2017 Summer Season Preview Wrap-Up: July

July 7, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. For a time, any film starring Iron Man was a guaranteed Oscar nominee. However, that has since changed with the last two efforts underwhelming Oscar voters. Thus, it’s possible the film is ignored. However, if there’s any category it could be a factor in, it’s Best Visual Effects.”
Oscar Results: The film was successful, but there’s so much competition this year, I find it difficult to find a reason to include it as a contender.
Box Office Prospects: $350 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. The Original made more than $400 million at the box office. The reboot made a mere $262 million. While the disparity is large, the likelihood of an inbetween result is high. Reboot fatigue may play a part, but with Iron Man in the mix, all bets are off. No film featuring Robert Downey Jr.’s “first” Avenger has made less than $300 million at the box office. The last one to gross less than $400 million was Iron Man 2 7 years ago. However, this isn’t an Iron Man movie and it doesn’t have the vast casts of the Avengers or Civil War films, so a lower final tally wouldn’t be surprising.”
Box Office Results: $334.2 M
Thoughts: [Success] Now that Disney has paired up with Sony for its films, the successes should continue coming and this proves that they’ve hit on a winning formula.

A Ghost Story (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Casey Affleck is hot after his Oscar win for last year, but can he turn that success into more Oscar gold? The potential is low with Rooney Mara earning far better attention for this film than Affleck. Still, the July release coupled with the lack of festival awards traction could mean it’s forgotten by Oscar time this year.”
Oscar Results: The film was well received, but it’s virtually disappeared, which means its Oscar chances are heavily diminished.
Box Office Prospects: $2.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. It’s the kind of indie drama that doesn’t play well to mass audiences, so its tally won’t be anything smashing. However, it’s gotten a lot of strong word from its festival debut, so it could play well on the specialty circuit.”
Box Office Results: $1.6 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] It didn’t quite perform up to expectations, nor did it exactly disappoint.

July 14, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was nominated (and should have won) for Best Visual Effects (losing to Hugo). Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was nominated in the same category, once again losing (unfortunately), this time to Interstellar. There’s no reason to suspect that this one won’t be right in there again and, sadly, will probably lose again.”
Oscar Results: Although the competition this year is tough in Visual Effects, War for the Planet of the Apes is still a strong contender for a nomination, though a win at this point seems unlikely.
Box Office Prospects: $230 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Great. When Planet of the Apes was original rebooted in 2001, it scored $180 million at the box office. That film was a dud with critics and so further sequels were never issued. In 2011, the franchise was given a different type of reboot, a prequel reboot attempting to explain the origin of the Planet of the Apes. That film made slightly less, $176 million, but was acclaimed by critics. The sequel in 2014 made just over $208 million. The upward trajectory of grosses suggests a modest increase for this third film, which has already gotten strong advance notices.”
Box Office Results: $146.9 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] The franchise took a bit of a tumble, at least in terms of audience appreciation of the film as it didn’t even come that close to the tallies of the original film.

Wish Upon

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. There isn’t a lot of precedent for this type of film. You could look to something like Final Destination, but that was too long ago to be of any use. I suspect that it might have a suitable opening, but will fall off precipitously afterwards like most horror films making its final tally inconsequential.”
Box Office Results: $14.3 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Another predictable horror concept that audience shrugged at.

Lady Macbeth (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Doubtful. It has the look of a film that once scored surprise nominations in Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, but those surprises are few and far between these days.”
Oscar Results: While the film was well received, there’s little to suggest that the film will earn much consideration from the Academy.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Costume dramas aren’t the successes they once were and this one doesn’t have a big name to anchor it, nor does it have a lot of festival buzz to build a case for a strong box office return.”
Box Office Results: $1.1 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] The specialty box office is fickle, but this film seemed to pique just the right curiosities.

July 21, 2017

Dunkirk

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Nolan has long been the black sheep of the Oscar family, failing to secure nominations for The Dark Knight or Inception even though the latter picked up a Best Picture nomination after the outcry of the former failing to do so resulted in a larger Best Picture slate.”
Oscar Results: It is still being talked about as a surefire Best Picture nominee as well as a nominee for Best Director and numerous technical awards. Its chances of winning aren’t exceedingly high, though.
Box Office Prospects: $250 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Christopher Nolan hasn’t been tested with traditional period war films as almost all of his films have been fantasy or science fiction. It’s instructive that of his 8 films to date, 3 of them were box office weaklings. However, all of them pre-date The Dark Knight, which followed his strong showing with Batman Begins. His subsequent films have all topped $100 million, though his latest, Interstellar was the weakest of them with a $188 million. Saving Private Ryan is probably the closest comparison as it was a war film put out by a traditionally fantastical director. That film made $216 million for Steven Spielberg. The comparison is apt and informs my judgment. Though, that tally was reached in 1998 and would adjust to $404 million today, a tally I definitely don’t expect this pic to reach.”
Box Office Results: $188 M
Thoughts: [Success] Considering the director’s other work, this film didn’t nearly perform up to my expectations, but for a war film, these are strong numbers.

Girls Trip

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. There aren’t a lot of precedents available for this type of road trip comedy, but director Malcolm D. Lee has two decent hits on his resume, but most of them, adjusted for inflation, only barely top $50 million. His biggest success came four years ago with The Best Man Holiday, which made $70 million, his best showing to date and is the most similar (though vastly different) film on his filmography.”
Box Office Results: $115.1 M
Thoughts: [Success] The only R-rated comedy to top $100 million over the summer this year, which gives it a lot to crow about.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. None of his films have been major Oscar nominees, though Fifth Element did pick up a worthless Sound Editing nomination. Depending on critical reception, this movie looks like it checks a lot of Oscar boxes and if it’s a success both with audiences and critics, it could show up in several below-the-line Oscar categories. Wins are likely out of the question.”
Oscar Results: With the film’s failure at the box office, even the dazzling visuals will not find much solace with the Academy, though the guilds should still give it a fair number of citations.
Box Office Prospects: $120 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Director Luc Besson has two major box office successes on his resume: The Fifth Element in 1997 (inflation-adjusted tally of $122 million) and Lucy in 2014 (inflation-adjusted to $138 million). The rest of his efforts, none of which were boldly sci-fi like this film, were major disappointments. That said, this film looks a lot like Fifth Element in terms of sci-fi elements and production design, so it could do quite well at the box office, though it will face a lot of competition in an overfilled environment.”
Box Office Results: $40.5 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Luc Besson’s days as a box office force are over. This film was a huge flop in the U.S. and mostly made back its budget overseas. That’s not a hit.

July 28, 2017

Atomic Blonde

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Charlize Theron rarely ever leads movies and when she does, they aren’t particularly box office friendly. That said, she’s been a part of some big box office numbers like Mad Max: Fury Road and Snow White and the Huntsman and those films could be said to have benefit from her presence. I suspect this film, which looks like a great deal of fun, will appeal to young audiences. How successful that can make it is anyone’s guess. It has the weekend of July 28 to itself in terms of the type of audience it’s seeking, so it could do quite well.”
Box Office Results: $51.6 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] One shouldn’t have expected a box office hit with this film, though it still should have performed better than this.

The Emoji Movie

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $110 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The movie looks like a poop emoji, but that won’t stop kids and parents from flocking to the film for (derisive?) laughter.”
Box Office Results: $86.1 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] Animated films aren’t always huge hits and this one proved to be a lackluster performer at the box office, even with an $86 million tally.

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