22 for ’22: Oscars Early Look

It’s been an entire week since The Slap… check that, the 94th Academy Awards where CODA parlayed its Sundance buzz from January 2021 all the way to a Best Picture victory.

That also means I’ve managed to wait a whole week without speculation for the next Academy Awards which will hopefully be a slap free zone. So what are some titles that could be vying for attention?

On May 27th and after numerous delays, Top Gun: Maverick will find Tom Cruise returning to his iconic role some 36 years after the original. There’s a decent chance it could be up for similar prizes that its predecessor landed like Sound, Film Editing, and Song (courtesy of Lady Gaga apparently). Visual Effects is a possibility as well.

My weekly Oscar prediction posts won’t begin until mid to late August. In the meantime, you’ll get individualized write-ups for pics that open or screen at festivals.

Yet for today – I feel the need. The need to identify 21 other 2022 titles that might end up on the Academy’s radar. Enjoy!

Armageddon Time

Despite acclaimed movies like The Lost City of Z and Ad Astra, James Gray has yet to connect with awards voters. This drama, rumored to be centered on his Queens upbringing, is the next hopeful and features a stellar cast including Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, and Jeremy Strong. Release Date: TBD

Avatar 2

The 2009 original amassed nine nominations and won took home three. The first sequel (there’s three more on the way) arrives in December from James Cameron. Will it capture the critical and box office magic of part one? That’s impossible to know at this juncture, but one can safely assume it’ll be up for some tech categories like Sound and Visual Effects. Release Date: December 16th

Babylon

Damien Chazelle is no stranger to the big dance. Whiplash was a BP nominee and J.K. Simmons won Supporting Actor. Chazelle took Director for his follow-up La La Land along with Emma Stone’s Actress victory and it almost famously took BP. First Man nabbed four nominations, but missed the top of the line races. Babylon is a period drama focused on Hollywood’s Golden Age and should be right up the Academy’s alley. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Tobey Maguire. Release Date: December 25th

Canterbury Glass

Robbie also turns up in David O. Russell’s latest ensemble piece. Anytime he’s behind the camera, Oscar nods typically follow (think The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle). Slated for November, the dramedy also features Christian Bale, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, Robert De Niro, Mike Myers, and… Chris Rock. Release Date: November 4th

Elvis

Arriving in June but with a Cannes unveiling in May, Baz Luhrmann’s musical bio of The King stars Austin Butler in the title role and Tom Hanks as The Colonel. If this doesn’t contend for the major awards, I would still anticipate potential tech recognition (Production Design, Sound, etc…). Release Date: June 24th

Empire of Light

Sam Mendes was likely in the runner-up position in 2019 for Picture and Director (behind Parasite) with 1917. His follow-up is an English set romance starring Olivia Colman (who would be going for her fourth nomination in five years), Michael Ward, and Colin Firth. Release Date: TBD

Everything Everywhere All at Once

From two filmmakers known collectively as Daniels, Once is already out in limited release with spectacular reviews (97% on RT). The sci-fi action comedy might be too bizarre for the Academy, but I wouldn’t count it out as its admirers are vocal. Picture, Director, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Original Screenplay are all on the table. Release Date: out in limited release, opens wide April 8th

The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg directs a semi-autobiographical tale and cowrites with his Lincoln and West Side Story scribe Tony Kushner. The cast includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Needless to say, this is a major contender on paper. Release Date: November 23rd

Killers of the Flower Moon

Alongside The Fabelmans, this might be the most obvious nominee from a personnel standpoint. Martin Scorsese helms this western crime drama featuring Jesse Plemons, Lily Gladstone, and his two frequent collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Apple TV just became the first streamer to get a BP victory with CODA. This could be the second in a row. Release Date: November

Poor Things

In 2018, The Favourite scored a whopping ten nominations. Based on an acclaimed 1992 novel, Poor Things is Yorgos Lanthimos’s follow-up and it reunites him with Emma Stone along with Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, and Mark Ruffalo. The plot sounds bizarre but it could also be an Oscar bait role for Stone and others. Release Date: TBD

Rustin

One of Netflix’s contenders is George C. Wolfe’s profile of gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (played by Colman Domingo). In 2020, Wolfe directed Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman to nods for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Look for Domingo to be a competitor and the supporting cast includes Chris Rock (maybe he will be back at the show), Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald. Release Date: TBD

See How They Run

The 1950s set murder mystery could provide 27-year-old Saoirse Ronan with an opportunity to land her fifth nomination. Sam Rockwell, David Oyelowo, Adrien Brody, and Ruth Wilson are among the supporting players. Tom George directs. Release Date: TBD

She Said

Five years after the scandal rocked Hollywood, She Said from Maria Schrader recounts the New York Times sexual misconduct investigation into Harvey Weinstein. Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan, and Patricia Clarkson lead the cast. Release Date: November 18th

The Son

Florian Zeller won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2020 for The Father along with Anthony Hopkins taking Best Actor. This follow-up (based on the director’s play) finds Hopkins reprising his Oscar-winning part in supporting fashion. Other cast members seeking awards attention include Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, and Vanessa Kirby. Release Date: TBD

TAR

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Todd Field behind the camera. Previous efforts In the Bedroom and Little Children received 8 nominations between them. A decade and a half following Children comes this Berlin set drama with Cate Blanchett, Noemie Merlant, and Mark Strong. Release Date: October 7th

Three Thousand Years of Longing

Scheduled for a Cannes bow in May, Longing is a fantasy romance from the legendary mind of George Miller (who last made Mad Max: Fury Road which won six tech Oscars). Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton star. Release Date: TBD

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky directed Mickey Rourke to a comeback narrative nod for 2008’s The Wrestler. Two years later, his follow-up Black Swan earned Natalie Portman a statue. Brendan Fraser is hoping for the same treatment with The Whale as he plays a 600 pound man attempting to reconnect with his daughter. Costars include Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Samantha Morton. I’d expect Makeup and Hairstyling could also be in play with this. Release Date: TBD

White Noise

Not a remake of the Michael Keaton supernatural thriller from 2005, this is Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to Marriage Story. Based on a 1985 novel, it’s the filmmaker’s first picture based on other source material. Marriage landed three acting nods (with Laura Dern winning Supporting Actress). The cast here includes frequent Baumbach collaborator Adam Driver, real-life partner Greta Gerwig, Raffey Cassidy, Andre Benjamin, Alessandro Nivola, and Don Cheadle. This could be Netflix’s strongest contender. Release Date: TBD

The Woman King

Expect this West Afrian set historical epic from Gina Prince-Bythewood to be heavily touted by Sony with awards bait roles for leads Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu. The supporting cast includes John Boyega and Lashana Lynch. Release Date: September 16th

Women Talking

Based on a 2018 novel, Sarah Polley writes and directs this drama focused on eight Mennonite women and their story of abuse. The sterling cast includes Frances McDormand, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, Claire Foy, and Rooney Mara. Release Date: TBD

And that’s just a small preview of the features that could materialize for the 95th Academy Awards! As always, the speculation on this site will continue throughout the year and into the next. Stay tuned…

Oscar Watch: Ad Astra

James Gray’s space opera Ad Astra premiered overseas at the Venice Film Festival today and the Brad Pitt led saga certainly has its ardent admirers already. Some reviews are proclaiming it a masterpiece while others are more mixed.

Director Gray has had his share of appreciated works such as The Immigrant and The Lost City of Z. He has yet to garner any attention from the Academy. This is his first major Hollywood production with a considerable budget and it’s a bit unclear at the moment whether Oscar voters will reward this effort. Pitt is being praised for his starring role and would stand the best shot at any recognition over costars including Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland.

That said, Pitt (who’s never won a gold statue) is already a serious contender to win Supporting Actor for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That could detract from him being named as lead for Astra. The film’s best hope could be in some tech races, but I’ll wait and see further critical and audience reaction before rendering final judgment. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Box Office Predictions: April 28-30

It’s the final weekend before the summer onslaught of high-profile wannabe blockbuster hits screens. Our final April weekend brings the Emma Watson/Tom Hanks thriller The Circle and rom com How to Be a Latin Lover. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/19/the-circle-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/21/how-to-be-a-latin-lover-box-office-prediction/

As I see it, The Circle should be in for a second place showing behind the third weekend of The Fate of the Furious, which should manage to stay on top before Marvel’s Guardians slays all competitors when May hits.

As for Latin Lover, it certainly has the chance to over perform and could potentially nab the #3 spot. However, my estimate has it rounding out the top five with holdovers The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast above it.

There is another debut this weekend and that’s Sleight, the BlumHouse Tilt horror pic. I don’t have a theater count for it yet. Right now, I’ll predict $2.4 million though I could choose to revise once more information is available.

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

1. The Fate of the Furious

Predicted Gross: $20.2 million (representing a drop of 47%)

2. The Circle

Predicted Gross: $16.3 million

3. The Boss Baby

Predicted Gross: $8.6 million (representing a drop of 32%)

4. Beauty and the Beast

Predicted Gross: $6.5 million (representing a drop of 35%)

5. How to Be a Latin Lover

Predicted Gross: $6.3 million

Box Office Results (April 21-23)

In a weekend where six new titles rolled out wide (or semi-wide), there some surprises here and there. One item that wasn’t surprising: The Fate of the Furious easily remained #1 with $38.4 million, a bit under my $43.2M projection. The eighth pic in the franchise has taken in $163M in ten days.

The Boss Baby held in second with $12.7 million (above my $9.2M estimate) for $136M overall. Beauty and the Beast remained third with $9.6 million (above my $7.8M forecast) to bring its total to $470M. That puts it at #10 for all-time domestic earners and climbing.

Other holdovers held up better than my predictions. Going in Style was fourth with $4.9 million (I said $3.5M). It’s made $31M. Smurfs: The Lost Village was fifth at $4.8 million (I said $3.6M) and it’s earned $33M.

Yes, that means none of the newcomers cracked the top five. Disney’s nature doc Born in China was sixth with $4.7 million, in line with my $5.2M estimate. In seventh was the Katherine Heigl/Rosario Dawson thriller Unforgettable. It also made $4.7 million and that’s way below my generous $12.9M projection. I mistakenly felt a decent female audience might turn out for it. Not so.

Then there’s Gifted. I had it outside the top ten, but it expanded its theater count and posted $4.5 million for eighth. Its total is $10M.

The Promise opened in ninth with $4 million (I said $3.2M). The Christian Bale/Oscar Isaac Armenian genocide drama looks to be a big money loser for its studio.

The Lost City of Z was 10th as it expanded its theater count with $2.1 million (below my $3.7M prediction). Found footage horror flick Phoenix Forgotten opened dismally in 11th with $1.8 million, not matching my take of $3.4M.

Finally, Brie Larson action comedy Free Fire was DOA in 17th place with just $994k (I said $2.3M).

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

 

Box Office Predictions: April 21-23

It is one busy post Easter weekend at the box office as six films roll out in wide or semi release. They are: romantic thriller Unforgettable with Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, DisneyNature production Born in China, Armenian Genocide drama The Promise with Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, found footage horror pic Phoenix Forgotten, British action-comedy Free Fire, and period piece adventure The Lost City of Z with Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/12/unforgettable-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/12/born-in-china-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/phoenix-forgotten-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/14/the-promise-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/free-fire-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/the-lost-city-of-z-box-office-prediction/

Before we get to the newbies, one thing seems for certain: The Fate of the Furious will easily repeat at #1 after its near $100M opening over Easter (more on that below). I foresee a drop in the mid 50s for it.

I see Unforgettable having little trouble placing highest among the debuts for a decent second place showing. Then it’s family holdovers The Boss Baby and Beauty and the Beast in third and fourth with Born in China rounding out the top five.

And here’s where it gets really interesting! I’m not expecting much out of Phoenix Forgotten or The Promise and have them opening in range with where Smurfs: The Lost Village and Going in Style should be at in their third weekends. I also believe The Lost City of Z will do fairly well on only 500 screens and actually have it in sixth. Bottom line: for the numbers 6-10, I have them separated by only half a million bucks.

Notice I didn’t mention Free Fire. That’s because I actually have it outside the top ten at $2.3M (which would probably put it 11th). That said, I’ve yet to screen a theater count for it and that could change the dynamic.

So… lots to chew on this weekend and here’s a projected top ten:

1. The Fate of the Furious

Predicted Gross: $43.2 million (representing a drop of 56%)

2. Unforgettable

Predicted Gross: $12.9 million

3. The Boss Baby

Predicted Gross: $9.2 million (representing a drop of 43%)

4. Beauty and the Beast

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million (representing a drop of 43%)

5. Born in China

Predicted Gross: $5.2 million

6. The Lost City of Z

Predicted Gross: $3.7 million

7. Smurfs: The Lost Village

Predicted Gross: $3.6 million (representing a drop of 47%)

8. Going in Style

Predicted Gross: $3.5 million (representing a drop of 45%)

9. Phoenix Forgotten

Predicted Gross: $3.4 million

10. The Promise

Predicted Gross: $3.2 million

Box Office Results (April 14-16)

The Fate of the Furious did manage to score the second highest April opening ever and the second highest debut of the franchise, though it did come in quite a bit under my expectations. Fate made $98.7 million, just topping the $97.3M achieved by Fast & Furious 6 (and well under the series pinnacle of $147.1M that Furious 7 did). While well below my $122.7 million projection, it’s still a solid opening that should leave the Fast brand in good order.

The Boss Baby dropped to second with $16 million (I said $15M) for a $116M tally with Beauty and the Beast in third at $13.7 million (I said $14.6M) for a $454M overall haul.

Smurfs: The Lost Village continued its ho-hum run in fourth with $6.7 million (I said $7.8M) in its sophomore frame for just a $24M total. Going in Style, also in weekend #2, rounded out the top five with $6.2 million (I went with $7.2M) for $23M overall.

Finally, Gifted expanded in theater count and was sixth with $3 million, under my $4.6M forecast.

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

The Lost City of Z Box Office Prediction

James Gray’s The Lost City of Z opens in semi wide release this weekend after a pretty impressive debut in very limited fashion over Easter weekend. The pic tells the true story of explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) in the Amazon in the early 20th century. Costars include Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland.

closed the New York Film Festival last fall to positive word of mouth and it stands at 88% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed over $100,000 on just 4 screens this last weekend and is slated to expand to approximately 500 on Friday.

I believe this could perform similarly to The Place Beyond the Pines four years ago. Though there’s no obvious comparison between the two titles, both appeal to a more adult audience and received encouraging critical reaction. Pines made $3.8 million when it hit around 500 theaters. If accomplishes the same, that means I have it out doing The Promise, Phoenix Forgotten, and Free Fire in their debuts.

The Lost City of Z opening weekend prediction: $3.7 million

For my Unforgettable prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/12/unforgettable-box-office-prediction/

For my Born in China prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/12/born-in-china-box-office-prediction/

For my The Promise prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/14/the-promise-box-office-prediction/

For my Phoenix Forgotten prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/phoenix-forgotten-box-office-prediction/

For my Free Fire prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/free-fire-box-office-prediction/

 

Phoenix Forgotten Box Office Prediction

It’s being described as The Blair Witch Project, but with aliens. Phoenix Forgotten debuts in approximately 1500 theaters this Friday and it tells the true life story of strange lights that appeared over the title city some 20 years ago.

The found footage horror flick has a cast of unknowns. In fact, the biggest name involved is producer Ridley Scott, who’s clearly in extraterrestrial mode as his Alien: Covenant hits theaters next month.

Expectations for Forgotten are considerably lower. The pic has received little fanfare or buzz and I expect a very forgetful debut. It may even hold the unfortunate designation of having the lowest opening of any of the six titles hitting theaters in wide release or semi wide release this weekend, though I’ll say Free Fire and possibly The Lost City of Z get below it. And who knows? Maybe The Promise as well… this weekend is tough!

Phoenix Forgotten opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million

For my Unforgettable prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/12/unforgettable-box-office-prediction/

For my Born in China prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/12/born-in-china-box-office-prediction/

For my The Promise prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/14/the-promise-box-office-prediction/

For my Free Fire prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/free-fire-box-office-prediction/

For my The Lost City of Z prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2017/04/17/the-lost-city-of-z-box-office-prediction/