The Depths of Hellboy

Over the past year and change, the superhero genre has been flush with massive successes such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and current box office champ Shazam!, which has dutifully met expectations. The upcoming Avengers: Endgame is looking to set the all time opening record in two weeks. Something was bound to eventually get lost in the shuffle and that turned out to be Hellboy this weekend.

The film rebooted the Dark Horse Comics franchise that debuted in 2004 with Guillermo del Toro behind the camera and Ron Perlman as the horn clad anti-hero. A 2008 sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, built on the grosses of its predecessor.

Neil Marshall took over directorial duties for the new Hellboy with David Harbour of “Stranger Things” cast as the title character. All along the way, the marketing campaign seemed curiously muted. It was as if Lionsgate might have known they had a dog on their hands. And they did. The review embargo didn’t lift until late this week. Rotten Tomatoes has been ripe with bad critical reaction with a 15% score. CinemaScore audiences haven’t been kind either with a lowly C rating.

On Sunday, the initial results have Hellboy in third place with just $12 million. Not only is that behind the second frame of Shazam!, it’s after the debut of the Regina Hall comedy Little. To put that in perspective, the 2004 Hellboy made $23 million out of the gate. The Golden Army took in $34 million. For both of those films, the opening weekends represented a hefty chunk of the overall earnings. In the case of the second installment, it fell hard in its sophomore frame due to another comic boom sequel premiering called The Dark Knight. With its toxic word of mouth, I expect this version to tumble at least 60% in weekend #2 and probably more.

If there’s any silver lining for the studio, it’s that the reboot cost a reported $50 million. That’s certainly low on the scale for this genre. Yet we can be sure this iteration of the character is a one-off. And we’ve found out what the depths of Hellboy are on a financial level and it’s not pretty.

Hellboy Box Office Prediction

Rebooting itself 15 years after its half demon anti-hero first appeared in theaters, Hellboy hits theaters next weekend. Based on the Dark Horse Comics that started in the early 90s, David Harbour of “Stranger Things” takes over the title role from Ron Perlman. Costars include Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, and Thomas Haden Church. Neil Marshall, best known for making horror pic The Descent, directs after Guillermo del Toro handled the first two installments.

In 2004, the original film adaptation took in $23 million in its opening frame and $59 million total domestically. It took on cult status quickly and that catapulted 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army to a $34 million start with $75 million overall.

Those numbers are nowhere in the MCU or DCEU range as of late. While certainly different in tone, Hellboy arrives during the second weekend of Shazam!, which should still be performing well and a month after Captain Marvel. The chances of this, which seems to be lacking buzz, getting lost in the shuffle is real.

I’ll predict that even though it arrives more than a decade since we’ve seen this character, Hellboy will experience the lowest premiere of the trio.

Hellboy opening weekend prediction: $17.4 million

For my Missing Link prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/05/missing-link-box-office-prediction/

For my Little prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/06/little-box-office-prediction/

For my After prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/07/after-box-office-prediction/

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Box Office Prediction

The sixth (and apparently last judging by the title) franchise entry in a nearly decade and a half series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opens next weekend. Stemming from the Capcom video game which premiered nearly 20 years ago, Evil brings back Milla Jovovich as heroine Alice with a supporting cast that includes Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Ruby Rose (she’s costarring in another just out sequel xXx: Return of Xander Cage), and Iain Glen. Paul W.S. Anderson (not as you may suspect, the guy who did Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood), directs his fourth Resident feature.

The latest blend of action and horror in this franchise has seen its longest lay-off in between pictures. That’s a trait recently shared by Underworld: Blood Wars, which came out earlier this month and posted a series low. The Evil pics have all opened in the high teens to mid 20s range. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Resident Evil (2002): $17.7 million opening

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004): $23 million

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007): $23.6 million

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010): $26.6 million

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012): $21 million

As you can see, the previous longest gap was three years and this one has been five. As with the aforementioned Underworld, that might mean a lower opening than the series has witnessed thus far. Blood Wars managed just $13.6 million out of the gate while the four preceding it all made over $20M.

My guess is that this will suffer a very similar final fate and a gross in the low to mid teens range.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter opening weekend prediction: $14.6 million

For my A Dog’s Purpose prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/18/a-dogs-purpose-box-office-prediction/

For my Gold prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/01/18/gold-box-office-prediction/

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

2001’s Zoolander was an often uproarious novelty of a pic that showed Ben Stiller’s ability to essentially take a sketch character and stretch the premise out successfully for 90 minutes. The original took us into the incredibly narcissistic and dumb world of male modeling coupled with nonsensical international intrigue involving the attempted assassination of the Malaysian prime minister. It worked because of its star/director’s enthusiasm behind it and the fact it was a pretty original comedy at the time.

Most movies in this genre don’t need sequels. This is one of them. The novelty has worn badly. Zoolander 2 brings back almost everything and everyone that made us laugh fifteen years ago and has no clue what to do with them. Derek Zoolander (Stiller) is now a has been model living as a recluse. This is following a tragic accident involving his Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good that was erected in the predecessor’s conclusion. His family life is shattered as is his ability to lock down his iconic facial expressions at opportune moments.

Derek soon finds himself recruited (by Billy Zane no less) to return to the real world when gorgeous celebrities start being offed. An Interpol agent (Penelope Cruz) believes both he and Hansel (Owen Wilson) can be of service. The bonkers plot (so was Zoolander’s, to be fair) finds a way to bring back Mugatu (Will Ferrell), in addition to scores of celeb cameos from the music and fashion world. The Fountain of Youth is involved. Derek finds himself trying to connect with his estranged son. Oh and Sting plays himself as a somewhat mythical figure, which isn’t much of a stretch. And there’s Kristin Wiig in unrecognizable makeup as a designer.

Any picture with these performers will have a few funny moments just based on the odds. I will admit that Kiefer Sutherland (playing himself) and his relationship status with Hansel provided a smile. And yet they are truly few and far between. Zoolander 2 is a title in search of a reason to exist that doesn’t find it. It feels lazy, unneeded, and desperate. For a director like Stiller that has shown so much ability with part one and Tropic Thunder and others, it’s surprising to find No. 2 even looking and feeling drab. I was satisfied at the original when Derek flashed Blue Steel, that magical look. It’s here, but my advice is look away. There’s little magic around.

*1/2 (out of four)

 

Oscar Watch: Everybody Wants Some!!

This past week, Richard Linklater’s latest pic Everybody Wants Some!! came out in limited release and critical reaction has been strong. This has become typical for its director, who previous effort Boyhood received much Oscar attention (eventually losing in 2014 to Birdman).

His new effort is described as a “spiritual sequel” to his 1993 acclaimed cult classic Dazed and Confused. The 1980s set comedy features a cast of unknowns, though that might not be for long. You’ll recall that the “unknowns” from the aforementioned Dazed included Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, and Parker Posey. Everybody currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 90%.

So what does this all mean for its Oscar prospects? I would say this stands at outside shot at Best Picture and Director attention, though it’s probably unlikely. Where Some!! could shine is in the Original Screenplay category for Linklater. If so, it would mark his fourth nomination in the writing races (for Boyhood and Before Sunset and Before Midnight). That would appear to be its best chance at Academy attention several months down the road and it’d be foolish to count this celebrated director out.