Oscar Watch: Toy Story 4

The fourth edition of Toy Story is unveiled in theaters next weekend and reviews are out today. It is the 21st film for Pixar that began in 1995 with… Toy Story. And when it comes to Oscar voters honoring the studio’s works, there’s a rich history.

Critics so far have given a 100% stamp of approval to the sequel. The Academy established the Best Animated Feature in 2001. There’s been 18 winners and half of them are Pixar pics. The studio has also nabbed two nods in Best Picture with 2009’s Up and 2010’s… Toy Story 3.

First things first: there is approximately zero doubt that part four will get Animated Feature recognition. And unless something special comes along in the second half of the year (perhaps Frozen 2?), it has an excellent shot at winning. It’s also feasible that it could land Pixar’s third Picture nod, but that is far less certain at this juncture.

Another category where Toy Story 4 could contend is Best Original Song. There’s two possibilities: Randy Newman’s “I Can’t Let Yourself Throw Away” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy”, which was written by Newman and is performed by country superstar Chris Stapleton.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Toy Story 4 Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (06/19)… and it’s a significant one. Revising my estimate down from to $191.5 million to $167.5 million.

With the release of Toy Story 4 next weekend, Pixar should have no problem having the top three animated openings of all time. The big question is whether or not it manages to have the largest so far. The sequel arrives nearly a quarter century after Toy Story kicked off the Disney owned Pixar phenomenon and nearly a decade since Toy Story 3. The iconic characters of Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) return along with the vocal works of Annie Potts, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Estelle Harris, and the late Don Rickles. New actors joining the party include Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves. Josh Cooley makes his directorial debut.

Each chapter in this cinematic universe has seen its overall domestic gross increase with each entry. Part 3 took in $110 million in its first frame and legged out to $415 million. That predecessor currently has the fifth highest animated start ever. Toy Story 4 is in line to easily top that and more.

Last summer’s Incredibles 2 nabbed the record for the genre by a wide margin when it took in $182 million. Pixar also holds the #2 spot with 2016’s Finding Dory with $135 million. I don’t see Woody and Buzz’s fourth go round having any issue topping that and it could definitely hit the #1 designation.

I’ll say it falls just a manages a few million over the Incredibles sequel for a historic start.

Toy Story 4 opening weekend prediction: $167.5 million

For my Child’s Play prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/13/childs-play-box-office-prediction/

For my Anna prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/06/13/anna-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: The 15:17 to Paris

For much of 2017, there was speculation that Clint Eastwood’s true life terrorism pic The 15:17 to Paris could become a late entry into the Oscar race. It didn’t materialize and it was slated for an opening this Friday. I found it a bit curious that the review embargo didn’t lift until two days prior to its debut.

We may now know why. Early critical reaction to Paris has been rather negative. The film casts the three real life heroes (Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos) who thwarted a 2015 French train attack alongside more familiar faces including Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, and Tony Hale.

Eastwood has, of course, been no stranger to Oscar glory with 1992’s Unforgiven and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby both winning Best Picture and Director. In the 21st century,  Mystic River, Letters from Iwo Jima, and American Sniper were nominated. His projects often merit Academy chatter and this one did until now.

The 15:17 to Paris seems destined for zero awards attention. That also means Jaleel White (TV’s Urkel who from “Family Matters” appears) will not receive his first Oscar nomination.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

The 15:17 to Paris Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (02/08): I am revising my prediction from $15.1 million to $13.1 million

Recounting the 2015 attempted train attack en route to France’s capital city, Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris hits theaters next weekend. The true life thriller uses the interesting tactic of having the real life heroes that thwarted the attack (Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone) playing themselves. They’re alongside familiar actors including Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer, and Jaleel White (known to you and I as Urkel from TV’s “Family Matters”).

Just over three years ago, Mr. Eastwood found his greatest box office success with American Sniper. This pic isn’t expected to gross anywhere near that, but it could manage to bring in an older audience who will have little to do with the two competitors debuting against it (Fifty Shades Freed and Peter Rabbit).

I could see 15:17 opening right around its title numbers and comparable to what 12 Strong made out of the gate just a couple weeks ago.

The 15:17 to Paris opening weekend prediction: $13.1 million

For my Fifty Shades Freed prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/01/30/fifty-shades-freed-box-office-prediction/

For my Peter Rabbit prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/01/31/peter-rabbit-box-office-prediction/

 

The Angry Birds Movie Box Office Prediction

The Angry Birds Movie, out next weekend, marks a first as the animated tale is our inaugural film to be based on an app. Millions worldwide have spent countless hours flinging those ill-tempered fowls into various structures and we’ll soon find out whether they wish to spend a couple of hours watching them on the silver screen.

Based on the Rovio Entertainment game, Birds features the voices of many familiar names including Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Sean Penn, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage. Reviews have been mixed with a 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Frankly, Angry Birds is a big question mark. A high-profile family friendly animated flick should perform quite well in the month of May. However, without the Disney brand or well-established franchise tag (Ice Age, Rio, Madagascar, etc…), it’s unclear whether kids and their parents will flock (get it?) to this.

The range of possibility for this opening is wide, but I’ll go with a mid 30s debut.

The Angry Birds Movie opening weekend prediction: $34.5 million

For my Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/11/neighbors-2-sorority-rising-box-office-prediction/

For my The Nice Guys prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2016/05/11/the-nice-guys-box-office-prediction/

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip Box Office Prediction

After four years of box office dormancy, Alvin and Simon and Theodore bring their CGI rodent selves back to the silver screen for the fourth time in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Jason Lee returns as Dave along with a voice over cast including Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Christina Applegate, Anna Faris and Kaley Cuoco.

The chipmunk franchise has been a gold mine for 20th Century Fox. The 2007 original was a surprise smash with a $44 million premiere and a $217 million domestic take. Its 2009 sequel The Squeakquel improved on that performance with a $48 million three day and $75 million holiday start and eventual $219 million haul. Two years later, third pic Chipwrecked saw fortunes go down with a $23 million opening and $133 million overall showing.

The Road Chip faces two hurdles that could be equally troubling: the four year layoff (where kiddie franchise fans have now grown up) and the fact that it opens against Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which will undoubtedly bring in a massive family audience.

Considering those factors, this fourth chip down 80s cartoon memory lane should find itself with the weakest debut of the series thus far.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip opening weekend prediction: $14.3 million

For my Star Wars: The Force Awakens prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/12/08/star-wars-the-force-awakens-box-office-prediction/

For my Sisters prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/12/10/sisters-box-office-prediction/

American Ultra Box Office Prediction

A lot has happened in the film careers of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart since they starred in 2009’s Adventureland. Eisenberg earned an Oscar nod for The Social Network, starred in 2013’s summer sleeper hit Now You See Me, and got himself cast as Lex Luthor in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Stewart furthered her star status with more Twilight pics and Snow White and the Huntsman. Now the pair reunite for American Ultra, an action comedy out next Friday. I am highly skeptical this movie will be among their big earners.

Ultra has a supporting cast that includes Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, Bill Pullman, and Tony Hale. The pic seems to be flying a bit under the radar. Solid reviews could assist yet I wonder whether this manages to even post double digits in its opening. Ultra should have no trouble topping the $5.7 million debut of Adventureland (at least I think), but I will project it falls just under $10 million and likely fades fast.

American Ultra opening weekend prediction: $9.8 million

For my Sinister 2 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/sinister-2-box-office-prediction/

For my Hitman: Agent 47 prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/08/13/hitman-agent-47-box-office-prediction/