Known for his mega budget disaster flicks such as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, director Roland Emmerich tries his hand at a World War II epic next weekend with Midway. Budgeted at $75 million (pretty low considering the reported $165 million price tag for his 2016 dud sequel Independence Day: Resurgence), the cast includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid, and Woody Harrelson.
I do not expect this to be Emmerich’s Saving Private Ryan or Dunkirk. Those WWII efforts had critical acclaim and Oscar buzz. This does not. There will be competition for the adult and action crowd with the debut of Doctor Sleep and second frame for Terminator: Dark Fate.
IMAX elevated pricing could help a bit, but I doubt it. My suspicion is that Midway posts middling to poor numbers in the low teens for an inauspicious start.
Since 2016, the NBC drama This Is Us has kept viewers in a perpetual state of tears and it’s been a massive hit for the network. As the show’s popularity has continued, the various leads on the family affair have seen their movie offers increase.
When looking at how Oscar voters could reward the work of these actors that have garnered plenty of Emmy nods, there’s some we can quickly discount. Don’t look for Milo Ventimiglia to contend for The Art of Racing in the Rain. His onscreen wife Mandy Moore won’t get supporting actress attention for next weekend’s Midway. Justin Hartley will not be feted for Little or Jexi. And while A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood could see Tom Hanks receive another nomination, the same won’t hold true for Susan Kelechi Watson.
That brings us to Watson’s TV hubby Sterling K. Brown. His big screen family drama Waves has gotten raves on the film festival circuit. It would appear his performance is most likely to appear on the radar of the awards crowd. Yet there’s a problem. 2019’s crop of supporting actor possibilities is packed. The list includes the aforementioned Hanks in Neighborhood, Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for The Irishman, Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes, Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse, and Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy. The race simply might be too crowded for Brown.
Surprisingly, the best chance for an Us thespian to get into the Academy derby might come in an unexpected category. This spring’s faith based release Breakthrough featured Chrissy Metz in the cast. Her acting will not be honored. However, Metz did cut an original song for the soundtrack titled “I’m Standing With You”. The songwriter is Diane Warren and she’s no stranger to Oscar. Warren has landed ten nods for her work, including songs from the last two years – “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall and “I’ll Fight” from RBG. The Best Original Song race is still uncertain, but Disney appears bound to get in with expected selections from Toy Story 4, Frozen II, Aladdin, and The Lion King. There’s also tracks from Rocketman and Cats that could factor in. Still, Metz’s pipes probably have the highest chance for recognition over the acting skills of her fellow cast members.
Two years after the original turned into an unanticipated summer success, shark sequel 47MetersDown: Uncaged is unlocked in theaters next weekend. While director Johannes Roberts is back behind the camera, a whole new cast of potential chum is present. That includes Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx (daughter of Jamie), Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone (daughter of Sly), John Corbett, and Nia Long. Original star Mandy Moore is off somewhere and hopefully dry.
In June 2017, the first Meters had an interesting journey to the big screen. A measly $5 million production, it was originally slated to be a VOD only release. After it was acquired by Entertainment Studios and perhaps assisted by Moore’s exposure in the hit series “This Is Us”, it was put into multiplexes and had an $11.2 million debut. Doubling its price tag out of the gate, it legged out quite well for its genre and ended up at $44 million.
The follow-up won’t be able to surprise everyone and come out of nowhere. Expectations are that it should at least match the start of its predecessor. I’ll project that it falls short of that by around a million.
47MetersDown: Uncaged opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
For my TheAngryBirdsMovie2 prediction, click here:
Blogger’s Note (08/02/18) – On the eve of its premiere, I am revising my estimate from $8.7 million to $6.3 million
Based on a series of YA novels from Alexandra Bracken, TheDarkestMinds debuts in theaters next weekend. The dystopian adventures stars Amandla Stenberg (from last year’s Everything, Everything), Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie, and Bradley Whitford. Jennifer Yuh Nelson (best known for making parts 2 and 3 of the animated KungFuPanda franchise) directs.
We are far removed from the YA adaptation heyday of TheHungerGames and Twilight series. 20th Century Fox doesn’t seem to be hyping this one much. Instead of anything near Katniss or Bella numbers, I could see this struggling to reach double digits. The best comp could be 2013’s TheMortalInstruments: CityofBones, which made a piddling $9.3 million for its start and effectively ended any chance of future sequels. That will probably be the case here with a dark opening for Minds.
TheDarkestMinds opening weekend prediction: $6.3 million
Another shark tale swims into theaters next weekend when 47 Meters Down debuts. Johannes Roberts directs the killer shark pic with Mandy Moore, Matthew Modine, and Claire Holt among the human chum.
The horror thriller has experienced an interesting journey to the big screen. Original distributor Dimension Films slated Meters for a VOD premiere in August 2016 before Entertainment Studios stepped in, bought the rights, and decided a theatrical release was in order.
Why the change? One has to surmise that last summer’s success of the The Shallows (perhaps coupled with TV’s Sharknado ratings) helped. Another benefit: star Moore has seen her visibility rise with her hit TV drama “This Is Us”.
How will this translate to its box office potential? 47 Meters Down should certainly rank fourth among the newbies out next weekend – well behind Cars 3, All Eyez on Me, and Rough Night. I’ll predict a floor of about $5 million with a ceiling of $8 million. My gut has it on the lower end of that scale.
47 Meters Down opening weekend prediction: $6.1 million