Category: Monthly Previews

2018 Oscar Season Preview: Introduction

There are a lot of potential blockbusters releasing these last four months of the year, but a lot of the major Oscar contenders don’t appear to have been scheduled yet, which could muddy the prognostication waters if they release too late.

To introduce you to the upcoming films, there will be two preview articles every month and this introduction every four months. The Season Preview article will focus on one of three seasons Spring Season (January through April), Blockbuster Season (May through August) and Oscar Season (September through December). In these introductory articles, I will give you the current release schedule for the specified season, which may change as the release dates get closer.

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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.

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2018 Summer Season Preview: August

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

August 3, 2018

Christopher Robin

Premise: From IMDb: “A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.”
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Expectations: Good. Disney’s Winnie the Pooh is a beloved figure and them turning A.A. Milne’s story into something deeper and richer may appeal to fans young and old.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. The film has all the earmarks of a potential Disney Oscar nominee; however, it also reminds heavily of Saving Mr. Banks, which isn’t a great comparison.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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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.

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2018 Summer Season Preview: July

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

July 6, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Premise: From IMDb: “In the aftermath of ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past.”
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Expectations: Good. The prior film made $180 million at the box office. This sequel is a one of only two films between now and the Infinity War sequel, so it has the potential to draw attention to look for clues as to what will happen next. However, I suspect it will remain one of the lower-grossing franchise films.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. The effects look more diverse this time around, which could put it into competition for Visual Effects. It will probably make the shortlist, but not the Oscars.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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2018 Spring Season Preview Wrap-Up: January

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

January 5, 2018

Insidious: The Last Key

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Adequate. The original film and the third made just over $50 million, but the second topped $80. While the reason for sequels is the success of a predecessor, the drop back to normal on the third film suggests the franchise is losing steam. While I doubt it will be an outright flop, the prior films all released later in the year. This early in the year won’t likely help the bottom line.”
Box Office Results: $67.3 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] Horror has a long history of sequels and this series has been a popular one, hence more sequels. However, this film’s performance is modest at best, on par with most non-series horror starts, which might still suggest another sequel or prequel is coming, but this has been promised to be the last.

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2018 Summer Season Preview: June

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

June 1, 2018

Action Point

Premise: From IMDb: “A daredevil designs and operates his own theme park with his friends.”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Expectations: Weak. The film looks cheap and while I would like to say it looks like a film that will flop, the Jackass team has been modestly successful in the recent past, so I can’t claim it will be a huge success, but it will probably be some sort of success.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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2017 Oscar Season Preview Wrap-Up: December

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

December 1, 2017

The Disaster Artist (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Doubtful. There’s some chatter about James Franco being nominated for this, but other than at the Golden Globes, I don’t see it happening.”
Oscar Results: Minor Flop. The Academy didn’t take a very positive view of the James Franco-starrer, with it getting shut out of all but one category: Adapted Screenplay and that made it in thanks to a very weak lineup.
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. There is no more specialized an audience than for this film. Although the film has earned solid reviews, unless you’re familiar with The Room, it likely won’t appeal to you.”
Box Office Results: $21.1 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] Taking the audience behind the scenes of one of the most popular campy movies ever made tickled some fancies, but not enough to make it an unqualified success.

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2018 Summer Season Preview: May

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

May 4, 2018

Bad Samaritan

Premise: From IMDb: “A pair of burglars stumble upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob.”
Box Office Prospects: $1.5 M
Expectations: Weak. I don’t see there being a huge audience for this film, except perhaps when it comes to home viewing.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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2018 Summer Season Preview: Introduction

To introduce you to the upcoming films, there will be two preview articles every month and this introduction every four months. The Season Preview article will focus on one of three seasons Spring Season (January through April), Blockbuster Season (May through August) and Oscar Season (September through December). In these introductory articles, I will give you the current release schedule for the specified season, which may change as the release dates get closer.

With all the movies releasing in all sorts of places throughout the year, the summer movie season has become strangely underpopulated. Whereas, you used to get a new movie almost every week that had blockbuster potential, they are so spread out now that you can sometimes go one or two weeks without a major release. While that should bolster a film’s chances at the box office with limited competition, it seldom works out that way.

Looking over this roster of summer releases, I can’t help but feel that the selection is anemic. While there are a few potential major films, not many of them seem like movies that would be must-see entertainment.

Now let’s take a look at what’s coming up in May, June, July, and August.

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2017 Oscar Season Preview Wrap-Up: November

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

November 3, 2017

A Bad Moms Christmas

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Sequels to hit comedies have uneven track records, though this might just be different enough from its predecessors to engage the same audience again.”
Box Office Results: $72.1 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] While it couldn’t live up to its predecessor’s expectations, it did decently well for an R-rated comedy.

Thor: Ragnarok

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Decent. It could be a tech contender in the sound and visual effects categories, but the year may be too competitive.”
Oscar Results: Failure. It’s rather surprising that the design heavy Thor films have never been Oscar nominated.
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. While the stand alone Thor films have been the weakest of performers in the MCU, this one features another prominent character and the sublime Cate Blanchett as a villain along with Jeff Goldblum, so it might outperform my expectations.”
Box Office Results: $315.1 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Far outpacing its predecessors, Thor going the comedic route was a boon to its bottom line.

Lady Bird (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Decent. Early reviews were strong and Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut could be an Oscar player in several categories. The problem is it won’t likely light up the box office, so critics will have to play a large part in getting it attention.”
Oscar Results: Success. The film pulled in nearly every expected nomination, but it went home empty-handed.
Box Office Prospects: $0.75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Decent. With strong reviews, it may do well on the indie circuit, but unless it becomes an Oscar darling, which I doubt, I see it fading fairly quickly.”
Box Office Results: $48.9 M
Thoughts: [Success] Striking a nerve with the public, Lady Bird parlayed its critical acclaim into a strong specialty box office performance.

Last Flag Flying (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Poor. The film initially seemed like a contender, but reviews haven’t been great, so you can probably scratch this one off most your prediction lists.”
Oscar Results: Failure. With the critics disliking it and audiences ignoring it, there was little surprise that the film didn’t make it to the Oscars.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. At one time, this seemed like it could be a hit, but early reviews haven’t been great and although it could still appeal to a certain American demographic, I don’t think it’s nearly as accessible as it needs to be in order to be a success.”
Box Office Results: $0.965 M
Thoughts: [Flop] A poor marketing campaign, a lack of interest in its subject matter, and the lack of enthusiasm from critics doomed the film.

LBJ (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Poor. The film just kind of appeared in the Oscar race and no one was expecting it to, which means that without exceptional reviews and critical support, you can probably forget about it”
Oscar Results: Failure. It didn’t enthuse critics as it probably should have, so Oscar voters weren’t going to be bowled over by it either.
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Poor. A film that no one asked for about a president who’s been featured in two recent films, both depicted differently and neither well received in general, I can’t see there being much excitement about a second biopic in such recent succession.”
Box Office Results: $2.5 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Although it exceeded my expectations, that’s not saying a lot about the film’s meager performance.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. While it might seem like a strong contender for star Denzel Washington, the reviews haven’t been great. Still, it’s likely with the light competition of Best Actor that Washington could still contend.”
Oscar Results: Success. Denzel Washington managed to overcome his film’s dismal box office and critical reception to earn a nomination. The only one for the entire film.
Box Office Prospects: $55 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. A period drama featuring Denzel Washington in a semi-despicable, semi-laudable role could be either a hit or a miss and it’s impossible to know for certain. Washington has had a lot of success in recent years, but I’m not certain this will be more than a mediocre performer for him.”
Box Office Results: $11.9 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Even Denzel Washington can’t sell a film if the trailer looks terrible, which it most certainly did. It also wasn’t presented as the traditional Denzel tour-de-force, so it isn’t surprising it didn’t work.

November 10, 2017

Daddy’s Home 2

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: Still None.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. The first film was a hit, hence the sequel, but as I said regarding A Bad Moms Christmas, there’s no telling if lightning can strike twice, especially with two similar Christmas-themed sequels in such rapid succession.”
Box Office Results: $104 M
Thoughts: [Success] Assuring audiences that a third film is likely, this film’s solid box office performance was on par with expectations.

Murder on the Orient Express

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. The original film was a major Oscar player, but this remake has a lot of things going against it, the least of which is that early response from Christie fans has been underwhelming and even non-Christie fans are wondering why they are tampering with the material when the original is often considered one of the best Christie adaptations.”
Oscar Results: Failure. While it picked up some precursor support, the Academy ultimately ignored the film.
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. If released today, the original star-studded affair would have made $131 million at the box office. However, star-studded costume dramas had a much easier time finding an audience in 1974 than they do today. Agatha Christie may have resurged in popularity on the BBC, but in America, it’s chances are a bit weaker. Add to that the fact that the film doesn’t have a lot of appealing elements to attract U.S. Christie fans and it could be a flop.”
Box Office Results: $102.8 M
Thoughts: [Success] It’s been some time since Agatha Christie was popular enough to sell tickets at the theater, but this should ensure a steady supply of star-studded affairs over the next few years. Death on the Nile is up next.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Good. Frances McDormand is pretty much certain for a nomination and Sam Rockwell has also gotten strong reviews. The film could also contend in screenwriting, but beyond that it may not have much chance.”
Oscar Results: Success. It pulled in all of its expected nominations with one exception (Directing), and managed to pick up two Oscars for stars Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
Box Office Prospects: $15 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Director Martin McDonagh has had success on the specialty circuit, but has never crossed over to the big leagues, making this film’s box office prospects solid, but not terribly exciting.”
Box Office Results: $54.1 (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE) M
Thoughts: [Success] While it didn’t become a breakaway hit, its Oscar run helped bolster its numbers to a solid height.

November 17, 2017

Justice League

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. Superhero films are seldom Oscar players and I doubt this film has much shot outside of the incredibly crowded Best Visual Effects race.”
Oscar Results: Failure. The Academy just didn’t care about the latest DC movie. Besides, had it gone for any DCEU film, it would have been Wonder Woman, not this film.
Box Office Prospects: $350 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Excellent. Wonder Woman excepted, the DCU films haven’t been incredibly well received by critics, but audiences have eaten them up. With the added boost of the Wonder Woman film earlier this year, the first team-up film should be a box office hit.”
Box Office Results: $229 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] The studio had hoped for soaring numbers, but after audiences got to see what could be done with a title like Wonder Woman, they couldn’t be bothered to turn this film into more than a passable success.

The Star

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. Although the Best Animated Feature category has a lot of poor contenders this year, this film just doesn’t look like the kind of movie to upend the current dynamic.”
Oscar Results: Failure. While the Academy picked a couple of surprises, this was never likely to be one of them.
Box Office Prospects: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Although Christian-themed films have had a bumpy ride in the last couple of years, animated films have a built-in audience. Although the trailer sports some weak animation, that won’t matter to the audience that will make this film successful.”
Box Office Results: $40.9 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] The studio likely hoped to leverage interest in Christian-themed films to sell this animated Nativity story. It did not succeed.

Wonder

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. Conceptually, this should be an Oscar contender, but the trailer isn’t great and if the film follows suit, you can forget about it.”
Oscar Results: Success. The film managed a single nomination for Makeup & Hairstyling, but it failed to show up anywhere else, including in the vaguely possible and modestly weak Adapted Screenplay category.
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Julia Roberts hasn’t been a box office draw for some years and although she plays the mother in this film, it’s really the juvenile stars that will be responsible for the film’s success. The book it’s based on was popular, so the film could be too, but it’s just too early to tell if that will be the case.”
Box Office Results: $132.4 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Although the studio was probably hoping for at least a modest success, the film managed to overcome a lot of recent trends for broadly accessible literary adaptations.

November 22, 2017

Chappaquiddick

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Weak. While the film has a lot of elements that could make it a contender, there has been almost no effort to get it out there for audiences and that low profile will likely hurt its Oscar chances.”
Oscar Results: N/A
Box Office Prospects: $2.5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. It’s a challenge enough to get audiences out to see movies based on the lives of presidents, better yet brothers of presidents who served decades in the Senate after scandal prevented him from seeking higher office. It may be dramatic, but it isn’t the kind of film audiences care to sit down with. That there’s been no real advertising campaign so far should speak volumes to the film’s chances.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: This film had its release date pushed into 2018.

Coco

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. So far, the Best Animated Feature race is light and Pixar is sure to be a major contender, especially considering how weak entry Brave managed to beat out critically acclaimed Wreck-It Ralph for the win.”
Oscar Results: Success. Two Oscar nominations. Two Oscars. Although the Original Song win wasn’t really deserved, the Animated Feature prize was a fine win.
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Pixar has had only one flop in its storied existence and that will not be a feat easily duplicated. Coco has all the imagination of their past efforts, which could help it do well with audiences.”
Box Office Results: $209.4 M
Thoughts: [Success] Performing about where expected, the film didn’t become a runaway hit like other original Pixar films, but it also wasn’t even close to being a disappointment.

Death Wish

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: N/A
Box Office Prospects: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. Did anyone really want a remake of the Charles Bronson cult classic? Not really. Bruce Willis hasn’t been much of a box office draw, though he could do reasonably well with this film. However, negative reviews are sure to follow if the subtly racist trailer is any indication.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: This film had its release date pushed into 2018.

Molly’s Game

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The film has a strong pedigree and it’s possible the film enters the Oscar race a strong contender, but it’s best chance is in the overcrowded Best Actress race, which could hinder the film’s chances.”
Oscar Results: Success. While the film did manage to pick up an Adapted Screenplay nomination, the studio was hoping for more and it didn’t get that.
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Decent. This is the kind of film that plays well on the indie circuit but struggles to ascend to the higher echelons of the box office. Still, if it’s well received, it could turn out to be a surprise hit, but right now I’m doubtful.”
Box Office Results: $28.8 M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Much like its Oscar citation, the film didn’t pull in the kind of numbers the studio likely expected.

Call Me By Your Name (Nov. 24) (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Excellent. Reviews are exceptional and with the Academy’s newfound ability not to ignore gay-themed films (Moonlight won Best Picture just last year), it’s sure to be a major contender this year in several upper categories.”
Oscar Results: Success. It pulled in numerous nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Actor. Unfortunately, it failed to pick up expected (hoped) double-nominations in Supporting Actor.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Decent. While this would appear to be a surefire specialty box office hit, the cross-over appeal could be elevated once it becomes an Oscar darling. Of course, Moonlight winning Best Picture didn’t earn it more attention, so this could be a bit too high a prediction.”
Box Office Results: $17.9 (STILL IN LIMITED RELEASE) M
Thoughts: [Unexceptional] Even with its Oscar success, the film didn’t pull in very much money at all, becoming one of the year’s weaker Best Picture nominees.

Darkest Hour (Limited)

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Decent. Joe Wright has earned Oscar nominations for three of his five films to date and although this film may not be in striking distance of a lot of categories, Best Actor seems like a lock at this juncture.”
Oscar Results: Success. It still managed the expected Best Picture and Best Actor nominations, but it largely disappointed down ballot picking up a few mentions, but nothing terribly impressive. It also managed to win two, both as predicted, for Gary Oldman and the film’s makeup and hairstyling.
Box Office Prospects: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Uncertain. At this point, audiences may be tired of Dunkirk-centerd films and that could spell trouble for this film. With Oscar support, it could do well, especially with the much loved Gary Oldman at the center of it; however, it’s the kind of history lesson that will struggle in wide release.”
Box Office Results: $56.4 M
Thoughts: [Success] Never underestimate Anglophiles in the U.S. In spite of a genuine lackluster response from critics and a modestly week Oscar nomination haul, the film still pulled in a sizable audience at the theater.

2018 Spring Season Preview: April

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

April 6, 2018

Blockers

Premise: From IMDb: “Three fathers try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night.”
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Expectations: Uncertain. R-rated comedies have had a hit-or-miss relationship with the box office in recent years and while Game Night managed to perform well not long ago, this film will face a tougher box office with a bit more competition. It could still do quite well, but maybe not as well as it should.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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2017 Oscar Season Preview Wrap-Up: October

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

October 6, 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “Uncertain. The original film has since become a classic. The sequel might also, but the Academy has seldom shown an interest in recognizing such productions. It could show up in a few tech categories, but unless it’s among the cream of the crop, it’s not going to get much chance above the line.”
Oscar Results: Success. With two Oscar winers for Cinematography and Visual Effects, out of five nominations, Blade Runner 2049 did well, though not quite well as I had hoped.
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Good. Although the original film made less than $100 million at the box office back in 1982 (adjusted for inflation), the film has earned a reputation as one of the big cult hits of the 1980s. As such, there will be plenty of interest in it from old and young audiences, which could make it a solid success.”
Box Office Results: $92.05 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] Some might say that sub-$100 million isn’t that impressive and for the sequel to a cult classic, it might not seem that way, but these numbers are solid.

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2018 Spring Season Preview: March

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

March 2, 2018

Death Wish

Premise: From IMDb: “A mild-mannered father is transformed into a killing machine after his family is torn apart by a violent act.”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Expectations: 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.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.
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2017 Oscar Season Preview Wrap-Up: September

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

September 1, 2017

Unlocked

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: N/A
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. The film is being released on one of the worst days of the year for box office success, so it will likely be a failure.”
Box Office Results: N/A
Thoughts: The film was never released and has not been rescheduled.

September 8, 2017

9/11

Oscar Prospects: What I said: “None.”
Oscar Results: None.
Box Office Prospects: $5 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: “Weak. No one asked for this film and it’s unlikely that anyone will give it much notice.”
Box Office Results: $0.17 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] No one really expected a film about the 9/11 terrorist attacks to do well with audiences, but even these numbers are dismal.

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