2020 Spring Season Preview Wrap-Up: January

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.

January 3, 2020

The Grudge

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It’s been a long while since The Grudge, its remake or its remake’s sequel have been in the multiplex. Is it enough time to have built an interest in a reboot? We shall wee.”
Box Office Results: $21.2 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Remakes have always been an iffy proposition, but horror remakes have a small chance of being popular. This remake, however, did not. The audiences weren’t that interested in starting over, so it failed to live up to expectations.

January 10, 2020

Like a Boss

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $80 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. It looks formulaic, but without a major comedy for nearly a month when this film comes out, it could do quite well, especially with its affable leads.”
Box Office Results: $22.2 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Even with two of the previously scheduled releases for the weekend dropping out, this female-led comedy just couldn’t ignite audience interest in their film.

Underwater

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Poor. The trailer wasn’t very appealing and the film looks like a bargain basement Alien/Earthquake mash-up that isn’t likely to appeal to many.”
Box Office Results: $17.3 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Creature features have not had much success at the box office in recent years, though they’ve mostly performed better than this awful tally.

Les Misérables (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Good. It’s made the shortlist for the 92nd Oscars in the International Feature category, so it could be a contender.”
Oscar Results: Nominated. The film did make the final five, but it had no chance at winning and didn’t.
Box Office Prospects: $1 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. While foreign language films seldom do boffo business at the box office, an Oscar nomination would certainly boost the film’s potential, as lightweight as it already is.”
Box Office Results: $0.33 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] There’s not much expectation for non-Oscar-winning films to perform well at the box office, especially when they aren’t officially nominated at the time of release. Then again, the film was released before the nominations by only 3 days, so it should have at least done better than this.

The Informer

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Without a familiar face in the lead and a series of reschedules, I doubt this film will be much of a wide opener.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: This film once again didn’t release. It might just be one of the most re-scheduled films in cinema history.

My Spy

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It has been pushed back once and now it’s got light competition. That doesn’t mean it will be successful, though.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Another film that has been pushed back multiple times.

January 17, 2020

Bad Boys for Life

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $90 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. While it’s been some time since the original or its sequels have been in the multiplex, it seems like the time is right to try (yet again) to resurrect Will Smith’s movie career. It looks fairly formulaic, but that might be just enough for fans of the original.”
Box Office Results: $204.4 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] It wasn’t a reboot or a remake, but a continuation of the popular 1995 original and its 2003 sequel. While many films that have tried to re-capture the magic recently have failed, this one did ignite and pulled in the best box office of any film released in January by more than double.

Dolittle

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Disney has a track record with the Oscars and this film will have to compete with several others for Production Design, Costume Design, Visual Effects, and maybe others should it do well with critics.”
Oscar Results: Now None. While the film looked rather pretty when it was being advertised, the film’s flop status along with the terrible reviews it got, pretty much limits its potential. Then again, the pandemic might change the calculus if fewer films release with such grandeur in them.
Box Office Prospects: $125 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Disney will heavily market this film and the premise is that of which family audiences will want to flock. Whether the film is any good or not will be the main factor in how high the film climbs.”
Box Office Results: $77 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Savaged by the critics, the film just couldn’t impress target audiences. That target audience probably didn’t remember the 1967 original, but their parents may remember the Eddie Murphy version from 1998. Either way, this was a colossal failure for Disney, who’s used to much better performances.

The Last Full Measure

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. It’s not a film that appeared to have been needed, but it was made anyway and I see little room for the film to grow.”
Box Office Results: $2.9 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] After being postponed, the film finally released wide and managed to fail in a most spectacular way.

Weathering with You (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $0.4 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Poor. Anime struggles enough at the U.S. box office and this film is sure to suffer a similar fate to most of the others.”
Box Office Results: $7.8 M
Thoughts: [Success] Japanese animated films seldom do well at the US box office, so this result is a bit surprising. It’s not great, but for the type of film it is, this is a success.

January 24, 2020

The Gentlemen

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $85 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. In what looks to be an American-centric riff on Kingsman, the stars involved might be enough to prop it up if the film gets terrible reviews, which I suspect will happen.”
Box Office Results: $36.3 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] This is the kind of film that can make a solid run at the box office in the early months of the year. Yet, this hyper-stylish film just couldn’t draw audiences to the theater.

The Turning

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Horror has been facing several hurdles in the last few years and the box office prospects just haven’t been high, not even for the once-popular haunted house genre.”
Box Office Results: $15.5 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Another horror film tries to tap into the early-year-doldrums and comes out as a flop.

January 31, 2020

Gretel & Hansel

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. After films like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and several other dark takes on fairy tales and literary treasures, it doesn’t seem like there’s much interest in a film like this.”
Box Office Results: $15.3 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Studios must be deseparate to try and turn another reimagined fairy tale into a major box office success, especially since box office history hasn’t exactly been kind to them.

The Rhythm Section

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Another film that got pushed out of 2018 into the early months of 2019, it’s yet another film that doesn’t look like the kind of movie that will make much money at all.”
Box Office Results: $5.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Another spy film that doesn’t quite excite audiences makes it to the theater later than expected and still managd to flop. Not a terribly shocking result, even if its fellow weekend release didn’t do well either.

The Traitor (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The film doesn’t seem to have a lot of prospects being historical and foreign. Still, it could do better than expected with solid reviews, but since even the Academy didn’t select it for the shortlist for Best International Feature, I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
Box Office Results: $0.296 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] There was no expectation of success and this result, while anemic, isn’t too far outside of those expectations.

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