Over the weekend, Illumination Entertainment’s TheGrinch dominated the box office with a mid 60s debut. The animated pic continues a string of pleasing grosses for the studio that houses the lucrative DespicableMe/Minions franchise.
Could that mean TheGrinch finds its way into the mix for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars? It’s doubtful. For starters, reviews have been mixed as it currently sits at 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. The race is also filling up with Incredibles2 and IsleofDogs with probable reserved spots and the upcoming RalphBreakstheInternet looking to nab one. I feel that other wide release pics like EarlyMan and Smallfoot could also be potential contenders.
Most importantly, while Illumination produces blockbusters, that success hasn’t translated into nominations. Only DespicableMe2 got one, with better reviewed titles like TheSecretLifeofPets and other Despicable efforts left out.
Bottom line: the studio’s Grinch reward will come from its earnings and not awards ceremonies. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Blogger’s Note: on the eve of its premiere, I’m giving this a bump from $56.4 million to $63.4 million
Illumination Entertainment’s The Grinch looks to be a profitable one when it hits theaters next weekend. The animated take on the Dr. Seuss classic features the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the grumpy Christmas hating character. Other voice over work is provided by Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, and Pharrell Williams. Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney (who co-directed Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets) are the filmmakers.
In 2000, the live-action version of this tale with Jim Carrey was a massive smash for Universal (Illumination’s parent company). There has been plenty of family pics over the last couple of months and The Grinch will get plenty more competition in following weekends. Both Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Ralph Breaks the Internet are on deck.
That said, Illumination has had an impressive track record during this decade with the Despicable Me/Minions franchise and Pets. This is their first foray into the month of November, but plenty of other studios have planted their animated flag into the same time frame. In 2012, Wreck-It Ralph took in $49 million for its start. Two years later, Big Hero 6 made $56 million. In 2015, The Peanuts Movie started with $44 million and Trolls premiered to $46 million a year later. Yet the best comp could end up being 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which bowed to $55 million. I’ll put it just over that as this Grinch looks to leg out well throughout the holiday season.
The Grinch opening weekend prediction: $63.4 million
For my The Girl in the Spider’s Web prediction, click here:
Focused on the legendary life of musical composer Quincy Jones, a documentary about him has premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Co-directed by his daughter Rashida Jones, the pic about the man behind classic film scores and unforgettable music from Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, and many more has garnered respectable reviews.
That said, I’m not sure that will be enough for Quincy to warrant attention this Oscar season. The Documentary category is already crowded with titles such as RBG, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Three Identical Strangers, and Fahrenheit 11/9 all vying for spots.
Bottom line: this doc about a man who has won 27 Grammys and been nominated for 7 Academy Awards might come up short come nomination time.
Quincy premieres on Netflix on September 21. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…
Improbably based on a true story, the comedy Tag hits theaters next weekend. Based on a 2013 WallStreetJournal article, the film focuses on a group of pals who engage in a long-term version of the kids game. Stars include Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Hannibal Buress, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Brian Dennehy, and Lil Rel Howery. It marks the directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic.
The ads hype the “actually based on real stuff” angle, but I felt the trailer could’ve been a bit stronger. I’m not confident this holds any significant breakout potential. The Warner Bros release would likely love the achieve the $17 million debut of this spring’s GameNight and that might be the generous ceiling here. I’d say even with the cast of familiar faces, it doesn’t have the relative star power or laugh out loud promo materials. And I wouldn’t count Renner as this isn’t the genre he’s known for… see TheHouse from a year ago.
Outside of the Hangover franchise, Helms has had a rough road recently as FatherFigures was a dud and even his Vacation reboot fell a bit shy of $60 million three summers back. I’ll project this reaches low double digits to mid teens for a so-so showing. As we await the blockbuster comedic pic of this season, I have a hunch Tag is not it.