‘Aquaman’ And Co. To Feast On Big Christmas Leftovers, Leaving ‘Vice’ And ‘Holmes & Watson’ With Crumbs: Box Office Predictions

Written by Dapo Olowu

The post-Christmas Box Office weekend is usually a lucrative one, creating entire meals out of the festive midweek scraps. This time last year saw films out of the top 10 actually increase their weekend earnings after the previous one, including ‘Jumanji’, ‘The Greatest Showman’, and ‘Ferdinand’.

It’s no different this year, as many of last weekend’s inclusions look to beat their efforts of seven days ago. Competition comes in the form of debutants ‘Vice’ and ‘Holmes and Watson’, which both opened on Christmas Day.

The latter is studio Annapurna’s latest offering, a biographical comedy/drama starring Christian Bale as American politician, businessman, and former Vice pPresident of the United States, Dick Cheney. It’s McKay’s second venture into the niche genre, as well as his second partnership with Christian Bale – both films being 2015s ‘The Big Short’.

It’s ‘The Big Short’ that we’ll be using as a basis for our predictions. Both came out in the Christmas period, and although ‘The Big Short’ had a platform release (i.e. limited to wide opening), it didn’t stop a solid $2.3m on its opening Wednesday in 1,585 screens, on its way to a $10.5m weekend.

Signs point to ‘Vice’ at least doubling this opening, considering it made $4.8m on Tuesday, and enters cinemas wide immediately. It’ll definitely need to, at least for Annapurna’s sake; the studio sank a whopping $60m into this political drama before marketing costs too.

However, considering the difference in critical reception (‘The Big Short’s 88% on RT vs. ‘Vice’s 65%) and audience feedback (A- vs. C+ on Cinemascore), we’re not hedging our bets on ‘Vice’ beating ‘The Big Short’ by much this weekend, with an $11m gross being likely.

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly lead together for the 3rd time in this weekend’s other new release, ‘Holmes and Watson’, but unlike ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘Talladega Nights’, Sony’s latest comedy is one of the most critically-reviled movies of in recent memory, pulling in a dreadful 6% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a D+ on Cinemascore.

The film sees Ferrell and Reilly play Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, the detective duo created by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They’re joined by Rebecca Hall, Ralph Fiennes, Rob Brydon, and Pam Ferris, and at $42m, it’s one of the more expensive comedies of the year.

This only makes things worse for those at Sony, who are now pinning hopes on a big opening weekend to offset the inevitable poor word of mouth, and thus short Box Office run, to follow. It made a strong $6.4m on Christmas day, but won’t be able to solve the mystery of how to break-even however, as it looks to earn a disappointing $9m from Friday to Sunday.

Last weekend’s winner ‘Aquaman’ comes into the weekend fresh from a massive Christmas feast, as it earned $22.1m on Tuesday for the 6th biggest X-Mas day grosser ever, behind ‘The Force Awakens’, ‘The Last Jedi’, ‘Rogue One’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’, and ‘Avatar’. Jason Momoa and co stand tall at a domestic total of $122.6m currently and $600m worldwide, and should add another $55m this weekend for good measure.

Finally, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and ‘Bumblebee’ continue to battle for the 2nd and 3rd spots, and will earn an estimated $29m and $24m each in their pursuits of Box Office runs to match last year’s musical ‘The Greatest Showman’, and adventure-comedy ‘Jumanji’.

‘Aquaman’ looks to reign supreme again, while ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ remain untroubled by the new entrants of the week. Can ‘Aquaman’ be the first of the DCEU to hit the $1bn mark? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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‘Aquaman’ Is King With $67m As Christmas Delivers A Mixed Bag Of Presents: Box Office Report

Written by Dapo Olowu

Father Christmas was in a giving mood in the penultimate Box Office weekend of the year, gifting our seven new releases a combined gross of $125.7m between Friday and Sunday.

Half went to ‘Aquaman’, the film which sees Warner Bros swim further into the shores of the DCEU. Its first 3 days earned them $67.4m – by far the lowest in the franchise so far, but simultaneously the 9th biggest December opening of all time.

It’s a start both unspectacular but impressive; while ‘Aquaman’ may have been expected to open bigger without the looming figure of a ‘Star Wars’ movie in December (it’s the first time since 2014 that we haven’t had one at Christmas), the DCEU suffered a near-fatal blow last year with critical and commercial flop ‘Justice League’. Audiences, it seems, were being cautious.

Those who took the risk liked what they saw from the James Wan blockbuster. It’s A- on Cinemascore is only bettered by ‘Wonder Woman’ in the DCEU, whose 4x opening weekend multiplier (achievable over the winter break) would land ‘Aquaman’ with a commanding $270m domestic total. Coupled with an ever-impressive overseas total – which is currently on $410.7m after a $91.3m weekend – and its okay start this weekend will be long forgotten in the next few weeks.

It was a closer-than-expected affair between Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ ($23.5m) and Paramount’s ‘Bumblebee’ ($21.6m), as both remained rooted in ‘Aquaman’s shadow. Both studios will be a little disappointed by the performances thus far, as heavy competition from ‘Aquaman’, and a slew of family-friendly releases (‘The Nutcracker’, for one) caused either one or the other to deliver under forecasts.

All isn’t lost, however. Nothing stops both films from really breaking out in the upcoming weeks and months and having special Box Office performances to wipe away any doubts, especially as both benefit from an A- on Cinemascore – a mark of strong praise.

Last Christmas saw ‘Jumanji’ open to just $36.2m, only to end on a whopping $404.5m, and ‘The Greatest Showman’ start at a poor $8.8m on its way to earning $174.3m. Even ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ opened to $19.9m, only to finish on $104.9m, meaning the festive period and beyond provides perfect fodder for highly-rated movies with low-ish openings.  Only ‘Vice’ and ‘Holmes and Watson’ provide any real competition until ‘Glass’ on January 18th, so both films can look to stretch their legs in the coming weeks.

Internationally, ‘Bumblebee’ will be pleased to have earned $31.1m from 38 markets (not including China) for a $52.7m opening, while ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ made $20.3m from 17 countries, including $9.4m from the U.K.

The less said about both ‘Second Act’ and ‘Welcome to Marwen’ the better. The former, fronted by Jennifer Lopez and produced by STX, floundered at the Box Office, earning $6.5m off of a $16m budget. Perhaps a case of a poor release date, the film will now struggle to claw back its budget in coming weeks. Still, it’s nothing compared to ‘Welcome to Marwen’, who somehow did worse than our pessimistic expectations of $4.3m with just $2.4m for 9th place.

Finally, it was a close-call between ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ and ‘The Favourite’ for 10th spot. Both award-hopeful royalty-focused period-dramas were practically tied coming into Sunday night, with ‘Mary’ just edging the fight with $2.3m, versus ‘The Favourite’s $2.1m.

The Christmas competition didn’t disappoint, and the big day itself sees ‘Vice’ and ‘Holmes and Watson’ enter wide to add more fun to the mix. How will the two fair against the competition? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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 *includes gross from Amazon previews

**includes gross from Wednesday onwards

 

 

The Odyssey Awards: 2018 Retrospective

As everyone begins to wind down after Christmas, here at JUMPCUT we’re excitedly gearing up for 2019! Before we’re done with 2018 though, we have a few more treats up our sleeve for you, including our most anticipated films of 2019 list and some big news which we’ll be sharing in a few days!

The retrospective features just some of our favourite films this year* (sadly we couldn’t fit them all in!) including A Quiet Place, BlacKkKlansman, Blindspotting, Bumblebee, Hereditary, Widows, Annihilation, Avengers: Infinity War, Love, Simon, and First Man to name but a few.

We’re sure you’ll likely pick up some notable absences from our video, but we aimed to keep it less than 2 minutes long – so not all our choices made the final cut!

We’d love to hear what films you’ve enjoyed this year and if you’ve got your top 10 list firmly nailed, share it with us on Twitter!

 

*based on UK release dates

‘Aquaman’ To Be Crowned Christmas King While ‘Poppins’ Swoops In With $35m On A Weekend Of Eight Releases: Box Office Predictions

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s Christmas time, and the Box Office bells aren’t so much jingling than crashing in with a deafening roar as a record eight new wide releases sound in the weekend.

We start with Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, the big-budget sequel to Robert Stevenson’s 1964 classic. Over half a century after ‘Mary Poppins’ wowed the world, Disney faces the joint task of appealing to the original fans while introducing a new generation of youngsters to the magic of P. L. Travers’ creation.

The mega-studio seem to be appealing to all so far, with the film earning a solid 77% on the Tomatometer, alongside an A- on Cinemascore. ‘Mary Poppins Returns$4.8m Wednesday opening may insignificant next to its hulking $130m budget, but we mustn’t forget how ‘The Greatest Showman’s entire opening weekend of just $8.8m preceded a whopping $174.3m total this time last year. A leggy run is possible, especially for a well-received family musical released at Christmas.

Let’s make this clear, however: Rob Marshall’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is no ‘Greatest Showman’. It’s Friday to Sunday opening, for one, is more likely to finish in the $35m region than below $10m (similar to ‘A Wrinkle in Time’), and won’t have the extraordinary 20x opening weekend multiplier that ‘Greatest Showman’ had.

Still, the film, which sees Poppins (Emily Blunt) return to the Banks’ (Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer) after 30 years, will hope that Mary’s counter-programming magic will see it defeat Paramount’s ‘Bumblebee’ for second place this weekend, behind James Wan’s ‘Aquaman’.

Both ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Bumblebee’ enter U.S. cinemas looking to become the catalysts for their respective franchise’s revivals. Both come from properties struggling in recent years, where their latest releases barely made over $600m from $200m+ budgets. While the DCEU still has a breath of fresh air in ‘Wonder Woman’, the name ‘Transformers’ became Box Office poison after last summer’s ‘The Last Knight’ grossed half a billion less than its 2014 predecessor.

Aquaman’s position is much less precarious than ‘Bumblebee’s. After last year’s ‘Justice League’ earned a disappointing $657.9m worldwide off a $300m budget, ‘Aquaman’ has seemingly bounced the DCEU back from the brink, already grossing $332m outside the U.S. in a matter of weeks, including a Warner Bros best $209.5m from China. The film has set its sights seriously on becoming the first DC movie since ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ to hit $1bn.

Bumblebee’, on the other hand, has had to completely reboot the franchise and even remove all mention of ‘Transformers’ from its name, an indication of Paramount’s intention to start anew.

It isn’t just the name that’s different. For the first time, a ‘Transformers’ film is critically adored (not that that’s ever affected its Box Office takings), with ‘Bumblebee’ boasting a franchise-best 94% on the Tomatometer. Similarly, ‘Aquaman’ is getting the plaudits with 64% (and an audience score of 86%) – only behind ‘Wonder Woman’ in the DCEU’s best reviews films. The film is a continuation of the events in ‘Justice League’, and sees Jason Momoa as the title character, who must fight his half-brother on behalf of the surface world.

While it’s clear that ‘Aquaman’ will top the Box Office with ease this weekend, with around $83m from Friday to Sunday (just over ‘Venom’s $80m from October), forecasting ‘Bumblebee’s performance remains a bit of a mystery. It doesn’t benefit from the counter-programming of a Disney musical like ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, but instead appeals to a very similar demographic to ‘Aquaman’, as both aim to please those looking for big-budget spectacle over the holidays.

Bumblebee’ sees Hailee Steinfeld as Charlie, who befriends and must protect the aforementioned Autobot Transformer against agent Jack Burns (John Cena) of Sector 7, a government agency that investigates aliens on earth.

Its interesting premise won’t necessarily translate into high Box Office takings in its first weekend with just $26m, but Paramount can bank on the film to restore some faith in the failing franchise in coming weeks to potentially push the film into profitability. Remember, if ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ could finish on $404.5m after opening to $36.2m, there’s hope for ‘Bumblebee’ yet.

Jennifer Lopez-fronted rom-com ‘Second Act’ looks to finish STX Films’ torrid time at the Box Office this year on a high note with a $10m opening, similar to that of ‘Love Simon’ ($11.8m) and ‘Aloha’ ($9.7m). Benefiting from half the budget of STX’s biggest domestic grosser of the year ‘I Feel Pretty’, ‘Second Act’ should find little trouble in at least breaking even by the time its theatrical run is done.

A flop was always expected with such a high number of new releases, and in this case, it falls to the ‘Downsizing’ of 2018, ‘Welcome to Marwen’, starring Steve Carrell and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Made on inflated $39m budget, we’re forecasting this to open below last Christmas’ ‘Downsizing’ ($5m), at around $4.3m.

Finally, period dramas ‘The Favourite’ and ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ hit 800 cinemas each in their wide releases, but won’t trouble the top ten, earning around $2m each. War documentary ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ opened on a special one-day release on Monday to $2.3m, and will be re-released on the December 27th.

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REVIEW: Bumblebee (2018)

Directed by: Travis Knight
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Dylan O’Brien, Justin Theroux, John Cena, Angela Bassett

Written by Dave Curtis

Let’s be honest, Transformer fans haven’t had an easy ride with movie adaptions. Back in 1986 during Transformers: The Animated Movieevery child’s favourite Autobot Optimus Prime was unexpectedly killed off. In 2007 Michael Bay unleashed the first (and best) of the live action films. What came next were 4 sequels all declining in quality. All were filled with giant explosions and very loud noises, but what they all lacked were any real cohesive storylines.  Frankly, they made no sense, it was all just crash, bang wallop. It was Paramount’s cash cow. Eventually, the cow ran dry and it was announced that the next film in the series would be a prequel/reboot of sorts centred around Bumblebee; the once little VW beetle but now a flashy Camaro getting his own spinoff movie. The fan reaction was mixed at best, but when it was announced that the film wouldn’t be directed by Michael Bay but by the exciting talent of Travis Knight (director of ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’), it gave new hope to a stagnating franchise.

Bumblebee begins right in the middle of a brutal battle in the last days of Cybertron. The Autobots are on the back foot. Optimus Prime (still voiced by Peter Cullen) sends Bumblebee to earth to escape and maybe set up base for the future survival of the alien race. On arriving at Earth he quickly runs into trouble with the army (John Cena) and he is also being pursued by two Decepticons, Dropkick and Shatter (Justin Theroux and Angela Bassett). Badly damaged, he goes into hiding where Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) finds the damaged beetle in a junkyard and takes him home.

Whereas Michael Bay thought bigger was better, the Travis Knight approach is a much more refined affair. The focus is not so much on the set pieces but on Charlie’s relationship with her new car. His decision to scale back on the number of the Transformers works wonders. It is not stuffed full of mindless action which might have been fun the first time around but quickly got tedious five movies in. Bumblebee very much uses its executive producer’s Steven Spielberg blueprint of movie making. Imagine E.T but with a giant transforming car and you are halfway there. It is full of Spielberg troupes like being set in a small rural town and a missing father figure. This kind of treatment may sound like a less of a spectacular but it helps drive the plot forward to a more grounded and enjoyable film.

The cast are all excellent in their own way. Hailee Steinfeld carries on from her fine performance from Edge of Seventeen. Her performance doesn’t get overshadowed by her CGI counterpart. This is her film. John Cena as Agent Burns chews up every line for fun. He knows what kind of movie this is and he doesn’t pull back from it.

Setting the film in 1987 lends itself well to the film, the era which the original cartoon first appeared helps capture the spirit. The 80’s soundtrack helps create a bridge between the character and the script and the history and era Transformers first came popular in. Knight’s decision to return Bumblebee to his original form (Bay wasn’t a fan) will please the fans.

Christina Hodson’s smartly written script doesn’t get bogged down in any mythical madness. It is pretty simple that it doesn’t try and squeeze too much out of a wafer-thin idea. It also benefits from a reasonable runtime. Where Bay’s films were over two and a half hours (sometimes pushing 3) Bumblebee is just under 2 and it zips along nicely. The action scenes don’t over stay their welcome and the characters are actually more than just eye candy (sorry Megan Fox).

Bumblebee is a vast improvement compared to its predecessors. It’s not all about giant fight scenes with loud noises. Gone are the muddled storylines and useless MacGuffins. This is a story with real heart and it actually makes sense. The central relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee are key and the main focus of the movie, and Travis Knight doesn’t let that get away from you. As Bernie Mac says in the first Transformers film “A driver don’t pick the car. Cars pick the driver. It’s a mystical bond between man and machine.” In this case, the car picked the right driver. Finally, Transformers fans have reasons to be happy and look to the future. Autobots roll out!

 

DAVE’S VERDICT:

3-5

Reel Women: December UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. This month we’ve got a couple of Netflix releases, some foreign language films, and the latest offering from the Transformers franchise. There’s plenty to tide you over this holiday season.

 

7 December

Dumplin’
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Written by: Kristin Hahn

Based on the YA novel by Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ (Danielle Macdonald) is the plus-size daughter of a former beauty queen (Jennifer Aniston) who signs up to her mum’s pageant as a protest. But soon things escalate as others follow in her footsteps.

Anne Fletcher is an actress, producer and director. Dumplin’ is her seventh film and some of her previous films include The Proposal (2009) and Step Up (2006). Kristen Hahn is a director, writer and producer, Dumplin’ is her second produced screenplay.

 

Tulip Fever
Directed by: Justin Chadwick
Written by: Deborah Moggach and Tom Stoppard

An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.

Deborah Moggach is a film and television screenwriter and wrote the novel Tulip Fever is based on. In 2006 her adapted screenplay of Pride & Prejudice was nominated for a BAFTA

 

Mug
Directed by: Malgorzata Szumowska
Written by: Michal Englert and Malgorzata Szumowska

When Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) undergoes a face transplant, he suffers identity issues as he struggles to find his place again in the tight knit community he’s from.

Mug is Malgorzata Szumowska’s seventh feature film and at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival it was nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear and won the Jury Grand Prix. Szumowska has won 25 awards and has another 30 nominations to her name.

 

Theatre of War
Written & Directed by: Lola Arias

A documentary that reveals the personal stories of both British and Argentinean former soldiers whose lives were deeply affected by the Falklands war.

Theatre of War is Arias’s first film.

 

8 December

Mortal Engines
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson

Set in a dystopian future where all cities are constantly moving across the Earth on wheels, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) fights for revenge for her mother’s murder.

Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have collaborated with Peter Jackson previously on King Kong (2005), the Hobbit trilogy, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They both won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

 

12 December

Out of Many, One
Directed by John Hoffman and Nanfu Wang

Documentary about immigration has become a divisive issue in the United States.

Nanfu Wang is a director, editor, cinematographer and producer.

 

14 December

Free Solo
Directed by: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A documentary about Alex Honnold, the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall.

Free Solo is Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s sixth feature-length documentary. Her previous film Incorruptible (2015) is currently on Netflix.

 

21 December

Bird Box
Directed by: Susanne Bier
Written by: Eric Heisserer

After a mysterious event leaves the world in fear, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her two children must travel through a forest blindfolded in order to survive.

Susanne Bier has over 20 directing credits to her name and she’s also a writer and producer. In 2016 she won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or a Dramatic Special for her work on The Night Manager.

 

24 December

Bumblebee
Directed by: Travis Knight
Written by: Christina Hodson

Set in the 1980’s, a teenage girl finds and befriends Bumblebee, an alien robot from another planet.

Bumblebee is Christina Hodson’s third produced screenplay. Her next screenplay is Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).


That’s nine films made by women released this month – three of them are on Netflix. As always, we’d love to hear what you think of any of these films if you get the chance to see them. We’ll see you next year as we continue to shine a spotlight on female filmmakers.

It’s Time To Fight Back In The Brand New ‘Bumblebee’ Trailer

“On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”

Directed by: Travis Knight

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Martin Short, Peter Cullen

Release Date: December 26th, 2018

First Teaser Trailer For ‘Transformers’ Spin-Off ‘Bumblebee’ Has Arrived!

“On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”

Directed by: Travis Knight

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Martin Short, Peter Cullen,

Release Date: December 26th, 2018

John Cena Joins ‘Bumblebee’ Spin-Off Which Arrives December 2018

Production on the first spin-off from the ‘Transformers’ franchise, ‘Bumblebee’, began today and THR have exclusively revealed that John Cena will play the lead role, alongside Hailee Steinfeld. Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) is directing this spin-off, with Michael Bay attached as a producer and Steven Spielberg signed on as an executive producer.

The only details we know of the film so far are as follows:

“‘Bumblebee’ will be set in 1987, where we find Bumblebee refuged in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.  When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”

Other confirmed members of the cast include Pamela Adlon, Gracie Dzienny, Abby Quinn, Ricardo Hoys, and Jason Drucker.

We now also know that Bumblebee will go toe-to-toe with ‘Aquaman’ in cinemas, as both release on the 21st December 2018.