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:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/01/08/bad-boys-for-life-box-office-prediction/

Home Again Movie Review

Essentially Three Men and a Divorcée, Reese Witherspoon’s latest rom com Home Again is a bland genre exercise that struggles mightily to be relatable. The star plays Alice, the daughter of a famous deceased director and his starlet muse (Candice Bergen). The maker of this film, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, is the child of divorced writers/filmmakers Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers. Together and apart, her folks are responsible for such rom com titles as Baby Boom, Father of the Bride, What Women Want, and Something’s Gotta Give. One wonders if Ms. Meyers-Shyer could channel that insight of growing up with her famous parents into a perceptive screenplay. I wonder because it’s not found anywhere here.

Reese’s Alice has recently separated from her music exec hubby (Michael Sheen) and lives at a gorgeous L.A. home with her two daughters. She’s just turned the big 4-0 and genre contrivances soon brings three twenty something lads into her guesthouse. They’re all aspiring filmmakers. Harry (Pico Alexander) is the handsome director. George (Jon Rudnitsky) is the teddy bear screenwriter who forms a bond with Alice’s eldest kid. Teddy (Nat Wolff) is the actor who really has no notable character traits.

Harry and Alice start a May-December romance while her ex is weighing his return home. The boys also must deal with the drama of getting their movie made and keeping their integrity intact. A lazy script would signify that integrity by making them insist on it being black and white. That’s exactly the situation here.

Home Again simply doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It is a little more frustrating considering the talent involved could have dug deeper. Witherspoon is adequate in the lead, but we’ve seen her elevate similar material and she can’t here. The story doesn’t even allow for any real chemistry to develop between Alice and Harry. The director’s parents are responsible for some of the more memorable rom coms of the last three decades. At the least, many of them qualify as genuine guilty pleasures. Here’s hoping Hallie finds a similar voice, but this is a dull beginning.

*1/2 (out of four)

Home Again Box Office Prediction

Reese Witherspoon is back in rom com territory when Home Again debuts in theaters next weekend. The Open Road Films release casts the actress as a single mom who allows three college age men to bunk at her place and hijinks and hopeful hilarity ensue. The pic marks the directorial debut of Hallie Meyers-Shyer (who also penned the screenplay), daughter of Nancy Meyers who’s made similar genre titles such as Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, It’s Complicated, and The Intern. Costars include Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky, Pico Alexander, Michael Sheen, and Candice Bergen.

The film should have little trouble placing second on the charts after the box office juggernaut that is likely to be It. This could potentially serve as decent counter programming for female audiences who aren’t feeling the clown horror. That said, Witherspoon’s drawing power has waned a bit through the years and the actress is past the days when she experienced $30M+ openers like Sweet Home Alabama and Four Christmases. Her last headliner was the poorly reviewed Hot Pursuit, which debuted to just under $14M in the summer of 2015. She has gotten a bit of recent exposure with her Emmy nominated turn in the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies.

Besides It, it could help Home that there’s little in the way of competition. Due to that factor, I’ll say this manages to top single digits.

Home Again opening weekend prediction: $11.3 million

For my It prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/08/29/it-box-office-prediction/

Passengers Movie Review

Morten Tyldum’s Passengers is a gorgeous looking experience starring two gorgeous people that nevertheless comes up empty in its overall execution. We are presented with two souls who are lost in space and find love, but the chemistry between the two giant stars never quite connects.

These subjects come in the form of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. They are two among thousands of Earthlings on a very long trip to a new planet. How long you might ask? 120 years, which means the passengers and the crew are in hibernation mode until they reach their destination. Jim (Pratt) is jarred awake one day from his slumber and realizes he’s the only one with his eyes open and there’s 90 years left on the journey. He makes it for a year on his own in the beautifully designed ship (props to the production design team), but his loneliness leads him to wake up talented writer Aurora (Lawrence). She thinks she’s woken up accidentally like Jim and he shares his secrets with the only other talking being on board – an android bartender in the form of Michael Sheen.

The duo spend their time trying to figure why the heck they’re such early risers while also falling in love. Jon Spaihts’s screenplay attempts to grapple with the understandable but also rather cruel choice by Jim to get Aurora up. Yet once certain revelations are brought out, the script follows a rather predictable and dull path.

Lawrence and Pratt are two performers who are rarely dull or predictable, but Passengers doesn’t do them any favors. No matter how hard they try, their characters are under developed and their chemistry is passable at best.

We’ve witnessed the stranded in space genre more recently and in much better fashion, from Gravity to The Martian. Speaking of gravity, there is a scene with a loss of just that that’s nifty. Ultimately though, Passengers doesn’t add much new or intriguing, even if it’s pretty to look at.

** (out of four)

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals is centered on a woman living in a fancy world surrounded by her own boredom and regret at certain life choices. The film is an often fascinating mash-up of Hitchcock, a little De Palma inspired Hitchcock, and most surprisingly, a West Texas crime tale that looks and feels like this year’s earlier Hell or High Water. We also have a more conventional tale of a romance gone astray and the emotions involved with that. It’s a concoction that sometimes is a little messy, a tad campy at moments, veers in tone shifts, and is also directed a fashion designer who seems to know exactly what he wishes to fashion.

L.A. art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is living a wealthy life in an unhappy marriage and a career she’s grown to believe is purposeless. One day, she receives a manuscript. It’s from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) that she was only married to for a couple years around college. The novel grabs her. It’s the aforementioned High Water looking story of a remarried Edward on a West Texas road trip with his wife and daughter when they are terrorized by bad guys led by a disheveled and effectively menacing Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Their encounter takes a dark and tragic turn and soon Edward is teaming up with a ranger (Michael Shannon, in a terrific performance) to deal with its aftermath.

The story cuts back and forth between the actions of Susan’s ex-flame’s West Texas narrative (is it real or not?) and her unhappy life on the West Coast. We also witness the courtship of them in college. This juxtaposition creates an often dream like quality (a little David Lynch thrown in for good measure) and it’s rather intoxicating. We basically get to know everything we need to know about Susan’s character in a great short scene with Laura Linney as her debutante mom. Other key characters and their motivations don’t become clear until later.

Nocturnal Animals looks gorgeous as you might expect from a designer that Jay-Z made a song about. The cinematography is stunning and the musical score is often reminiscent of something we’d hear in an old Hitch pic or perhaps De Palma homage. There are moments that recall Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon in plot had that movie actually succeeded. Tom Ford wears his influences proudly and unabashedly in his sophomore effort. It’s anything but boring.

***1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Passengers

A week ago, the prospect of this Wednesday’s Passengers receiving some Oscar attention didn’t seem totally far fetched. After all, the Academy has shown some love to the science fiction space pic genre three years ago with Gravity and last year with The Martian as they both received Best Picture nods. In addition, their respective leads Sandra Bullock and Matt Damon were nominated in the lead acting races.

Passengers is director Morten Tyldum’s follow-up to The Imitation Game, which was in the Picture race two years ago and for which he received a directing nod. And this space opera boasts Jennifer Lawrence, who’s been nominated four times since 2010 and won in 2012 for Silver Linings Playbook. So, again, not so far fetched.

And then reviews happened late this week for the sci fi romantic thriller which costars Chris Pratt. The verdict? A rather troubling 32% on Rotten Tomatoes and its Oscar chances evaporating. Passengers still has a remote shot at Visual Effects, but in all likelihood the pic will be sitting on the awards sideline.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Passengers Box Office Prediction

There’s some serious star power coming to multiplexes this Christmas when Passengers debuts a week from today. The science fiction romantic thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, who have both seen their share of blockbusters over the last few years. Morten Tyldum directs (his previous effort was the Oscar nominated The Imitation Game) and costars include Laurence Fishburne, Michael Sheen, and Andy Garcia.

The reported $120 million production finds Katniss and Star Lord stranded in space when they wake up way earlier than the other inhabitants of their vessel. There may not be a whole lot of actors who can assist in opening a movie, but the combo of these two may do the trick.

Predicting exact numbers over the Christmas weekend is a tricky proposition. Passengers debuts on Wednesday and we are going to factor in Wednesday-Monday. The 26th is a federal holiday and grosses of years past have shown that to sometimes be a bigger movie going day than even Christmas. Rogue One will likely reign supreme over the long weekend with the animated Sing giving it a run for its money. That probably puts Passengers in third place with a low 30s four-day and mid 40s six-day.

Passengers opening weekend prediction: $31.4 million (Friday to Monday), $42 million (Wednesday to Monday)

For my Sing prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/sing-box-office-prediction/

For my Assassin’s Creed prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/assassins-creed-box-office-prediction/

For my Why Him? prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/why-him-box-office-prediction/

For my Fences prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/12/14/fences-box-office-prediction/