The substance abuse drama Four Good Days has debuted at Sundance and the subject matter sure seems potentially Oscar friendly. Glenn Close plays the mother to Mila Kunis’s addicted daughter. Rodrigo Garcia is behind the camera and he’s already directed Close to one Academy nomination in 2011 for Albert Nobbs.
Yet the buzz emanating from Utah suggests Days could fall short with awards voters. Reviews are decent, but nowhere near the level they need to be for Picture consideration. So let’s discuss the two leads. In 2018, Close was the front runner for Actress with The Wife until Olivia Colman (The Favourite) scored an upset victory. Having never won, there’s probably a feeling more than ever that Close is overdue. Kunis likely just missed a Supporting Actress nod for 2010’s Black Swan and any hailed performance could vault her to the top of voters minds.
However, this simply might not be the movie to make it happen for either. In that sense, Days reminds me of two 2018 titles with similar themes that also failed to garner Academy attention: Beautiful Boy and Ben is Back. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
It’s been a bumpy ride for Nickelodeon’s animated feature WonderPark, but it finally hits screens this Friday. Originally titled AmusementPark and scheduled for release last summer, the pic comes with a reported $100 million price tag. The film’s director Dylan Brown was fired by the studio in early 2018 due to various sexual harassment claims. Newcomer Brianna Denski provides the lead voiceover role along with familiar faces such as Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Mila Kunis, and John Oliver.
The box office grosses for Park, considering its hefty price tag, might not be amusing at all. It doesn’t help that CaptainMarvel will be in its sophomore frame as it also appeals to family crowds. I believe this will make low double digits for its start and that would amount to a costly flop for Paramount.
WonderPark opening weekend prediction: $10.3 million
Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon team up for the action comedy TheSpyWhoDumpedMe, out next weekend. As the title suggests, Kunis finds out her ex is a CIA agent and she (along with bff McKinnon) become embroiled in international intrigue. Susanna Fogel directs with a supporting cast including Justin Theroux and Sam Heughan.
Kunis has had plenty of successes at the box office over her career in both leading and supporting parts. Most recently, 2016’s BadMoms was a sleeper hit ($113 million). However, sequel ABadMomsChristmas couldn’t match it with a $16.7 million debut and $72 million overall tally.
The trailers for Spy struggle to make it look like anything special. Its best hope is for a sizable female audience (the kind that made Ocean’s8 a big success last month). I’ll project a low to mid teens is the likely scenario here.
TheSpyWhoDumpedMe opening weekend prediction: $15.3 million
2016’s BadMoms took its concept of three frazzled matriarchs letting loose and rode that wave to high box office bucks. As far as its quality, I felt it was a rather mediocre exercise that often unsuccessfully blended raunchy with pathos. Yet moviegoers turned out so now we have ABadMomsChristmas, in which it turns out the bad moms from part 1 all have questionable ones themselves.
Our original trio is feeling the natural stress that comes from holiday planning. Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) decide to throw caution to the wind and not go crazy with the season’s headaches… other than the ones that their drunken mall trip hangovers might induce. Circumstances are altered when their mamas turn up. Christine Baranski is Amy’s control freak mom, Cheryl Hines is Kiki’s super clingy mom, and Susan Sarandon is Carla’s wild and distant mom.
The week leading to Christmas gives all three subplots time for arguments and making up, as well as Santa stripping shows and bonding over butthole waxing. That’s about as deep as we get from writer/directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, who are once again tasked with creating a shallow and surface level comedic dive into the female psyche.
ABadMomsChristmas doesn’t go full throttle with its cartoonish aspects and doesn’t earn the attempted sentimentality it tries toward the end. What’s left is a sequel with less laughs than the first and the bar wasn’t exactly high. Among the cast, Hines comes off the best because she’s at least convincing as she apes daughter Bell’s look and mannerisms.
It’s tough for comedy sequels to succeed because most of them aren’t planned and feel rushed to capitalize on the success of what came before. This is yet another example.
Last summer, Bad Moms was a breakout comedy that earned $23 million in its first weekend and went on to gross $113 million domestically. STXfilms has wasted no time in capitalizing with holiday themed sequel A Bad Moms Christmas, which opens next Wednesday. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn are back and this time around it’s their moms joining the mix in the form of Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are back handling directorial duties.
The quick turn-around on this follow-up likely means sequelitis will not creep in. Christmas could well serve as smart counter programming for females to the weekend’s giant release that is Thor: Ragnarok. The Wednesday debut will also give it a bit of a head start.
Due to the five-day roll out, the sequel may not quite match the $23 million achieved in its predecessor’s opening weekend. Yet it may get over that number in the Wednesday to Sunday earnings. I’ll estimate a high teens to low 20s premiere for the traditional weekend with mid to high 20s for the entire frame.
A Bad Moms Christmas opening weekend prediction: $18.7 million (Friday to Monday), $26.2 million (Wednesday to Sunday)
The Wolf Pack of TheHangover came from the minds of writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and it kicked off a male-centric trilogy of frequent hilarity (at least the first one) where bros could be wild bros. This same duo now tries to do the same with frazzled and overworked matriarchs in BadMoms and the result is considerably more hit and miss. We don’t know the answer to this question, but perhaps if this pic had been penned by an actual mom, this may have been more insightful. As it stands, this is an often generic and frequently blander than it should be experience punctuated by occasional real laughs.
Amy (Mila Kunis) is a do everything and overworked mother of two with a husband not pulling his weight. When she catches him internet cheating and sends him packing, her already jam-packed agenda just expands. She finds a kindred spirit in Kiki (Kristen Bell) whose own hubby is lackadaisical in his duties and a free spirit in single mom Carla (Kathryn Hahn), who has a hands off approach with her teenager. Together, they form their own pack, rebelling against their kids school’s militant PTA leader Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). It culminates with Amy challenging her for the next PTA election.
BadMoms makes it point early – that youngsters today are too micro managed and coddled and that too much is often expected of them in class. The items of prohibited ingredients for the bake sale reads like a list of pretty much every one there is. The central trio here stick it to the (wo)man with their changed parenting style and learn that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Kind of like this movie.
Since this is from the dudes responsible for TheHangover, there is a bit of raunch to go with a surprising amount of blandness. The cast is all just peachy, but no one particularly stands out (Bell’s character is pretty under written, truth be told). Hahn is a talent and she’s essentially given the Melissa McCarthy Bridesmaids part, even getting to give a big ole pep talk at one point. There is a romantic subplot between Amy and a single dad (Jay Hernandez) that doesn’t really warrant much attention.
Will Moms look at BadMoms as a satisfactory excursion away from their crazy lives? I’m sure some will, but this never rose above a level of mediocrity for this non-parent. And if you say maybe you have to be a Mom to get it, remind yourself that it wasn’t written by one.
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn headline the raunchy R rated comedy Bad Moms, hitting theaters next weekend. The pic will attempt to bring in a sizable female audience whose significant others may be busy with Jason Bourne. It could be a formula for success.
Moms is directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who are responsible for writing 2009’s The Hangover and the marketing campaign isn’t shy about highlighting that. Costars include Christina Applegate, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay Hernandez.
The simple concept – Moms Gone Wild! – should be an easy sell for a summer comedy. It may not reach the heights of last summer’s critically lauded Trainwreck (another female driven R rated comedy), but I don’t see much reason why it wouldn’t match or top another one – 2014’s The Other Woman, which managed $24.7 million out of the gate.