2018 Oscar Season Preview Wrap-Up: October

Below is a wrap-up of the predictions I made several months ago, an exploration of what succeeded and what failed, and how I observe things to have gone.

October 5, 2018

A Star Is Born

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. The film did amazingly well on the festival circuit and enters the Oscar race as a frontrunner for nominations. Wins might be a tougher sell, but nominations are assured.”
Oscar Results: Unexceptional. The film entered Oscar season as the one to beat and ended the season out of its depths. No one knows for sure what happened. The film still managed to pull in 8 Oscar nominations, though it only came out with one win (for Original Song “Shallow”).
Box Office Prospects: $120 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in a critically acclaimed musical drama? It sounds like a blockbuster waiting to happen. Seriously.”
Box Office Results: $212.9 M (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE)
Thoughts: [Major Success] The surprisingly robust box office performance was one of the major success stories of the year.

Venom

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. This film could compete for Best Visual Effects, but competition is tough and I suspect it won’t do terribly well.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. It’s been a long time since an anti-hero showed up on the big screen. This major Spider-Man “villain” getting his own movie could be quite popular.”
Box Office Results: $213.5 M
Thoughts: [Success] Although it didn’t feature any of the major superheroes, the antihero Venom still managed to draw a significant box office return. While it’s currently the top film of the weekend, A Star Is Born is still in release and could, with the help of the Oscars, inch past it.

October 12, 2018

Bad Times at the El Royale

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. While the film might not casually appeal to mass audiences, this is the second film this year trying to target a surprisingly discerning batch of cinemagoers. This one, I suspect, will do far better at the box office.”
Box Office Results: $17.8 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Entertaining as it might have been, when going head-to-head with two juggernauts, it’s impossible to do well and this film didn’t, though perhaps performing even worse than it might have reasonably been expected to without competition.

First Man

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. The film will be a top tier contender at the Oscars this year, competing in all the major categories and probably taking home a couple of tech awards.”
Oscar Results: Unexceptional. Another film that went into Oscar season in a solid position, First Man had all the critics behind it until the film flopped at the box office, and other films began taking the awards from critics themselves. It finished with a scant 4 nominations, all in tech categories, and won the award for Best Visual Effects.
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Space dramas have largely been successful at the box office and this biopic could do quite well.”
Box Office Results: $44.9 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] One would think that a film about the U.S. space race and the first man on the moon would have performed better with American audiences. Unfortunately, a handful of trolls made the claim that it was un-American simply because it didn’t focus on the flag planted on the surface of the moon. It was a ludicrous thing to cry foul over, but the backlash, as minor as it was, resulted in nothing short of box office failure.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The first film made a nice chunk of change, but the sequel might not. Having said, that, I’ll position it as a modest performer like itd predecessor.”
Box Office Results: $46.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The original film didn’t seem so popular that it should have gotten a sequel and the sequel’s box office tally pretty much confirms that.

Beautiful Boy (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet will be Oscar contenders while the film tries to make its way into other races, which will be less likely.”
Oscar Results: Flop. Although the film had some positive reviews and stars Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet received a smattering of praise, the film never really took off for Oscar consideration with Chalamet the only one in the conversation. Although he picked up a few precursor citations, the Academy ultimately decided that last year’s Supporting Actor winner Sam Rockwell deserved a spot for his cameo in Vice.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. It’s starting out at the specialty box office, but could pass beyond that. However, being that it’s mostly just a father-son drama, it may not have a lot of legs beyond that.”
Box Office Results: $7.6 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The awful box office tally for Beautiful Boy might be part of the reason the film didn’t do better at the Oscars, but even for an indie drama, this film should have been a lot more successful than it was.

October 19, 2018

Halloween

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The franchise has been coasting on fumes for years. The prior entries did mediocre business. Bringing back Jamie Lee Curtis could be the proper formula for a decent success.”
Box Office Results: $159.3 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] It’s been awhile since a slasher horror film has done this well and it’s a positive sign for the rebirth of a lot of our ’70s and ’80s staples. Candyman and Child’s Play are already in the works. We’ll see if they can make right by the Nightmare on Elm Street fans at some point as well.

The Hate U Give

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. These types of teen dramas have struggled at the box office over the last couple of years. While this one could break the mold, I have a suspicion that it won’t.”
Box Office Results: $29.7 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] A surprisingly disappointing performance for this young adult adaptation, but the advertising campaign wasn’t great and audiences just don’t find this kind of film as exciting as they should.

Serenity

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results:
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Normally, I would say that Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway would be a hit in the making, but this film seems a bit too bizarre to be anything in the way of a hit.”
Box Office Results: $ M
Thoughts: MOVED TO 2019

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Early word is solid, but not much beyond Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant.”
Oscar Results: Minor Success. Although the film went home with no Oscars, it so consistently pulled in nominations in precursor season for Actress, Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay, that’s exactly what it got nominated for at the Oscars. McCarthy would have been a deserving winner, but ultimately Richard E. Grant was robbed.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. While Melissa McCarthy’s comedies have been inconsistently performing at the box office for the last couple of years, this is a drama, which won’t appeal to her other fans. That said, early word suggests the film could be quite good and that might bolster its chances slightly beyond the specialty box office.”
Box Office Results: $8.8 M (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE)
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] With Melissa McCarthy in tow, a better box office performance would have been expected, but for an indie seriocomedy, this kind of tally is somewhat disappointing.

October 26, 2018

Hunter Killer

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. This nautical drama doesn’t have much of a pedigree that would suggest a big hit. That said, there isn’t a lot of competition for this weekend, so it could do better than expected.”
Box Office Results: $15.8 M
Thoughts: [Flop] It’s quite the mystery why this film even got released outside of home video, better yet in a prime October weekend. It did and, as expected, it flopped hard.

Johnny English Strikes Again

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. It’s shocking that after the dismal performance of the first sequel, they would make another. Perhaps enough time has passed for the stink to wear off of the prior entry, but I doubt there’s much chance that this performs that well.”
Box Office Results: $4.4 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Proving that no one wanted anot sequel to Johnny English, especially so far removed from the original and its poorly received sequel, this film was a dismal box office flop.

Suspiria (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $12 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The original horror classic doesn’t seem like the kind of movie that would get a remake, but it has. While Luca Guadagnino had success with Call Me by Your Name, I doubt this one does much in the way of business, especially with a limited release.”
Box Office Results: $2.5 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] No one really expected this film to do boffo box office at the indie circuit, it was a twisted horror adaptation that angered as much as enthralled audiences.

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