Ad Astra Box Office Prediction

Mr. Pitt goes to space next weekend in James Gray’s Ad Astra and the reported $80 million plus budgeted sci fi pic hopes for a stealthy launch. Brad Pitt is an astronaut who leaves Earth to find his lost father (Tommy Lee Jones). Costars include Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland.

Astra premiered last month at the Venice Film Festival to mostly positive critical reaction. It stands at 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, but seems to lack the awards buzz that could help its grosses. Competition for male moviegoers could be hindered a bit by the opening of Rambo: Last Blood.

A debut above $20 million is certainly feasible and Pitt is fresh off Quentin Tarantino’s hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is earning him Oscar chatter. However, I’ll say high teens is where this lands with a similar number to last fall’s First Man.

Ad Astra opening weekend prediction: $16.9 million

For my Rambo: Last Blood prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/09/11/rambo-last-blood-box-office-prediction/

For my Downton Abbey prediction, click here,

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/09/13/downton-abbey-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Ad Astra

James Gray’s space opera Ad Astra premiered overseas at the Venice Film Festival today and the Brad Pitt led saga certainly has its ardent admirers already. Some reviews are proclaiming it a masterpiece while others are more mixed.

Director Gray has had his share of appreciated works such as The Immigrant and The Lost City of Z. He has yet to garner any attention from the Academy. This is his first major Hollywood production with a considerable budget and it’s a bit unclear at the moment whether Oscar voters will reward this effort. Pitt is being praised for his starring role and would stand the best shot at any recognition over costars including Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland.

That said, Pitt (who’s never won a gold statue) is already a serious contender to win Supporting Actor for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That could detract from him being named as lead for Astra. The film’s best hope could be in some tech races, but I’ll wait and see further critical and audience reaction before rendering final judgment. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Summer 1998: The Top 10 Hits and More

Continuing with my recaps of the movie summers from 30, 20, and 10 years ago – we arrive at 1998. If you missed my post recounting the 1988 season, you can find it right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/07/11/summer-1988-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

1998 was a rather astonishingly sequel lite summer with only one making up the top ten moneymakers. And while 2018 will be known for its Avengers phenomenon, it was a much different story with Avengers two decades ago.

Behold my synopsis of the top 10 hits, along with other notables and flops:

10. The Mask of Zorro

Domestic Gross: $94 million

He may be playing Pablo Picasso on TV now, but Antonio Banderas had a significant hit (alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins) in this tale of the famed swashbuckler. A less successful sequel would follow in 2005.

9. Mulan

Domestic Gross: $120 million

Disney’s 36th animated feature (with a voice assist from Eddie Murphy) didn’t reach the heights of titles like Aladdin or The Lion King, but the Mouse Factory has already commissioned a live-action version slated for 2020.

8. The Truman Show

Domestic Gross: $125 million

Jim Carrey’s first major big screen foray outside of zany comedy, Peter Weir’s reality show pic garnered critical acclaim for the film itself and the star’s performance.

7. Lethal Weapon 4

Domestic Gross: $130 million

The final teaming of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover (with Chris Rock and Jet Li joining the mix) made slightly less than part 3 and was generally considered rather mediocre, especially considering the heights that the franchise started from.

6. Godzilla

Domestic Gross: $136 million

Coming off the massive success of Independence Day, Roland Emmerich’s tale of the giant green monster was expected to possibly be summer’s biggest hit. It came in well below expectations with critics and audiences. A better regarded version arrived in 2014.

5. Deep Impact

Domestic Gross: $140 million

Our first asteroid disaster flick on the list came from Mimi Leder with a cast including Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, and Robert Duvall. Moviegoers loved their asteroids 20 years ago.

4. Dr. Dolittle

Domestic Gross: $144 million

Eddie Murphy was still in popular family guy mode with this remake of the Rex Harrison animal tale. A sequel would follow in 2001.

3. There’s Something About Mary

Domestic Gross: $176 million

The Farrelly Brothers had the comedic smash of the summer in this effort that made Ben Stiller a huge star and had a showcase role for Cameron Diaz’s talents.

2. Armageddon

Domestic Gross: $201 million

Our second asteroid pic (this one from Michael Bay) comes with Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler… and an Aerosmith ballad that played all season long.

1. Saving Private Ryan

Domestic Gross: $216 million

Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed World War II drama with Tom Hanks has one of the most intense first scenes in cinematic history. It was considered the Oscar front-runner until it lost in an upset to Shakespeare in Love. 

And now for some other notable films:

The X-Files

Domestic Gross: $83 million

Bringing David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson’s alien themed FOX TV show to the big screen turned out to be a profitable venture. An ignored sequel would follow 10 years later.

Blade

Domestic Gross: $70 million

The vampire-centric Wesley Snipes flick spawned two sequels and major cult status.

Out of Sight

Domestic Gross: $37 million

Its box office performance was middling, but Steven Soderbergh’s romantic crime pic showed George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez at their best. Critics dug it.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Domestic Gross: $10 million

Not a success at the time, but Terry Gilliam’s wild ride featuring Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson created a serious following in subsequent years.

And now for some flops:

Six Days, Seven Nights

Domestic Gross: $74 million

Harrison Ford was flying high off the success of Air Force One one summer earlier, but audiences and reviewers weren’t as kind to this action comedy with Anne Heche.

Snake Eyes

Domestic Gross: $55 million

Likewise, Nicolas Cage experienced a trilogy of mega hits during the two previous summers with The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. This one from Brian De Palma didn’t impress nearly as much.

The Avengers

Domestic Gross: $23 million

Not THOSE Avengers, ladies and gents. This big screen adaptation of the 1960s TV series with Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, and Sean Connery landed with a thud in August. No sequels here.

54

Domestic Gross: $16 million

Mike Myers was coming off a little something called Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery when this pic about the famed NYC nightclub opened. Critics weren’t kind and crowds didn’t turn up.

BASEketball

Domestic Gross: $7 million

Trey Parker and Matt Stone rarely create something that isn’t massively successful – like “South Park” and The Book of Mormon. This sports comedy is the rare exception, though it has developed a following since.

And there you have it – the summer of 1998! Look for 2008 shortly…

The Strangers: Prey at Night Box Office Prediction

It’s been nearly a decade since Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman were terrorized by sadistic home invaders in The Strangers. The horror flick turned into an unexpected hit early in the summer of 2008 with a $20 million opening and $52 million overall domestic gross.

With a new cast and director in tow, long gestating sequel The Strangers: Prey at Night enters theaters next weekend. Johannes Roberts, who directed his own surprise hit 47 Meters Down just last summer, is behind the camera with a cast led by Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson.

The question here is rather simple: will audiences have enough of a memory or fondness for the original to turn up? The horror genre has certainly seen its share of impressive performers lately and it could potentially fill the market niche.

That said, I’m skeptical. I’ll estimate that Prey earns less than half of what its predecessor accomplished some 10 years ago.

The Strangers: Prey at Night opening weekend prediction: $7.9 million

For my A Wrinkle in Time prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/02/28/a-wrinkle-in-time-box-office-prediction/

For my The Hurricane Heist prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/01/the-hurricane-heist-box-office-prediction/

For my Gringo prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/03/01/gringo-box-office-prediction/