2018 Spring Season Preview Wrap-Up: February

Let’s take a look back at our prior preview and see where we were right, wrong, and everything in between.

February 2, 2018

Winchester

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The haunted house genre hasn’t been nearly as popular as it should be, so this one probably won’t perform that well.”
Box Office Results: $25.1 M
Thoughts: [Flop] It seems that even a promising premise with a solid lead cannot turn a profit when the trailer doesn’t make it seem thrilling enough.

A Fantastic Woman (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. If it’s an Oscar nominee, it could be a player, otherwise, obviously, it’s not.”
Oscar Results: It picked up the nomination and won.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. As much as I would like to believe this will be a smash hit, I doubt the specialty box office will give it much attention as it doesn’t seem to care much about foreign features.”
Box Office Results: $2 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] The Oscar winner turned that familiarity into a strong specialty box office performance.

February 9, 2018

The 15:17 to Paris

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $80 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. As popular as he can be at the box office, this film features non-professional actors in the lead roles, which could be enough of a gimmick to draw military fans to the box office, but the premise doesn’t seem that exciting from early trailers.”
Box Office Results: $36.3 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Even stunt casting couldn’t save this real-life based story from Clint Eastwood. He’s normally a reliable director, but without the support of critics, he didn’t do terribly well.

Fifty Shades Freed

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $80 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. After a drop of more than $50 million from the first film to the second, I suspect the third may suffer a similar, but perhaps smaller drop.”
Box Office Results: $100.4 M
Thoughts: [Success] Even the most popular film series don’t have to go out on high notes. While this film topped $100 million, it wasn’t a very convincing performance.

Peter Rabbit

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. If it qualifies in Best Animated Feature, which it could, and if critics support it, which they might, it could be an Oscar contender.”
Oscar Results: The film is probably out of consideration. It’s reviews weren’t good and the lack of animated settings won’t probably get past the Animated Feature qualifications.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Decent. This film’s subject matter and status as one of few family-targeted films in the early year will likely help it perform well.”
Box Office Results: $115.3 M
Thoughts: [Success] Showing that even a poorly executed premise can be bolstered by a strong trailer.

February 16, 2018

Black Panther

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a checkered past at the Oscars, but this film could be a contender in categories like Production Design, Costume Design, and the other tech categories.”
Oscar Results: The film was a huge box office success. It was a major critical success as well. There is every expectation that the film will make a major play for Oscar consideration in several categories, possibly even Best Picture.
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Although origin films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have a checkered past, early anticipation for this film could turn it into a larger hit than expected.”
Box Office Results: $699.9 (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE) M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Only two films have topped the non-adjusted $700 million tally. This film is so close it can probably taste it. Ultimately, it will top that pinnacle and do so to the absolute surprise of everyone.

Early Man

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Aardman used to be an Oscar player, but hasn’t been in some time.”
Oscar Results: The Aardman name is fairly solid with animation voters, but the film’s early release and quick flop may guarantee that no one gives it much consideration.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Not since Flushed Away has Aardman had any strength at the box office, and even then only Chicken Run ever topped $70 million. I doubt the subject matter will likely lead to major box office returns.”
Box Office Results: $8.3 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Animated films are usually better performers, even stop-motion films. This is a rather embarassing result for the studio that the success of Chicken Run.

Samson

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Pure Flix has never had a box office hit, but this type of movie is bigger and bolder and could be their biggest hit yet. It could also be a huge flop.”
Box Office Results: $4.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Even direct-to-video quality productions cannot be saved by their religious bases.

Loveless (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. If it’s an Oscar nominee, it could be a player, otherwise, obviously, it’s not.”
Oscar Results: It was nominated, but ultimately lost to A Fantastic Woman, though it was still a player.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Like all other foreign features, even with Oscar nominations, the box office isn’t kind.”
Box Office Results: $0.566 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] About as expected. Had it won the Oscar, it might have done better.

February 23, 2018

Annihilation

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Good. Alex Garland’s Ex Machina was a surprise winner of the Best Visual Effects Oscar. With a bigger budget and proof from the trailer, a nomination would not be unexpected.”
Oscar Results: While the critics were laudatory, the film was a box office flop, which will hinder its Oscar chances. Best Visual Effects is still possible, but I doubt it makes many inroads elsewhere.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Sci-fi is a hot property at the box office in recent years and this film has a lot of visual flair. It also faces little competition and is likely to be a solid performer at the box office.”
Box Office Results: $32.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Even the critics can’t say a film that is utterly confusing at times and poorly advertised at others.

Game Night

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. I’m putting this on the high end, but it could be a bit of a flop if people don’t find it that funny. However, it’s an original premise, which should carry it fairly well.”
Box Office Results: $69 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] While it didn’t quite perform to expectations, the result is strong enough. Let’s just hope the critical success will merit a sequel and then we’ll hope it doesn’t disappoint.

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