Queen & Slim Box Office Prediction

In what’s being called a current take on Bonnie and Clyde, Universal is hoping that moviegoers take a trip with Queen & Slim over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The romantic thriller stars Daniel Kaluuya (of Get Out and Black Panther fame) and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith as a new couple on the run after a minor traffic stop goes wrong. Melina Matsoukas, who’s won Grammys and MTV Video Music Awards for her work with Beyonce and Rihanna, makes her feature film debut. Costars include Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The pic debuted last week at the AFI Fest to very positive reviews. Yet despite the current 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating, this has yet to achieve any significant awards chatter. That could hinder its box office potential. Queen is already being called a potential cult hit. However, cult hits often take some time to achieve that status.

Opening on Wednesday, I believe this will have a five-day take in the high single digits to low double digits as it hopes for word of mouth to carry it along.

Queen & Slim opening weekend prediction: $6.9 million (Friday to Sunday); $10.1 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Knives Out prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/11/20/knives-out-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Queen & Slim

The Los Angeles based AFI Fest is the last major calendar year opportunity for Oscar hopefuls to strut their stuff and there’s always a few premieres to go along with it. In 2019, that includes Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell and The Banker with Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie. The opener is Queen & Slim from director Melina Matsoukas, who’s been known for her visionary music videos for Beyonce and Rihanna.

Slim centers on a couple (Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out fame and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith) whose first date becomes intertwined with a police brutality incident. Early critical reaction is strong and it stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Indications are that this could turn into a cult hit and perhaps even a real one, with an insightful and politically charged screenplay from Lena Waithe. She’s known primarily for acclaimed TV projects Master of None and The Chi.

Despite the praise, Oscar attention could be… well, slim. Anything arriving this late in the game would need to be a game changer for Picture visibility and some reviews are positive but with some reservation. Turner-Smith is garnering a lot of chatter, but it could be a leap to think she’ll factor into an already crowded Best Actress race.

Bottom line: look for Queen to become a conversation piece upon its November 27th release. I’m just not confident that will include talk about Academy nods. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Top Ten Summer Hits of 2008: A Look Back

As I do each summer on the blog, I’m giving you the top 10 seasonal ditties from 10, 20, and 30 years ago as tabulated by Billboard. I’ve already covered 1988 and 1998 and if you missed them, here ya go:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/21/top-ten-summer-hits-of-1988-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/28/top-ten-summer-hits-of-1998-a-look-back/

We now move to one decade ago. As with past posts, I’m ranking each song on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer classic) and letting you know whether or not said track is on my Apple Music. Let’s get to it…

10. “Dangerous” by Kardinal Offishall feat. Akon

This reggae tinged hip hop effort represents the biggest hit for Canada’s Offishall with an assist from Akon. It’s adequate though not particularly memorable.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music? No

9. “Leavin'” by Jesse McCartney

This is the biggest hit from the second most famous McCartney in pop music. It gives exposure to G5 planes and is rather disposable, but pleasant enough.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Disturbia” by Rihanna

Now we’re talking. She’s got tons of hits, but I find the dance groove of “Disturbia” to be among Rihanna’s very best.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield

The Emma Stone pic Easy A had a whole sequence about how she couldn’t stand this pop confection by English artist Bedingfield and then found herself loving it and listening to it incessantly. I wouldn’t go that far, but it is annoyingly catchy.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

6. “Forever” by Chris Brown

These were better times for Mr. Brown as this techno sounding dance smash serves as one of his musical highlights.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

5. “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis

This one was pretty inescapable in summer 2008 with solid vocals from Brit singer Lewis. It’s co-produced by none other than Jesse McCartney.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay

Sorry Coldplay haters, but I find this string heavy work to be pretty darn terrific. It earns its place as one of their signature tunes.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

3. “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne feat. Static Major

Lil Wayne was all the rage ten years ago yet I actually find this auto-tune monster hit to have lost some luster. Still, it’s his biggest selling single.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

2. “Take a Bow” by Rihanna

How about a round of applause for more fine work from Rihanna. This ballad stands as one of her best. Co-produced by Ne-Yo.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

1. “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

The song that turned Perry into a superstar, the lyrics certainly caught the attention of many. It’s a well-crafted pop track for sure. It’s not her greatest song, but it serves as an impressive breakout point for a career still roaring.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

And there you have it! The summers of 1988, 1998, and 2008 are covered! I look forward to next summer when 1989, 1999, and 2009 are on deck…

The Mountain Between Us Movie Review

As the poet Rihanna said, The Mountain Between Us is about two individuals who find love in a hopeless place. Or perhaps “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band is a more appropriate musical metaphor here. Either way, I’d take listening to either track over watching this survival tale again. Based on a 2011 novel by Charles Martin, this melodrama finds Kate Winslet and Idris Elba falling for one another under snow drenched and deadly circumstances.

Alex (Winslet) is a photojournalist racing back home because she’s to be married the next day. Dr. Ben (Elba) is a brain surgeon hustling back to perform surgery on a child. They’re both in Boise dealing with a weather related flight cancellation so the strangers team up and hire a charter flight out. Their pilot and his dog take them wheels up, but not for long. The plane crashes. Alex, Ben, and the canine survive. She’s injured. They’re on a mountain. It’s freezing. Let the survival games ensue.

The film quickly and efficiently puts the two leads and their furry friend in their predicament and wastes little time doing so. We are left with nearly two hours of the duo deciding whether to stay on their mountain perch, repel down for any signs of life, and the other developments we have come to anticipate in the genre (we know that the dog is unlikely to be the only animal around). All the while, we are asked to buy that Alex and Ben are developing a bond deeper than the “I want to live” variety.

It’s a tough sell. That’s somewhat surprising considering that Winslet and Elba are two fine actors and their chemistry is sufficient. It’s the mawkish screenplay that’s the main issue. The script never succeeds in making either lead particularly compelling or three-dimensional. There’s only so much mileage you get from two solid actors acting cold for a couple of hours. The material never rises to their talents. It’s actually Raleigh and Austin (the names of the dogs who were used here) who come out best and give perhaps the sturdiest performances in the movie. Maybe two hours of Raleigh/Austin on his own braving the elements would have been more engaging.

** (out of four)

Superfly Box Office Prediction

Superfly debuts in theaters this Wednesday and hopes to bring in a primarily African-American crowd with some other action fans mixed in. The film is a remake of the 1972 blaxploitation crime flick that starred Ron O’Neal. That early 70s effort is remembered more today for its killer soundtrack by soul legend Curtis Mayfield. This one has a soundtrack overseen by hip hop star Future. Its music influence includes its director who goes by Director X and he’s best known for shooting videos for Usher, Drake, Rihanna, and many others. The cast includes Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Jennifer Morrison.

The success or failure of Superfly will certainly depend on the attendance of its intended audience. Younger crowds may not be familiar at all with its four decade old plus source material and that could provide a challenge. On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of advertising – particularly during the NBA playoffs.

I’ll project this falls a under double digits for the Friday to Sunday portion of the weekend and struggles to catch double digits for the five day premiere.

Superfly opening weekend prediction: $5.3 million (Friday to Sunday), $7.2 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Incredibles 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/05/incredibles-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Tag prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/06/05/tag-box-office-prediction/

Ocean’s 8 Box Office Prediction

A franchise is reborn with a twist when Ocean’s 8 lands in theaters next weekend. It’s been over a decade since the Ocean’s 11-13 heist sagas with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and a bunch of other famous faces being directed by Steven Soderbergh. Each entry made a little less at the box office as they went along, but they all opened between $35-$40 million. Soderbergh just produces here with Gary Ross taking over the directorial duties. He’s had hits such as Seabiscuit and The Hunger Games, but his most recent was the Matthew McConaughey flop Free State of Jones. 

The aforementioned twist is that it’s the ladies getting in on the thievery this time around. Sandra Bullock plays the sister of Clooney’s character from the first trilogy and she’s the mastermind of a crew that includes Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, and Awkwafina. Anne Hathaway is the target of the score with James Corden, Dakota Fanning, and host of celebrity cameos included among the cast.

Ocean’s 8 looks to bring in a sizable female audience and their male counterparts may not mind coming along for the ride. The high-profile cast, especially Bullock, certainly doesn’t hurt and this stands a real shot at having the highest Ocean’s debut of all. That’s not guaranteed as I could see the low bar being in the low 30s. That would fall under the previous low of $36 million by Ocean’s Thirteen in 2007.

However, I’m leaning more towards a high 30s to possibly mid 40s roll out for Sandra and company. I’ll estimate it somewhere in between.

Ocean’s 8 opening weekend prediction: $42.6 million

For my Hereditary prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/05/30/hereditary-box-office-prediction/

For my Hotel Artemis prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/05/30/hotel-artemis-box-office-prediction/

Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 2007: A Look Back

Today on the blog, I continue on with my listing of the Top Ten Summer Hits from years past. I’ve already gone over both 1987 and 1997. If you missed those entries, you can find them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1987-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/11/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1997-a-look-back/

On this Throwback Thursday, we travel back a decade to 2007 to find what was burning up the charts in a summer where comedies like Knocked Up and Superbad were making us laugh, the Transformers franchise was just beginning, and Spider-Man 3 was overwhelming us with too many villains and Tobey Maguire dancing.

As I have with these posts before, I’ll rank them on my own (not exactly refined) musical scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (summer fire) and let you know whether or not said song resides on my Apple Music playlist.

Let’s get to it!

10. “Make Me Better” – Fabolous feat. Ne-Yo

Brooklyn MC Fabolous starting making hits in 2001 and this Timbaland produced and string heavy track featuring Ne-Yo is one of his biggest. Timbaland always delivers good beats. It’s decent, though nothing too memorable.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

9. “Bartender” – T-Pain feat. Akon

Like many of Mr. Pain’s tracks, this is made for careless nights at the club and in that sense, it’s perfect acceptable. Like some of those nights, however, you may have forgotten it by morning.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

8. “Makes Me Wonder” by Maroon 5

The first single from Maroon 5’s long-awaited second album, this was actually their first #1 hit (a bit surprising considering the smashes from their debut release). It’s a catchy as heck pop concoction with Adam Levine’s fine vocals.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

7. “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston

Jamaican artist Kingston scored a huge one hit wonder here with this reggae tinged ode to a girl he loves. The lyrics are really quite disturbing if you think about them at all, but summer songs are all about enjoying them with the top down and this pretty much delivers.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

6. “The Way I Are” by Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson

Grammatical issues aside, the second single from mega-producer Timbaland’s Shock Value album is a synth heavy standout jam. My goodness – this man was on fire in the mid 2000s.

My Rating: 8 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

5. “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)” – T-Pain feat. Yung Joc

And now for the lead single from Mr. Pain’s second smash album. It’s another club anthem meant for quick consumption on a night out and it’s a notch above #9 “Bartender”.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

4. “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s

The signature tune from these Illinois rockers, this track was inescapable a decade ago. The ballad’s rating here perhaps suffers from its overexposure, but it does get in your head.

My Rating: 7

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

3. “Party Like a Rockstar” by Shop Boyz

The first and only hit from these Atlanta rappers, “Rockstar” merged the sounds of hip hop and rock that first gained exposure two decades earlier with Aerosmith and Run DMC. It’s the most downloaded ringtone of 2007. It’s not “Walk This Way”, but it’s fun.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

2. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie

The fourth single off her debut album and the third #1 from it, Black Eyed Peas songstress Fergie slowed it down here with this ditty. Truthfully, it was never among my favorite tracks that were singles but maybe I just gravitated toward other hits like “London Bridge”, “Glamorous”, and “Clumsy”. Still it’s solid. By the way, if that guy Fergie is romancing in the video looks familiar – that would Milo Ventimiglia or Jack from TV’s “This Is Us”.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My Apple Music?: No

1. “Umbrella” by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z

Now we’re talking! One of Rihanna’s best cuts, this was actually rejected by Britney Spears. Oops. With a fine assist from Mr. Shawn Carter (who co-wrote), “Umbrella” features a towering beat and is one of the endlessly played tracks that somehow doesn’t get old. It deserves its accolades.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My Apple Music?: Yes

Well, that does it folks! The last ten, twenty, and thirty years of summertime hits. Next summer – get ready for 1988, 1998, and 2008. And hitting the blog within days will be reviewing the movie summers of 1987, 1997, and 2007. Stay tuned!

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Box Office Prediction

Director Luc Besson has cultivated a following over the past quarter century and the devotion of his admirers will be put to the test when Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets debuts next weekend. The big-budget sci-fi pic is based on a popular French comic book series and it’s been a passion project for Besson for many years.

Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, and Rutger Hauer are among the cast in this production which reportedly cost at least $180 million to produce. Some of Besson’s works have turned into ones with devoted cult status, including 1994’s The Professional and 1997’s The Fifth Element. His last pic, 2014’s Lucy, was a box office success. However, that may have had more to do with Scarlett Johansson’s involvement fresh off The Avengers.

Critical reaction thus far has been a treat to follow. It stands at a decent 73% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many writers praising its visuals and sheer audacity. Yet it’s not often a picture with that high a Tomatoes score is also deemed by The Hollywood Reporter as the worst movie watching experience of the year.

Valerian is expected to and will likely do considerably better overseas than stateside. Competition on this side of the pond is significant – Dunkirk opens the same weekend, War for the Planet of the Apes will be in its sophomore weekend, and Spider-Man: Homecoming in its third.

My suspicion is that Besson’s latest could rank third among the newbies next weekend. That would be behind Dunkirk (which is a given) and Girls Trip (which is starting to look like a sleeper hit). Bottom line: the studio better bank on a pleasing European haul.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opening weekend prediction: $17.8 million

For my Dunkirk prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/12/dunkirk-box-office-prediction/

For my Girls Trip prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/12/girls-trip-box-office-prediction/

My Top 25 Kanye West Songs of All Time

This Sunday, I will see one of the most controversial and lauded and loved and hated artists of the 21st century in concert – Kanye West. As a music lover and hip hop fan, there are few rappers and producers that have been more influential, exciting and sometimes frustrating. Musically, I agree with his own assessment that he’s a genius.

In honor of Sunday’s concert, here are my personal top 25 Kanye tracks from his eight album discography that began in 2004 with The College Dropout and currently ends with this year’s The Life of Pablo.

Here goes:

25. “Everything I Am” from Graduation (2007)

24. “Fade” from The Life of Pablo (2016)

23. “Two Words” from The College Dropout” (2004)

22.  “New Slaves” from Yeezus (2013)

21. “Last Call” from The College Dropout” (2004)

20. “Amazing” from 808s & Heartbreak (2008)

19. “All Falls Down” from The College Dropout (2004)

18. “Blood on the Leaves” from Yeezus (2013)

17. “We Major” from Late Registration” (2005)

16. “Stronger” from Graduation (2007)

15. “Famous” from The Life of Pablo (2016)

14. “Power” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

13.  “Heard ‘Em Say” from Late Registration (2005)

12. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” from Graduation (2007)

11.  “Gone” from Late Registration (2005)

10. “Roses” from Late Registration (2005)

9. “Monster” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

8. “Flashing Lights” from Graduation (2007)

7. “Black Skinhead” from Yeezus (2013)

6. “Through the Wire” from The College Dropout (2004)

5. “N****s in Paris” from Watch the Throne (2011)

4. “Gold Digger” from Late Registration (2005)

3. “Runaway” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

2. “Jesus Walks” from The College Dropout (2004)

1. “All of the Lights” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 2006: A Look Back

Today on the blog, we look at the top ten tracks that were monopolizing the airwaves ten summers ago. Last week, I gave you the top tunes from 1996 and two weeks ago – from 1986. You can read those posts here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/26/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1986-a-look-back/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/06/07/top-ten-summer-music-hits-of-1996-a-look-back/

As I did with the previous posts, I’ll rate the song on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (seasonal masterpiece) and answer the most important query: is it on my iTunes?

Let’s get to it!

10. “Snap Yo Fingers” by Lil Jon feat. E-40 and Sean P.

The middle of the previous decade was heavily dominated by club bangers when it came to hip hop. “Snap Yo Fingers” is basically, well, another one with Lil Jon’s signature shouts and a solid assist from Bay Area legend E-40. For what it is, it’s decent.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes? No

9. “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray

I’ll be totally honest here. I completely forgot about this song – the debut single from the Colorado based rock group. Verdict? Pretty good, though it probably says something that I forgot its existence.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes? No

8. “Unfaithful” by Rihanna

Written by Ne-Yo , this slow track from Rihanna’s second album shows off her fine vocals. It’s not at the very top of her slow tempo ballads, but it’s memorable.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

7. “Buttons” by The Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg

With an assist from The Doggfather, The Pussycat Dolls had a smash hit here. It’s no “Don’t Cha”, but it’s catchy.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

6. “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire feat. Krayzie Bone

The Houston rapper had a phenomenon with the most smooth ditty ever about the issue of racial profiling. I’ll give it a 7 and a half. It might deserve more, but it really wore out of its welcome.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No (but it would’ve been in 2006)

5. “It’s Goin’ Down” by Yung Joc

Atlanta rapper Joc had a club smash here. Like “Snap Yo Fingers”, it belongs in that danceable, yet easily forgettable sub genre of hip hop.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

4. “Me & U” by Cassie

Bad Boy artist Cassie had her only major hit here with this club friendly and pleasing track. No more, no less.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

3. “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley

Who knew a collabo between Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green would mark one of the most fantastic pop creations in years? It might have been overplayed, but this song is a masterpiece.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

2. “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean

Columbian singer/dancer Shakira had her largest hit (and her best) with this instantly dance-worthy creation with an assist from Wyclef.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

  1. “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado

Timbaland was at the top of his game in 2006 and it shows with his production here on Furtado this groovy Furtado song.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

And there you have it! This list will return next summer with 1987, 1997, and 2007…