2018 Summer Season Preview Wrap-Up: August

August 3, 2018

Christopher Robin

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The film has all the earmarks of a potential Disney Oscar nominee; however, it also reminds heavily of Saving Mr. Banks, which isn’t a great comparison.”
Oscar Results: One of only ten films to make the shortlist for the Academy Award category of Best Visual Effects, that remains the film’s only real chance at an Oscar nomination and the likelihood that it tops any of the other nine films seems remote.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Disney’s Winnie the Pooh is a beloved figure and them turning A.A. Milne’s story into something deeper and richer may appeal to fans young and old.”
Box Office Results: $99.2 M
Thoughts: [Success] While pulling out a near-$100 million tally at the box office was once impressive, for a Disney film featuring one of their more enduring characters is modestly lackluster, though certainly more impressive than other films of this particular type.

The Darkest Minds

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $85 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. This non-Marvel, non-DC teen superpower movie looks like it could be a huge success, but the marketplace tends to shun that which does not have a firm backing. It’s hopeful the film’s a success, but there is no guarantee.”
Box Office Results: $12.7 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Targeting teenage audiences is a bit of a challenge in the post Hunger Games film world and this film, although it looked interesting, is the latest in a long line of flops targeting that demographic.

Searching

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The film wants to feel like it’s a part of the zeitgeist and it’s employing an interesting storytelling gimmick, but the trailers haven’t promised much of a good film so far.”
Box Office Results: $26 M
Thoughts: [Success] While the film didn’t look like much upon its first trailer release, critics have been uniformly positive about the film, and while the specialty box office certainly gave it strong numbers, the film’s end results aren’t exactly legendary.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $110 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Kate McKinnon has a lot of fans and this film pulls those in alongside those who appreciate movies like Spy and Bad Moms, which could also pull inMila Kunis’ fans and fans of the spy genre. If everything hits the mark, this could be the sleeper hit of the summer.”
Box Office Results: $33.6 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] August has been the breeding ground of sleeper hits for years, especially comedies. Unfortunately, the month is also filled with films wanting to be the next big thing ultimately flopping. This is a case in point.

August 10, 2018

Dog Days

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Its canine foundation looks like the kind of gooey sentimentality that has parlayed cheaper concepts into huge successes, but the advertising has been a bit minimal, which calls into question its actual potential.”
Box Office Results: $6.8 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Not all canine-centric films can be a success and this love-of-a-good-dog film not only manged not to connect, it did so in a most colossally pitiful way.

The Meg

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. This pseudo-Jaws knock-off wants to trade off on recent fascination with shark attacks, but doesn’t look very convincing or exciting.”
Box Office Results: $145.4 M
Thoughts: [Success] While shark-related films aren’t an overpresent type, they have proven to be a surprisingly lucrative well from which to draw water with this critically-maligned Jason Statham film managed to do strong business.

BlacKkKlansman (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Good. This is already one of the big Oscar contenders this year. Spike Lee’s film has earned early praise and it will hit at something of a zeitgeist moment.”
Oscar Results: While the film’s box office success wasn’t huge, the film has managed to stick through precursor season quite effectively and is looking to claim several Oscar nominations, the best performance for a Spike Lee film in a very long time.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. While there’s a certain appeal to this film, it’s also not the kind of movie that becomes a rousing box office success. That said, it could also prove stronger than expected, especially if Oscar takes notice.”
Box Office Results: $48.3 M
Thoughts: [Success] Releasing on a limited basis was a smart move as Spike Lee’s latest joint managed to pull in solid numbers through its run, though its wide release met surprising resistence from audiences.

August 17, 2018

Alpha

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $55 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. There are no big names. There is no major source material. This is a film created out of wholecloth, which means it will struggle for an audience.”
Box Office Results: $35.9 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] When this film was pushed out of its early-year release window, it was a sure sign that the film was destined for failure and this pitiful amount is proof that those suspicions were correct. Labor Day weekend might have been a better release window for the film, at least then they could have blamed the poor performance on no one wanting to go to the movies on the last free weekend of the year.

Crazy Rich Asians

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: While the film’s Oscar chances are still likely to be nil, there’s now a slight chance that the film could pull off a surprise nomination or two depending on how Oscar voters respond to the film.
Box Office Prospects: $90 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. It feels very much like a My Big Fat Greek Wedding-size hit in the making. It still has a number of hindrances, but its chances are bolstered by its incredibly popular source material.”
Box Office Results: $174 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Far exceeding expectations, Crazy Rich Asians pleased critics and audiences alike and turn the film into one of the year’s biggest hits ranking solidly in the top 20 films of the year.

Mile 22

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Marky Mark Wahlberg is not a box office draw, though producers seem intent on making him one. His few box office successes have been a direct result of someone else’s involvement, either a director or a franchise. This will prove if he can carry a movie the way that Matt Damon can or not.”
Box Office Results: $36.1 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Unsurprisingly, this special ops film wasn’t the biggest hit with wide audiences. Peter Berg has been trying desperately to recapture the success his film Lone Survivor had with this being his latest similarly-themed film to bomb with an only slightly better take than Patriots Day, his previous nadir.

The Wife (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. Although Glenn Close was an early candidate for frontrunner at the Oscars, thanks to her long career and lack of accolades, the film doesn’t look like it’s a showcase for her best work. Whils eh might get some smattering of support from critics, it will likely be insufficient.”
Oscar Results: Glenn Close is in line for an Oscar nomination, though her grip on the Best Actress category has always been tenuous. She’s lined up several precursor nominations, which should bolster her chances, but she is hardly a guarantee and the film’s chances in other categories is non-existent.
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The only thing the film has going for it is the presence of Glenn Close. Other than that, there’s not much to intrigue the specialty box office crowd.”
Box Office Results: $8.2 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] For an independent film, making more than a couple of million dollars is a dream come through. For a film with major Oscar prospects, a sub-$10 million performance isn’t great.

August 24, 2018

A-X-L

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Poor. Like Monster Truck, this film has a no-name in the lead and a premise that feels cheesy and unappealing. Those two factors may mean this film fails miserably.”
Box Office Results: $6.5 M
Thoughts: [Flop] If Alpha is considered a flop, this must be as well. Except that there’s no evidence to suggest that the film was ever expected to be a hit. There wasn’t a huge audience for a film like this and the dismal reviews likely didn’t help matters.

The Happytime Murders

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $80 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Melissa McCarthy has had a few hits, but she’s also had some duds. What makes me think this will fall on the upper end of her filmography is the Muppet angle. Although the Muppets everyone is familiar with aren’t involved, the puppet-based comedy is sure to find a lot of interest within the demograhic blocks that made McCarthy’s other films hits.”
Box Office Results: $20.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Conceptually, a raunchy comedy about Jim Henson-style puppets in a disturbing world of violence and crime sounds like a winner, the film was anything but. With scabrous reviews and a lackluster advertising campaign, what could have been a major hit for Melissa McCarthy became a long-delayed disaster.

Slender Man

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $55 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The urban legend of the Slenderman have been making the rounds of grade schools for a number of years. The figure’s popularity was apparently enough to greenlight a movie about him; however, that age group tends to swap interests quickly and Slenderman has faded almost as quickly as he rose. It could still be popular, but I doubt it and I may actually have overvalued the film’s potential performance.”
Box Office Results: $30.6 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] For a film about a bogeyman that haunts young children, a PG-13 feature film about the figure was a challenging thing to sell, especially since most parents of kids intrigued by the character probably wouldn’t take them to see a film about it.

Papillon (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. Although the first film got a smattering of nominations, the sequel will feel like a bad rip-off, even if it’s good, which means Oscar will not likely take a look at it.”
Oscar Results: With mediocre reviews and a dismal box office performance, all comparison to the Oscar-nominated 1973 original evaporated very quickly.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The film has a predecessor’s reputation it has to live up to. That won’t necessarily block specialty theatregoers from the theater, but the film just doesn’t feel like a surprise hit in the making.”
Box Office Results: $2.3 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] When you hope for Oscar prospects and end up with meager reviews, there’s little to sell your film to a wider audience. Perhaps had the film been advertised and sold into release after star Rami Malek’s performance became celebrated it might have done a little better, it’s not terribly likely.

August 31, 2018

Kin

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Unceratin. Like Darkest Minds, there’s a demographic that could be compelled to give this film a chance, but there’s an equally larger group that won’t care enough to see it at the cineplex.”
Box Office Results: $5.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] With limited advertising and terrible reviews, there was little chance Kin would become a box office draw and it didn’t.

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