2018 Summer Season Preview Wrap-Up: July

July 6, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The effects look more diverse this time around, which could put it into competition for Visual Effects. It will probably make the shortlist, but not the Oscars.”
Oscar Results: The film has faded a bit, but I suspect it will be on the semifinalist list when it’s announced in the coming weeks. That said, it has a lot of competition and, at this point, I’m not sure it could pull anything off.
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The prior film made $180 million at the box office. This sequel is a one of only two films between now and the Infinity War sequel, so it has the potential to draw attention to look for clues as to what will happen next. However, I suspect it will remain one of the lower-grossing franchise films.”
Box Office Results: $216.6 M
Thoughts: [Success] Performing about as well as expected, this mid-tier MCU movie did what it had to do to justify future sequels for Paul Rudd’s shrinking and enlarging hero.

The First Purge

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still none.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Mediocre. The other three films in this series have made around $30 million at the box office, which isn’t great, even for horror films, but they are popular and draw audiences along with being cheap to make, so more films are made. This time, they draw on current political climes to sell the story, which could bolster its final box office take.”
Box Office Results: $69.1 M
Thoughts: [Success] The law of diminishing returns didn’t apply to this film, which managed to outperform expectations. The franchise still has some life left in it, though where they’ll go from here is anyone’s guess (outside of the TV series, of course).

July 13, 2018

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still none.
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The first two films were all solid successes. Not as potent as a Pixar or DreamWorks film, but strong enough to earn sequels. I see little reason why this third film won’t do similar business.”
Box Office Results: $167.5 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] This series has done well enough to continue, but its numbers, while successful, aren’t exactly the numbers Illumination or Pixar or Disney put out and that’s not a great thing.

Skyscraper

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Doubtful. While the film looks to boast strong effects, I doubt that it will be able to overcome the plethora of other such films invading the Summer marketplace.”
Oscar Results: With its flop at the box office and the excessive competition, this film is probably out of the running.
Box Office Prospects: $125 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Dwayne Johnson has proven to be a solid performer at the box office and while his last film didn’t crack $100 million, this film looks a lot more broadly appealing, so should do better.”
Box Office Results: $67.8 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Dwayne Johnson has had a series of high profile flops lately and this is the latest to borrow heavily from multiple films that audiences just didn’t feel like they needed to see again.

July 20, 2018

The Equalizer 2

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still none
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The first Denzel Washington outing as this character barely topped $100 million. I see little reason to suspect it will do much better or worse.”
Box Office Results: $102.1 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] While Denzel Washington continues to draw people to the box office, this barely-past $100 million effort can’t be a good sign. Either the series doesn’t quite have the oomph it once did or Denzel doesn’t.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still none.
Box Office Prospects: $125 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The first film was a surprise success, so a return to the feeding trough is unsurprising. It should also prove lucrative, though I urge caution as this film could also be a surprise bomb just like the sequel to surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
Box Office Results: $120.6 M
Thoughts: [Success] The first film was a rousing success. It was popular enough for a sequel to be commissioned. The sequel was also popular enough. It could possibly shift back to the stage for a sequel or might generate yet another sequel.

Unfriended: Dark Web

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still none.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The first film made very little money at the box office, but it merited a sequel. Why this exists is anyone’s guess, but I doubt it will do even as well as its predecessor.”
Box Office Results: $8.8 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] And here we have a series that couldn’t get off the ground. While the premise wasn’t unwieldy, the box office suggests that audiences just aren’t into this kind of film as they once were.

Blindspotting (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The film earned strong reviews out of Sundance and South by Southwest. That should give it a small boost going into the Oscars, but there are a lot of other films that will be chomping at the Oscar bit, so it could be hindered by the stiff competition.”
Oscar Results: The film has generated only minor buzz and there hasn’t been enough of a push to get it into the major races, so I suspect this one will be forgotten in a few years.
Box Office Prospects: $2.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. This is the kind of film that could ride critical acclaim to major heights at the specialty box office. It’s also the kind of film that such audiences could be uninterested and it underperform. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Box Office Results: $4.3 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] While its Oscar potential faded fast, its box office performance, especially for a film that doesn’t have a lot of awards prospects or mass audience potential, still managed to do quite well on the specialty circuit.

July 27, 2018

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. None of these films have been Oscar contenders, so I don’t expect much from the sixth entry in the series.”
Oscar Results: Although the film was one of the most acclaimed of the series, the Academy tends to ignore sequels and franchise films. If it has any chance, it’s in the creative categories and only Sound Mixing and Sound Editing seem like possibilities and even those are dim ones.
Box Office Prospects: $180 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. This is the series that keeps on giving. The first two films made over $300 million adjusted for inflation. The third was a disappointment, marking the series’ weakest entry, but even adjusted for inflation still made almost $200 million. The two most recent have done well, though with diminishing returns. This film should follow the downward trend closely and will struggle to top the third film in inflation-adjusted numbers.”
Box Office Results: $220.2 M
Thoughts: [Success] Much like the James Bond franchise, the Ethan Hunt Mission: Impossible series continues to bring in solid box office returns twenty years in.

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. This is the kind of movie that struggles at the Oscars. If the acclaimed adaptation of TV series The Simpsons can’t earn Oscar glory, this minor effort without two-plus decades of public familiarity isn’t likely to either.”
Oscar Results: The film was not only a box office bomb, critics didn’t care much for it, which puts this squarely in the unlikely category.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It’s hard to know how an animated film will perform. While some have been surprise hits, others that one thought might have performed well didn’t. This film has the benefit of a popular television program under its belt, but as the Lego Batman Movie proved, even with a wildly successful predecessor, there’s no guarantee of success.”
Box Office Results: $29.6 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Not everything DC turns to gold and this painfully executed marketing campaign just couldn’t engage audiences enough to bring them out to the theater.

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