Oscar Predictions – Minions: The Rise of Gru

Illumination Entertainment will rule the Fourth of July weekend at the box office when Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters on July 1st. This is the fifth entry in the franchise that began a dozen summers back with Despicable Me and the first in five years.

Some early reviews are out and they’re mostly indicating it’s a decent if unspectacular chapter of the series. With 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s higher than the two previous pics – 2015’s Minions (55%) and 2017’s Despicable Me 3 (59%). Of course, Gru‘s number will soon rise or fall as more critics weigh in.

2010’s Despicable Me (81%) and its 2013 sequel (75%) fared better, but only part two received awards attention. It was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Original Song with Pharrell’s inescapable “Happy”. Due to Disney’s Frozen and the equally omnipresent “Let It Go”, it lost both.

Based on early buzz, I see no path for Gru to find its way to the Animated Feature derby. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…

Minions: The Rise of Gru Box Office Prediction

Illumination and Universal Pictures should light up the Fourth of July weekend at the box office with Minions: The Rise of Gru. The sequel to the 2015 spinoff prequel and the fifth overall entry in the Despicable Me franchise, Kyle Balda directs with Steve Carell returning to voice the title character. Other performers in the booth include Pierre Coffin, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, and Alan Arkin. How’s that for eclectic? I’m pretty sure this marks the first collaboration between Van Damme and Andrews.

This series has proved to be a financial windfall for its studio. All four previous pics have made over $250 million domestically. Minions took in $115 million out of the gate seven summers back with $336 million overall. Immediate predecessor Despicable Me 3 from 2017, while still a hit, wasn’t as high. It premiered with $72 million and ended up with $264 million.

Three years was previously the longest wait between films. The five year gap is a bit risky as some of its fans are simply older. We’ve also seen a very recent example of an animated disappointment with Pixar’s Lightyear. 

That said, I suspect Gru will rise to the occasion with a four-day holiday haul in the $75-85 million range. I’m starting out on the lower end of that scale, but my estimate could go up in the days ahead.

Minions: The Rise of Gru opening weekend prediction: $78.4 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

The Best of Enemies Box Office Prediction

Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell headline true life drama The Best of Enemies, out this Friday. Set in 1971, the film casts Henson as a civil rights activist tasked with co-chairing a community meeting with Rockwell’s KKK leader. Robin Bissell directs with a supporting cast including Babou Ceesay, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, and Bruce McGill.

Enemies hopes to bring in a similar audience that caused Green Book to nearly make $90 million domestically. However, this doesn’t have Oscar buzz and while its two leads are certainly highly respected, neither can open a movie.

Considering that, I see $10 million as too high a bar for this. Mid single digits is more likely.

The Best of Enemies opening weekend prediction: $5.9 million

For my Shazam! prediction, click here:


For my Pet Sematary prediction, click here:


What Men Want Box Office Prediction

Paramount is banking on a significant African-American and female audience next weekend for What Men Want, a remake of the 2000 blockbuster What Women Want with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. As the title suggests, this is a flip of the original with its lead character being able to hear the inner thoughts of the male species. Taraji P. Henson plays her with costars including Aldis Hodge, Tracy Morgan, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Pete Davidson, and Erykah Badu. Adam Shankman, maker of Bringing Down the House and The Pacifier, directs.

The gimmicky formula could be a success with its target audience. Its source material was a smash, debuting to $33 million and legging out to $182 million overall. Henson has starred in such high-profile hits as Hidden Figures, No Good Deed, and the Think Like a Man pics.

Some of those efforts saw openings in the mid to high 20s and that’s exactly where I see this starting out at.

What Men Want opening weekend prediction: $26.4 million

For my The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part prediction, click here:


For my Cold Pursuit prediction, click here:


For my The Prodigy prediction, click here:


Oscar Watch: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Ralph Breaks the Internet is expected to easily hit the #1 spot at the box office over the Thanksgiving holiday. The film is Disney’s highly anticipated sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It-Ralph and reviews are out today.

The verdict? Much like its predecessor, critical notice is strong as it currently stands at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some early notices say it doesn’t quite match the original, but it’s all pretty much a positive vibe.

As to where that puts Internet in the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature, I’d say it’s almost certainly in. Wreck-It-Ralph also nabbed a nomination in that category, but lost to Disney/Pixar’s Brave. That would appear to be what will happen again as Ralph should get a nod and lose to the heroes of Pixar’s Incredibles 2.

Bottom line: Ralph officially broke into awards chatter today, but studio competition should keep it from achieving gold. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

For my Creed II prediction, click here:


For my Robin Hood prediction, click here:


Ralph Breaks the Internet Box Office Prediction

Disney is no stranger to debuting high-profile titles over the long Turkey Day weekend and they’re back at it again with Ralph Breaks the Internet. It’s the sequel to 2012’s WreckItRalph and brings back the vocal stylings of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, and Ed O’Neill. New actors behind the mic include Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, and Alfred Molina. Rich Moore and Phil Johnston direct.

While we’re not in Incredibles 2 territory as far as expectations, Ralph is forecasted to easily break into the top spot for the Thanksgiving holiday. The original made $49 million for its start six years ago and ended up with $189 million.

Animated sequels can and have exceeded debut earnings of their predecessors. There’s been several years for kids to watch the original repeatedly and Internet could also appeal to younger adults. As mentioned, the Mouse Factory likes this frame for their drawn efforts. On the high-end, there’s Frozen, which made $93 million over the full Wednesday to Sunday frame ($67 million traditional weekend). On the low-end is The Good Dinosaur with a $55 million five-day ($39 million three-day). Two years ago, Moana took in $82 million ($56 million Friday to Sunday). Last year it was Coco with $72 million ($50 million three-day).

So where does this fit in? I like it falling in between Disney’s output from the last two years. That means I’m estimating it slightly outshines WreckIt for the traditional weekend with upper 70s for the whole holiday.

Ralph Breaks the Internet opening weekend prediction: $54.4 million (Friday to Sunday); $79.8 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Creed II prediction, click here:


For my Robin Hood prediction, click here:


For my Green Book prediction, click here:


Acrimony Box Office Prediction

Tyler Perry leaves Madea aside for Easter next weekend as he directs and writes the psychological thriller Acrimony. The tale of a cheating husband and a vengeful wife stars Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Crystle Stewart, and Jazmyn Simon. The Lionsgate release hopes to capitalize on Mr. Perry’s involvement, as well as Ms. Henson, who’s had some successes on the big and small screen.

There are certainly some similar genre comps to put this up against. The trick is figuring out where it will fall. Will it play like Henson’s own No Good Deed from 2014, which debuted to a stellar $24.2 million? Or the $25.6 million achieved by The Perfect Guy in 2015? In 2016, When the Bough Breaks managed $14.2 million. How about some other non-comedic directorial efforts from Perry: $21.6 million opening for Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor or $15.5 million for Good Deeds? On the low end, what about the measly $4.7 million from last year’s Unforgettable?

My hunch is a low to mid teens gross is probably the ticket, just below the gross of Bough.

Acrimony opening weekend prediction: $13.2 million

For my Ready Player One prediction, click here:


For my God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness prediction, click here:


Proud Mary Box Office Prediction

During last year’s Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Taraji P. Henson had the #1 film with her Oscar nominated Hidden Figures. In 2018, she’s back in the action thriller Proud Mary. The pic finds her cast as a Boston hitwoman from director Babak Najafi, best known for making poorly received sequel London Has Fallen. Supporting players include Billy Brown, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, and Margaret Avery.

While she’s best known for “Empire” television work, Henson’s big screen track record has been rather impressive with her roles in Figures, The Karate Kid remake, and No Good Deed.

Proud Mary could have the advantage of attracting some genre fans, as well as African Americans and females (a demographic often underserved with action flicks). I believe this could post a high teens debut, which would put it above direct genre competition The Commuter.

Proud Mary opening weekend prediction: $18.5 million (Friday to Monday estimate)

For my The Commuter prediction, click here:


For my The Post prediction, click here:


For my Paddington 2 prediction, click here:



Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures is a good film about a great story. It’s a picture about racial discrimination that isn’t looking to make any waves, but rather tell its tale in an audience pleasing style. Director Theodore Melfi and the top-notch cast manage to achieve their mission, while moviegoers looking for something deeper about similar subject matter have plenty of other quality material to select from.

Figures is set in the early 1960s and focuses on three African American women who were instrumental to the nation’s space race. Katherine (Taraji P. Henson) is a math whiz who does the work that computers would later accomplish. Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) is a capable supervisor whose chances at career advancement are hindered by her race. Same goes for Mary (Janelle Monae), a talented engineer who must fight to attend a whites only school to further her opportunities.

Each woman is presented with unique challenges based on their being in a foreign world in Langley. Even as Katherine is elevated to more important work in her field, she must run half a mile to a building with a colored only restroom as her new digs don’t have one. Dorothy’s supervisor (Kirsten Dunst) has a tough time envisioning her employee doing a similar job. Mary must be creative with the judicial system to achieve her goals.

The screenplay focuses most prominently on Katherine and her interactions with sympathetic Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), director of the Space Task Group. He enlists her help in the furious space race with the Russians as they try to get John Glenn to orbit the Earth.

Hidden Figures serves as a nifty history lesson to younger viewers and those who’ve forgotten their lessons when it comes to that race. And it’s the race of the three leads and their true stories that probably should’ve been told before now. The screenplay has apparently taken some liberties here and there with certain facts, but the contributions of Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary is not in question.

The subject’s personal lives aren’t explored in major detail, save for Katherine’s romance with a military officer (Mahershala Ali). Figures is more concerned with their work and the dynamic between Katherine and Harrison is the most interesting. It helps that both Henson and Costner do fine work here.

While the pic isn’t necessarily told in a new way as it builds toward triumphant moments for the principles, I’m glad I got to know about their previously unheralded contributions.

*** (out of four)

Todd’s 2016 Oscar Predictions: January 12th Edition

Well, hello everyone! It’s Thursday and my first Oscar predictions of the new year have rolled in…

In the past two weeks we’ve seen the Golden Globes occur, which showered its love upon La La Land. We’ve had BAFTA and Producers Guild nominations (that one produced a surprise nod for Deadpool and puts the comic book pic in the top 20 for the firs time). And the Director Guild announced their five nominees this morning, which exactly matches my picks here. We’ve seen pictures (in my estimation) increase their chances (Arrival, Hidden Figures) and others fall a bit (Silence).

On Thursday the 19th, I will make my final round of Thursday predictions and on Sunday the 22nd – my “final” final predictions prior to the announcement on January 24th.

Here’s how I see it all right now…

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. Moonlight (PR: 3)

3. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 2)

4. Arrival (PR: 7)

5. Lion (PR: 5)

6. Fences (PR: 4)

7. Hidden Figures (PR: 8)

8. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 9)

9. Hell or High Water (PR: 10)

Other Possibilities:

10. Silence (PR: 6)

11. Loving (PR: 11)

12. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 12)

13. Sully (PR: 13)

14. Jackie (PR: 14)

15. Deadpool (PR: Not Ranked)

16. 20th Century Women (PR: 15)

17. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 16)

18. Patriots Day (PR: 17)

19. Captain Fantastic (PR: 19)

20. Zootopia (PR: 20)

Dropped Out:

The Jungle Book

Best Director

Predicted Nominees

1. Damien Chazelle, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

4. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival (PR: 6)

5. Garth Davis, Lion (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 7)

7. Martin Scorsese, Silence (PR: 4)

8. David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water (PR: 9)

9. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 8)

10. Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. Denzel Washington, Fences (PR: 2)

3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land (PR: 3)

4. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 4)

5. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Joel Edgerton, Loving (PR: 5)

7. Tom Hanks, Sully (PR: 7)

8. Michael Keaton, The Founder (PR: 8)

9. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Andrew Garfield, Silence (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Adam Driver, Paterson

Best Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Emma Stone, La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Natalie Portman, Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Amy Adams, Arrival (PR: 3)

4. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 5)

5. Isabelle Huppert, Elle (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (PR: 4)

7. Emily Blunt, The Girl on the Train (PR: 9)

8. Ruth Negga, Loving (PR: 7)

9. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane (PR: 8)

10. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures (PR: 10)

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees

1. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (PR: 1)

2. Dev Patel, Lion (PR: 2)

3. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 4)

4. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water (PR: 3)

5. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

7. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals (PR: Not Ranked)

8. Ben Foster, Hell or High Water (PR: 7)

9. Issey Ogata, Silence (PR: 8)

10. Mykelti Williamson, Fences (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Kevin Costner, Hidden Figures

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees

1. Viola Davis, Fences (PR: 1)

2. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (PR: 3)

3. Naomie Harris, Moonlight (PR: 2)

4. Nicole Kidman, Lion (PR: 4)

5. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities

6. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (PR: 6)

7. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky (PR: 7)

8. Molly Shannon, Other People (PR: 10)

9. Janelle Monae, Hidden Figures (PR: 8)

10. Lupita Nyong’o, Queen of Katwe (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Moonlight (PR: 1)

2. Arrival (PR: 4)

3. Lion (PR: 2)

4. Fences (PR: 3)

5. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Hidden Figures (PR: 9)

7. Loving (PR: 8)

8. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 7)

9. Silence (PR: 5)

10. Elle (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees

1. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 1)

2. La La Land (PR: 2)

3. Hell or High Water (PR: 3)

4. Captain Fantastic (PR: 4)

5. Toni Erdmann (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities

6. The Lobster (PR: 6)

7. 20th Century Women (PR: 5)

8. Jackie (PR: 7)

9. Zootopia (PR: 9)

10. Eye in the Sky (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

I, Daniel Blake

Best Animated Feautre

Predicted Nominees

1. Zootopia (PR: 1)

2. Kubo and the Two Strings (PR: 2)

3. Moana (PR: 3)

4. The Red Turtle (PR: 4)

5. The Little Prince (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities

6. My Life as a Zucchini (PR: 5)

7. Finding Dory (PR: 6)

8. Your Name (PR: 9)

9. Sausage Party (PR: 10)

10. Sing (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

April and the Extraordinary World

Best Documentary Feature

Predicted Nominees

1. I Am Not Your Negro (PR: 1)

2. Gleason (PR: 4)

3. O.J.: Made in America (PR: 2)

4. 13th (PR: 3)

5. Cameraperson (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. The Ivory Game (PR: 9)

7. Life, Animated (PR: 5)

8. The Eagle Huntress (PR: 8)

9. Weiner (PR: 10)

10. Fire at Sea (PR: 7)

Best Foreign Language Film

Predicted Nominees

1. Toni Erdmann (PR: 1)

2. The Salesman (PR: 2)

3. Land of Mine (PR: 3)

4. My Life as a Zucchini (PR: 6)

5. A Man Called Ove (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. The King’s Choice (PR: 5)

7. Tanna (PR: 8)

8. It’s the Only the End of the World (PR: 9)

9. Paradise (PR: 7)

Best Cinematography

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Arrival (PR: 4)

3. Moonlight (PR: 2)

4. Nocturnal Animals (PR: 5)

5. Silence (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities

6. Lion (PR: 6)

7. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 7)

8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: 10)

9. Jackie (PR: 8)

10. Hell or High Water (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Jungle Book

Best Costume Design

Predicted Nominees

1. Jackie (PR: 1)

2. La La Land (PR: 2)

3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (PR: 7)

4. Allied (PR: 3)

5. Love & Friendship (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 5)

7. Silence (PR: 6)

8. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 8)

9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Live by Night (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Best Editing

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Moonlight (PR: 2)

3. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 4)

4. Arrival (PR: 3)

5. Manchester by the Sea (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Silence (PR: 5)

8. Lion (PR: 7)

9. Hell or High Water (PR: 8)

10. Sully (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:


Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Predicted Nominees

1. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 1)

2. Deadpool (PR: 3)

3. Star Trek Beyond (PR: 2)

Other Possibilities

4. A Man Called Ove (PR: 5)

5. Suicide Squad (PR: 4)

6. The Dressmaker (PR: 6)

7. Hail, Caesar! (PR: 7)

Best Original Score

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Lion (PR: 2)

3. Moonlight (PR: 3)

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: 6)

5. Florence Foster Jenkins (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Nocturnal Animals (PR: Not Ranked)

7. Jackie (PR: 5)

8. The BFG (PR: 9)

9. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 8)

10. The Jungle Book (PR: 10)

Dropped Out:

Hidden Figures 

Best Original Song

Predicted Nominees

1. “City of Stars” from La La Land (PR: 1)

2. “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana (PR: 2)

3. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land (PR: 3)

4. “Runnin” from Hidden Figures (PR: 5)

5. “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” from Trolls (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities

6. “Letters to the Free” from 13th (PR: 6)

7. “Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street (PR: 4)

8. “The Rules Don’t Apply” from Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 8)

9. “Faith” from Sing (PR: Not Ranked)

10. “The Great Beyond” from Sausage Party (PR: 9)

Dropped Out:

“I’m Still Here” from Miss Sharon Jones

Best Production Design

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Jackie (PR: 2)

3. Arrival (PR: 3)

4. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 7)

5. Silence (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: 10)

7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (PR: 8)

8. Rules Don’t Apply (PR: 5)

9. Allied (PR: 6)

10. The Jungle Book (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Live by Night

Best Sound Editing

Predicted Nominees

1. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 1)

2. La La Land (PR: 2)

3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: 3)

4. Deepwater Horizon (PR: 5)

5. Sully (PR: 4)

Other Possibilities

6. Arrival (PR: 6)

7. The Jungle Book (PR: 9)

8. Patriots Day (PR: 7)

9. Deadpool (PR: Not Ranked)

10. Allied (PR: 8)

Dropped Out:

Captain America: Civil War

Best Sound Mixing

Predicted Nominees

1. La La Land (PR: 1)

2. Hacksaw Ridge (PR: 2)

3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: 3)

4. Arrival (PR: 4)

5. Deepwater Horizon (PR: 5)

Other Possibilties

6. Patriots Day (PR: 8)

7. Sully (PR: 6)

8. The Jungle Book (PR: 9)

9. Deadpool (PR: 10)

10. Passengers (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:


Best Visual Effects

Predicted Nominees

1. The Jungle Book (PR: 1)

2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PR: 2)

3. Arrival (PR: 3)

4. Doctor Strange (PR: 4)

5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities

6. The BFG (PR: 5)

7. Deepwater Horizon (PR: 10)

8. Kubo and the Two Strings (PR: 8)

9. Captain America: Civil War (PR: 7)

10. Passengers (PR: 9)

That equates to the following number of nominations for each film:

14 Nominations

La La Land

9 Nominations


8 Nominations


7 Nominations

Manchester by the Sea

6 Nominations

Lion, Hacksaw Ridge

4 Nominations

Fences, Florence Foster Jenkins, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

3 Nominations

Hidden Figures, Hell or High Water, Jackie

2 Nominations

Captain Fantastic, Nocturnal Animals, Toni Erdmann, Moana, Silence, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Deepwater Horizon

1 Nomination

Elle, Zootopia, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Red Turtle, The Little Prince, I Am Not Your Negro, Gleason, O.J.: Made in America, 13th, Cameraperson, The Salesman, Land of Mine, My Life as a Zucchini, A Man Called Ove, Allied, Love & Friendship, Deadpool, Star Trek Beyond, Trolls, Sully, The Jungle Book, Doctor Strange.

And that does it for now! Until next week…