2020 Spring Season Preview Wrap-Up: March

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. NOTE: This was the first month were exhibitors and studios had become skittish, so a lot of these pictures may have been rescheduled (several times, possibly).

March 6, 2020

Onward

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Few Pixar films haven’t competed for the Best Animated Feature Oscar and being an original production, that will continue to be the case.”
Oscar Results: Still Excellent. With the pandemic ravaging theaters, the primary seasons for animated features seem to be barren, leaving this Pixar feature and Trolls World Tour as the only contenders so far this year.
Box Office Prospects: $250 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Every original Pixar film, with a few exceptions, has done exceptionally well at the box office, so this one should as well.”
Box Office Results: $61.6 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Yanked from theaters after only two weeks in release, this result certainly is unexceptional. That said, it had a tepid debut of $39 million, and had only made $61 million after two weeks. Some of that may have been early leeriness from audiences over the pandemic, but I don’t know that that’s entirely true.

The Way Back

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. While this is the kind of film that could help an actor towards an Oscar nomination, March releases are notoriously difficult to stick in voters’ minds.”
Oscar Results: Now None.
Box Office Prospects: $80 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Ben Affleck has a solid reputation as a box office draw. Toss in some basketball in the same month as March Madness and you have a recipe for decent business. It’s also good counter-programming to Onward.”
Box Office Results: $13.6 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Affleck’s cinematic fortunes aren’t great and inspite of the pandemic, it opened poorly and ultimately had only two weeks at the box office, but $13.6 million for that short a period of time is not fortuitous.

March 13, 2020

Bloodshot

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. A new Vin Diesel action movie. Could do well. Probably won’t.”
Box Office Results: $10 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] It wasn’t likely to be a huge hit anyawy, but a $10 million opening in a one-week engagement is certainly disappointing. Bad timing or lack of interest? No one will ever know for sure.

I Still Believe

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. It’s possible that this film could buck recent patterns of Christian-themed movies doing solid box office. It’s not being advertised as a Christian movie, so youngsters might be betrayed by the appearance of Riverdale star KJ Apa starring, but my guess is they aren’t going to be as interested in this one as the maker’s hope.”
Box Office Results: $9.9 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] It was already positioned to better than my predictions even if the end result wasn’t as high as the studio originally wanted it to be. The pandemic may have prevented this from becoming a sleeper hit.

My Spy

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. This was bumped from 2019 and that’s not a good sign, especially releasing in the middle of March. I suspect that the film is testing poorly and is about to become a box office flop, but it could surprise.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Postponed due to pandemic.

March 20, 2020

A Quiet Place: Part II

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Unlikely. The first film barely scored an Oscar nomination when it deserved more. Sequels rarely do as well as their predecessors, so I’m guessing nothing happens.”
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. While I doubt it goes as high as the original, it will still do terrific business because the original was hugely popular. We’ll see if the sequel can hold a candle to it.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Postponed due to pandemic.

March 27, 2020

Mulan

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Only two Disney live-action adaptations made it to the Oscars this year and both received a single nomination. That doesn’t bode well for this film’s chances.”
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Even the weakest entry of last year’s Disney reimaginings at the box office, Dumbo, topped $100 million. I suspect that this film will appeal more broadly, but not as broadly as Aladdin or Lion King.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Postponed due to pandemic.

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