Captive State Box Office Prediction

Originally slated to open last summer, the sci-fi alien invasion thriller Captive State touches down in theaters next weekend. Rupert Wyatt, best known for 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, directs. John Goodman (no stranger to extraterrestrial beings as evidenced by 10 Cloverfield Lane) leads a cast that includes Ashton Sanders, Machine Gun Kelly, Alan Ruck, Kiki Layne, and Vera Farmiga.

The Focus Features release seems to be flying far under the radar. Many pics in this sub genre are high-profile releases with massive budgets. This comes with a price tag of only about $25 million. That was probably the catering receipt for War of the Worlds.

That said, I don’t see this recouping its minimal cost during the stateside domestic run. I’ll say this only reaches mid single digits (if it’s lucky) before it lifts off quickly to On Demand status. I’ll say it doesn’t even get there.

Captive State opening weekend prediction: $2.8 million

For my Wonder Park prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/09/wonder-park-box-office-prediction/

For my Five Feet Apart prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/09/five-feet-apart-box-office-prediction/

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The latest iteration of the Planet of the Apes saga that began nearly a half century ago concludes on a major franchise high note. What Rupert Wyatt began in satisfying fashion with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Matt Reeves continued with success in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is elevated even more so with War for the Planet of the Apes. Mr. Reeves returns behind the camera with an epic and sorrowful tale of Caesar’s (Andy Serkis) constant battle between his species and the humans remaining to fight them.

The third installment also continues the perfection of the motion capture wizardry that brings the apes to life. It’s been enormously impressive in parts 1 and 2. It’s taken another leap forward in War. That said, we’re grown accustomed to legions of these characters being seen in our blockbusters. A compelling story must follow and it’s present.

When Dawn concluded, Caesar had dispensed of treacherous right-hand ape Koba but knew what was left of the human race’s army would hunt him. War opens two years later with Caesar, his family, and the other apes dwelling in the woods. Their nemesis here is a demented colonel (Woody Harrelson) and his devoted military men. Tragedy strikes and it pits Caesar on a revengeful mission against the Colonel, who isn’t too far removed from the character of Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. Harrelson is a great villain here with his own backstory in this dystopian world.

War introduces us to some new characters – both real and generated. There’s a mute young girl (Amiah Miller) who joins the apes on their joinrney. Series aficionados will reocognize her signifance quickly. Steve Zahn also brilliantly brings “Bad Ape” to life, a former zoo inhabitant who provides some much needed comic relief to the proceedings.

Yet this trilogy has focused mostly on Caesar and Serkis’s absolutely astonishing portrayal of him. The effects team goes even further in making him seem so very real. The writing and the actor’s commitment succeed in making his arch very emotional.

War for the Planet of the Apes is the best of the three and the other two were both quite solid. This is the end of this particular Apes chapter, but Reeves and his team leave us with the possibility of more and wanting it.

***1/2 (out of four)

War for the Planet of the Apes Box Office Prediction

Arriving as one of the most critically acclaimed blockbusters so far this year, War for the Planet of the Apes hits theaters next weekend. This is third franchise entry of the current reboot of a series that will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary next year. Matt Reeves, who made 2014 predecessor Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, is back directing with Andy Serkis bringing back his innovative motion capture work as Caesar. Woody Harrelson is our head human with Steve Zahn and Judy Greer among other ape characters.

20th Century Fox wasn’t shy about early screenings for critics and the result is a 95% current Rotten Tomatoes score, topping 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (81%) and Dawn (90%). That should help scare off potential franchise fatigue in a summer that has seen plenty of it (including Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers).

Rise debuted six summers ago to $54 million and an eventual $176 million overall domestic gross. Three years later, Dawn reached higher with a $72 million premiere and $208 million total stateside. War stands a fair chance at posting the best opening yet and it almost certainly will outpace Rise. 

I’m predicting this third helping of this well-regarded franchise will end up just below what Dawn rose to out of the gate for an opening in the mid 60s.

War for the Planet of the Apes opening weekend prediction: $63.4 million

For my Wish Upon trailer, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/07/06/wish-upon-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: War for the Planet of the Apes

The third installment of the current iteration of the nearly 50-year-old franchise War of the Planet of the Apes doesn’t open for two and a half weeks. Yet 20th Century Fox felt fit to lift its review embargo quite early and for good reason.

War is receiving some of the best reviews of a series that already garnered considerable acclaim and box office success. The film stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, outpacing the 81% of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and 90% for 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Its solid worth of mouth should make War a potent force at multiplexes on July 14th.

Which brings us to whether or not the picture could swing into the minds of Academy voters. In one sense – it’s seemingly inevitable. Both Rise and Dawn were nominated for Best Visual Effects Oscars and it would be very surprising for War not to follow suit. When it comes to other categories – probably not. Even though this threequel is getting the most fawning notices from several critics of the trio thus far, a Picture nomination seems unlikely.

Finally, I would expect some chatter for Andy Serkis and his motion capture work as Caesar. Yet an acting nomination for him also probably isn’t the cards. Even with its considerable reaction so far, it appears Visual Effects will be War‘s sole nomination.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar History: 2011

For the Academy Awards, 2011 will forever be known as the year when a French black and white silent film came out of nowhere to win three major categories, including Best Picture. That would be The Artist and it picked up momentum over its rivals, becoming one of the more unlikely recipients of the prize in some time.

During that year, the number of Picture nominees was nine and it beat out The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, and War Horse. 

As for some others I may have considered, my favorite film of the year was Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Another personal favorite: David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Furthermore, the expanded list of nominees could have given the Academy a chance to nominate some of the better blockbusters that year: Rise of the Planet of the Apes or Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol for example.

The Artist‘s auteur Michel Hazanavicius would win Director over stellar competitors: Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), and Martin Scorsese (Hugo). Again, Mr. Refn and Mr. Fincher would have made my cut.

The Artist love continued in Best Actor where Jean Dujardin took the prize over Demian Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Gary Oldman in his first (??) nomination (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and Brad Pitt (Moneyball).

I may have found room for Ryan Gosling’s silent but strong work in Drive or perhaps even Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love – in which he showed off real dramatic acting chops coupled with his comedic abilities for the first time.

Awards darling Meryl Streep took Best Actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher (no relation) in The Iron Lady. Othern nominees: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn).

The Academy’s penchant for ignoring comedy was shown here as Kristin Wiig should have merited consideration for her megahit Bridesmaids.

Beloved veteran Christopher Plummer won Supporting Actor for Beginners over Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warrior), and Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).

Two others I may have made room for: Albert Brooks in Drive and especially the brilliant motion capture work of Andy Serkis in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Octavia Spencer was victorious in Supporting Actress for The Help over her costar Jessica Chastain, as well as Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Melissa McCarthy in the rare nod for comedy in Bridesmaids, and Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs).

Two other comedic performances worthy of consideration: Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids and Jennifer Aniston’s scene stealing work in Horrible Bosses. I also would have found room for Shailene Woodley in The Descendants.

And that’s your Oscar history for 2011, folks! I’ll have 2012 up in the near future.

Summer 2015 Movies: The Predicted Century Club

The 2015 Summer Movie Season officially kicks off two weeks from today when Avengers: Age of Ultron blasts into theaters. It will compete for the largest domestic opening of all time (where it needs to beat its predecessor) and is highly likely to be the season’s highest earner. That got me to thinking – while Ultron is poised to gross $500 million or higher, it’s been the $100 million mark that studios still like to brag about. This prompted me to look at the past five summer flick seasons and how many pictures reached that milestone.

In 2010, it was 13 movies that reached the mark: Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Inception, Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, Grown Ups, The Last Airbender, The Other Guys, Salt, Robin Hood, and The Expendables.

Things improved in 2011 with 18 films reaching the century club: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Hangover Part II, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, Thor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: First Avenger, The Help, Bridesmaids, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, The Smurfs, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Green Lantern, Bad Teacher, and Cowboys and Aliens.

The low mark was the following year in 2012 with just 12: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man, Brave, Ted, Madagascar 3, Men in Black 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, Magic Mike, and The Bourne Legacy.

Yet the high mark came the following summer in 2013 with 19: Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Monsters University, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Heat, We’re the Millers, The Great Gatsby, The Conjuring, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, Now You See Me, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Hangover Part III, Epic, Pacific Rim, and This is the End.

2014 dipped with 14: Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, 22 Jump Street, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, Lucy, The Fault in Our Stars, and Edge of Tomorrow. 

That averages out to 15 pictures earning $100M plus per summer over this decade.

So where do I have 2015 matching up? Not breaking records, but in good shape. My predictions for the year’s $100M earners is 16 and they are as follows (in order of release date): Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2, Tomorrowland, San Andreas, Spy, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Ted 2, Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys, Minions, Ant-Man, Trainwreck, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Fantastic Four. 

Of course, there’s always sleepers. And there’s others that I could have predicted but think will fall short: the Reese Witherspoon/Sofia Vergara comedy Hot Pursuit, horror remake Poltergeist, the film version of Entourage, the Adam Sandler video game inspired action comedy Pixels, the Vacation reboot, and the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton are among them.

As predicted, summer 2015 should see its number of century club inductees on the slightly high end without reaching the heights of 2013. And as always, you’ll see box office predictions every Saturday from me on each and every one of ’em!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Box Office Prediction

This Friday brings us Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the eighth picture in a franchise over 45 years old and the direct sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. There have been a number of changes in the past three years with Clovefield director Matt Reeves behind the camera in place of Rise‘s Rupert Wyatt. We also have a new cast of human actors that includes Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell. Andy Serkis does return with his acclaimed motion capture performance of ape leader Caesar.

Three  summers back, Rise was a pleasant surprise to both critics and audiences. It got off to a strong $54 million opening weekend in August 2011 on its way to a $176 million domestic take. This time around, expectations are even higher. And it also seems that critics are even more enthusiastic about Dawn. It currently holds a terrific 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nearly all tent pole summer 2014 entries from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to Godzilla to X-Men: Days of Future Past to How to Train Your Dragon 2 to Transformers: Age of Extinction have either just met expectations or grossed under them. Dawn is in a unique position of following a well-received original franchise entry and having critics gushing about it. This could mean big things for it and I believe it has a fair chance of possibly becoming the season’s largest hit, which I wrote about last week here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/06/29/will-the-apes-rule-summer-2014/

As for its opening weekend gross, it should have no problem whatsoever surpassing the $54 million that its predecessor grossed out of the gate. While I don’t see it earning a low to mid 90s haul like Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, or X-Men did, it’s within the realm of possibility. I think a better bet is that it grosses in the mid to high 70s and may develop strong legs in subsequent weekends.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opening weekend prediction: $77.2 million