2019 Blockbuster Season Preview: July

July 3, 2019


Premise: From IMDb: “A young woman reluctantly joins her boyfriend on a summer trip where things quickly go awry.”
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Ari Aster’s debut feature, Hereditary performed well enough for what it was, but didn’t gain true appreciation until late in the year when critics gave it several prizes and nominations. Since this is not a direct sequel to that and must rely on his name to sell it, I suspect that some horror fans wanting to see what he does will be drawn to it, but most everyone else will be turned away by its lack of horror tropes they are familiar with.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. Could lightning strike twice for Aster? His last film didn’t score any Oscar nominations, but critics gave it a few nominations and wins last year, so it’s entirely possible the same could happen this year. That said, sophomore success is rare and the film will have to significantly win critics over for that to happen, especially without a huge name in the cast.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Spider-Man: Far from Home

Premise: From IMDb: “Peter Parker and his friends go on summer vacation to Europe, where Peter finds himself trying to save his friends against a villain known as Mysterio.”
Box Office Prospects: $250 M
Expectations: Good. While the second series about Peter Parker was a far cry from the first and the third started off weaker than the second set, this follow-up feature to Homecoming should easily surpass its predecessor for one major reason: it is widely known that this film caps the most recent phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and should be setting up the next phase, which could get a lot of people to the theater even if the film looks like it might struggle in the quality department.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. Superhero movies all struggle at the Oscars and this is a sequel to a film that wasn’t an Oscar contender. There are lots of effects here, so it could be on the shortlist, but against fellow MCU entry Avengers: Endgame, I cannot see Oscar voters awarding too many superhero movies with so many options out there.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

July 12, 2019


Premise: From IMDb: “A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a Category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.”
Box Office Prospects: $55 M
Expectations: Uncertain. As the myriad shark-themed horror successes in recent memory show, there’s an affection for critter features at the box office. That said, the trailer came out to positive responses, but there hasn’t been much advertising since, which could deaden its potential.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.


Premise: From IMDb: “A detective recruits his Uber driver into an unexpected night of adventure.”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Expectations: Uncertain. There’s no real competition for the weekend and that could give a nudge to this Uber-comedy; however, history has shown that this type of movie rarely ever succeeds and the stars aren’t quite the box office draws of those past successful entries.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Art of Self-Defense (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A man who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo, led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei, in an effort to learn how to defend himself.”
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Expectations: Weak. The film has some early positive responses, but it seems like the kind of indie film that sparks and burns quickly.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

July 19, 2019

The Lion King

Premise: From IMDb: “CGI and live-action re-imagining of the 1994 Disney classic.”
Box Office Prospects: $700 M
Expectations: Excellent. The original Lion King made over $300 million at the box office in its original run. With its re-releases and adjustments for inflation, the film stands at $672 million. The live-action version of Beauty and the Beast made over $500 million when its original tallied roughly $315 million. While I doubt the same increase will be true for The Lion King, there’s little doubt that it’s one of the most beloved Disney movies of all time and could very easily top its adjusted gross.
Oscar Prospects: Good. The Jungle Book “live-action” adaptation scored an Oscar for Visual Effects under the same director, Jon Favreau. While it might not win this time around, a nomination is almost assured.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

July 26, 2019

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Premise: From IMDb: “A faded TV actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.”
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Apart from three films, Quentin Tarantino hasn’t had a lot of box office hits. With the stars in this one, I suspect it will approach closer to Pulp Fiction‘s initial tally than Django Unchained and the reason for that is that this isn’t quite a story that will appeal to mass audiences. Then again, neither did any of Tarantino’s other box office successes, so if critics fall in line, audiences might as well.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Tarantino is on a streak with the Oscars, having picked up major nominations for his last three films. While Hateful Eight didn’t do as well as Inglourious Basterds or Django, this film has a lot of elements that Hollywood loves and considering its strong reception at Cannes, I suspect this will be a major Oscar contender and might even bring Tarantino his much-desired Oscar for directing.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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