2019 Blockbuster Season Preview Wrap-Up: June

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.

June 7, 2019

Dark Phoenix

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. The Fox Marvel films have seldom fared well with the Oscars and I don’t see this one overcoming everything else Disney will likely promote ahead of it.”
Oscar Results: Now None. With the box office and critical clop labels, it’s that much harder for the film to overcome more acclaimed films in terms of Oscar attention.
Box Office Prospects: $175 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. While Disney hasn’t been the best marketers for their former Fox properties, the advertising here has been adequate. That said, although the original series of films were quite popular, the new series and cast has been less so, so I don’t expect to high a climb for this film.”
Box Office Results: $65.8 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] With disastrous reviews, the final film of the original X-Men saga was poorly supported by new parent Disney, which resulted in the film’s utter failure at the box office.

Late Night

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Mindy Kaling may be in line for a writing nomination and Emma Thompson could contend for Best Actress, but for the most part, this film just doesn’t scream “Oscar contender!””
Oscar Results: Now Unlikely. While the film got a lot of strong reviews, especially for Emma Thompson, the film was a dud at the box office, so don’t expect it to make an appearance at the Oscars, though Thompson still could.
Box Office Prospects: $85 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. While comedies have surprised in the past, this Emma Thompson-led comedy has not been given the best of marketing pushes, which suggests that it may struggle against a Marvel film and an animated sequel at the box office.”
Box Office Results: $15.5 M
Thoughts: [Flop] A terrible marketing campaign couldn’t bolster the film’s solid reviews to make it into a big box office success.

The Secret Life of Pets 2

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The first film failed to score an Oscar nomination and the Academy is notoriously sequel-shy, which suggests that without the “beloved” label of the predecessor, it doesn’t likely have much chance.”
Oscar Results: Still Unlikely. The film wasn’t a huge success at the box office, but the films reviews were unexceptional, so that will make it harder for the film to make a play for a Best Animated Feature nomination.
Box Office Prospects: $350 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. The original film made over $365 million at the box office. Sequels often struggle to match their predecessors, so my estimate might be on the high end. Still, there haven’t been enough great animated options so far this year, so I expect this one to do quite well.”
Box Office Results: $158.3 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] While the film did well, it didn’t do nearly as well as the original film did.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Indie films that focus on the black experience aren’t usually very popular with moviegoers, so I wouldn’t expect this film to do terribly well.”
Box Office Results: $4.5 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] While this isn’t a stellar performance, it was a solid one from a specialty box office perspective.

June 14, 2019

Men in Black International

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The first film picked up three nominations for Art Direction, Makeup, and Original Comedy/Musical Score. One of those three catetgories no longer exists and the other two aren’t as likely to apply this time around, so the film’s best chances are in the Visual Effects category. It will be an uphill climb with what all else is out there this year, but it’s doable.”
Oscar Results: Now None. Another film that was a box office and critical flop, two factors that make the film’s chances at the Oscars almost non-existent.
Box Office Prospects: $250 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The original “Men in Black” pulled in $250 million (inflation adjusted to $492 million), the follow ups were never quite as popular, but all made over $200 million adjusted for inflation. With the stars of Thor: Ragnarok in tow and the seven year distance between this and the last film to wipe away memory of that disliked film, it’s a good bet this one does quite well.”
Box Office Results: $80 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Another film where the reviews killed its chances at the box office. The prior films were already showing signs of fatigue, but today, most franchises cannot hold the audience’s interests.

Shaft

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $80 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The 2000 sequel made $70 million at the box office. The original film’s figures aren’t known. However, with the original star Richard Roundtree on board with Samuel L. Jackson reprising his 2000 role and a new generation of Shaft on deck, it could prove quite popular with audiences, or it could struggle.”
Box Office Results: $21.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The advertising for the film wasn’t very good, so audiences weren’t likely to realize the film was even out. Of course, the lack of strong reviews didn’t help either.

The Dead Don’t Die (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None. Jim Jarmusch just isn’t an Oscar player, especially not for something as unserious as a zombie movie.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Jim Jarmusch is a director that almost no one goes to the theater to see. His most popular film to date was “Broken Flowers” in 2005 and it made a scant $13 million. This could prove to be an exception since the film features a lot of popular and familiar actors in an indie zombie movie. The ceiling, though, is probably under $25 million.”
Box Office Results: $6.6 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] For the specialty box office and an artist like Jim Jarmusch, these are solid numbers.

June 21, 2019

Anna

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Apart from the seeming lack of advertising, this film just hasn’t got anything attached to it that would guarantee it’s success, especially not in wide release.”
Box Office Results: $7.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] This film came almost out of nowhere, giving audiences too little opportunity to know it even existed.

Child’s Play

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The original film made $33 million in 1988, which translates to about $72 million today. That’s a pretty good return for an original horror film. It’s been more than 30 years now since that film debuted and the previous sequels didn’t do that well. It could be that this is a surprise hit, but I wouldn’t expect too much out of it.”
Box Office Results: $29.2 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] This franchise was never hugely popular and it’s been far too long since it was last seen at the box office, so this performance is largely expected.

Toy Story 4

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Good. When the first two films came out, the industry was still leary of animated films. Only one, “Beauty and the Beast,” had ever been nominated for Best Picture and the Best Animated Feature category didn’t exist. By the time “Toy Story 3” arrived, Best Animated Feature had been around 9 years, so it handily won that category. Further, as a partial response to “WALL-E” and “The Dark Knight” being excluded from Best Picture, rules were changed to increase the category to ten, thus allowing “Up” and then “Toy Story 3” to become the second and third animated films nominated for Best Picture. Since then, not a single animated feature has made the cut. That bodes poorly for “Toy Story 4.” An Animated Feature nomination is assured, anything else is not.”
Oscar Results: Still Good. The film got solid reviews and was a box office hit, two factors that will bolster its chances to earn a slot in the Best Animated Feature category. That said, a win might not be in the cards.
Box Office Prospects: $450 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. The first “Toy Story” opened 24 years ago to $191 million ($395 million today) and was unlike anything that had ever been seen. It was seen again four years later in the first sequel. “Toy Story 2” made $245 million ($431 million today). It took eleven years to get the third film and “Toy Story 3″ made $415 million just nine years ago ($480 million today). With that kind of increase, one would think the fourth film would post even higher numbers. The problem is that there may be a cap on how high one of these films can climb and the advertising so far hasn’t been that appealing. I’m going for a slight downward tick, but it will still do incredibly well.”
Box Office Results: $433.8 M
Thoughts: [Success] When looking at popular productions, the Toy Story series, regardless of how long has passed between, will always be hugely popular.

June 28, 2019

Annabelle Comes Home

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $110 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The first film made $84 million, the second $102 million. While diminishing returns could apply, the “Conjuring” universe films have shown a notable resilience to box office fatigue, so a slightly upward tick is expected, especially with the direct “Conjuring” inclusion of Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson to bolster it.”
Box Office Results: $74.2 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] This series has done quite well at the box office, but interest appears to have started waning.

Yesterday

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Director Danny Boyle has finally emerged as an Oscar contender thanks to his major Oscar victories with “Slumdog Millionaire.” While his subsequent films haven’t done much with Oscar, this film has all the right elements to take him back to the Academy Awards.”
Oscar Results: Now Unlikely. The film was a mild box office success and critics liked it, but the film’s staying power has been minimal suggesting that it will easily be forgotten.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. There’s no telling how a film as idiosyncratic as this could do with audiences. The Beatles are still popular today and this premise is fascinating, but the last Beatles-themed movie to take a stab at the box office, “Across the Universe,” failed to make more than $25 million.”
Box Office Results: $73.3 M
Thoughts: A modest hit, the film was expected to do decently at the box office, but audience interest and critics’ reviews seems to have kept the film on target unlike a lot of other films releaseed in June.

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