Oscar Watch: Doctor Sleep

When it was released nearly 40 years ago in theaters, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was not considered the landmark horror classic that it is today. In fact, the film received zero Oscar nominations. It did score two Razzie nods. That ceremony celebrates the worst in moviemaking each year. Both Kubrick and Shelley Duvall as the terrified wife of Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance were singled out for their (apparently) subpar work.

That seems hard to fathom these days with its standing as one of the genre’s best. This weekend comes Doctor Sleep, the sequel to both Stephen King’s 1977 novel and Kubrick’s picture. Reviews are mostly solid, but not across the board and the Rotten Tomatoes score is at 78%.

Truth be told, Sleep was never expected to be an awards player and reaction so far hasn’t done anything to alter that. There is one potential, if unlikely, exception. Critical buzz has heaped praise on the supporting work of Rebecca Ferguson, who’s said to steal the show as a cult leader with psychic powers.

A performance being recognized in the horror space is quite rare. Just last year, there were numerous calls for Toni Collette to get Best Actress attention in Hereditary. It never happened. Ferguson absolutely needs critics groups to bestow her with wins in order to get anywhere on Academy voters radar. If that occurs, she may have a small shot. If so, she would be the sixth performer Oscar nominated from a King adaptation: Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie in Carrie, Kathy Bates (who won for Misery), Morgan Freeman for The Shawshank Redemption, and Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile.

Bottom line: Ferguson needs a whole lot of outside help to be a factor in the Supporting Actress derby and I wouldn’t count on it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Doctor Sleep Box Office Prediction

Doctor Sleep hopes to shine at the box office next weekend. The horror pic is not just an adaptation of Stephen King’s 2013 novel, which is the legendary author’s sequel to his 1977 work The Shining. It also serves as a follow-up to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic. Mike Flanagan, who’s adapted King before with Netflix’s Gerald’s Game, is behind the camera. Ewan McGregor stars as Dan Torrance, the adult version of the child that Jack Nicholson tormented almost 40 years ago. Costars include Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Carl Lumbly, Bruce Greenwood, and Cliff Curtis.

There’s no doubt that the cinematic version of The Shining has cemented its status as a genre landmark (even though King himself is famously not a big fan). The author has praised this and early word of mouth based off screenings is positive.

That said, 39 years is a long time ago. Interestingly, there’s a comp to be considered with 2017’s Blade Runner 2049. That sequel was also following an early 80s picture with a sterling reputation. Yet it came in well below expectations with a $31.5 million domestic premiere. Horror viewers tend to skew young, so it’s a legitimate question as to their affinity for the 1980 predecessor.

With all that considered, I’ll predict the Doctor is good for a mid 20s showing. This might be appointment viewing for some, but I’m skeptical it reaches over $30 million.

Doctor Sleep opening weekend prediction: $24.8 million

For my Last Christmas prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/10/30/last-christmas-box-office-prediction/

For my Midway prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/10/31/midway-box-office-prediction/

For my Playing with Fire prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/10/31/playing-with-fire-box-office-prediction/

Ouija: Origin of Evil Box Office Prediction

Two Halloween frames ago, the low-budget horror flick Ouija had a strong box office game. It opened to $19.8 million on its way to a $50M overall domestic gross. So it’s no surprise that its sequel (or prequel apparently) Ouija: Origin of Evil is in theaters next weekend.

The original cost $5 million. Evil only upped the budget slightly to $6 million, so profitability shouldn’t be an issue for Blumhouse Productions (a studio known for making their projects quickly and cheaply). Mike Flanagan takes over directorial duties from Stiles White and the cast includes Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, and Henry Thomas (Elliot from E.T.!).

Being the only horror title debuting around Halloween should help here, but I’m not convinced this will open on par with its predecessor. While it’s been a nice 2016 for the genre, Ouija wasn’t exactly considered a classic. A decently fair comparison could be Sinister 2, which opened to just $10 million in the summer of 2015 after the first one made $18 million for its start.

I’ll say Ouija part deux manages a mid teens origin and not high teens.

Ouija: Origin of Evil opening weekend prediction: $15.2 million

For my Jack Reacher: Never Go Back prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/10/11/jack-reacher-never-go-back-box-office-prediction/

For my Keeping Up with the Joneses prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/10/12/keeping-up-with-the-joneses-box-office-prediction/

For my Boo! A Madea Halloween prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/10/12/boo-a-madea-halloween-box-office-prediction/