Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

December 10, 2015

Don't stand so close to me.

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Kim Hollis: Prohibitive Oscar favorite Spotlight expanded to 980 locations this weekend and now has a running total of $16.6 million. What do you think of its box office so far, and what do you think of its awards chances?

Jason Barney: The box office run thus far is pretty impressive. The $20 million budget has been nearly matched, and this film appears to be hitting its stride at the right moment. The expansion of screens continues, and things are looking very good going into the Christmas season. With the box office for all films to rise in the coming days, Spotlight's prospects look quite promising.

Michael Lynderey: I think the movie has an outside chance of making $100 million. While it's not action-packed or laden with crackling thrills, I think Spotlight has all the right ingredients to be a very profitable Oscar movie: an all-star cast (Michael Keaton is now officially an awards-friendly actor), great reviews, no particular controversy to speak of, straightforward storytelling without any quirks that turn off mainstream audiences (or me), a plot that's easy enough to explain in about one sentence, and a certain crowd-pleasing sensibility (really). You'd be surprised how few of the big Oscar films fit all of these criteria; Keaton's Birdman, for example, didn't really qualify for those last three. Spotlight opened at just the right time, and it's expanding at exactly that moment where it can safely be taking in around $5 to $7 million a week until late February. If it wins Best Picture (which it's somewhat the front-runner for), it would seal the deal.

Max Braden: I think Spotlight will continue to do solid business, and at this early stage I expect it to be among the films with the most nominations but, (and I say this without having seen the movie) I'm just so ho-hum about the whole slate of potential nominees this year. Joy feels like more of the same. Carol feels like more of the same. Revenant will win A-for-effort awards, but does it have the heart of a Best Picture? Spotlight may have great acting and a Big Tragic Conspiracy as its subject, but it's also an issue that has been picked apart for over a decade. The newspaper business is as likely to seem quaint and outdated as it is revelatory. Is Spotlight really going to shed new light on the sexual abuse scandal? Is it told in a way or shot in a way that makes it stand out as a film unlike others? This year's field seems so lacking in any dispute between camps of darling film choices that Star Wars could just as easily sneak in and sweep everything (I wouldn't bet on that right now, but Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was both a massive financial blockbuster as well as dominant award winner). Spotlight may come out the ultimate winner this year, but will that really matter? I'm open to comeuppance for being prematurely pessimistic, but I'm just not feeling the passion for awards season yet.


Kim Hollis: Brooklyn, another critical and awards-buzz darling, expanded to 906 venues and has earned $11.2 million to date. What do you think of its box office so far, and what are its prospects when it comes to awards?

Max Braden: Looking at the numbers for screenwriter Nick Hornby's previous award nominee, An Education, the averages are pretty similar while Brooklyn has expanded to wide release much sooner than An Education did. There's room in a 10-candidate slate for Best Picture, but I'm expecting that other movies will have more campaign energy and we'll see Brooklyn be limited to an acting and writing nod. I do think it will get a much better reception at the BAFTAs.

Kim Hollis: The box office is pretty terrific for a film that ought to really just be an art house darling. It's the kind of movie that the Academy will want to nominate even though it may not be hitting with organizations like SAG or HFPA. In a normal year, Saoirse Ronan is a lock for a nomination, but the Best Actress category is so hotly contested, there are no guarantees.



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