to be named in my top ten possibles for Actor. That should change. That said, I still see a nomination for him as unlikely.

Stay tuned on Monday and my Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Get Out Movie Review

Jordan Peele’s Get Out is certainly something you don’t see everyday – a mashup of social commentary on race, horror, and comedy. That technically may be an uncomfortable mix of genres, but the writer/director mostly pulls it off in an effort that often feels quite fresh and is sometimes downright invigorating.

The pic begins with a prologue of an African American male wondering the streets of an affluent neighborhood looking for the right address. A car starts to follow him. It doesn’t seem like anything new to him, but it ends in a decidedly frightening result.

Cut to the present as Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is preparing to leave the city for a weekend at his girlfriend Rose’s (Allison Williams) parents place. Rose doesn’t feel it’s important to inform them that he’s black, even though he warns her it might’ve been worth mentioning. He’s right. The suburban area where her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) dwell is lily white. Her dad believes bonding with Chris involves calling him “my man” and insisting he’d vote for Obama had he been eligible for another term.

There are exceptions to the prominently Caucasian community. The family has a groundskeeper and maid who are black. Chris feels something is off with them. He’s right. He also is creeped out when Mom tries out her hypnosis skills on him. She presents it as a way to stop his smoking (like Greg Focker meeting the parents, he has the same habit). Chris suspects there’s something more sinister at play. Once again, his antenna is pointing in the right direction.

One of the more clever aspects in the writing of Get Out is showing how Chris’s radar is always switched on around people of the opposite race. The reactions to him in this foreign world to him are strange, but not enough to have him running. At least for a while.

As the story unfolds, awkward interactions with the family and others turns to horror. In the third act, that genre takes over and provides the kind of scares and laughs that we cherish in it. Get Out works in other ways. All performances are solid starting with leads Kaluuya and Williams. Special shout outs go to Betty Gabriel as that off kilter maid and Lil Rel Howery as Chris’s buddy who provides major comic relief.

Once the plot is completely revealed, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions that a prequel could surely have a ball with. The writer and director doesn’t totally stick the landing in my view. Saying more would go into spoiler territory. That said, Get Out is sharp and potent. Peele became known from Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” for laugh out loud moments filled with timely satire. They’re here coupled with more blood. Kudos to him for believing this curious melding could work. He’s right.

***1/2 (out of four)