Run Review

**There’s really no proper to review Run without some spoilers, so consider yourself warned.**

Cinematic logic dictates that no matter carefully the villain in a thriller strives to cover up their crimes, they will save a newspaper article in a fairly convenient location that exposes their vicious deeds. Same goes for opened mail that was meant for someone else. These time tested cliches are in Aneesh Chaganty’s Hulu pic Run, the director’s follow-up to his well regarded Searching from 2018. And there are additional moments in the efficient 89 minutes of screen time that are straight out of its Genre 101.

That said, Run has some things going for it. We open with Diane Sherman (Sarah Paulson) giving birth prematurely to her daughter whose survival in question. Flash forward 17 years later and Chloe (Kiera Allen, making her film debut) is alive, but in a wheelchair and experiencing various other illnesses. It’s time for the homeschooled teen to eagerly leave the nest for college which Mom appears cool with. Not so fast.

It takes little time for the screenplay to establish that a Munchausen by proxy situation could be happening. For those who haven’t consulted their medical journals lately, the question is whether Diane is purposely keeping her actually health child sick and confining her to their Washington farmhouse. The casting of Paulson, known for playing whackos, is a solid clue.

Run is elevated by its lead performances. We know what to expect from its known actress and Paulson plays this Mommie Dearest to the hilt. However, it’s Allen who shines. Chloe is certainly a character to be pitied, but she’s also much smarter and resourceful than your average daughter in distress.

As mentioned, the mechanisms of the storyline do cover familiar ground as Chloe tries to wheel or (maybe) walk far away from this matriarchal mayhem. Diane would have been wise to invest in a paper shredder as she tries to cut off Chloe’s access to the outside world. Yet Run earns points with a genuinely strong and sympathetic heroine and a final twist that confirms she is still a step ahead of her captor.

*** (out of four)

Box Office Predictions: September 14-16

A quartet of new titles make their way to multiplexes this weekend: franchise reboot The Predator, Anna Kendrick/Blake Lively thriller A Simple Favor, crime drama White Boy Rick with Matthew McConaughey, and “spiritual sequel” Unbroken: Path to Redemption. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

The Predator should have little trouble hitting the top spot, but I do have it on the lower end of the expectation range in the mid to high 20s.

The Nun got off a terrific start (more on that below) and I do expect a rather large decline due to both front loaded business and fairly poor word of mouth (a C Cinemascore grade). A drop in the low to mid 60s is feasible here and horror pics often have significant declines anyway.

A Simple Favor is intriguing. I believe it should place third and I have it managing to reach its intended female audience with a healthy showing at the top end of estimates.

White Boy Rick has generated zero awards buzz after its Telluride premiere and I’m having trouble seeing it hit double digits. That would put it in fourth.

Even though Peppermint just outdid Crazy Rich Asians for the #2 spot this past weekend, I expect the latter to have a smaller decline and get the five-spot.

As for Unbroken: Path to Redemption, my lowly $2.5 million forecast puts it well outside the top 5.

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the weekend:

1. The Predator

Predicted Gross: $27.4 million

2. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $19.8 million

3. A Simple Favor

Predicted Gross: $17.9 million

4. White Boy Rick

Predicted Gross: $8.7 million

5. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $8.2 million

Box Office Results (September 7-9)

Warner Bros was in full sister act level celebration mode this weekend as The Nun conquered the charts. The fifth entry in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe experienced the best debut of the franchise with $53.8 million compared to my $45.4 million projection. That’s good for the second highest September opening of all time behind last year’s It.

In a bit of a surprise, Jennifer Garner’s revenge tale Peppermint was second with a decent $13.4 million, topping my $11.8 million prediction. Overcoming poor reviews, the film reached the upper end of its projections. I see it dipping around 50% next weekend and falling out of the top five.

The three-week reign of Crazy Rich Asians came to an end as it placed third with $13.1 million (I said $14.2 million) for $135 million total.

The Meg was fourth with $6 million compared to my $5.4 million take and the shark tale has amassed $131 million.

Searching rounded out the top five with $4.5 million (in line with my $4.2 million prediction) for $14 million overall.

Finally, faith-based drama God Bless the Broken Road premiered in 11th place with a weak $1.3 million. I was a bit more generous at $2.1 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: September 7-9

Blogger’s Note (09/06/18): I am making a change at #5 spot for the weekend and taking out Mission: Impossible – Fallout (still predicted at $4.1 million) and replacing it with Searching at $4.2 million.

While my attention on the blog has shifted in recent days to the many Oscar hopefuls premiering at film festivals, we still have box office predictions to consider. And there’s a trio of newcomers opening this weekend: horror pic The Nun from the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, Jennifer Garner revenge thriller Peppermint, and faith-based war drama God Bless the Broken Road. You can peruse my individual prediction posts on each of them here:

The Nun (with my mid 40s estimate) should have no trouble ending the three-week reign of Crazy Rich Asians atop the charts. The Conjuring franchise has been remarkably consistent in its opening weekend grosses and I expect that will continue here.

With that scary sister easily holding down the top spot, the real battle could be at #2 between Asians and Peppermint. I’ll give the former the edge by a couple million.

Summer holdovers The Meg and Mission: Impossible – Fallout should round out the top five. My lowly $2.1 million take on God Bless the Broken Road leaves it on the outside looking in.

And with that, my top 5 take on the weekend ahead:

1. The Nun

Predicted Gross: $45.4 million

2. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $14.2 million

3. Peppermint

Predicted Gross: $11.8 million

4. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $5.4 million

5. Searching 

Predicted Gross: $4.2 million

Box Office Results (August 31-September 3)

Crazy Rich Asians easily topped the charts for the third frame in a row with $28.5 million  over the Labor Day long holiday weekend (I was just a tad over at $30.6 million). The breakout comedy of the summer is up to $117 million thus far.

The Meg followed in second at $13.8 million (I said $14.5 million) for a tally of $123 million.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout was third with $9.3 million, in range with my $10 million projection. The sixth franchise entry stands at $206 million and is right on the doorstep at becoming the series highest domestic earner. That record is currently held by part 2 with $215 million.

Operation Finale had the biggest debut of the weekend in fourth with $7.8 million. I was close with an $8.8 million estimate. The Oscar Isaac/Ben Kingsley Nazi hunting drama has earned $9.6 million since its Wednesday opening.

The critically acclaimed computer screen set thriller Searching was close behind in fifth with $7.6 million, just ahead of my $7.1 million forecast. Counting its limited release a week prior, it’s made $8.1 million total.

I incorrectly had Christopher Robin in the top 5 but it placed 6th with $7.2 million (I said $8 million). The Winnie the Pooh tale has earned $87 million as it seems likely to eek out a $100 million gross.

A trio of newcomers all posted unimpressive results. Sci-fi family adventure Kin was 12th with $3.8 million (I was right there at $3.9 million). Mexican import Ya Veremos placed 14th at $2.2 million (I said $2.5 million). And the poorly reviewed Gothic horror effort The Little Stranger managed a piddling $496,000 for 23rd position… way under my $2.6 million guess.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Box Office Predictions: August 31-September 3

The summer box office season officially draws to a close this Labor Day weekend and there’s five new releases to consider. They are the Oscar Isaac/Ben Kingsley Nazi hunting drama Operation Finale, John Cho’s computer based thriller Searching, family sci-fi tale Kin, Gothic horror tale The Little Stranger and Mexican import Ya Veremos. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

I don’t have any of them breaking the $10 million mark for the four-day holiday weekend. I have Finale faring the best, mostly due to the fact that it’s slated to open on about 700 more screens than the critically hailed Searching.

My $3.9 million estimate for Kin, $2.6 million projection for Stranger and $2.5 million forecast for Veremos leave them outside of the top five. And even my $7.1 million prediction for Searching leaves it on the outside looking in.

The Labor Day weekend typically means that holdovers will experience increases in their grosses from the previous weekend. There is, of course, an extra day of totals to consider so that doesn’t hurt. It is not uncommon to see percentage bumps anywhere from the mid teens to high 20s and I expect that will hold true once again.

That means Crazy Rich Asians should have no trouble at all holding the top spot for the third frame in a row. Giving it an increase in the low to mid twenties seems plausible and that could it mean hits over $30 million. I suspect The Meg, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and Christopher Robin will also experience solid weekends.

The only holdover that may fall is The Happytime Murders, which had a pretty bad debut over the weekend (more on that below).

And with that, my top 5 estimates for the long Labor Day weekend:

1. Crazy Rich Asians

Predicted Gross: $30.6 million

2. The Meg

Predicted Gross: $14.5 million

3. Mission: ImpossibleFallout

Predicted Gross: $10 million

4. Operation Finale

Predicted Gross: $8.8 million

5. Christopher Robin

Predicted Gross: $8 million

Box Office Results (August 24-26) 

Crazy Rich Asians had a magnificent hold in its sophomore weekend to easily remain #1. The comedy dropped just 6%, taking in $24.8 million (blasting past my $16.9 million estimate). The two-week total is $76 million.

The Meg was second with $12.8 million (I said $11.2 million). The shark tale crossed the century mark and stands at $105 million after three weeks.

The Happytime Murders proved American audiences were in no mood for randy puppets. The poorly reviewed pic was third with a putrid $9.5 million, falling under my $13.8 million forecast.

Mission: ImpossibleFallout was fourth with $8 million (ahead of my $6.8 million take). It’s edging close to $200 million with $193 million total.

Mile 22 rounded out the top five with $6.3 million (I said $7.5 million). The Mark Wahlberg action thriller has made a middling $25 million in its two weeks of release.

Finally, robot dog flick A.X.L. opened meekly in 10th position with $2.7 million. It did manage to edge past my $2.1 million prediction.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

Searching Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (08/23/18): Today’s estimated screen count of just 1100 for Searching has caused to revise down from $9.4 million to $7.1 million

Following a buzz worthy premiere earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, thriller Searching opens wide next weekend. The pic casts John Cho (Harold from Harold and Kumar, Sulu from the Star Trek franchise) as a father whose daughter goes missing. What makes this unique is that the film takes place almost entirely on a computer screen as he frantically attempts to locate her. Debra Messing, Michelle La, and Sara Sohn costar. Aneesh Chaganty directs.

The film opens in limited release on August 24th in just 9 theaters, with a nationwide expansion over Labor Day weekend. When Searching played at Sundance in January, it did so to solid critical notices and it stands at 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. I could see this having a decent start (considering its low budget) in the high double digits low double digits with the possibility of legging out solidly based on word-of-mouth.

Searching opening weekend prediction: $7.1 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my Operation Finale prediction, click here:

For my Kin prediction, click here:

For my Ya Veremos prediction, click here:

For my The Little Stranger prediction, click here: