2018 Spring Season Preview Wrap-Up: March

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

March 2, 2018

Death Wish

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The Original film made roughly $108 million adjusted for inflation back in 1974. There are three factors that may ultimately work against it. Bruce Willis hasn’t had a sizable hit in some time with $67 being the average of his last two solo efforts, the last being 5 years ago. The second is director Eli Roth has only once had a box office hit and that was a minor one with Hostel making just over $47 million. The third is that it’s opening against spy thriller Red Sparrow starring the more formidable box office draw Jennifer Lawrence.”
Box Office Results: $34 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Bruce Willis hasn’t really managed to parlay his brief career resurgence into generic territory and win.

Red Sparrow

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Solid. While there’s no guarantee the film, which hasn’t gotten terrific early reviews, will be a major hit, Jennifer Lawrence has more than proven herself as a draw. Her prior teaming with director Francis Lawrence was the Hunger Games series. This isn’t likely to follow that film’s blockbuster nature, but he has a prior history of solid box office performance. That makes the two Lawrences with a chance to push the film to success.”
Box Office Results: $46.9 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] The studio may have wanted a bigger hit with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead, but the end result isn’t too far off what should have been expected.

Foxtrot (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None. The film failed to earn an Oscar nomination in spite of being on the shortlist. While it could conceivably come back and compete next year in every other category besides Foreign Language Film, it likely won’t.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $0.45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Doubtful. An Oscar nomination might have boosted its chances at the box office, but without that, it has to live off general acclaim, which won’t sell many tickets.”
Box Office Results: $0.619 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] For an indie foreign film, this result isn’t terribly bad. It just isn’t great.

March 9, 2018

Gringo

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $55 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Charlize Theron isn’t the star, but her presence is sure to be a boon to the film’s potential box office. That said, she’s not infallible and the comedic elements aren’t likely to be as compelling to her fans who like her more in action films. Still, without much viable competition, it could be a surprise hit.”
Box Office Results: $4.97 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] With the studio hoping to seize on the popularity of drug heist films, this movie just couldn’t tap into any kind of interest.

The Hurricane Heist

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Poor. A no-name studio is releasing the film and while the director (Rob Cohen) has a few hits in his filmography, the outright derision I heard during the trailer at the theater recently suggests the film is likely to bomb. We’re talking sub-Geostorm level flop.”
Box Office Results: $6.1 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] After seeing the trailer, could anyone have really predicted this would be much of a success? Yet, it still managed to flop below that.

The Strangers: Prey at Night

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The original film was a surprise success back in 2008, but ten years is an awfully long time to go without a follow-up, so the fanbase might not be there for it.”
Box Office Results: $24.6 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Horror doesn’t always have a free ride at the box office and this film’s unexceptional run is proof of that.

A Wrinkle in Time

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Good. While there’s no telling what will happen in the year leading up to the Oscar nominations, the film is sure to compete in several creative categories including Original Score, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects and if it can get that many nominations, a Best Picture citation might not be out of the question, especially if it becomes a critically acclaimed success.”
Oscar Results: With the box antipathy for the film, its Oscar chances of slipped. That doesn’t mean it could still pop up, but its chances have been minimized.
Box Office Prospects: $300 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Disney has a knack for creating live action hits and while this adaptation of the acclaimed and popular novel by Madeleine L’Engel isn’t based on any of their past roster of hits, the advertising has been solid and the film has the visual flair to be a huge hit.”
Box Office Results: $100.5 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] What should have been a major hit for Disney turned into one of its biggest disappointments. With other films it released this year doing gangbuster box office, this barely-over-100 million tally is miserable.

The Leisure Seeker (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Helen Mirren isn’t a box office draw, but her presence in a film can augment its chances. The film releasing on a limited basis may hinder its chances, but if it can build solid word of mouth, it might be a surprise success.”
Box Office Results: $3.2 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] It got put off more than once and had a terrible marketing campaign, yet it did well enough.

Thoroughbreds (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $1.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The strange trailer might pique the curiosities of some, but overall, I expect this to do well on the specialty circuit, but only slightly.”
Box Office Results: $2.8 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] A small indie film that managed a decent indie tally.

March 16, 2018

Love, Simon

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The popular novel on which it’s based could bolster the film’s chances at the box office. It’s also suitable counter-programming to Tomb Raider as it won’t likely have much cross-over. That said, gay-themed movies haven’t had a lot of success at the box office, but its teen-targeted audience might be more receptive.”
Box Office Results: $40.8 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] Hoping that this would be a bigger success is what many of us wanted, yet it didn’t do incredibly well. Still, the tally does bring hope that a gay-centered teen comedy can succeed at the box office.

Tomb Raider

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $115 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Can the Tomb Raider series reboot successfully with someone other than Angelina Jolie in the lead? Probably. While Alicia Vikander doesn’t have the broad familiarity with audiences, she does have the action chops to sell what so far appears to be a rather rudimentary action-adventure film.”
Box Office Results: $57.4 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] The studio wanted something massive, but yet another video game adaptation flopped on the big screen.

7 Days in Entebbe (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $2.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The drama at the center of the film will need solid support from critics to do well and even then, I can’t imagine it doing superb business.”
Box Office Results: $3.3 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] How do you make a film like this a success? Get it Oscar nominations. Without that, it isn’t likely to perform that well.

March 23, 2018

Midnight Sun

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The market for teen-targeted romantic dramas has worsened in recent years and a gimmick like this isn’t likely to go over as well as the producers are hoping. Against two other potentially big hits, the film will be lucky to do respectable business.”
Box Office Results: $9.6 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Not every teen-targeted drama can be a huge success. Some are miserable flops like this one.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Doubtful. The original film never made a dent with Oscar voters, so I don’t expect the sequel to either.”
Oscar Results: Another film whose box office failure is unlikely to bolster its Oscar chances.
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The original film by Guillermo del Toro cracked the $100 million mark, but wasn’t the success the studio expected. Thus, it took five years to get the sequel to the big screen without del Toro on board. John Boyega is familiar to audiences, but the film’s lackluster trailers may not boost its box office potential. That combined with looking a lot like the fading Transformers franchise and you have a film that could be a success, but is more likely to underwhelm.”
Box Office Results: $59.2 M
Thoughts: [Flop] The first film wasn’t nearly successful enough to merit a sequel, especially one so far removed from the original. The numbers were about as disappointing as one could imagine.

Sherlock Gnomes

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Doubtful. The original film was an Oscar no-show, so the sequel would have to be a great movie to even reach that kind of potential.”
Oscar Results: Box office and critics weren’t kind to the film, so Oscar won’t likely be either.
Box Office Prospects: $90 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The original film made just shy of $100 million at the box office. It’s been seven years, so it may be tough for the film to reach those heights, but with nothing else available for families at the theater, it might turn into a sizable hit.”
Box Office Results: $43.2 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Sequels to surprisingly successful animated films are de rigeur, so too are their inevitable failures.

Unsane

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The trailer hasn’t been widely seen and the premise isn’t exactly one that draws audiences to the theater. If this was intended to be counter-programming, I doubt that it will work.”
Box Office Results: $7.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] A disaster for all involved. This film’s performance showcases how difficult it is to get a strange film seen in today’s pre-packaged environment.

Isle of Dogs (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Anderson’s last foray into stop-motion animation earned Fantastic Mr. Fox two Oscar nominations, one for Animated Feature and the other for Original Score. It didn’t win either, but a nomination seems all but certain.”
Oscar Results: It’s still a key Oscar contender for Best Animated Feature even if it is unlikely to top Incredibles 2.
Box Office Prospects: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Wes Anderson has a solid reputation with fans of independent cinema. While they’ve had failures, $45 to $60 million is how his live-action works have fared. Unfortunately, one of his failures was Fantastic Mr. Fox, his last stop-motion feature and it made only about $21 million. Still, advertising is wide-ranging for the film and it could turn into a bigger hit than past stop-motion features have been.”
Box Office Results: $31.97 M
Thoughts: [Success] Wes Anderson’s films are usually bizarre enough that general audiences don’t go out to see them. Still, he manages to pull in solid specialty box office numbers as he did with this one.

March 30, 2018

Acrimony

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. While Taraji P. Henson has had plenty of box office success in the past, her last film, Proud Mary was a failure. Still, the premise here is a lot more accessible to the kinds of audiences that propelled No Good Deeds to success.”
Box Office Results: $43.5 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] Tyler Perry’s films generally have a ceiling. While that ceiling is much higher for Madea films, this isn’t too much of a disappointment.

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $10 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The first film was a surprise hit making $60 million and spawning an endless supply of religious-themed films. Yet the second film flopped by comparison, making a third of its predecessor. I expect the third film will play to the same diminishing audience and will not be the success they hope.”
Box Office Results: $5.7 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Christian films just don’t have the spark of life at the box office that their supporters want.

Paul, Apostle of Christ

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. Bible-themed films haven’t been a very popular draw at the box office, which suggests the audience isn’t quite there for it. While Passion of the Christ opened the flood gates, none have even approached that level of success.”
Box Office Results: $17.6 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Doing a little better than the upteenth sequel to God’s Not Dead, this result still pales in comparison to the myriad Christian-themed films that have come before it.

Ready Player One

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Even when he’s off his game, Spielberg has been an Oscar magnet and this film should put him in play for a small number of Oscars, specifically Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects. Beyond that, I don’t expect it will do that well.”
Oscar Results: It has some minor potential still for Oscar consideration.
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. The last sci-fi blockbuster Spielberg released that wasn’t part of an existing series was War of the Worlds in 2005. While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a megahit, Spielberg has topped $80 million only once since that 2008 release with Lincoln, which made $182 million. Every other movie, including the family-friendly BFG and Adventures of Tintin haven’t been solid. This film is getting the kind of push it needs to be a huge hit and the popular novel on which it’s based may help.”
Box Office Results: $137 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] While it wasn’t quite the outsized success Spielberg and his fans had hoped for, the numbers are still solid for a film that had very clearly found a niche to barely fit into.

Lean on Pete (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The film has been languishing since its Telluride success last September. Kept from the Oscar race, the film has been unceremoniously dumped in March. Whether that’s an indication that they don’t think critics will respond or if they don’t think Oscar voters will care, they clearly think that its chances, even at the box office, aren’t that great as there has been next to no advertising for the film.”
Box Office Results: $1.2 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] This festival straggler finally made it to the big screen after a few false starts and still managed to struggle past the post.

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