October 2021 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
October 8, 2021
At this point in the game, it may or may not seem unusual that possibly the biggest, baddest, most blockbustery month of 2021 shall be... October. But the schedule isn't changing. James Bond sins again, and he does it beside TWO franchise mega-sequels about escaped serial killers, as well as a pair of animations (Addams and Ron, both gone wrong), Ridley Scott at sword once more, miniature Sopranos, a monster wearing antlers,
werewolves ghosts in London, and something they call Dune, a film that may or may not be a hit but is surely very, very long (three of the month's films are pushing three hours, in another real loss for brevity). All shall battle for supremacy over October's five perfectly spaced weekends, with numerous 2020s-era box office records falling helplessly at their feet.
1. Halloween Kills (October 15th)
And it's here all week.
Anyone who's not an obsessive fan of the Halloween franchise should skip to forecast entry #2 (or #10, whatever). Now that we've cleared the room; as best as I can understand it, this is the story that Halloween (2018) is telling:
Michael Myers, a grievously unsupervised six year-old, went ahead and killed his sister on Hallowe'en night 1963 (well, who doesn't know that!). He fled incarceration on October 30, 1978, and over the next 24 hours killed one trucker and three teenagers, also attacking Laurie Strode... before being rather easily captured by a sheriff's deputy and his doctor (Donald Pleasence), a bald-plated and wonderfully charismatic thespian who then presumably enjoyed a rather merry, bacchanalia-filled retirement in some luxurious, gated villa, free from worry about his former patient.
THEN, forty years later (!!!), in 2018, Michael Myers somehow flees incarceration again for the first time, and turns out to be an absolutely unkillable killing machine, going on a rampage through one endless Hallowe'en night and murdering dozens of firefighters, police officers, and other security personnel as well as many civilians in his grim wake. (and I bet his cellmate really misses him!) He simply can not be stopped by anyone... other than perhaps three women of the Strode line, who are biologically unrelated to him.
OK. So here is a trilogy about someone who committed a few murders as a young man, possessing only human abilities, and then escaped prison in his 60s as an invincible superman (and no, I'm not talking about Venom: Let There Be Carnage!). I kind of think this is the most implausible idea for a horror film, ever. And I believe just about anything.
The reasons behind the unusual plotting are not very complicated: the filmmakers decided that they simply wanted to make a movie where killer Michael Myers again confronts Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), set in the present, and unencumbered by any previous encounters or nagging memories since the very first, and at the end of the day, that was all there was to it.
Michael. Laurie. That name "Halloween." Box office. 4/4.
It's just the movie they wanted to make, so they went ahead and made it, claiming to strike every other film but the first from the record books. Though it 1), involved one of the few cases in film history of a lead actor rebooting their own previous films, and 2), made no logical sense in this time and place, those facts weren't relevant (their ideal film would probably have been set in 1993).
For more of my many complaints and observations, written in such venal and pedantic detail as only a devoted fan of the Halloween series like myself could come up with, see the October 2018 forecast (written long before seeing the film, of course, but still accurate). To that extended if spot-on whining, I'll add:
-They took out the brother-sister thing, but why? One of the screenwriters said it was to make Myers' horror "random." You just never know where he'll strike next (though many "random" people were targeted in previous sequels). Myers' attacks are so random in the 2021 film, in fact, that they've brought back a number of minor characters from the 1978 original as potential victims, some of them played by the very same actors (in other words, if you weren't a working actor in 1978, your chances of being attacked by Myers in 2021 just decreased by at least 50%).
-Further delivering on the "random" premise, 45 minutes into the 2018 film, Michael Myers is chasing down Jamie Lee Curtis' granddaughter out of each and every one of the 340 million people living somewhere in America, and at that point I have to wonder, but why? Does he know who she is? He just killed her two buddies ten minutes earlier - was he aware of the friendship? This whole plot point was left over from back when Myers and Strode were still written as siblings, wasn't it?
-Laurie's daughter's husband was portrayed as a nice guy, actually, not the secular parental monster of so many horror films. Yet in the 2018 sequel, Laurie, de facto, allows him to leave the house, when he is of course instantly murdered. His body is then stuffed in a closet, and subsequently burned down to a crisp in the trap Laurie set. She did see the body pre-blaze, but no one ever comments on this sad schmuck's fate. Did his daughter care? His wife have anything to add? Was there any attempt to rescue the body before its regrettable incineration?
-Depending on her fate in this film, Nancy Stephens, as Nurse Marion, might be the first actor in film history to play a character who is killed twice over by the same villain, in two separate movies that don't involve time travel (H20 was the other). If Halloween is rebooted again in 2038, will she be up to the plank once more?
-And speaking of. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), a quite good story about Laurie and Michael, brother and sister, facing off again, started off with a joke about how old the missing-in-action Myers would have been then, with the usual asides about a cane and walker (actually, he was just 41). Even with the... generous... heaps of comedy relief in the new Halloween films, you won't hear any such references in them, because joking about his age isn't funny anymore. A cane? Yeah, not out of the question no more.
-The 2018 film could be one of the most schizoid films ever made: the characters behaved as if they'd at least seen the other Halloween films, even if they were no longer allowed to admit they appeared in them.
-Some of the reviews of the 2018 film were really, really pushing it, most especially with that "best sequel ever" talking point. Case in point: Variety's critic, who shall remain unnamed (Peter DeBruge), even had the balls to describe the picture as the "final confrontation" between Laurie and Michael - just as the film's DVD box did. I know why the box did it, but what's his excuse? He also labeled the previous sequels, some of them quite excellent, as "other nonsense," then later admitted he'd never seen any of them. Okay! Here is an individual who would never sit down to watch a Halloween movie for pleasure. And I assume he only saw the 1978 original because it was "critic-y." How many other reviewers of the 2018 film are guilty of these same sins?
As another seasonal slasher would say, "naughty!"
And he'd be right.
-Yes, Laurie Strode correctly predicted Michael Myers' escape and rampage. But it took 40 years. Even if she's right, she's wrong.
-(spoilers) Laurie's final trap in the 2018 film is either too much or not nearly enough. If she thinks Myers is just a normal man, a simple shotgun blast should have done him in; or, she believes him to be a completely unstoppable mythic figure, in which case her basement trap is entirely insufficient, and wouldn't roast a fly.
-Laurie appears to hold two more entirely questionable assumptions. 1, that setting off a huge explosion and fireball through the woods won't attract the attention of the local constabulary. And 2, she could stop passing firetrucks en route towards a blazing inferno by shouting at them to stop, even if her daughter and granddaughter join in. Both guesses prove erroneous.
-If Michael Myers is strong as hell and can't be stopped by the proper authorities, how'd jail keep him all this time?
-In 1995's severely underrated and very well cinematographed Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, a man named Paul Rudd starred as a grown-up Tommy Doyle, the child Laurie babysat in the original Halloween.
Anthony Michael Hall, who plays Tommy in the 2021 film, is a fine actor, but honestly, had they somehow managed to get Rudd to play the role again here I would have forgiven this film absolutely anything (not that I won't anyway).
My great relief at the above offenses to my sacred fandom is, that, when AMC (the channel) does its annual Halloween marathon in 2038, the audience who give the 2021 movie another $100m will scarcely be able to tell it apart from all the other great little Halloween sequels playing on an endless and marvelous loop back and forth over the radiant dark orange October, day-and-night, and day-and-night.
No more "best sequel ever," none of this "finally gets Myers right again," no opening weekend records. No one will remember any of that among the dark and stormy nights replaying versions of the same scene over on screen, screaming and chasing and Strodes and the Shape from one corner of the 395 inch television to the other, Jamie Lee Curtis and Danielle Harris and Stacey Nelkin and Donald Pleasence and even Paul Rudd all blending into one as they blink back against the darkness. And among that Halloween night chaos, Halloween Kills will be just another Halloween sequel. And that's when I'll finally fall in love with it.
(post-script: I actually really liked Halloween Kills! It took the bad taste from the previous film out of my gut.)
Opening weekend: $41 million / Total gross: $95 million
2. Venom: Let There Be Carnage (October 1st)
In the comic books, Venom was formally created in 1988, a relatively late addition to Spider-Man's villain army, and then rampaged in his somewhat elaborate and misanthropic anti-Spidey crusade for a few good years before cooling his heels and turning his attention elsewhere. Indeed, by 1992, the character had become so popular with fans that 1), putting aside the people that he'd already happened to have killed, he could perhaps be transformed into an anti-hero, with his own lucrative title comics run, and therefore 2), an even worse nemesis needed to be introduced in order to make the original seem less insensitive in comparison (for other examples of that process of nicifying villains-by-contrast, see the Blind Man in Don't Breathe 2, the Cruella movie, and, uh, the post-presidential career of George W. Bush).
And what's worse than a symbiote? Another symbiote. Technically Venom's fault though, Carnage, a bright red ball of merriment and cold-blooded murder, was the solution. The new symbiote had broken off from the Venom suit and bonded to the most totally-inappropriate person it could possibly have contrived to, a maniacal serial killer named Cletus Kasady, entirely lacking in even the vague discerning powers of Venom's Eddie Brock. And what happens when you give an imprisoned but reasonably human mass murderer the extraordinary sci-fi powers of a comic book symbiote?
Nothing good. A lot of people died... Carnage was captured through Spider-Man and Venom's bitchy-co-operations, and then the next year, 1993, escaped Ravenscroft Institute (after killing every inmate and doctor, the comic book said...) with a whole host of other insanesos - Shriek, Doppelganger (a nasty six-legged Spider mutation), Demogoblin (don't ask, but yes, it used to be a goblin), and the palefaced, ghoulish graveyard refugee Carrion (really don't ask).
The ensuing events were dubbed Maximum Carnage by the media. And a whole lot of people died... again.
The Venom film of 2018 was not particularly well reviewed, but it was refreshing: in an age of interconnected and elaborate superhero stories running at two and a half hours and earning almost obscenely positive critical reviews, the filmmakers here just went ahead and made a pretty old-school origin story - create a hero, contrast with a villain, and add a conflicted love interest he must save (and saves him, too); Brock may hate to admit it, but his own story resembled the old Spider-Man/Sam Raimi films more than it did the tediously perfect Marvel melodramas that have been pedantically earning 90% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes in too many recent years.
Now a sequel must come, and here the story takes from the Maximum plot but narrows the field of psychos to a more manageable two, all the better to fit in the film's 90 minute running time, which is a model of brevity in a cold, length-obsessed world. After saving San Francisco from some unholy human-symbiote alliance back in 2018, our beloved Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) takes an interview with a serial killer on death row in order to pick up just a little bit of extra cash. And... it's Woody Harrelson! Staring back at him from the other side of the bars, complete with extravagant red bright mane, and a taste for biting off little symbiotic pieces that will prove very helpful in his escape. Elsewhere, Reid Scott and Michelle Williams (in perhaps her second best role after Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later) return as Eddie's ex-girlfriend and her man, Naomie Harris is the psychopathic Shriek, and Stephen Graham is the unlucky schmuck police detective who must navigate between the monstrosities that appear increasingly out of his league, lest he become cannon fodder.
A film involving Carnage in any capacity would have ideally been of the R-rated persuasion, but this... was not to be. Hardy and Harrelson are a perfect match, however, and Venom v. Carnage has the airs of being better than the original, which shows ($90m opening to the first's $80m... you know you'd want that extra 10 mil). With the endearing intraplay between Brock-Venom a distinct highlight, the film seems headed well on its way to besting the original.
As for whatever happened to the red-tailed menace? Casual fans might be surprised that Carnage scarcely made an appearance after 1993, and was summarily torn in half in outer space for his troubles in 2005, though he's been experiencing the token resurrection once or twice since. That scarcity makes a certain amount of sense - what do you do with a character whose life goals are nothing but murder, and, unlike the man in the film forecast at #1, he doesn't promise to only do it on seemingly just one day a year?
Total gross: $235m
3. No Time to Die (October 8th)
At last, October 8th will rid us of a film I've seen on the release schedule for so long I scarcely believe it even exists anymore.
No Time to Die runs a mere 2 hours and 43 minutes (over in the blink of an eye!), which clocks it in as the longest, most time-consuming picture in all of James Bond's 59 years, although to be perfectly honest, most of the Bonds are quite a little too long. To quote the posters for The Big Chill, How much love, sex, fun and friendship can a person take?
Daniel Craig stars for the fifth time, to continue, and at last!, resolve, the increasingly complicated throughline that's been establishing itself through his last four films. To recap, at the beginning of the new picture, one very naughty man (Christoph Waltz) is in prison, several others (Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Javier Bardem) are dead, and a fifth (Rami Malek) must arise from the shadows to complete this apparent conspiracy that's been bothering Mr. Bond since 2006 (he will succeed where 45 others have failed, yes?). As with the previous two chief villains, Malek is a recent Oscar winner. With that lifegoal out of the way, he has now concocted some evil scheme that must simply not be allowed to succeed, even though, at this point, Bond should let the other team win one, just to show it's a contest.
The casting is as it always is. Léa Seydoux returns as a Bond girl with a little staying power (oh, no, no more Bond weddings here, right?), while Ana de Armas, one of the rising stars of the moment, is also on hand to compete for Bond's attentions (I'm virtually certain British secret agents don't lead such interesting lives on a regular basis). The crew - Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes - Q, M, C, squared, whatever - are all back, except for Judi Dench, whose chief MI6 honcho remains dead; Lashana Lynch is the new 007, though not our lead. The direction is by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective), presumably faultless.
All of these thespians and more will engage in skullduggery, spycraft, cloak and dagger maneuvers, deception, investigation, verbal jousting and double-talk, and, of course, sex; eventually ending up in several action sequences that will resolve all of the above and finally absolve the war-weary spy of this complicated conflict.
No Time to Die was the first film (not the earliest-scheduled film) delayed because of the current troubles, pushed back from April 8 to October 2020, then April 2021, and now finally its last stop, at the next logical point on the rotation. Reviews breathlessly in from the UK are positive (82% or something), and will likely remain such once American critics have had their way with the picture, too. The Venom v. Carnage opening showed that box office for summer blockbusters and action pictures is thriving like no other, and even with that comic book film in the picture I imagine many of the same people who flocked to Carnage last week will re-flock to the theatres on Bond weekend, too. It's what we do best.
Craig will be replaced by younger eyes next year, an actor who will stand to continue the unwritten agreement between makers and audiences, forged long before I was born, that further Bond films are necessary in perpetuity. (seriously, there are so many millennials out there now who never had a say in this. can we get a re-vote?) At this point, though, he's not alone in living on screen forever, outputting a new film on an average of every three years, if that long: Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man will be joining him soon in eternity, as will The Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the etc. And you thought slasher film villains never left!
Opening weekend: $62 million / Total gross: $161 million
4. The Addams Family 2 (October 1st)
Charles Addams (no relation, but he did create them)'s ghastly cartoon family enjoys periods of
popularity gleeful misery in the public attention - the 1960s, the 1990s, at the end times - and appears to have emerged into another such cheerfully unlucky phase now.
In the first Addams film to play in theatres since 1993, the clan's 2019 animated adventure, co-directed by Greg Tiernan and Dreamworks veteran Conrad Vernon, opened to $30m on an October 11, and merged with the real holiday season well enough to gross $97m by the time November was almost through (the studio has decided to declare it a $100m earner, a number I, an $100m enthusiast, do not have full confidence in). The film was re-released last October to fill empty seats, and now comes the sequel, which has been a sure thing since even before the 2019 edition was glimpsed by (human) eyes. Elsewhere in the stratosphere, another Addams property, a live action series focused on daughter Wednesday, is gearing up to film, courtesy of Tim Burton, a man who in a remarkably unbelievable fact had never been involved in the franchise until now.
Voicing these ghoulish humanoids, Oscar Isaac returns as Gomez Addams and Charlize Theron is Morticia, a pair I always found a little too prestigiously high-up and awards-worthy for such an irrespectful enterprise. Chloë Grace Moretz is again the proto-goth Wednesday (no physical resemblance there, we can say), and Bette Midler is the cackly old grandmama with the impenetrable accent, though Finn Wolfhard, who as a matter of fact in life looks much more like an Addams than his character Pugsley ever did, is replaced by Javon "Wanna" Walton (Wolfhard had another franchise to reboot; see the November forecast for more information). And having exhausted most of the film templates for comedies in their recent ventures (con artists in the 1991 title, family reunions in the 1998 straight-to-video sequel), the new film takes the clan into that reliable, battle-tested, distinctly all-American plotline: Gomez apes Chevy Chase, and orders the wife and kids, with increasingly creepy Uncle Fester in tow, onto an impromptu cross-country vacation. America, here we come!
The Addams will try to tackle such must-see attractions as Salem, Massachusetts; Death Valley, California; and Johnny Depp's decapitated remains over at Sleepy Hollow, New York - yes, it's a theme vacation - and as implied, if America's grandest and most interesting tourist hotspots survived the Griswold family, the Addams should be a comparative piece of cake.
For us inside baseballers, The Addams Family 2 is known for another nightmare, a matter of scheduling. Just like that dark August day in 2009 when one horror sequel, The Final Destination (that's part 4 for the undiscerning), opened against another, Halloween II (part 10, technically), The Addams Family 2 was originally faced with an unwelcome visitor when Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (...part 4, for the poorly-educated), decided to share in its October 1 date, believing there's enough blood-tinted Hallowe'en pie to go around.
That film is gone from its sights (too bad, actually), and the Addams sequel has now opened with about $17m, above many predictions, including probably mine. It should enjoy itself week after week of Hallowe'en-time play, even moreso as children have had few options directly geared at them before, or will have since; not until Ron's Gone Wrong on the 22nd. Reviews for the "first" film were not kind (45% on the meter), and though the "second" one isn't scoring it up the flagpole, either, I enjoyed it a little more; though there's no accounting for my taste. Can Addams 2 even see the $97m enjoyed by its predecessor through its ghoulish, disembodied eyes? This clan of cryptkeepers will keep that door open.
Total gross: $72 million
5. Last Night in Soho (October 29th)
Thomasin McKenzie plays an innocent waif named Eloise who takes a train ride to London one grimcast afternoon and ends up back in time; part of one of those great tourist deals where you get to possess the body of a contemporaneous period-piece resident, lest anyone question your temporal incongruity (extremely futuristic fashion sense).
Eloise is in the '60s now, living the prototype of Swinging London through the body of a singer named Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy), who juggles lovers (Matt Smith) and mentors (Terence Stamp), both suspicious men, with some personal secrets, and what also appears to be a ghost story. Danger's afoote. If Sandie dies in 1966, will Eloise be slain in 2021, as well?
Direction is by Edgar Wright, who also co-wrote, and flips genres at last, from the light humour, violence, and male bonding of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz to a film that from those three probably retains only the violence. And it's true that, when you make a film as successful as Baby Driver (which is Wright's highest-grossing U.S. release, at $107m, and it's not a close contest), your next stop may be a golden ticket to a smaller, more personal project (assuming this film is that, of course, instead of a wildly commercial exploitation movie). Period flavour is alluded to with actual survivors of the era (Diana Rigg, Rita Tushingham, Margaret Nolan, Stamp) in supporting roles, while James and Oliver Phelps, the evil twins from Harry Potter, are called upon to twin again here.
What are the box office prospects for Last Night in Soho, which borrows its name from a 1968 single? Taylor-Joy is a veteran of these quiet little horror films (The Vvitch, Thoroughbreds), and McKenzie looks like someone who's about to spend a little time in the genre, too (welcome!). The opening weekend, which is on the very last, perhaps most frightful, days of October, can sometimes be a little late for a horror film to make an entry (though Saw did quite well there in 2004, with $18m), but fans who've exhausted the various possibilities of watching the twelfth Halloween film may look for something else, and find it here.
6. Antlers (October 29th)
Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons star as a brother-and-sister tag team in this horror film, and between the two of them they practically run the small Oregon town which finds itself the subject of terror this time: she's the school teacher and he's the sheriff, both professions which plausibly put them into contact with a young boy who may be harboring great evils. Things escalate from there, terrors abound, and judging by the poster, trailer, and title, all of which allude to antlers, someone or some thing is sure to sport a pair.
There must be metaphors packed in there somewhere, but metaphors are boring, so let's get down to the horror. Antlers is both helmed and co-written by Scott Cooper, a man who's directed tough, bloody, hard-nose dramas like Out of the Furnace and Hostiles (and the kinder, gentler Crazy Heart) and now turns over to perhaps just one small fork down the road, the scare genre. Graham Greene and Amy Madigan co-star. And Guillermo del Toro and David S. Goyer are among the producers, which means there's definitely some expertise and thought behind the project, bylines to be taken seriously.
There are perhaps some comparisons to the boy-and-his-monster tale Come Play from last October, but they shouldn't be made.
That's because Antlers was originally set for April 2020, and arrives now in this October, the two same key dates as the new and extremely long James Bond film has gone through; guess which one I'd prefer to see (the horror one, of course, the horror one). Searchlight studios opens it right before Hallowe'en, probably in a wide release, where it seems likely to play in the same financially mild if emotionally memorable neighborhood as another recent film from the same studio, The Night House; which was as genuinely frightening as it was sadly ignored in the waning days of August. That's not good. These people are professionals, and they are trying to scare you. Give them a chance.
Total gross: $8m (and for Last Night in Soho, triple that)
7. The Many Saints of Newark (October 1st)
This long-planned, much-anticipated follow up/prequel to The Sopranos cable series stars Michael Gandolfini in his big film debut; and he's his father's son, playing pop culture icon Tony Soprano as he comes into his own c. early late 1960s New Jersey and absorbs the family values that will guide him on his very successful career in business in decades hence. Cable prestige giant Alan Taylor directs. Jon Bernthal is Soprano father Johnny, Vera Farmiga is mother Soprano, an heir to Machiavelli, Alessandro Nivola is a feisty uncle, and Billy Magnussen, who's also out to kill James Bond this month, plays family associate Paulie Walnuts. Men with names like Silvio Dante, Christopher Moltisanti, and the singularly inappropriate Pussy Bonpensiero also abound (very Bon pensiero indeed).
Some of these names may sound familiar to readers, like old friends made fresh and new, having viewed the various wacky and light-hearted misadventures of the upstanding suburban Soprano family on six long seasons (86 episodes! 86!) of The Sopranos on HBO. The show began as a ground-breaking cable series (totally unbingable in 1999, except through VHS) and ended with an opaque final scene and shot (in more ways than one) that still befuddles enthusiastic debaters (many have concluded that Tony was not immortal after all).
Or, like me, you may not know them at all. The Sopranos is a show I have somehow contrived never to have seen a single episode of, ever. Far from bashful, I have some pride at the accomplishment, and also in the fact that, on the other hand, I've viewed Bride of Chucky and Urban Legend probably 25 times, and not cumulatively. You win some, you lose some.
But enough horror chauvinism. Show or no show, Farmiga and the others are likable, and deserve to have their movie seen, by me as well. The Many Saints of Newark has indeed received positive reviews mostly across the board (no film critics need be WHACKED after this one), but may have suffered the same fate many films aimed at 45+ old, "mature" adults have this year; they're just not turning out to the cinema, and HBO Max and other (evil?) streaming services are putting a further hamper in their dance. It's continually more clear that the past two years have exacerbated ongoing trends, to the max. And that means that Tony Soprano's again a man out of time.
Total gross: $12 million
8. Ron's Gone Wrong (October 22nd)
Putting up a bit of a fight with the Addams clan, here's another animated film (CGI, of course), a story of a young boy in the technologically way too-advanced future (so, like, 2022) who has a new pet robot named Ron, whose parts just don't quite fit right. Or perhaps he's perfect just the way he is, really: how else to explain Ron's penchant for endearing misadventures, memorable, perfectly-timed comedic punchlines, and the occasional adroit, unexpected, and persuasive moral lesson? What do kids love more but subtle moral teachings to get you through the day?
Jack Dylan Grazer, a very good young actor in dramatic roles like Don't Tell a Soul and slightly more comedic ones like Stephen King's It (movie was a laugh riot), is again the lead voice as the boy, Barney (he was also Alberto Scorfano, the Italian sea monster with the curiously American accent, in the recent and quite picaresque Luca - the one of the two sea monsters who wasn't a total drag, if that helps). Assisting him are Zach Galifianakis, as the robot, Ron, and Ed Helms, as the dad (casting the two seems like a reunion, but I just can't recall where I've seen them together); as well as Queen of all Media, Olivia Colman; and younger thespians like Thomas Barbusca. They're all good for this. A little snap in their vocals.
Ron's Gone Wrong was co-written by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith, also of the script for Arthur Christmas (2011), and was co-directed by Jean-Philippe Vine, again with Smith, who had the same duty on that Christmas film, which has joined the yearly holidaytime rotation with precision. A British/US co-production, Ron's has a vague UK tint (more vague than Arthur Christmas, to be sure), but an overall American feel. Its release date also gives me random flashbacks to Astro Boy, another robot/boy movie that was released on practically the same weekend twelve years ago, largely to unresponsive audiences. That's probably just my long, irrelevant memory talking; Ron's Gone Wrong has the advantage of a funnier premise, and isn't based on reasonably obscure intellectual property. And aside from the Addams insane car clown posse, it also doesn't have much competition, with the next children's movie opening only in mid November, a few good weekends from now. Gone wrong? Nah. Box office headlines will have to come up with a whole other pun.
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $50 million
For The Last Duel, and, uh, Dune, see Part 2.