2021 Blockbuster Season Box Office 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 6, 2021

The Suicide Squad

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The first film was nominated for, and won, an Oscar for Best Makeup & Haristyling. Lightning isn’t likely to strike twice, but we will see.”
Oscar Results: Still Uncertain. It’s on the shortlist for Best Makeup & Hairstyling and the original won the award, so it’s still possible for it to get nominated.
Box Office Prospects: $250 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The first Suicide Squad made over $325 million, but the Harley Quinn-focused Birds of Prey made $85 million thanks to the rise of the pandemic. The pandemic is still in play, so it might not be able to come close to the original, but we shall see.”
Box Office Results: $55.8 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The Suicide Squad sequel didn’t have any defense for its poor showing. Sure, the pandemic was still raging, but everything else that released around it seems to have done just fine. Clearly no one was enthralled by the prior outing enough to make the second one a hit.

Nine Days

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The film’s trailer isn’t very explanatory and whether or not it’s sci-fi or horror isn’t explained. That isn’t much impetus for a huge box office return.”
Box Office Results: $0.694 M
Thoughts: [Flop]

Annette (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Adam Driver could be a weak contender for the film as he received strong reviews at Cannes. However, the film doesn’t seem like the kind of picture that could appeal to Oscar voters, so his chances are thin.”
Oscar Results: Now none. Although the film wowed critics, it didn’t wow audiences and doesn’t seem to be picking up much steam.
Box Office Prospects: $1
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. With the inclusion of Adam Driver, the film could do a little better than Leos Carax’s last film, which pulled in only $600,000. M”
Box Office Results: Nil
Thoughts: Did not release to theaters.

August 13, 2021

Don’t Breathe 2

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The first film had a unique premise to buoy it’s strong success at the box office, but the premise is largely gone in this traditional-looking horror sequel.”
Box Office Results: $32.6 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] The original was a surprise hit, but the sequel proved to be too much for fans of the original. Whether that’s because it seemed to lack the first film’s originality or was too much of the same thing is not certain.

Free Guy

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. There are plenty of effects, both sound and visual, so it could be a contender in those categories.”
Oscar Results: Uncertain. The film managed to make the cut for the Best Visual Effects shorlist. It’s still a potential nominee, but it has a lot of very stiff competition.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It’s got Ryan Reynolds, so it could be big. However, Reynolds has bombed before, so it will be interesting to see if this is more Green Lantern or Deadpool.”
Box Office Results: $121.6 M
Thoughts: [Success] The pandemic did wreak havoc on the box office and while this still feels a bit like an underperformance, it’s one of the top grosses of the year, so that means something.

Respect (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. While Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson could be a prime contender for a Best Actress nomination, little is known about the film’s chances, so the August release might suggest it’s a likely non-starter.”
Oscar Results: Still Uncertain. Early word was that another nomination for Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson was possible, but that talk peaked in August, which is the worst time of year to release Oscar contenders.
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Without knowing the film’s quality, it’s hard to guess whether this will do well on the indie circuit or if it can break out beyond that.”
Box Office Results: $24.3 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] There wasn’t really much to this box office result. It was rather anemic. Had the film released limitedly like was the intention, this might have been quite the tally. They released wide and that didn’t help.

August 20, 2021

The Night House

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. While the premise isn’t well fleshed out by the trailer, there’s enough to it that might make it a surprise hit.”
Box Office Results: $7.1 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The horror films that are dropping each year seem to be grasping at a box office that’s not there. Even with a concept as interesting as this, audiences just aren’t turning out.

Paw Patrol: The Movie

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. There aren’t a lot of animated films to contender for 5 slots, but this is a TV adaptation, which is a major strike against it.”
Oscar Results: Now None. The film didn’t break any records and has been invisible during precursor season, so its chances are shot.
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. With most animated adaptations on the big screen, it’s impossible to know what level of support a popular TV show can field in the transition. History doesn’t show much in the way of success.”
Box Office Results: $40.1 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] Animated films aren’t a common release, but it sure seems like efforts by minor studios are struggling to sell to audiences who are used to getting enjoyable productions from the majors.

The Protégé

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. This action film has a rather thrilling trailer, though it looks like a fairly commonplace revenge drama, so I’m not sure it will do exceedingly well.”
Box Office Results: $7.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] It’s not that the cast wasn’t high quality, it’s that the premise seems overly familiar. It’s a concept we’ve seen far too many times and fans of the genre don’t turn out for every single effort.

Reminiscence

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Hugh Jackman is popular, but the premise might be a bit too quirky to appeal broadly. That said, it’s also the kind of film that can prove to be a strong late-summer performer.”
Box Office Results: $3.9 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Hugh Jackman’s box office prominence was never tested harder than this. The problemw as that Warner Bros. didn’t put much into the film’s marketing and due to a hastily put together deal with HBOMax to stream day-and-date, the film was bound to be a flop.

August 27, 2021

Candyman

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The original film did moderately well upon release in 1992, but the sequel in 1995 was a flop. As Spiral proved, even a well reviewed “reboot” isn’t likely to become a big box office success.”
Box Office Results: $61.2 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] If it weren’t for the pandemic, I would have expected these numbers to be much higher, which says a lot for a film that I didn’t see a lot of potential in in the first place.

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