2021 Oscar Season Box Office Preview 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 4, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Since it’s opening online simultaneously with its limited run, it’s not likely to pull in many dollars.”
Box Office Results: $3.4 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Released Aug. 23, 2020. While some films show a pent-up demand by being box office hits, some films show that no one really wanted them, which is why these numbers, even in light of the pandemic, are so bad.

Tenet

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Christopher Nolan’s films, even if they aren’t Best Picture contenders, make strong runs at technical awards and this one will certainly be in contention there.”
Oscar Results: Now Weak. The film is sure to play into the Sound and Visual Effects categories, but it won’t have much luck elsewhere except maybe in Original Score.
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The best Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters have done is the $535 million that he pulled in for The Dark Night. Since then, his weakest blockbuster was Interstellar at $188 million. Nolan wants Tenet to be the film that brings audiences back to the theater, but so far, the prospects of a box office reinaissance are pretty dim. Even my $150 million tally is optimistic considering how hard it will be for theaters to cram in audiences to achieve such numbers.”
Box Office Results: $57.9 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] For a pandemic, these numbers are pretty good. While not as good as they could have been without the pandemic, they are still far above most of what else has come out mid-pandemic so far this year.

September 11, 2020

Rent-A-Pal (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. It looks rather cheesy and the box office isn’t going to reward that right now.”
Box Office Results: $0.029 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The pandemic really tested box office potential, but even the supremely minor releases couldn’t do much at all.

September 18, 2020

The King’s Man

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Moved to 2021.
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. With the box office almost non-existent, will viewers want to catch this origin story in the theater or will they wait until it’s on video. My guess would be the latter. This number is very optimistic.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Did not release. Rescheduled to Dec. 18, 2020 and was then rescheduled again to 2021.

The Nest (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. There’s nothing about this film that makes it sound like something that could excel at a pandemic box office.”
Box Office Results: $0.138 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] It’s hard to quantify whether this film was a success or not with pandemic box office so depressed. Still, it managed an ok tally for an indie release.

September 25, 2020

Greenland

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Having modestly known names might help give it a small boost, but when reality is more depressing than filmic disasters, I doubt many will welcome its presence. Even then, this is still a modestly optimistic number.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: Did not release. Rescheduled to Dec. 18, 2020, but not in theaters.

Ava (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $1 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. It might have been a film that could release wide and do $50 million, but the pandemic is going to force people who might have given it a chance to stay home and wait.”
Box Office Results: $0.497 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] The film was supposed to be a box office player, but early reviews quashed the dreams that were left after the pandemic had run roughshod over its potential.

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