2021 Oscar Season Box Office Wrap-Up: September

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.

September 3, 2021

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. While the MCU has done decently in the past scoring Oscar nominations, their product hasn’t always made the case, but this film certainly could due to its more fantastical elements.”
Oscar Results: Success. It managed to make the nominations ballot in exactly one category: Best Visual Effects.
Box Office Prospects: $170 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Black Widow managed to pull in over $170 million at the box office, which means Marvel is still good, even in a pandemic, for drawing people to the theater. That said, attendance has been dropping ever since, so this might be wishful thinking.”
Box Office Results: $224.5 M
Thoughts: [Success] The only genuine success for the entire month of September, usually a fairly respectable one at the box office. Marvel seemed to be able to draw people in to theaters in such a way that few others have been able to.

September 10, 2021

The Card Counter

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Paul Schrader has picked up Oscar nominations in the past for films no one thought would contend, but the wide release here might suggest the film isn’t the kind that would please Oscar voters.”
Oscar Results: Failure. It didn’t have a lot of support from the precursors, but some. It wasn’t enough.
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Poor. This is just not he kind of film audiences want to see in theaters. If it were being released on a limited basis, my prediction would be much much lower.”
Box Office Results: $2.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] It was never going to be a hit, even with this cast. And it wasn’t.

Malignant

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Confirmed none.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The pandemic hasn’t been good to horror films, with A Quiet Place, Part II the notable exception. I wouldn’t expect a new film with no predecessors to do terribly well.”
Box Office Results: $13.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Horror has not had great success during the pandemic. Really life is probably too horrid to contemplate fantasy awfulness as well.

Queenpins

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Confirmed none.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. This mob comedy with women at its center seems like a rudimentary attempt to try something new in the genre, but without the kind of excitement and fun other such efforts possess, which won’t help it at the box office.”
Box Office Results: $N/A M
Thoughts: [Flop] The film didn’t even release at the box office and if it did, the studio didn’t report numbers. So either they were bad or they just drop-streamed it and ran away.

September 17, 2021

Blue Bayou

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The similarities in themes to a film like Minari might help it with Oscar voters, but buzz has been light so far, thus I wouldn’t expect too much at this juncture.”
Oscar Results: Now none. The film didn’t make any inroads in the precursor contests, so it was done before it really even got started.
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. While this kind of movie could appeal to Oscar voters, mass audiences aren’t that interested in this kind of movie.”
Box Office Results: $0.789 M
Thoughts: [Flop] For an indie release, these numbers aren’t great.

CopShop

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Confirmed none.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It looks like a madcap comedy thriller, which we could use more of, but there’s little about the trailer that suggests this will be a box office smash.”
Box Office Results: $5.2 M
Thoughts: [Flop] It didn’t seem to be well promoted and released against three other poorly-promoted films. If people had wanted to watch a movie this particular weekend, it didn’t appear this was the choice.

Cry Macho

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Never underestimate Eastwood and Oscar voters, but this feels more like Gran Turino than American Sniper.”
Oscar Results: Failure. The earlier an Eastwood film releases, the less likely it is to be an Oscar contender. So this one was a non-starter.
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Clint Eastwood has done surprisingly well at the box office in recent years, Richard Jewell notwithstanding. So the film could do quite well, but the box office is office this year, so don’t expect anything too outrageous.”
Box Office Results: $10.3 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] That Clint Eastwood won the weekend is no surprise. That it did worse than Dear Evan Hanson is a spectacular flop.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Before the pandemic pushed a number of potential Oscar contenders off the release schedule, this was thought to be a major Oscar contender and certainly it could still be, but September is the worst of the four Oscar season months to release a potential Oscar contender, so maybe it’s not as much of a contender as we expected.”
Oscar Results: Success. While it didn’t become the super success some might have originally thought, Jessica Chastain and the film’s makeup team managed to hold out just long enough to score nominations.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. This isn’t the kind of movie that does gangbuster business at the box office. Matter of fact, it’s impossible to know why this is releasing wide and not platforming. Regardless, I wouldn’t expect the film to do much box office, especially when you see what else is releasing the same weekend.”
Box Office Results: $2.4 M
Thoughts: [Flop] It was never going to be a big box office hit, but even this tally isn’t great.

September 24, 2021

Dear Evan Hanson

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Oscar voters have a hot-and-cold relationship with movie musicals and with something like West Side Story looming on the horizon, the acclaimed stage musical might not make as many waves at the Oscars as it would hope.”
Oscar Results: Failure. Not only did its mediocre reviews keep it out of the Oscar race, it was one of the top nominees at the Razzie Awards. Ouch.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The popular stage musical could be a surprise breakout success, but such adaptations have struggled in recent years to get butts in the seats, so it’s doubtful the pandemic box office is the best place to release this one.”
Box Office Results: $15 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] Nothing really did well in September, but the producers sure thought they had something with this. They didn’t.

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