Oscar Watch: The Biggest Little Farm

After playing the festival circuit last fall and early this year, The Biggest Little Farm cultivated a decent limited release debut this weekend. The documentary follows a married couple who move from Los Angeles to agricultural country in SoCal to pursue farming. John Chester, whose short docs on Oprah Winfrey’s network has earned him Emmys, directs.

The film has garnered praise from critics (94% on Rotten Tomatoes) and environmentalists.  As mentioned, Farm first screened last fall in Toronto and has played at multiple fests since including Telluride and Sundance. Neon picked up distribution rights and a theater count expansion is planned for Friday.

If this manages to stay on the radar screen for Academy voters, it stands an outside shot at a Documentary Feature nod. That could be a tall order if competition heats up as the year rolls along, which is probable. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Oscar Watch: Teen Spirit

Last fall, the musical drama Teen Spirit premiered at the Toronto Film Festival to some acclaim that especially focused on its lead Elle Fanning. The film casts her as a shy teen who dreams of pop stardom. The soundtrack finds her covering tunes by the likes of Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Annie Lennox. It marks the directorial debut of Max Minghella, whose late father Anthony earned a gold trophy 23 years ago for making The English Patient. Zlatko Buric and Rebecca Hall are in the supporting cast.

With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 70%, Spirit is in no contention for a Best Picture nod. Yet some critics have made a point to single out Fanning, who’s had well received supporting roles lately in The Beguiled and 20th Century Women.

A little box office attention could’ve helped but Spirit completely stalled in its limited release over the weekend. Some reviewers may call Fanning a dark horse candidate months from now, but I expect this to end up like last year’s Vox Lux with Natalie Portman. While different in tone, that picture also centered on a pop singer and had its supporters. They did not include Academy voters. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Hotel Mumbai Box Office Prediction

The true life action thriller Hotel Mumbai expands nationwide this weekend after its limited engagement over this past one. Recounting the 2008 Taj Mahal Palace Hotel terror attacks in India, the film marks the directorial debut of Anthony Maras. Dev Patel and Armie Hammer headline with costars including Anupam Kher and Jason Isaacs.

Mumbai was originally screened at the Toronto Film Festival last fall to mostly positive reviews. It stands at 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. Over the weekend, it managed a per theater average of over $20,000 on four screens.

That’s pretty decent, but that average should dip significantly as it’s scheduled to hit about 800 this weekend. The number is lower than other new wide releases like Unplanned and The Beach Bum. However, Mumbai could top the grosses of those titles – making it the biggest earning newcomer that isn’t named Dumbo.

Hotel Mumbai opening weekend prediction: $3.4 million

For my Dumbo prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/20/dumbo-box-office-prediction/

For my Unplanned prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/unplanned-box-office-prediction/

For my The Beach Bum prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/03/24/the-beach-bum-box-office-prediction/

Oscar Watch: Gloria Bell

After premiering last autumn at the Toronto Film Festival, Gloria Bell hits theaters in limited fashion on Friday. The film is a remake of Sebastian Lelio’s 2013 Chilean comedic drama that was met with acclaim. Those strong reviews have greeted the American version (100% on Rotten Tomatoes), which again features Lelio behind the camera. It’s the filmmaker’s follow-up to 2017’s A Fantastic Woman, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature.

Julianne Moore plays the title role and critics have lavished praise for her work. Costars include John Turturro, Michael Cera, Brad Garrett, Holland Taylor, Sean Astin, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Rita Wilson.

A24 acquired Gloria after its screening up north. Even with the March release, it’s likely that the studio will make a significant push for Moore to receive her sixth Oscar nod. Her fifth nomination was the lucky one in 2014 when took the statue in Best Actress for Still Alice. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the sole focus is on Moore being recognized, similar to Glenn Close in 2018 for The Wife.

Bottom line: it’s early, but Moore could be in the mix yet again. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Greta Box Office Prediction

Opening on a surprisingly large 2000 screens this weekend is Greta, a horror thriller from veteran Irish director Neil Jordan. The film is headlined by Elle star Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz with a supporting cast including Maika Monroe, Colm Feore, and Stephen Rea (who starred in Jordan’s 1992 Oscar contender The Crying Game).

The pic screened last fall at the Toronto Film Festival to mostly positive notices. Its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 67% currently. I will admit that I was a bit shocked when I saw its large theater count. This is normally the type of feature that opens in limited fashion and hopes to gain steam.

I’ll say that Greta has trouble landing the adult audience it’s catering to and struggles to reach mid single digits.

Greta opening weekend prediction: $5.6 million

For my Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/02/23/tyler-perrys-a-madea-family-funeral-box-office-prediction/

The Upside Box Office Prediction

An adaptation of the well-regarded 2011 French film The Intouchables, next weekend sees the long brewing release of the comedic drama The Upside. Kevin Hart stars as a former convict who starts working for a paraplegic billionaire played by Bryan Cranston. Nicole Kidman costars and Neil Burger (who recently made Limitless and Divergent) directs.

The Upside first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival way back in the fall of 2017 and was shelved for months when the Weinstein Company fell into its well publicized controversies. Critical reaction from Canada was mixed with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 55%.

Hart has been subject to his own negative publicity lately that resulted in his dropping out of hosting the Oscars. He’s been a consistently strong commodity at the box office over the past few years. However, that’s been with pictures played just for laughs without the dramatic elements. His potency in slightly more serious material is questionable.

A January release isn’t a major sign of confidence from its studio. I’ll say Hart and company could get this to high teens at its upside, but I suspect low double digits to teens is the likelihood.

The Upside opening weekend prediction: $11.6 million

For my A Dog’s Way Home prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/02/a-dogs-way-home-box-office-prediction/

For my Replicas prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/01/03/replicas-box-office-prediction/

Green Book Box Office Prediction

Blogger’s Note (11/20): On the eve of its premiere, I have decreased my projection for Green Book

Green Book is debuting on four screens this weekend, but expands to approximately 1000 over the long Thanksgiving frame on Wednesday. The 1960s set dramedy played at the Toronto Film Festival a couple of months back and is said to be quite the crowd pleaser. Oscar buzz has followed. Viggo Mortensen plays the driver to Mahershala Ali’s classical pianist Don Shirley and both are likely to nab Academy nods for their work. Peter Farrelly, best known for co-directing comedies such as Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary with his brother Bobby, is behind the camera.

With an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Book will attempt to bring in an older audience over Turkey Day. With the anticipated awards attention, this looks to develop sturdy legs throughout the holiday season.

So how will it open? The theater count should limit its potential out of the gate, but I believe the opportunity to top double digits for the five-day is possible. I’ll say it just gets there.

Green Book opening weekend prediction: $4.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $6.3 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my Ralph Breaks the Internet prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/13/ralph-breaks-the-internet-box-office-prediction/

For my Creed II prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/14/creed-ii-box-office-prediction/

For my Robin Hood prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2018/11/14/robin-hood-box-office-prediction/