2020 Spring Season Preview Wrap-Up: February

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.

February 7, 2020

Birds of Prey

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The film’s releasing a bit early for consideration, but Suicide Squad won an Oscar for Best Makeup & Hairstyling, so nothing is entirely out of the question.”
Oscar Results: Now unlikely. The film’s less than spectacular box office will hinder its chances in categories it would deserve recognition in such as Makeup & Hairstyling and Production Design.
Box Office Prospects: $350 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. DC’s Extended Universe always does well even when the films aren’t good and this all-female superhero tale is sure to perform well.”
Box Office Results: $84.2 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] When this film released, theaters were less than a month away from closing down in some areas of the country or even all areas. While that might have impacted its future prospects, the sad fact is that the film didn’t perform nearly that well in its opening weekend as it should have.

February 14, 2020

Fantasy Island

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Original and inventive horror films do quite well at the box office and this one looks like it should do decent business for the studio.”
Box Office Results: $26.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Fans of the television series weren’t likely to be enticed by a horror film based on their rosy memories of the original show, no matter how dark that program was. Newer audiences didn’t likely see anything worth watching in the trailer.

The Photograph

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Obviously angling for the Valentine’s Day weekend crowd, the movie doesn’t look like it has the kind of blockbuster appeal that will support its trajectory.”
Box Office Results: $20.6 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Released on Valentine’s Day, there just wasn’t enough of an audience to make this one a hit.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Having been postponed almost a year so that the studio could re-do the terrible character design on the lead character, audiences may have lost what little interest they had in the film and against movies like Fantasy island, it will have to appeal to kids and that’s not really the film’s target demo and nostalgia hasn’t really been selling lately.”
Box Office Results: $146.1 M
Thoughts: [Success] In spite of the impending shutdowns, the film managed to perform well at the box office in spite of its delayed release thanks to the guff people gave the film over its shitty version of Sonic the Hedgehog, which video game lovers just didn’t want to see.

Ordinary Love (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. When a film like this stars Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville, you have to expect that the Academy would take notice, but releasing in February suggests some real liabilities, so I am doubtful of its chances.”
Oscar Results: Still Weak. The film wasn’t a huge player at the box office, but that wouldn’t necessarily matter depending on its competition for acting nominations.
Box Office Prospects: $1.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. A film like this would have benefited greatly from Oscar nominations, but without them and being situated post-Oscars, the likelihood of a box office victory is weak.”
Box Office Results: $0.324 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Not a great total, but it needed word of mouth that it didn’t seem to get.

February 21, 2020

Brahms: The Boy II

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. A film that made only $35 million at the domestic box office is an odd choice for a sequel, but here we are. Postpone at least twice, Brahms: The Boy 2 might have a mediocre opening weekend, but its ability to break out beyond its predecessor is unlikely.”
Box Office Results: $12.6 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Another horror misfire. Not all surprise horror hits are destined for a successful sequel. Most of them never do and this is an example of why.

Call of the Wild

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The early release might hinder its chances, but good reviews and a strong box office performance could help. It’s only real potential is in Best Visual Effects and those prospects aren’t great.”
Oscar Results: Now unlikely. The film was a major flop at the box office and while there wasn’t a lot of competition, I just don’t see it overcoming films seen later in the year for the one category it seems likely to compete in: Best Visual Effects.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Harrison Ford was a box office draw back in the 1980s, but today he’s not as popular has he once was. Is he trying to go for the Liam Neeson kind of crowd or is this film targeted squarely at young audiences? It’s impossible to know, but the graphics are good and the week’s other competition is lackluster, so a solid debut should be in order.”
Box Office Results: $62.3 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] In spite of a heavy push from Disney, a star turn by Harrison Ford and an adorable dog at the center of the film, audiences just weren’t interested in catching this one at the box office.

Emma (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Anything releasing before summer has to be discounted in its ability to score with the Oscars. Few early-year releases manage to make it all the way to the Oscars. Last year’s Us is a perfect example. Still, this property has been known to earn award nominations every time it releases, so the possibilities are good. It will just need to hold on for 10 months.”
Oscar Results: Still Uncertain. There haven’t been a lot of films for this one to compete against in Costume Design and Production Design, but the film’s inability to draw an audience may be the bigger hindrance.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The 1996 version was a box office dud and this film releasing at the end of February seems a poor idea; however, the trailer is definitely funny and should the film score well with critics, it could be a surprise hit. The limited release may hamper its chances, but if it does well and builds word of mouth, we might have an old fashioned platform release on hand, which could push its tally above its filmic predecessor.”
Box Office Results: $10.1 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Reviews weren’t as good as they needed to be to turn this limited release into a bigger hit, especially when releasing wide a mere two weeks later. It was successful in its debut, but faded quickly.

February 28, 2020

The Invisible Man

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. This Universal Monster series hasn’t done well with the Academy, but we only have one prior film to judge it on. Best Visual Effects could be in store, but like everything else released in February, it must be memorable enough to stick around until the end of the year, which isn’t a certainty unless critics love it and even then, it’s not an easy trip.”
Oscar Results: Now Unlikely. The film was incredibly well received, but audiences didn’t really turn out in the numbers we would have expected, which may hurt the film’s one Oscar chance in Best Visual Effects.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Universal may not have been able to turn The Mummy into a franchise starter, but this version of The Invisible Man has a much better director at the helm. That said, the early-year release could hurt the film’s chances, but it’s got no competition on its release weekend and the prior weak is also suitably void, so the possibilities of a solid performance are high.”
Box Office Results: $64.9 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Universal is still struggling to strike the right tone for its rebooted shared universe. After the dismal performance of The Mummy, it was no surprise that the second film scaled back dramatically. The film received strong reviews and audiences showed up, but not at the levels the studio was probably expecting.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.