2018 Spring Season Preview: March

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

March 2, 2018

Death Wish

Premise: From IMDb: “A mild-mannered father is transformed into a killing machine after his family is torn apart by a violent act.”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The Original film made roughly $108 million adjusted for inflation back in 1974. There are three factors that may ultimately work against it. Bruce Willis hasn’t had a sizable hit in some time with $67 being the average of his last two solo efforts, the last being 5 years ago. The second is director Eli Roth has only once had a box office hit and that was a minor one with Hostel making just over $47 million. The third is that it’s opening against spy thriller Red Sparrow starring the more formidable box office draw Jennifer Lawrence.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Red Sparrow

Premise: From IMDb: “A sexy Russian spy falls for a CIA officer and considers becoming a double agent.”
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Expectations: Solid. While there’s no guarantee the film, which hasn’t gotten terrific early reviews, will be a major hit, Jennifer Lawrence has more than proven herself as a draw. Her prior teaming with director Francis Lawrence was the Hunger Games series. This isn’t likely to follow that film’s blockbuster nature, but he has a prior history of solid box office performance. That makes the two Lawrences with a chance to push the film to success.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Foxtrot (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A troubled family face the facts when something goes terribly wrong at their son’s desolate military post.”
Box Office Prospects: $0.45 M
Expectations: Doubtful. An Oscar nomination might have boosted its chances at the box office, but without that, it has to live off general acclaim, which won’t sell many tickets.
Oscar Prospects: None. The film failed to earn an Oscar nomination in spite of being on the shortlist. While it could conceivably come back and compete next year in every other category besides Foreign Language Film, it likely won’t.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

March 9, 2018

Gringo

Premise: From IMDb: “An exhilarating mix of dark comedy, white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, Gringo joyrides into Mexico, where mild-mannered businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) finds himself at the mercy of his back-stabbing business colleagues back home, local drug lords and a morally conflicted black-ops mercenary. Crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal, Harold battles to survive his increasingly dangerous situation in ways that raise the question: Is he out of his depth – or two steps ahead?”
Box Office Prospects: $55 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Charlize Theron isn’t the star, but her presence is sure to be a boon to the film’s potential box office. That said, she’s not infallible and the comedic elements aren’t likely to be as compelling to her fans who like her more in action films. Still, without much viable competition, it could be a surprise hit.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Hurricane Heist

Premise: From IMDb: “Thieves attempt a massive heist against the U.S. Treasury as a Category 5 hurricane approaches one of its Mint facilities.”
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Expectations: Poor. A no-name studio is releasing the film and while the director (Rob Cohen) has a few hits in his filmography, the outright derision I heard during the trailer at the theater recently suggests the film is likely to bomb. We’re talking sub-Geostorm level flop.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Strangers: Prey at Night

Premise: From IMDb: “A family staying in a secluded mobile home park for the night are visited by three masked psychopaths, to test their every limit.”
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The original film was a surprise success back in 2008, but ten years is an awfully long time to go without a follow-up, so the fanbase might not be there for it.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

A Wrinkle in Time

Premise: From IMDb: “After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.”
Box Office Prospects: $300 M
Expectations: Excellent. Disney has a knack for creating live action hits and while this adaptation of the acclaimed and popular novel by Madeleine L’Engel isn’t based on any of their past roster of hits, the advertising has been solid and the film has the visual flair to be a huge hit.
Oscar Prospects: Good. While there’s no telling what will happen in the year leading up to the Oscar nominations, the film is sure to compete in several creative categories including Original Score, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects and if it can get that many nominations, a Best Picture citation might not be out of the question, especially if it becomes a critically acclaimed success.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Leisure Seeker (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A runaway couple go on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker.”
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Helen Mirren isn’t a box office draw, but her presence in a film can augment its chances. The film releasing on a limited basis may hinder its chances, but if it can build solid word of mouth, it might be a surprise success.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Thoroughbreds (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “Two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost.”
Box Office Prospects: $1.5 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The strange trailer might pique the curiosities of some, but overall, I expect this to do well on the specialty circuit, but only slightly.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

March 16, 2018

Love, Simon

Premise: From IMDb: “Everyone deserves a great love story. But for Simon it’s complicated: no-one knows he’s gay and he doesn’t know who the anonymous classmate is that he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, scary and life-changing.”
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The popular novel on which it’s based could bolster the film’s chances at the box office. It’s also suitable counter-programming to Tomb Raider as it won’t likely have much cross-over. That said, gay-themed movies haven’t had a lot of success at the box office, but its teen-targeted audience might be more receptive.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Tomb Raider

Premise: From IMDb: “Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.”
Box Office Prospects: $115 M
Expectations: Good. Can the Tomb Raider series reboot successfully with someone other than Angelina Jolie in the lead? Probably. While Alicia Vikander doesn’t have the broad familiarity with audiences, she does have the action chops to sell what so far appears to be a rather rudimentary action-adventure film.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

7 Days in Entebbe (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “Four hijackers take over an airplane, take the passengers hostage, and force it to land in Entebbe, Uganda in 1976 in an effort to free of dozens of Palestinians jailed in Israel.”
Box Office Prospects: $2.5 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The drama at the center of the film will need solid support from critics to do well and even then, I can’t imagine it doing superb business.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

March 23, 2018

Midnight Sun

Premise: From IMDb: “Based on the Japanese film, Midnight Sun centers on Katie, a 17-year-old sheltered since childhood and confined to her house during the day by a rare disease that makes even the smallest amount of sunlight deadly. Fate intervenes when she meets Charlie and they embark on a summer romance.”
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The market for teen-targeted romantic dramas has worsened in recent years and a gimmick like this isn’t likely to go over as well as the producers are hoping. Against two other potentially big hits, the film will be lucky to do respectable business.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Premise: From IMDb: “Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.”
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The original film by Guillermo del Toro cracked the $100 million mark, but wasn’t the success the studio expected. Thus, it took five years to get the sequel to the big screen without del Toro on board. John Boyega is familiar to audiences, but the film’s lackluster trailers may not boost its box office potential. That combined with looking a lot like the fading Transformers franchise and you have a film that could be a success, but is more likely to underwhelm.
Oscar Prospects: Doubtful. The original film never made a dent with Oscar voters, so I don’t expect the sequel to either.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Sherlock Gnomes

Premise: From IMDb: “Garden gnomes, Gnomeo & Juliet, recruit renown[sic] detective, Sherlock Gnomes, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments.”
Box Office Prospects: $90 M
Expectations: Good. The original film made just shy of $100 million at the box office. It’s been seven years, so it may be tough for the film to reach those heights, but with nothing else available for families at the theater, it might turn into a sizable hit.
Oscar Prospects: Doubtful. The original film was an Oscar no-show, so the sequel would have to be a great movie to even reach that kind of potential.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Unsane

Premise: From IMDb: “A young woman is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, where she is confronted by her greatest fear–but is it real or a product of her delusion?”
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The trailer hasn’t been widely seen and the premise isn’t exactly one that draws audiences to the theater. If this was intended to be counter-programming, I doubt that it will work.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Isle of Dogs (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy’s odyssey in search of his dog.”
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Expectations: Good. Wes Anderson has a solid reputation with fans of independent cinema. While they’ve had failures, $45 to $60 million is how his live-action works have fared. Unfortunately, one of his failures was Fantastic Mr. Fox, his last stop-motion feature and it made only about $21 million. Still, advertising is wide-ranging for the film and it could turn into a bigger hit than past stop-motion features have been.
Oscar Prospects: Excellent. Anderson’s last foray into stop-motion animation earned Fantastic Mr. Fox two Oscar nominations, one for Animated Feature and the other for Original Score. It didn’t win either, but a nomination seems all but certain.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

March 30, 2018

Acrimony

Premise: From IMDb: “A faithful wife (Taraji P. Henson) tired of standing by her devious husband (Lyriq Bent) is enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed.”
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Expectations: Uncertain. While Taraji P. Henson has had plenty of box office success in the past, her last film, Proud Mary was a failure. Still, the premise here is a lot more accessible to the kinds of audiences that propelled No Good Deeds to success.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

Premise: From IMDb: “Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) responds to the unimaginable tragedy of having his church, located on the grounds of the local university, burned down.”
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Expectations: Weak. The first film was a surprise hit making $60 million and spawning an endless supply of religious-themed films. Yet the second film flopped by comparison, making a third of its predecessor. I expect the third film will play to the same diminishing audience and will not be the success they hope.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: No preview available.

Paul, Apostle of Christ

Premise: From IMDb: “The story covers Paul, portrayed by Faulkner, going from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Jesus Christ’s most influential apostle.”
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Expectations: Weak. Bible-themed films haven’t been a very popular draw at the box office, which suggests the audience isn’t quite there for it. While Passion of the Christ opened the flood gates, none have even approached that level of success.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: No preview available.

Ready Player One

Premise: From IMDb: “When the creator of an MMO called the Oasis dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all Oasis users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg.”
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Expectations: Good. The last sci-fi blockbuster Spielberg released that wasn’t part of an existing series was War of the Worlds in 2005. While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a megahit, Spielberg has topped $80 million only once since that 2008 release with Lincoln, which made $182 million. Every other movie, including the family-friendly BFG and Adventures of Tintin haven’t been solid. This film is getting the kind of push it needs to be a huge hit and the popular novel on which it’s based may help.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. Even when he’s off his game, Spielberg has been an Oscar magnet and this film should put him in play for a small number of Oscars, specifically Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects. Beyond that, I don’t expect it will do that well.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Lean on Pete (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A teenager gets a summer job working for a horse trainer and befriends the fading racehorse, Lean on Pete.”
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The film has been languishing since its Telluride success last September. Kept from the Oscar race, the film has been unceremoniously dumped in March. Whether that’s an indication that they don’t think critics will respond or if they don’t think Oscar voters will care, they clearly think that its chances, even at the box office, aren’t that great as there has been next to no advertising for the film.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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