Dolittle Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Update (01/15): Revising prediction down to $22.3 million

Robert Downey Jr. can speak to animals in Dolittle, but will the film speak to family audiences when it opens next weekend? The pic takes the well known character (previously played by Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy) and places him in a pricey $175 million budgeted adventure. Stephen Gaghan, known for directing the 2005 political thriller Syriana, is the rather surprising choice for behind the camera duties. Our marvelous cinematic Iron Man leads the human cast that also includes Harry Collett, Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jessie Buckley, and Jim Broadbent. Many familiar faces are responsible for voicing the animal cast. That list includes Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard (four Oscar winners among them!).

Dolittle was slated to be released last spring before it underwent reportedly extensive reshoots. The release of a property like this with its budget and leading man in late January is a bit curious and perhaps concerning.

Opening over the long MLK weekend, Dolittle will be in a battle for first place with Bad Boys for Life. Gauging the box office prowess of Downey is tricky nowadays since he’s pretty much only been Tony Stark over the past several years (those movies sell themselves).

Family audiences have had plenty of titles to choose from in the past month including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Spies in Disguise, and Jumanji: The Next Level. All three should bring in decent amounts of cash over the long frame. However, even with shaky buzz, Dolittle should hit mid to high 20s over the four days and north of $30 million is feasible. That puts it in second position based on my Bad Boys forecast or perhaps even third behind the second frame of 1917.

Dolittle opening weekend prediction: $22.3 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Bad Boys for Life prediction, click here:

Best Actress: A Look Back

Back at it again with my look back at major Oscar races from 1990 to the present! We’ve arrived at Best Actress. If you missed my previous posts covering the Supporting performers, you can find them here:

As I did with those posts, I’m selecting my top 3 least surprising winners and top 3 upsets. I’m also giving you my personal pick for strongest and weakest fields from the past 28 years.

For starters, here’s the list of winners from 1990 to now:

1990 – Kathy Bates, Misery

1991 – Jodie Foster, The Silence of the Lambs

1992 – Emma Thompson, Howards End

1993 – Holly Hunter, The Piano

1994 – Jessica Lange, Blue Sky

1995 – Susan Sarandon, Dead Man Walking

1996 – Frances McDormand, Fargo

1997 – Helen Hunt, As Good As It Gets

1998 – Gwyneth Paltrow, Shakespeare in Love

1999 – Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry

2000 – Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

2001 – Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball

2002 – Nicole Kidman, The Hours

2003 – Charlize Theron, Monster

2004 – Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

2005 – Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

2006 – Helen Mirren, The Queen

2007 – Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

2008 – Kate Winslet, The Reader

2009 – Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

2010 – Natalie Portman, Black Swan

2011 – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

2012 – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

2013 – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

2014 – Julianne Moore, Still Alice

2015 – Brie Larson, Room

2016 – Emma Stone, La La Land

2017 – Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

When it comes to Best Actress, I must say it’s probably the race with the least amount of genuine upsets. Nearly every year, there’s a pretty strong front-runner and they win – even more so than in Actor and the Supporting players. Of many non-surprises, here’s my top ones:

3. Holly Hunter, The Piano

Hunter’s work as a mute piano player in Jane Campion’s period piece was the clear favorite over significant competition that included Angela Bassett in What’s Love Got to Do With It? and the previous year’s winner Emma Thompson in The Remains of the Day. 

2. Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars had already received nods for Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman and there was little question that Brockovich would earn Roberts her first and only (so far) trip to the Oscar stage.

1. Charlize Theron, Monster

Theron’s metamorphosis into serial killer Aileen Wuornos swept all precursors. The rest of the field was also fairly weak that year, making her the obvious victor.

And now the “upsets”…

3. Kate Winslet, The Reader

While not a surprise when she won Oscar night, the multi-nominated Winslet was expected for much of the year to get a nod for Revolutionary Road instead. Yet it was this Stephen Daldry drama that was selected instead.

2. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

This was a two-way contest between Cotillard and veteran Julie Christie for Away from Her, with many believing the latter had the edge. It didn’t turn out that way.

1. Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry and Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby

This #1 comes with a caveat. It wasn’t much of an upset by the time Swank won her double Oscars. What’s interesting here is that she single-handedly denied two prime opportunities for the winless Annette Bening to get a statue for American Beauty and Being Julia. 

We move to the fields. For weakest field, I’m selecting 1994 when Jessica Lange won for the little-seen Blue Sky. Other nominees were Jodie Foster in Nell, Miranda Richardson in Tom&Viv, Winona Ryder for Little Women, and Susan Sarandon in The Client. 

Strongest group in my opinion goes to 2010 with Natalie Portman’s victorious role in Black Swan. The rest of that impressive field is Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence’s first nomination in Winter’s Bone, and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).

Best Actor is next, folks! Stay tuned…

Allied Movie Review

Allied is director Robert Zemeckis’s throwback to old school romantic thrillers and especially if those features were allowed to be a bit more risqué and violent. In case you’re unclear about its influences, our two beautiful leads literally meet in Casablanca  in the year that landmark picture was released.

Those two leads are Brad Pitt’s Air Force commander Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard’s French Resistance agent Marianne  Beauséjour. When we open, the two are paired on a rather unconventional blind date. They’ve been set up from the get go to pretend they’re married. They are on a mission to assassinate Nazis officers. Marianne is of the belief that getting emotionally involved in her work is a necessity. Max disagrees. For a while at least. Soon, the pretend couple is a real couple and it leads to marriage and a child.

Mr. and Mrs. Vatan experience about a year of wedded bliss. His spy game is still going strong while she’s settled into motherhood. The bottom falls out when Max is told his wife is actually a German spy. He doesn’t believe it, but it initiates what’s referred to as a “blue dye” mission. P.S. – Blue Dye would have been a cooler title than Allied. The mission entails Max passing on false information to her and waiting a few days to see if it ends up in the enemy’s hands.

Steven Knight’s screenplay does a commendable job at keeping us guessing just who Marianne really is. The World War II look and feel is one that’s familiar, but the production design and other technical aspects are first-rate.

A pic like Blue Dye (err Allied) hinges on the chemistry of its leads. There are supporting characters here, but they’re relegated to smallish parts. Lizzy Caplan pops up as Max’s sister (whose sole character trait seems to be that she’s a lesbian) and Jared Harris is Max’s superior. Luckily, Pitt and Cotillard form a nice partnership. There’s a sensuous scene in a sandstorm that’s memorable.

Mr. Pitt is in leading man mode and is solid. Cotillard has the more challenging role and proves again her abilities. Zemeckis has certainly made some genuine classics. Allied isn’t. It’s content to be an homage to other classics. Yet it’s a well-made one that generates enough suspense to make it effective.

*** (out of four)

Assassin’s Creed Box Office Prediction

Based on the video game franchise that’s been going strong for nearly a decade, Assassin’s Creed hits theaters over the long Christmas weekend. The action adventure pic, with its reported budget of at least $130 million, will hope to bring in gamers who’ve been plying its many iterations over the past few years. Michael Fassbender headlines with a supporting cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling. Justin Kurzel, who directed Fassbender in last year’s Macbeth, is behind the camera.

20th Century Fox is hoping that weak numbers from video adaptations (Warcraft is a recent example) doesn’t apply here. Audiences looking for some action do have more choices over the holiday frame as Rogue One will be in its second weekend (and very likely still atop the charts) and Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt also debuts. Still, Creed should have enough of a built-in following for it to reach high teens to low 20s over the four-day portion of the weekend and high 20s from its Wednesday bow.

Assassin’s Creed opening weekend prediction: $19.8 million (Friday to Monday), $28.1 million (Wednesday to Monday)

For my Passengers prediction, click here:

For my Sing prediction, click here:

For my Why Him? prediction, click here:

For my Fences prediction, click here:

Oscar Watch: Allied

Yet another piece of the Oscar puzzle revealed itself this morning as reviews for this Wednesday’s Allied came out. The World War II romantic thriller is directed by Academy winner Robert Zemeckis and stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. With that pedigree, it certainly warranted mentions as a potential awards player and I’ve consistently listed it towards the bottom of the pack in my hopefuls for Best Picture (along with Cotillard in Actress).

Critical reaction today is mixed. It stands at 60% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Several critics have admired its old-fashioned sensibilities and Cotillard has gotten some praise (more so than Mr. Pitt, who never really seemed like a contender for this). Other reviews haven’t been so kind (Hollywood Reporter was particularly negative).

Bottom line? Allied is basically out of the running for Picture or Director. It needed stronger reviews than what’s it getting. Cotillard seemed feasible at once, but Best Actress is far too jam packed for her inclusion.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Allied Box Office Prediction

Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard join forces in the World War II set romantic thriller Allied, out next week over the Thanksgiving frame. Robert Zemeckis, who’s made plenty of hits but misfired with last year’s The Walk, handles directorial responsibilities and the supporting cast includes Lizzy Caplan, Jared Harris, and Matthew Goode.

Paramount Pictures is hoping that adult crowds will turn out over the holiday weekend. It must be noted that Mr. Pitt has obviously been the subject of much press over the last few months due to his separation from Angelina Jolie. How that plays into box office dollars is an unknown. The star’s filmography is not short of WWII era titles, as he headlined both Inglourious Basterds and Fury (which made $120M and $85M, respectively).

Whether Allied gets to that level could be a question mark, but solid reviews would certainly help (there’s none at press time). I’ll say this debuts to mid teens over the traditional Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend with low 20s a realistic estimate for the five-day gross. That could eventually get it to Fury level, though Basterds numbers would be a reach.

Allied opening weekend prediction: $14.2 million (Friday to Sunday), $21.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Moana prediction, click here:

For my Bad Santa 2 prediction, click here:

For my Rules Don’t Apply prediction, click here:

Todd’s Weekly Oscar Predictions: November 10th Edition

Hey all – it’s Thursday and that means time to update Oscar predictions in the eight major categories. Since last Thursday, Denzel Washington’s eagerly awaited Fences held its first industry screenings and solidified itself as a major player this awards season. Beyond that, we’re still in a holding pattern with various titles yet to unveil themselves. That will change soon with such titles as Rules Don’t Apply, Miss Sloane, and Allied… so stay tuned as those pictures reveal themselves to be true contenders or not.

And with that, the November 10th rankings!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Fences (PR: 3)

3. Silence (PR: 2)

4. Moonlight (PR: 4)

5. Lion (PR: 5)

6. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

7. Loving (PR: 8)

8. Jackie (PR: 7)

9. Arrival (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities

10. Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

11. Hell or High Water (PR: 11)

12. 20th Century Women (PR: 12)

13. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 13)

14. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 15)

15. Live by Night (PR: 14)

16. Sully (PR: 16)

17. The Jungle Book (PR: 17)

18. Nocturnal Animals (PR: Not Ranked)

19. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (PR: 18)

20. Allied (PR: 19)

Dropped Out:

Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 2)

3. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 3)

4. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 5)

5. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Denis Villeneueve, Arrival (PR: 6)

7. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 7)

8. Pablo Larrain, Jackie (PR: 8)

9. Jeff Nichols, Loving (PR: 9)

10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

3. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 3)

4. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 4)

5. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 7)

7. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 6)

8. Matthew McConaughey, Gold (PR: 9)

9. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 10)

10. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)

Best Actress

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 3)

3. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

4. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 4)

5. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 5)

7. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 7)

8. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 8)

9. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Rebecca Hall, Christine (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Marion Cotillard, Allied

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 1)

2. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 3)

3. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 4)

4. Liam Neeson, Silence (PR: 2)

5. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities

6. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 8)

7. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie (PR: 6)

8. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 7)

9. Stephen Henderson, Fences (PR: 5)

10. Aaron Eckhart, Sully (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)

5. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 8)

8. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 7)

9. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (PR: 9)

10. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margo Martindale, The Hollars

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Moonlight (PR: 1)

2. La La Land (PR: 2)

3. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

4. Loving (PR: 4)

5. Jackie (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

7. 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

8. The Lobster (PR: 8)

9. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Captain Fantastic (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Miss Sloane

I, Daniel Blake

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Fences (PR: 1)

2. Lion (PR: 3)

3. Silence (PR: 2)

4. Arrival (PR: 4)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 6)

7. Live by Night (PR: 8)

8. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 7)

9. Elle (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Love & Friendship (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Certain Women

And that will do it for today! Until next week…