2020 Blockbuster Season Box Office Preview Wrap-Up: August

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.

August 7, 2020

The Broken Hearts Gallery

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $1 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. If I say anything but “Uncertain,” I would be blowing smoke. Anyway, this film says it’s going wide, but I don’t believe that. This is a classic platform release, but I suspect with the pandemic, it won’t go much of anywhere.”
Box Office Results: $4.1 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Did not release until Sep. 11, 2020, but was not covered in our September preview. The box office tally, being for a weekend very early in the mid-pandemic release schema, is decent, though unexceptional.

The Burnt Orange Heresy (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. This indie feature isn’t likely to make much in a very limited release.”
Box Office Results: $0.144 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Even for an indie release during a panemic, this tally is pretty abysmal.

August 14, 2020

Greenland

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. The film’s apocalyptic subject matter might make it a contender in the sound and visual effects categories.”
Oscar Results: Still Weak. Fewer blockbusters does not mean less competition. It could still make it in, but its chances are still weak.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. If this film ultimately releases, it will certainly be a disaster and that’s a description not just of the film’s subject matter.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Did not release. Rescheduled to Dec. 18, 2020, but not at theaters. It was not covered in our December preview.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The film has been banging around Hollywood for over a year after its release, I doubt that it can muster up much interest with the Academy, but if it did, it would only be in Production Design and Costume Design.”
Oscar Results: Uncertain. There aren’t a lot of contenders this year in Production Design and Costume Design, but there are likely enough to keep this film from getting nominated.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Another indie film that hopes to make money at a very empty theater circuit. The film’s been pushed back a few times already and not just because of the pandemic.”
Box Office Results: $1.9 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Released Aug. 28, 2020. There really aren’t a lot of options for indie cinema since those theatergoers tend to also be more conscientious. That said, this is a pretty decent number even if not all that spectacular.

August 21, 2020

Antebellum

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Unlikely. The film follows up Get Out and Us as horror films with a message on racism. The first was a huge success with the Academy. The second was ignored. I suspect the same fate as the latter will befall this film.”
Oscar Results: Now none.
Box Office Prospects: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. If there’s any film that could buck expectations, it’s this one. Whether it ends up releasing in August or pushing back to Halloween remains to be seen.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Did not release. Rescheduled to Sep. 18, 2020, but not at theaters. It was not covered in our September preview.

Mulan

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. While Disney has been at the forefront of design in their live-action adaptations, a lot of those films haven’t succeeded nearly as well as one would have hoped. This one has chances in Production Design and Costume Design, but nowhere else.”
Oscar Results: Uncertain. The early direct-to-Disney-plus release might hinder the film’s chances with Oscar voters, since they’ll have more recent releases to look at in the categories Mulan might have figured in.
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Disney has had tremendous success with its live-action remakes of its animated properties. Even though few of those would likely top the original films if adjusted for inflation, there’s a good possibility that Mulan could be one that does. As the ’90s Disney renaissance began to fade, this 1998 release pulled in a light $120 million at the box office. The only thing that will hurt Mulan this year is the uncertainy surrounding mid-pandemic box office. Like Tenet (which has been rescheduled again), this prediction is rather generous and a lower result would not be surprising if it releases at all.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Did not release. Rescheduled to Sep. 4, 2020, but not at theaters. It was not covered in our September preview.

August 28, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It’s hard to be certain how a sequel to a pair of films released three decades ago, but with the pandemic going on, it isn’t likely to be much.”
Box Office Results: $3.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Released on Aug. 23, 2020. Were three decades of anticipation built up for this movie? It would appear not as it was a poor performer at the box office for a wide release, even a day-and-date one.

The New Mutants (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. If it releases, it will be a surprise. After numerous reschedules and some tinkering by Disney after it was purchased from Fox, it seems unlikely that the film sees release this year even with a panel scheduled for this year’s online Comic Con.”
Box Office Results: $23.9 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] For one of the first big budget releases at the pandemic box office, this result is pretty spectacular, especially since it was held for so many years before releasing and the reviews weren’t that good.

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