December 9-11 Box Office Predictions

Audiences weren’t digging the leftovers in the first frame of December and it’ll get even worse this weekend. The top 5 could look awfully familiar with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on top for a fifth time before Avatar: The Way of Water looks to liven up multiplexes beginning December 16th.

There are only two semi-wide newcomers to speak of and I didn’t do individual prediction posts on either. Father Stu: Reborn is a recut version of this spring’s true life drama with Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson. It earned a not so heavenly but not terrible $20 million a few months back. This version is PG-13 and not R. I don’t believe it’ll clear $1 million and that puts it outside the top five.

Spoiler Alert, another true life drama and this one featuring Jim Parsons, expands to approximately 600 venues after opening in six theaters this past weekend. It generated a fair $13k per screen. Spoiler might be in line for a fifth or sixth place showing depending on Devotion‘s fall.

There’s a small chance that Violent Night, the Santa shoot-em-up with David Harbour, could elevate to 1st place after a decent debut (more on that below). However, I have it dipping in the higher 40s and if Black Panther doesn’t go beyond low to mid 50s, it should remain on top of the charts.

Meanwhile the battle for third could be razor thin between the third weekend of Disney dud Strange World and the fourth helping of The Menu.

Here’s how I see the top 6 playing out:

1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

2. Violent Night

Predicted Gross: $7.1 million

3. The Menu

Predicted Gross: $2.5 million

4. Strange World

Predicted Gross: $2.4 million

5. Devotion

Predicted Gross: $1.3 million

6. Spoiler Alert

Predicted Gross: $1.3 million

Box Office Results (December 2-4)

MCU sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made it four in a row with $17.5 million. That’s under my projection of $21.3 million as the 62% fall was rather steep considering the lack of competition. The total did rise to $393 million.

Violent Night dropped at the higher end of its range with $13.4 million, outpacing my $9.4 million take. The grisly Yuletide tale could manage to play well over the coming holidays.

Strange World continued the embarrassing returns for the Mouse Factory with only $5 million in its sophomore weekend. I was close with $5.2 million. That’s a mere $25 million in its first 12 days.

The Menu was fourth with $3.4 million (I said $3.1 million) as it’s made $24 million thus far.

Devotion had a turbulent 54% plummet in weekend #2 with $2.7 million. I estimated a bit more at $3.3 million. Overall gross is $13 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Violent Night Box Office Prediction

If Mel Gibson in 2020’s Fatman didn’t satiate your desire to see Kris Kringle toting semiautomatic weapons, we’ve got Violent Night sliding into theaters on December 2nd. David Harbour of Stranger Things fame is Santa in the satiric action pic from director Tommy Wirkola. Supporting players include John Leguizamo (currently appearing in The Menu), Cam Gigandet, Alex Hassell, Alexis Louder, and Beverly D’Angelo (already a holiday silver screen staple thanks to Christmas Vacation).

Universal is hoping audiences want a little comedic savagery in their Yuletide viewing plans. Harbour hasn’t had a big screen breakout. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as 2019’s Hellboy was a dud (he did turn up in last year’s MCU blockbuster Black Widow).

The best case scenario would be a premiere approaching 2015’s Krampus, which rolled out on the same December weekend. It made just over $16 million and eventually topped out at $42 million domestically. I don’t anticipate that kind of showing for Violent Night. There’s a chance it won’t even reach double digits. I’ll put it a hair under.

Violent Night opening weekend prediction: $9.4 million

Best Picture 2016: The Final Five


We have reached 2016 in my posts speculating on a specific piece of Oscar history. As awards followers are aware, 2009 saw the Academy expand the Best Picture category from five movies to ten. That lasted for two years and in 2011, it switched to anywhere from 5-10 with 8 or 9 as the magic numbers for several years. In 2021, the number reverted back to a set ten.

What if that hadn’t happened? What if the BP derby had stayed at a quintet? What pictures would have made the cut? If you missed my write-ups centered on 2009-15, you can peruse them here:

We know one thing for sure – Moonlight from Barry Jenkins is in. As you may recall, it had to wait a tad longer to win Best Picture when an envelope mishap caused Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to wrongly proclaim La La Land as the voters choice.

As for the 8 other hopefuls (including La La), here’s my take on which half of them would have made the dance.

Arrival

Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama tied Moonlight for the second most nods at 8. In addition to BP, the director and adapted screenplay were nominated along with tech mentions in Sound Editing (where it won), Sound Mixing, Production Design, Cinematography, and Editing. On the flip side, star Amy Adams was omitted in Best Actress. It stands as one of the most surprising acting snubs of the past decade.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No, but I’ll admit I went back and forth here. There’s certainly an argument to be made that it gets in due to the high number of nominations. However, the Actress snub and it not making the Golden Globe five for Drama make me more comfortable leaving it out. **As a side note – I didn’t let my personal take on it interfere as it’s probably my favorite picture of 2016.

Fences

Denzel Washington starred and directed this adaptation of the August Wilson play. Washington landed an Actor nom while costar Viola Davis won Supporting Actress. The Adapted Screenplay was also up.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Had it materialized in Director, I might think twice but this was probably 7th at best of the nine contenders.

Hacksaw Ridge

Mel Gibson made a filmmaking comeback in the World War II drama. He was up for his direction and Andrew Garfield earned a Best Actor spot. It won Sound Mixing and Film Editing and was up for Sound Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. Despite its screenplay not being mentioned, the Editing victory puts it in for me. In the 21st century, the winner of the race has missed BP exactly once (2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Hell or High Water

Taylor Sheridan is best known these days for co-creating TV’s hit Yellowstone. He earned an Original Screenplay nod for this neo-Western that was also up for Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges) and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No. Director David Mackenzie wasn’t up and the 0 for 4 showing is a sign the final five wasn’t reachable.

Hidden Figures

Theodore Melfi’s true life look at African-American female mathematicians at NASA during the 1960s was a gigantic hit – blasting off to $170 million domestically. Besides BP, Octavia Spencer was up for Supporting Actress as was the Adapted Screenplay.

Does It Make the Final Five?

No in spite of its box office. Of the nine nominees, it got the smallest number of noms and took home zero. It was also missed the Golden Globe and Critics Choice lists.

La La Land

Damien Chazelle won Best Director for his musical and Emma Stone was crowned Best Actress. The total number of nominations was 14 – which tied All About Eve and Titanic for the most ever. Other victories were Score, Song, Cinematography, and Production Design. The other mentions were Actor (Ryan Gosling), Original Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Costume Design, and Film Editing.

Does It Make the Final Five?

A big and obvious yes. When Dunaway accidentally proclaimed it BP, no one was surprised since it was the frontrunner. It was very likely the runner-up in votes.

Lion

Garth Davis’s drama finds Dev Patel searching for his birth parents and it found its way to five other nods for Patel in Supporting Actor, Nicole Kidman for Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Score, and Cinematography. It did not win any of them.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. I will admit that this could be a stretch and Arrival might be the pick of others. I just think that there would have been enough sentiment for this one to make the final cut even without directing and editing mentions.

Manchster by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan got a directing nod for this grief filled drama and Casey Affleck won Best Actor. Lucas Hedges and Michelle Williams were up for the supporting derbies while Lonergan won Original Screenplay.

Does It Make the Final Five?

Yes. The screenplay and Actor wins solidify this and it was probably third of the five behind Moonlight and La La Land.

Therefore my projected 2016 five is:

Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

2017 is next!

Summer 2002: The Top 10 Hits and More

In the turbulent months that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11, domestic audiences needed some escapism at the box office. In the Christmas season of 2001, they found it with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. 

By summer 2002, moviegoers turned out in record-setting droves for the first big screen treatment of an iconic superhero.

20 years later, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed as Spidey continues to dominate the charts. It all started with a memorable upside down kiss. Before we go there, there’s plenty more to discuss for the cinematic summer of two decades past.

As I do every season on the blog, I’m recounting the top 10 hits, other notable features, and flops from 30, 20, and 10 years ago. If you missed my post covering 1992, it’s right here:

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

Let’s begin with that top 10!

10. Mr. Deeds

Domestic Gross: $126 million

When Adam Sandler remade Frank Capra, the result was another blockbuster for the star and a needed one after his previous pic Little Nicky was a rare commercial flop.

9. Minority Report

Domestic Gross: $132 million

The first and still only collaboration between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg is a prescient sci-fi tale and its reputation has grown since its release. It’s my personal favorite film of 2002.

8. xXx

Domestic Gross: 142 million

Riding high off the success of the previous summer’s The Fast and the Furious, Rob Cohen and Vin Diesel reunited for this over the top action flick. A sequel would follow three years later without Diesel’s involvement (Ice Cube starred instead), but Vin would return to the role in 2017.

7. Lilo & Stitch

Domestic Gross: $145 million

This Disney animated effort performed just fine (if not in the stratosphere of some 90s gems) and spawned numerous direct-to-video follow-ups. A live-action version is being planned.

6. Scooby-Doo

Domestic Gross: $153 million

Critics might have thought it was a dog, but crowds lapped up this live-action/animated hybrid based on the very 1970s cartoon. Scoob and the gang would return two years later for part 2. Fun fact: James Gunn of Guardians of the Galaxy fame wrote the script.

5. Men in Black II

Domestic Gross: $190 million

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones teamed up again for the sci-fi comedic spectacle from Barry Sonnenfeld. This fell short of the original’s $250 million domestic haul and the reviewers weren’t impressed, but that didn’t prevent a third offering that will be discussed in my summer of 2012 post.

4. Austin Powers in Goldmember

Domestic Gross: $213 million

Mike Myers continued to flex his box office mojo alongside Beyonce, Michael Caine, and Mini-Me in this threequel that I believe surpassed the quality of predecessor The Spy Who Shagged Me. 

3. Signs

Domestic Gross: $227 million

After the more mixed reaction that Unbreakable garnered, M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs with Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix was more of a return to crowd favorite status. What followed was several pics from him that drew considerably more ambivalent to negative vibes.

2. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Domestic Gross: $302 million

$302 million is just dandy for nearly any movie, but this second prequel from George Lucas fell well short of the $431 million achieved by The Phantom Menace three summers prior. Many consider this the worst of the nine officials episodes. I’m one of them.

    1. Spider-Man

Domestic Gross: $403 million

When Sam Raimi’s spin on the webslinger kicked off the summer, it did so with the largest opening weekend of all time at $114 million (breaking a record that had just been set by the first Potter). Two sequels followed for the Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst trilogy and, as we all know, the character has never left us. Spider-Man: No Way Home recently brought all 3 Spideys (Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland) into its MCU Multiverse.

Now let’s move to some other notable titles from the season:

The Bourne Identity 

Domestic Gross: $121 million

While outside the top ten, Paul Greengrass’s action thriller with Matt Damon as an amnesiac spy is more influential than the bulk of the flicks above it. Damon would return to the role three times.

The Sum of All Fears

Domestic Gross: $118 million

Right behind Damon is his buddy Ben Affleck who took over the role of Jack Ryan (previously played by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) in the Tom Clancy adapted hit.

Road to Perdition

Domestic Gross: $104 million

His follow-up to Best Picture winner American Beauty, the Depression era crime drama from Sam Mendes cast Tom Hanks against type as a hitman with Paul Newman as his underworld boss. This only nabbed a Cinematography Oscar, but reviews were mostly strong. It also provides a juicy role for pre-007 Daniel Craig.

Insomnia

Domestic Gross: $67 million

Hanks wasn’t the only legend stretching in a villainous turn. Robin Williams memorably did the same as he was pitted against Al Pacino’s detective in this chilly thriller from Christopher Nolan (three years before Batman Begins).

Unfaithful

Domestic Gross: $52 million

Adrian Lyne made a movie about another fatal attraction and Unfaithful earned Diane Lane an Oscar nomination as the cheating wife of Richard Gere.

And now for some movies that didn’t perform so well…

Reign of Fire

Domestic Gross: $43 million

This dragon centered fantasy arrived before Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale would be Oscar winners a few years later. Critics weren’t kind and the box office failed to generate much fire.

Windtalkers

Domestic Gross: $40 million

John Woo’s financial win streak blew over with this World War II action drama headlined by Nicolas Cage that only managed 32% on Rotten Tomatoes.

K-19: The Widowmaker 

Domestic Gross: $35 million

Seven years before her Oscar winning The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow’s 1960s set submarine thriller with Harrison Ford was a pricey disappointment.

Halloween: Resurrection

Domestic Gross: $30 million

Michael Myers and Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode are about to team up for the final (?) time in Halloween Ends in October. In 2002, this was the sequel to the successful Halloween H20 from 1998. This one was not so successful and it’s considered by many aficionados as the weakest of the whole franchise.

Bad Company

Domestic Gross: $30 million

One is a double Oscar winner and the other is one of greatest stand-ups of all time, but this cinematic pairing of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock in Joel Schumacher’s action comedy was met with a shrug.

Blood Work 

Domestic Gross: $26 million

Ten years after Unforgiven won Best Picture after its summer release, Clint Eastwood’s mystery didn’t work for critics or crowds.

The Adventures of Pluto Nash

Domestic Gross: $4 million

Speaking of legendary stand-ups, Eddie Murphy reached a career low point as sci-fi comedy Nash stands as one of cinema’s most notorious flops. Its budget was a reported $100 million and that’s not a misprint above… it made an embarrassing $4 million.

2012 is up next!

Summer 1992: The Top 10 Hits and More

1989 was unquestionably the Summer of the Bat as Tim Burton’s take on the Caped Crusader broke records. For 1992, it’s a bit more murky but we could call it The Summer of the Cat based on the sequel being the season’s biggest blockbuster.

As I have every season on the blog, I’m recounting the top 10 hits as well as some notable pics and failures from the summers of 30, 20, and 10 years ago. For 1992, it was a time of no crying in baseball, a Best Picture winner being discovered, and audiences refusing a biopic about a discoverer of America.

We begin with the moneymakers from #10 on up before moving to additional hits, misses, and those somewhere in between.

10. Housesitter

Domestic Gross: $58 million

While not the blockbuster he’d had just six months prior with Father of the Bride, Steve Martin had a midsize performer with this rom com costarring Goldie Hawn.

9. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid

Domestic Gross: $58 million

The return of Rick Moranis and plenty of special effects had shrunken grosses compared to the predecessor. The $58 million tally is less than half of what Honey, I Shrunk the Kids made. Nevertheless a direct to video sequel and TV series followed.

8. Far and Away

Domestic Gross: $58 million

Tom Cruise is ruling summer 2022 with Top Gun: Maverick. It was a different story 30 years ago with this rare misfire. Ron Howard directed the epic Western costarring Tom’s ex Nicole Kidman. The domestic take was less than the reported $60 million budget. Cruise would quickly get back in the good graces of moviegoers later in 1992 with A Few Good Men. 

7. Boomerang 

Domestic Gross: $70 million

While not approaching the earnings of his largest hits, Eddie Murphy’s first foray into romantic leading man territory did decent business. A string of flops would follow before a plus sized comeback four years later in The Nutty Professor. 

6. Patriot Games

Domestic Gross: $83 million

Harrison Ford stepped into the role of Jack Ryan after Alec Baldwin (who played the role in The Hunt for Red October) didn’t return. The result didn’t quite reach the financial or critical levels of its predecessor, but it easily made enough to warrant Clear and Present Danger two summers later.

5. Unforgiven

Domestic Gross: $101 million

Clint Eastwood’s tale of an aging cowboy out for revenge took the August box office by storm and eventually was an awards favorite – winning Picture, Director, and Supporting Actor for the villainous Gene Hackman. Unforgiven is the rare BP winner to release in the summer season and kickstarted an impressive second act for the legendary filmmaker.

4. A League of Their Own

Domestic Gross: $107 million

Penny Marshall’s World War II era baseball comedy was celebrated for its interplay between players like Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell in addition to one of cinema’s longest urination sequences from Tom Hanks.

3. Sister Act

Domestic Gross: $139 million

Coming on the heels of her Ghost Oscar, Whoopi Goldberg hit the jackpot with this fish out of water pic putting the comedienne in a convent. A less regarded sequel would follow in December 1993 as well as a Broadway musical.

2. Lethal Weapon 3

Domestic Gross: $144 million

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s third go-round in their buddy cop franchise didn’t generate the reviews of its two predecessors, but it had no trouble raking in the bucks. Rene Russo joined the party this time as Gibson’s love interest and fellow officer. Part 4 would come six years later and a fifth is in development right now.

1. Batman Returns

Domestic Gross: $162 million

Breathlessly anticipated and then received with mixed reaction due to its dark tone, Batman Returns is now seen by many as an improvement over the 1989 original. One thing that’s generally agreed upon is Michelle Pfeiffer nailing the role of Catwoman. This would be Burton’s last time helming the series with Joel Schumacher taking the franchise in a far more cartoonish direction for 1995’s Batman Forever.

And now for some other noteworthy selections outside of the top ten:

Unlawful Entry

Domestic Gross: $57 million

Coming on the heels of the Rodney King verdict and the L.A. Riots, this thriller starring the late Ray Liotta as a dirty cop tormenting Kurt Russell felt timely.

Single White Female

Domestic Gross: $48 million

Liotta was the Cop From Hell while Jennifer Jason Leigh was the Roommate From Hell terrorizing Bridget Fonda in this memorable psychological thriller.

Encino Man

Domestic Gross: $40 million

The cinematic era of MTV personality Pauly Shore (as well as Brendan Fraser) began with this caveman comedy that grossed several times its meager $7 million budget.

Universal Soldier

Domestic Gross: $36 million

Action lunkheads Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren teamed up for this futuristic sci-fi pic that turned a nifty profit and spawned numerous sequels. Four summers later, director Roland Emmerich would dominate the season with Independence Day. 

Honeymoon in Vegas

Domestic Gross: $35 million

With a plot similar to Indecent Proposal that would follow a few months later, Honeymoon in Vegas took the more comedic route and earned decent grosses in the cast led by Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, and the just departed James Caan. Plus… Flying Elvis impersonators!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Domestic Gross: $16 million

It did manage to double its meager budget, but this vampire comedy likely wouldn’t be remembered had it not led to a critically acclaimed WB series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The title role in the film version belonged to Kristy Swanson with a supporting cast including Luke Perry, Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman), and pre double Oscar winner Hilary Swank.

My final section of the summer 1992 recap gets to the under performers and downright flops…

Death Becomes Her

Domestic Gross: $58 million

This star studded satire from Robert Zemeckis boasted Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, and Bruce Willis above the title and some innovative special effects. While it just missed the top ten, the $58 million take barely surpassed the $55 million budget. Audiences and critics were mixed though Death has become a cult favorite in subsequent years.

Alien 3 

Domestic Gross: $55 million

Despite marking the directorial debut of David Fincher and featuring a memorably bald Sigourney Weaver, Alien 3 is considered to be a step-down from its iconic predecessors Alien and Aliens. In spite of the backlash, the franchise has continued and, of course, Fincher went onto brighter (albeit even darker) pastures.

Cool World

Domestic Gross: $14 million

Animator Ralph Bakshi is best known for his X-rated 1972 feature Fritz the Cat. After Cool World, he was still mostly known for Fritz the Cat. This hybrid of live-action and cartoon fantasy starred Kim Basinger and Brad Pitt. Yet it bombed with reviewers and crowds alike and only earned half its budget back stateside.

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Domestic Gross: $8 million

No one had interest in discovering this critically drubbed Columbus biopic that had Marlon Brando and Tom Selleck in the cast. Later in the fall, Ridley Scott’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise about the title character would also bomb.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Domestic Gross: $4 million

In 1990, David Lynch’s bizarre TV series was a cultural phenomenon… at least for a season. The movie version arrived after the second and final season and audiences had tuned out.

And that’s your look at the cinematic summer from 30 years ago! My recap of 2002 will be available in short order…

Oscar Predictions: Father Stu

If you prefer Mel Gibson playing Mark Wahlberg’s dad in a drama involving religion and inflammatory muscle diseases and not comedy sequels like Daddy’s Home 2, then Father Stu might be your jam. The biopic is out today and the faith-based experience (a rare one that’s rated R) hopes to cash in during Easter weekend.

A passion project for its star, the role for Wahlberg seems like the type of material meant to garner awards chatter. Yet an underwhelming 44% on Rotten Tomatoes tells a different tale. The artist formerly known as Marky has one Oscar nomination to his credit in Supporting Actor for 2006’s The Departed. Even though three of his cast members were up for The Fighter in 2010 (with Christian Bale and Melissa Leo winning), he failed to punch in.

Bottom line: Father Stu would need divine intervention to score a nod for Wahlberg or anything else. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Father Stu Box Office Prediction

A passion project for its lead, Father Stu hopes for a congregation in multiplexes when it debuts on Wednesday, April 13th. Mark Wahlberg stars and produces in the true story of a boxer turned priest who suffers from a muscular disease. Rosalind Russell is director/writer with a supporting cast including Mel Gibson, Jacki Weaver, Teresa Ruiz, and Niko Nicotera.

Sony Pictures is hopeful that fans of Wahlberg and a faith-based crowd turn up for the drama over the Easter frame. Movies with Christian themes can often over perform at the box office and this certainly could.

However, even a five-day gross in double digits could be out of reach. I’ll project it falls just under that.

Father Stu opening weekend prediction: $5.7 million (Friday to Sunday); $8.5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore prediction, click here:

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Box Office Prediction

Fatman Review

Santa Claus is comin’ to frown in Fatman, which should have never gotten past the conceptual stage. From brother directors Eshom and Ian Nelms, Mel Gibson is a dour Chris Cringle. Holiday cheer isn’t what it used to be and neither is business. He’s remotely located in Alaska with supportive wife Ruth (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and the elves and reindeer when an overachieving kid and the U.S. government cramp his style.

His toy making enterprise is disrupted by the military (they’ve got a contact with him) and his diminutive workers are tasked with making parts for a fighter jet. A different kind of contract is put out on Santa’s head by spoiled brat Billy (Chance Hurstfield). When he receives a lump of coal on Christmas morning, he hires hitman Jonathan (Walton Goggins) to exact revenge on the bearded icon. This is no problem for the eccentric assassin as he harbors childhood ill will toward the no longer jolly Saint Nick.

A potentially interesting idea is simply squandered here. Fatman isn’t good for many laughs or thrilling action sequences. The industrial complex themes are reminiscent of Barry Levinson’s expensive bomb Toys from 1992. When that’s the only comparison that comes to mind, you’re in trouble. It’s as if the filmmakers (who also wrote the script) believed the notion of Santa toting weapons and protecting his turf was enough to fill 100 minutes. Turns out the answer is no no no! Gibson’s Cringle is supposed to be bored for the most of the running time so that sort of explains his performance. You’ll (or shall I say) yule be right there with him in this joyless slog.

*1/2 (out of four)

2020 Oscar Predictions: October 8th Edition

As much as I want to predict Mel Gibson’s Santa Claus revenge tale Fatman in all categories based on its bonkers trailer, I shall refrain. However, there is more news to be discussed in my latest round of Oscar predictions.

Speaking of trailers, we got our first looks at two major contenders this week: David Fincher’s Mank (still holding in 1st place in Picture and Director and more) and News of the World from Paul Greengrass (with an impressive 10 predictions). Mank, by the way, leads all contenders with 12 and that takes over last week’s leader The Trial of the Chicago 7. 

We also learned that Dune and No Time to Die have officially moved out of contention due to release date changes. I had Dune down for 8 nominations last week. I also listed the theme song from No Time to Die (performed by Billie Eilish) in first place for Original Song. These drops are reflected below.

Other developments:

  • Picture, Director, Actor, and Actress remain unchanged. I will note that French Exit will screen this weekend for critics and we will have a better idea as to Michelle Pfeiffer’s viability and if it could be a contender in other categories.
  • While Supporting Actor stays intact, I have moved Amanda Seyfried’s work in Mank in the Supporting Actress five over Ellen Burstyn in Pieces of a Woman. 

With that, let’s get to the latest guesstimates!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 6)

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

7. The Father (PR: 7)

8. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 8)

9. Minari (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

10. Soul (PR: 10)

11. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 11)

12. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 13)

13. Ammonite (PR: 14)

14. Respect (PR: Not Ranked)

15. The White Tiger (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. David Fincher, Mank (PR: 1)

2. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Paul Greengrass, News of the World (PR: 3)

4. Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

5. Regina King, One Night in Miami (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Florian Zeller, The Father (PR: 6)

7. Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 9)

8. George C. Wolfe, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

9. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (PR: 8)

10. Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 3)

4. Kate Winslet, Ammonite (PR: 4)

5. Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Amy Adams, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. Jennifer Hudson, Respect (PR: 7)

8. Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

9. Meryl Streep, The Prom (PR: 10)

10. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman (PR: 9)

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Anthony Hopkins, The Father (PR: 1)

2. Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (PR: 2)

3. Gary Oldman, Mank (PR: 3)

4. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 5)

5. Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tom Hanks, News of the World (PR: 6)

7. Steven Yeun, Minari (PR: 7)

8. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal (PR: 8)

9. Matt Damon, Stillwater (PR: 9)

10. Joaquin Phoenix, C’Mon C’Mon (PR: 10)

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 1)

2. Olivia Colman, The Father (PR: 2)

3. Saoirse Ronan, Ammonite (PR: 3)

4. Helena Zengel, News of the World (PR: 5)

5. Amanda Seyfried, Mank (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman (PR: 4)

7. Audra McDonald, Respect (PR: 7)

8. Lily Collins, Mank (PR: 8)

9. Natasha Lyonne, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 9)

10. Mary J. Blige, Respect (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Abigail Breslin, Stillwater

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 1)

2. Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

3. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

4. Leslie Odom, Jr., One Night in Miami (PR: 3)

5. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Bill Murray, On the Rocks (PR: 6)

7. David Strathairn, Nomadland (PR: 10)

8. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

9. Tom Pelphrey, Mank (PR: 8)

10. Charles Dance, Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

3. Minari (PR: 5)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

5. Soul (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 7)

7. On the Rocks (PR: 6)

8. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Respect (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Stillwater (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Ammonite

C’Mon C’Mon

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Nomadland (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 4)

3. The Father (PR: 3)

4. One Night in Miami (PR: 2)

5. News of the World (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: 6)

7. The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: 8)

8. French Exit (PR: 10)

9. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (PR: 9)

10. Next Goal Wins (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Soul (PR: 1)

2. Over the Moon (PR: 2)

3. Wolfwalkers (PR: 3)

4. Onward (PR: 4)

5. The Croods: A New Age (PR: 5)

Predicted Nominees:

6. The Willoughbys (PR: 6)

7. Connected (PR: 7)

8. Bombay Rose (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Trolls World Tour (PR: 9)

10. Earwig and the Witch (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Rumble

Ride Your Wave

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees:

1. Crip Camp (PR: 1)

2. Dick Johnson Is Dead (PR: 4)

3. Boys State (PR: 2)

4. All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: 3)

5. The Dissident (PR: Not Ranked)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Truffle Hunters (PR: 8)

7. Totally Under Control (PR: Not Ranked)

8. 76 Days (PR: Not Ranked)

9. MLK/FBI (PR: 7)

10. Notturno (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Spaceship Earth

John Lewis: Good Trouble

Miss Americana

On the Record 

Best International Feature Film

Predicted Nominees:

1. Quo Vadis, Aida? (PR: 1)

2. Another Round (PR: 6)

3. New Order (PR: Not Ranked)

4. Night of the Kings (PR: 3)

5. The Disciple (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

6. My Little Sister (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Wife of a Spy (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Never Gonna Snow Again (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Atlantis (PR: 5)

10. A Sun (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Ema

The Life Ahead

Young Ahmed

Memory House 

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Nomadland (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 3)

4. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Tenet (PR: 10)

7. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 8)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

9. One Night in Miami (PR: 7)

10. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Ammonite

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 5)

3. Emma (PR: 3)

4. News of the World (PR: 4)

5. Mulan (PR: 9)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 2)

7. The Personal History of David Copperfield (PR: 10)

8. Coming 2 America (PR: 6)

9. Death on the Nile (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Ammonite (PR: 7)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Best Film Editing

Predicted Nominees:

1. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 1)

2. Mank (PR: 2)

3. Nomadland (PR: 4)

4. News of the World (PR: 3)

5. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 7)

7. The Father (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 9)

9. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 10)

10. Tenet (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Birds of Prey (PR: 3)

2. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: Not Ranked)

3. Mank (PR: 1)

4. Mulan (PR: 5)

5. Coming 2 America (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Respect (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Hillbilly Elegy (PR: Not Ranked)

8. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 6)

9. Emma (PR: 8)

10, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

No Time to Die

Wonder Woman 1984

Ammonite

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. Soul (PR: 2)

3. News of the World (PR: 6)

4. Da 5 Bloods (PR: 3)

5. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. One Night in Miami (PR: 8)

7. Over the Moon (PR: 9)

8. The Midnight Sky (PR: 7)

9. Tenet (PR: 10)

10. Minari (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees:

1. “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami (PR: 5)

2. “Rocket to the Moon” from Over the Moon (PR: 7)

3. “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy (PR: Not Ranked)

4. “Never Break” from Giving Voice (PR: 9)

5. “Free” from The One and Only Ivan (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities:

6. “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 4)

7. “Only the Young” from Miss Americana (PR: 3)

8. “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (PR: 6)

9. “Carried Me with You” from Onward (PR: 8)

10. “Seen” from The Life Ahead (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

“See What You’ve Done” from Belly of the Beast

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees:

1. Mank (PR: 1)

2. News of the World (PR: 3)

3. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 5)

4. Mulan (PR: 4)

5. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Judas and the Black Messiah (PR: 10)

7. Rebecca (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Ammonite (PR: 6)

9. Death on the Nile (PR: Not Ranked)

10. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

One Night in Miami

Tenet

Best Sound

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 1)

2. Soul (PR: 3)

3. News of the World (PR: 7)

4. Mank (PR: Not Ranked)

5. Sound of Metal (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities:

6. Greyhound (PR: Not Ranked)

7. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (PR: 9)

8. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PR: Not Ranked)

9. Respect (PR: 5)

10. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

The Invisible Man

No Time to Die

Wonder Woman 1984

Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees:

1. Tenet (PR: 2)

2. The Midnight Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

3. Greyhound (PR: 3)

4. Mulan (PR: 6)

5. The Invisible Man (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sonic the Hedgehog (PR: Not Ranked)

7. The Call of the Wild (PR: 7)

8. Birds of Prey (PR: 10)

9. Free Guy (PR: 9)

10. Dolittle (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Dune

Wonder Woman 1984

No Time to Die

That equates to the following numbers of nominations for features:

12 Nominations

Mank

10 Nominations

News of the World, The Trial of the Chicago 7

7 Nominations

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

6 Nominations

Da 5 Bloods, Nomadland, One Night in Miami

4 Nominations

The Father, Mulan, Soul

2 Nominations

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Ammonite, Minari, Over the Moon, Tenet

1 Nomination

Birds of Prey, Boys State, Coming 2 America, Crip Camp, The Croods: A New Age, Dick Johnson Is Dead, The Disciple, The Dissident, Emma, French Exit, Giving Voice, Greyhound, Hillbilly Elegy, The Invisible Man, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Midnight Sky, New Order, Night of the Kings, The One and Only Ivan, Onward, Pieces of a Woman, Sound of Metal, Wolfwalkers

Summer 2000: The Top 10 Hits and More

As I do every summer on the blog, I am looking back at the cinematic seasons of 30, 20, and 10 years ago and recounting the top ten hits, other notable pics, and some misfires. A week ago, I covered the summer of 1990 (when we all were “ghosted”). If you missed it, you can peruse it here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/18/summer-1990-the-top-10-hits-and-more/

Today brings us to the dawn of the new century. What struck me is that there weren’t a whole lot of outright flops, but the ones that were are rather significant bombs. Let’s take a trip down memory lane of 2000 and were we not entertained?!?!

10. The Patriot

Domestic Gross: $113 million

Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger teamed up with disaster flick specialist Roland Emmerich for this Revolutionary War era drama that managed to just achieve blockbuster status and barely top its reported $110 million budget stateside.

9. Big Momma’s House

Domestic Gross: $117 million

Negative reviews couldn’t prevent this Martin Lawrence comedy from nearly quadrupling its $30 million budget and spawning two eventual sequels. 30% also happens to be its Rotten Tomatoes score.

8. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Domestic Gross: $123 million

Eddie Murphy’s sequel to his 1996 hit certainly didn’t get the reviews of its predecessor, but it fell only $5 million short of the domestic gross of part 1 and introduced superstar Janet Jackson as his new love interest. Part 2 also greatly expanded Eddie’s work as other members of the Klump brood. As you can see from numbers 8 and 9, it was a big summer for comedians in fat suits.

7. Dinosaur

Domestic Gross: $137 million

The prehistoric Disney animated adventure is not one of their most talked about titles in recent decades, but it was still a profitable venture that grossed nearly $350 million worldwide.

6. What Lies Beneath

Domestic Gross: $155 million

Despite mixed reviews, Robert Zemeckis’s Hitchcockian thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer landed big with audiences. Its filming schedule is a memorable one. Zemeckis was shooting Cast Away with Tom Hanks and there was a long break in filming so its star could shed weight and grow his long beard. It was enough time for the director to fit in Beneath. 

5. Scary Movie

Domestic Gross: $157 million

The summer’s biggest comedy was a Scream spoof from filmmaker Keenan Ivory Wayans. Shot for less than $20 million, it spawned four sequels and became its own franchise.

4. X-Men

Domestic Gross: $157 million

I recently wrote about the 20th anniversary of X-Men here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/07/14/x-men-at-20-a-look-back/

That post talks about its significant impact on the comic book genre that has dominated the 21st century.

3. The Perfect Storm

Domestic Gross: $182 million

Wolfgang Peterson’s fact based disaster drama with George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg was not much of a hit with critics, but crowds were swept up in the waves.

2. Gladiator

Domestic Gross: $187 million

Ridley Scott’s historical action drama kicked off summer 2000 and made a global superstar out of Russell Crowe and provided a juicy supporting part for Joaquin Phoenix. The film became an Oscar darling – winning Best Picture and Crowe taking Best Actor. This is the rare summer popcorn pic that achieved awards glory.

1. Mission: Impossible 2

Domestic Gross: $215 million

This sequel cruised to the top spot of earners for the season. Now that there’s been six editions in the franchise, this John Woo directed experience is generally (and rightfully) considered the weakest of the bunch. Yet that didn’t prevent huge grosses.

And now for some other notable features:

Chicken Run

Domestic Gross: $106 million

This still stands as the highest grossing stop-motion animated feature of all time and it doubled its budget domestically. A sequel is in development, but it was recently announced that lead voice Mel Gibson will not be part of the proceedings.

Gone in 60 Seconds

Domestic Gross: $101 million

Despite poor reviews, Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie’s remake of the 1970s heist pic still zoomed (barely) past $100 million and was a solid performer overseas.

Me, Myself & Irene

Domestic Gross: $90 million

The Farrelly Brothers reunited with their Dumb and Dumber star Jim Carrey for this comedy that earned mixed reaction. This was nowhere near the hit that the brothers had two years earlier with their runaway success There’s Something About Mary, but it still made money.

Space Cowboys

Domestic Gross: $90 million

Clint Eastwood guided this “old guys in space” tale alongside Tommy Lee Jones to a very respectable gross and decent critical reaction.

Hollow Man

Domestic Gross: $73 million

Paul Verhoeven’s take on the H.G. Wells novel starred Kevin Bacon and earned a Visual Effects Oscar nomination (losing to Gladiator). While it didn’t make its budget back stateside, it ended up doubling its price tag when factoring in foreign markets. A direct to video sequel followed.

Shaft

Domestic Gross: $70 million

Samuel L. Jackson took over the iconic private dick role from Richard Roundtree (who costarred here) in this sequel from the late John Singleton. Christian Bale memorably plays a villain here. Another sequel followed in 2019 and it was an outright flop.

Bring It On

Domestic Gross: $68 million

Made for only $11 million, this teen cheerleading comedy was an unexpected hit that gave Kirsten Dunst and Gabrielle Union a boost in their careers. Five direct to video sequels followed as well as a stage musical.

The Cell

Domestic Gross: $61 million

Despite so-so reviews, this twisty supernatural thriller with Jennifer Lopez easily topped its $33 million budget. It has continued to have ardent admirers including the late Roger Ebert, who awarded it four stars.

Coyote Ugly

Domestic Gross: $60 million

This tale about saloon life with Piper Perabo and John Goodman managed to take in over $100 million worldwide against a $45 million budget and has become a cult favorite since.

The Original Kings of Comedy

Domestic Gross: $38 million

A stand-up comedy pic grossing this much in theaters is notable. Spike Lee directed Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer and audiences turned out.

As I mentioned, the total bombs aren’t plentiful here. However, they’re notable:

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Domestic Gross: $26 million

A pet project of Robert De Niro, this loose take on the 1960s animated series grossed a third of its budget domestically and was quickly forgotten.

Titan A.E.

Domestic Gross: $22 million

20th Century Fox had a big failure here at the start of the 21st century with this animated sci-fi tale with Matt Damon as a leading voice. The price tag was reportedly around $90 million and it made just $36 million worldwide.

Battlefield Earth

Domestic Gross: $21 million

Based on a work from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, audiences and critics savaged this sci-fi tale with John Travolta. It won a then record 7 Golden Raspberry Awards and was mocked relentlessly for its poor quality.

And that does it, folks! I’ll have 2010 recounted on the blog in the coming days…