Acclaimed director Richard Linklater brings his adaptation of a 2012 bestseller to the big screen with Where’dYouGo, Bernadette. Based on Maria Semple’s comedic mystery, the pic casts two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett in the title role of an agoraphobic wife and mother who disappears. The story finds her daughter (Emma Nelson) tracking her whereabouts. Costars include Billy Crudup, Kristin Wiig, Judy Greer, Laurence Fishburne, Steve Zahn, and Megan Mullaly.
It’s been five years since Linklater’s Boyhood bowed to critical praise and multiple Academy nominations. Since then, his efforts EverybodyWantsSome!! and LastFlagFlying have underwhelmed at the box office. The late summer release date here is curious as Bernadette is foregoing the festival circuit that often builds buzz for titles such as this.
Without that kind of chatter, the film will rely on fans of its source material. That could be a challenge for it to break out of mid single digits territory.
Where’dYouGo, Bernadette opening weekend prediction: $5.6 million
For my TheAngryBirdsMovie2 prediction, click here:
The latest iteration of the PlanetoftheApes 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 RiseofthePlanetoftheApes and Matt Reeves continued with success in 2014’s DawnofthePlanetoftheApes is elevated even more so with WarforthePlanetoftheApes. 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 ApocalypseNow. 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.
WarforthePlanetoftheApes 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.
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
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.
Pixar usually isn’t in the business of releasing two titles a year, but they are in 2015 as The Good Dinosaur opens Wednesday for the long Thanksgiving weekend. Indeed this is the first time the Disney owned franchise has put out a double feature in one year and this summer’s Inside Out was the studio’s second highest domestic grosser with $356 million in sales.
The Good Dinosaur has the good fortune of being about dinosaurs in a very strong year for them as Jurassic World ruled the summer frame. Disney has played the Turkey Day box office game before to fine results: 2010’s Tangled made $48 million for the three day weekend and $68 million for the Wednesday to Sunday portion and 2013’s Frozen earned $67 million for the traditional weekend with a $93 million five day gross.
Where will this roam in comparison to those titles? I don’t see this making as much as Frozen, which had rapturous reviews. Dinosaur has received positive notices so far, but not to the fawning level of Frozen (or Inside Out for that matter). I do, however, think it’ll manage to outdo what Tangled did five years ago. I’ll forecast a three day debut in the mid to high 50s with a high 70s gross for the extended frame. That could put it in close competition for the #1 spot with the final Hunger Games, depending on how that performs this weekend and how it holds up in its second.
The Good Dinosaur opening weekend prediction: $56.6 million (Friday to Sunday), $78.9 million (Wednesday to Sunday)