Oscar Predictions – Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts debuts Friday and it marks the seventh entry in the franchise that began in 2007. This has never been a series known for critical acclaim, but reviews have been on the uptick as of late.

The Rotten Tomatoes score for Beasts is 57%. That’s actually tied for second best of the bunch as the first Transformers has the same rating. #1 by far is the 91% achieved by immediate predecessor Bumblebee from 2018. The other four were at 35% or under (2017’s The Last Knight is lowest at 16%).

That said, certain technical aspects were noticed by the Academy for awhile. Part 1 was nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects (note that these sound races have since been combined). 2009’s follow-up Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was up for Sound Mixing. 2011’s third adventure Transformers: Dark of the Moon landed the same three mentions as the first. There are no victories among the seven nominations.

However, the next three pics (2014’s Age of Extinction, The Last Knight, Bumblebee) were ignored by voters. And if Bumblebee couldn’t manage a Sound or VE spot, it’s tough to see Beasts rising to the challenge. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Box Office Prediction

Representing the longest drought between entries, it’s been nearly four and a half years without Optimus onscreen. Paramount is hoping audiences will be primed for the franchise’s return as Transformers: Rise of the Beasts debuts on June 9th. This is the seventh installment of the series that started in 2007 with Michael Bay helming the first five. He produces while Steven Caple Jr. (best known for Creed II) directs. The non-voiceover cast includes Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Vélez, Tobe Ngigwe, and Michael Kelly. Those voices behind the various title bots include Peter Cullen, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh, Lisa Koshy, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Pete Davidson, Colman Domingo, John DiMaggio, and David Sobolov.

Beasts serves as a direct follow-up to 2018’s Bumblebee and a prequel to editions I-V. The Transformers pics have certainly seen their fortunes fade in recent years. Domestically the peak was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which earned $402 million overall stateside. The first three titles all grossed north of $300 million. By 2017, Transformers: The Last Knight managed $130 million. Bumblebee was a smidge under at $127 million.

To be fair, expectations for Bumblebee weren’t nearly as high and it rode decent reviews and solid buzz to a commendable leg out over the holidays. The lengthy break may not help Beasts and there’s no returning human stars from previous adventures.

This only needs to top $21 million to avoid a franchise low three-day beginning. It should have no trouble there. The better comp is probably The Last Knight which premiered with $44 million for its Friday to Sunday take (though it made $68 million when you count its Wednesday start). I’ll say Beasts falls a bit shy of that.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opening weekend prediction: $42.2 million

Oscar Predictions: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Get those pens (not pencils) ready for one nominee in the Animated Feature race at the 96th Academy Awards. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is out this weekend. The sequel to 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is drawing similar reactions to its predecessor. That means some serious raves as it currently stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes (on par with the 97% for part 1).

In December 2018, Into upended the animated category. Any hope that Incredibles 2 or Isle of Dogs held for taking the prize fell by the wayside upon its release. That happened late in the calendar for the first Spidey. We are not even at the midpoint of 2023 and Across has established itself as the strong frontrunner. Pixar’s Elemental, which drew so-so chatter from Cannes, may even struggle to make the final cut of five nominees.

Across is guaranteed a slot and is a huge threat to win no matter what follows in the next few months. It is only the first half of two sequels as Beyond the Spider-Verse follows in March of next year. You can safely assume it might be a hopeful for the 97th Academy Awards.

As for other competitions, I suppose Adapted Screenplay is feasible if Sony were to make a dedicated push. Critics are also pointing out the visual effects. Yet animated titles struggle to get noticed in that particular derby. It’s more likely this will stick to Animated Feature and it could very well stick the landing. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Box Office Prediction

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse swings into multiplexes on June 2nd and hopes to start the month off on a high note. The animated sequel is the follow-up to 2018’s Into the Spider-Verse, which drew widespread critical acclaim resulting in a Best Animated Feature Oscar. It also grossed nearly $200 million domestically and $384 million worldwide.

There’s a trio of directors in Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson. Shameik Moore is back behind the mic as Miles/Spidey. Other performers voicing additional versions of the hero and other characters include Hailee Steinfeld (back as Spider-Woman), Brian Tyree Henry, Luna Lauren Velez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac, Greta Lee, Shea Whigham, and Andy Samberg.

Parts 2 and 3 of the franchise were assembled at the same time. Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is slated for March 2024. In December 2018, part 1 started out with $35 million before legging out impressively to a $190 million stateside haul. Achieving a rare A+ Cinemascore rating, it stands to reason that audiences should be pumped for the sequel.

In the summer (as opposed to December), tentpoles are expected to post a gigantic opening immediately. Some forecasts have their projection as rosy as $120 million. That’s certainly possible, but I’ll temper expectations a bit and say $90-100 million is probably where this Verse starts.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse opening weekend prediction: $96.4 million

For my The Boogeyman prediction, click here:

The First Purge Box Office Prediction

The fourth entry in a heavily profitable franchise, The First Purge invades theaters on July 4th. Blumhouse’s action horror series is (as the title suggests) a prequel that shows how all the purgin’ began. This is the first Purge pic not directed by James DeMonaco (though he wrote it) and Gerard McMurray takes over behind the camera. Cast members include Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez, and Marisa Tomei.

As with most Blumhouse titles, this franchise has been a low-budget exercise with pleasing returns. 2013’s The Purge opened to $34 million with a $64 eventual domestic gross. 2014’s The Purge: Anarchy made $29.8 million out of the gate and $71 million overall. 2016’s The Purge: Election Year took off with $31.5 million over its three-day July 1-3 debut with $36.1 million when counting its July 4th gross. The total domestic gross was $79 million. Interestingly, each series feature has made more than the one before it in terms of eventual haul.

The First Purge gets a two-day jump on Ant-Man and the Wasp by rolling out on Wednesday. I don’t see any reason why its box office fireworks would simmer down. Considering its five-day premiere, the traditional weekend gross should be in the low to mid 20s with a high 20s or low 30s take when accounting for Wednesday and Thursday.

The First Purge opening weekend prediction: $22.8 million (Friday to Sunday), $31.4 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Ant-Man and the Wasp prediction, click here: