May 4, 2012
Oscar Prospects: What I said: "There have been few nominations for The Avengers films, so I don't expect too much out of this combination film. Though, I could easily see nominations in Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects in its future."
Oscar Results: The film's above-expectations performance is sure to mark it as a film the Academy has to recognize somewhere. Although the tech categories are it's only hope, I see no reason for it not to capture a nomination in at least one of the three categories, possibly all of them.
Box Office Prediction: $350 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Strong. Of the five films that have predated The Avengers, introducing the characters, only one has made less than $150 million, which means this is going to be a hit. Usually the first film out of the Summer gate is fairly sizable and I see little reason why this won't be. And with the combined benefit of the four characters from the previous films, I see this one doing tremendous numbers, possibly even the best of the season."
Box Office Results: $623.4 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Not only did it surpass my expectations, it obliterated them. The pent-up energy surrounding the long, slow build paid off in spades for Marvel.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Oscar Prospects: What I said: "It's too early to tell, but a small film like this releasing so early usually means its Oscar prospects aren't very good, but a few token nominations in acting for its venerable cast may be in the offing. Reviews will be the ultimate determination of that."
Oscar Results: I'm still concerned about the film's longterm viability, but a strong first step was its very early submission to Academy members on screener. That alone should keep it fresh in voters' minds as the year ends. While I don't think Judi Dench will score a nod, it's likely that Maggie Smith could benefit.
Box Office Prediction: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Minimal. You can't expect a film with aging stars to be a box office phenomenon, so its limited release should keep it on the low end unless word of mouth does something unexpected."
Box Office Results: $46.4 M (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE)
Thoughts: [Success] My concern was that the audience for the film was fairly limited, but the studio followed a strong release pattern and doubled my expectations. While it could still have been a bigger hit, its total isn't at all disappointing.
May 11, 2012
Oscar Prospects: What I said: "Art Direction and Costume Design seem a given. Makeup might be a possibility, as might Original Score. Other than that, I don't expect much else unless the cinematographers like it."
Oscar Results: Now that the film has bombed, I think its chances dwindle. Although Burton should never be counted out in Art Direction or Costume Design, the rest of the film will likely be ignored with only Makeup and Hairstyling as an additional outside possible.
Box Office Prediction: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Solid. No matter how much I want this film to fail, Burton has a proven track record of taking bizarre premises and pulling people to them. While I don't think anything he does now, or anytime soon, will live up to Alice in Wonderland, business on the level of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would not be surprising."
Box Office Results: $79.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Trying to adapt a cult classic to the big screen is bound to draw sharp comparisons from fans of the original and Burton's cheesy style may have been too much for the fans to take. Critics weren't impressed and audiences didn't respond the way many thought they would. Not as big a flop as fellow May release Battleship, but nowhere near a success either.
May 18, 2012
Oscar Prospects: What I said: "Questionable. The only reason I'm not suggesting the film will be a flop is that alien invasion films generally do quite well with audiences, which will make this one an obvious contender. However, if reviews (which will likely be bad) and audiences aren't in favor of the film, it could be a flop."
Oscar Results: The film may have been a technical marvel, but even critically lambasted Oscar nominees like Transformers: Dark of the Moon required a hefty box office to keep it in the conversation.
Box Office Prediction: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are the typical Michael Bay qualifiers and I see this film as something of an extension of his brand of filmmaking."
Box Office Results: $65.2 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] This marks two high profile bombs in a single month and many within the same calendar year (who remembers John Carter?). Obviously, this was supposed to be a major tentpole with the possibility of future sequels. However, after critics tore it apart and audiences didn't seem to like it much, this strange adaptation of a popular boardgame will go down as the year's biggest disappointment...even bigger than John Carter, I'm afraid.
Box Office Prediction: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Minimal. Borat was a hit. Bruno was less so. I think this one seems to feel more like a Borat than a Bruno, but that doesn't mean a lot. Will his schtick just be too old for audiences?"
Box Office Results: $59.7 M (released one week later than my original preview stated)
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Sacha Baron Cohen's first film was a hit. This is is second film in a row to make just south of $60 million. Clearly the public doesn't really love his schtick as much as we've been led to believe. The first film was a sensation because it was original and outrageous. These latter two films seemd more of the same. Considering he has no similar project in immediate sight, everyone else seems to have recognized this.
What to Expect When You're Expecting
Box Office Prediction: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Above Average. After the huge hit of Bridesmaids, studios want lightning to strike twice with this similar, but wholly different expectant mother romantic comedy. I don't think audiences will by the likely comparison."
Box Office Results: $41.2 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] This just proves that female audiences won't just go see anything. Despite a heavy marketing campaign, the film made very little at the box office and no one seems to remember it these days.
May 25, 2012
Box Office Prediction: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Minimal. Oren Peli's first film, Paranormal Activity was a novel approach and didn't feel like a retread of so many horror films like Chernobyl (which he wrote and produced, but didn't direct), so I expect it to do standard horror business and not the astounding numbers Paranormal managed."
Box Office Results: $18.1 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Like so many insta-famous horror directors in recent memory, Oren Peli's latest film proves that lightning doesn't frequently strike twice and a surprise hit doesn't always mean a future of hits.
Men in Black 3
Oscar Prospects: What I said: "Sequels are rarely popular with Oscar voters and unless the expansion to five nominees gives it a leg up in Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, I expect it to go home without anything."
Oscar Results: The film's surprisingly strong box office may give it a new lease on Oscar contention, but the heavy raft of Summer technical blockbusters blended with more high profile big name projects at the end of the year will likely mean the film doesn't figure in as strongly as it could have.
Box Office Prediction: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Above Average. Will a rosy memory make it a hit? I'm doubtful. The second film didn't surpass the original and most weren't impressed with it, which could be one reason it took ten years to get another one made and released. Still, nostalgia can play a factor and if audiences like it better than the second one, it might be a hit...it should do better than the second film, only nominally (inflation would likely push the sequel past this third installment). It also has a lot of competition this Summer, so it will be quickly cannibalized unless it's a quick hit."
Box Office Results: $179.0 M
Thoughts: [Success] It may have been a decade since the last film, but interest has not been quenched in the Men in Black universe. The film might not have met my personal expectations, but its final total can be clearly labeled a success.
Oscar Prospects: What I said: "Of his six films, only two have been nominated for Oscars and neither of them were in the same categorie (The Royal Tenenbaums was nominated for writing and Fantastic Mr. Fox was nominated for music and animated feature. It could be a writing nominee, but I wouldn't hold my breath."
Oscar Results: It's already out on DVD, but that didn't hurt Midnight in Paris' chances last year. The problem is that as much as his fans would disagree, Wes Anderson is far from the bona fide Oscar contender he really is. While the film could benefit from the extended Best Picture roster, the film may have to settle for a token writing nomination.
Box Office Prediction: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Minimal. Wes Anderson has never been a box office draw and it's been over a decade since one of his films made more than $30 million. So, I'm hedging on the low end since the film looks more on the keel of Steve Zissou or Darjeeling Limited than Royal Tenenbaums."
Box Office Results: $45.5 M (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE)
Thoughts: [Success] The film is still on fumes in theaters, but is in full release on DVD now, so don't expect much more movement on the total. Regardless, this is Wes Anderson's second highest grossing (non-adjusted) film to date behind The Royal Tenenbaums. That's a pretty impressive feat even for an indie film.