The AFI Film Festival is ongoing and it serves as the final opportunity for releases to stake their claim for Oscar consideration in the fest format. George Nolfi’s The Banker had been selected to close the proceedings tomorrow evening. Not only was this a chance for it to enter into awards chatter, but it’s also among the first feature films that will be shown on Apple TV’s new streaming service. In other words, while Netflix looks to have a banner 2019 when it comes to various contenders like The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, and Dolemite Is My Name – this picture marks a way for Apple TV to get into the game.
However, the surprise announcement came this afternoon that AFI organizers are pulling its gala screening. Details are rather scarce as reports indicate there’s potential allegations surfacing about a member of the family played by Anthony Mackie’s character. Expect those details to be fleshed out in short order. Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson star in this true tale of two African American businessmen in the 1960s. Costars include Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, Jessie Usher, and Colm Meaney.
The Banker is scheduled for a December 6th theatrical release prior to Apple’s streaming rollout early next year. That early December slot put in contention for nominations and now its release at this juncture now appears to be in doubt. I was planning to do an Oscar Watch post on it by the end of the week, but it looks like that’s in the vault for the foreseeable future. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Two years after the original turned into an unanticipated summer success, shark sequel 47MetersDown: Uncaged is unlocked in theaters next weekend. While director Johannes Roberts is back behind the camera, a whole new cast of potential chum is present. That includes Sophie Nelisse, Corinne Foxx (daughter of Jamie), Brianne Tju, Sistine Stallone (daughter of Sly), John Corbett, and Nia Long. Original star Mandy Moore is off somewhere and hopefully dry.
In June 2017, the first Meters had an interesting journey to the big screen. A measly $5 million production, it was originally slated to be a VOD only release. After it was acquired by Entertainment Studios and perhaps assisted by Moore’s exposure in the hit series “This Is Us”, it was put into multiplexes and had an $11.2 million debut. Doubling its price tag out of the gate, it legged out quite well for its genre and ended up at $44 million.
The follow-up won’t be able to surprise everyone and come out of nowhere. Expectations are that it should at least match the start of its predecessor. I’ll project that it falls short of that by around a million.
47MetersDown: Uncaged opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
For my TheAngryBirdsMovie2 prediction, click here:
It may be called Keanu with an adorable kitten named after the actor who gave us Neo/Johnny Utah/John Wick, but the debut feature starring Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele” could’ve been titled GeorgeMichael as well. The iconic 1980s British crooner gets his props throughout this action comedy that may have felt right at home in theaters when “Faith” and “Father Figure” were burning up the charts.
The duo’s basic cable program was a rather groundbreaking show with some truly inspired bits. You won’t really find that here. Instead, Keanu is a breezy if rather forgettable tale of the tail of the cat who captures the hearts of everyone who comes in contact with it. Jordan Peele is Rell, who’s depressed after his girlfriend broke up with him when that darn kitty comes into his possession. His best bud/cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) is stuck in a dull middle class existence with a bored wife (Nia Long) who’s out of town for the weekend. The pair soon learn that Keanu is actually the property of a drug kingpin whose employees were recently mowed down by assassins known as The Allentown Boys (also played by Key and Peele). Before you know it, Rell and Clarence are posing as them in an effort to get the kidnapped Keanu back.
Their journey brings them to the underground L.A. drug scene and a crew led by Cheddar (Method Man) and Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish), who Rell has the hots for. Of course, they need nifty nicknames, too. Tectonic and Shark Tank suffice. As they try to find that fabulously cute feline, the guys teach some criminals the joys of George Michael in a humorous bit that just keeps going and going.
Maybe that’s part of the problem here. The shark out of water premise of Keanu barely can sustain itself for 100 minutes. There are moments sprinkled throughout that work well. An unexpected cameo from ScaryMovie lead Anna Faris is amusing. Key and Peele do succeed in proving that their charisma on the small screen translates to the big one. And, yes, that kitten really is a gem. Yet the concept of these guys having to “get hard” (to borrow a phrase from a far worse Kevin Hart vehicle that uses similar plotting) is a rather familiar one. This is a talented pair at work, though. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up when they get “One More Try”, as that hit song says from Mr. Michael.
The comedic stylings of Key (Keegan-Michael Key) and Peele (Jordan Peele) come to the big screen with Keanu, out next weekend. The R rated laugher centers around a cat theft and our leads getting caught up with some violent criminals. Method Man, Gabrielle Union, Nia Long, Will Forte, Luis Guzman, and, yes, Keanu Reeves costar.
Keanu’s dynamic duo are known for their hit Comedy Central show, which just ended its run last year. Their first film vehicle premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival to solid buzz and its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 75%.
Will audiences follow Key and Peele to the multiplex? If this got to over $20 million in its premiere, Warner Bros would be over the moon. I believe a more likely result is in the mid to high teens.
The Tyler Perry film factory rolls along this Friday with The Single Moms Club, a comedic drama that will attempt to appeal to the star’s female fans. Nia Long headlines a cast that include Amy Smart, Terry Crews, and the director himself.
Whether or not the film is a hit, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network has already announced a television adaptation coming later this year. It’s actually been a lackluster last few months for Perry, as his Peeples and A Madea Christmas both failed to meet expectations. Perry is hoping that Single Moms can achieve roughly the same results as Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor which opened to $21 million around the same time last year. This is the fourth pic from his studio in less than a year, but it could be his last in a while as nothing else is currently in production.
The Single Moms Club, at press time, is scheduled to open on about 200 less screens than Temptation. It should reach roughly the same audience as that movie did and I’ll predict an opening in the high teens before the inevitable large second weekend drop-off that all his films suffer.
Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club opening weekend prediction: $17.6 million
This coming weekend was supposed to see the debut of Martin Scorsese’s eagerly awaited The Wolf of Wall Street, but the title ended up getting pushed back to Christmas Day to allow the director more time to tinker. It surely would have opened in the number two spot.
Therefore, we have only one new picture opening and it’s The Best Man Holiday, a sequel to 1999’s The Best Man. The original pic grossed a solid $34 million fourteen years ago (it only had a $9M budget). Starring Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut, Regina Hall, and Sanaa Lathan, the holiday themed comedy/drama will attempt to bring in a large contingent of African-American audiences to the multiplex.
Its prospects look pretty decent. The stars of the film are certainly more well-known today than they were several years ago and there’s really no direct competition for its demographic. If something like Baggage Claim can make $9 million in its debut, The Best Man Holiday should easily surpass that. I could envision this getting as high as low 20s, as several of Tyler Perry’s recent productions have. It could also be somewhere in the mid-teens. With that range stated, I’ll go in the middle of it and say it earns high teens for a solid second place debut after weekend #2 for Thor.
The Best Man Holiday opening weekend prediction: $18.7 million