2018 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Report | Aquaman | Bohemian Rhapsody | Bumblebee

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2018 Holiday Movie Pool - Final Report

Bohemian Rhapsody
Creed II
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Holmes & Watson
Instant Family
Mary Poppins Returns
Mortal Engines
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Robin Hood
Second Act
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
The Mule
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Welcome to Marwen
The Oscars Nominations have come out, the Golden Globe Winners have been announced, and, most importantly, the Razzie nominations have been lit up for all to see. It’s nice to see the things that matter can still get accomplished despite politicians shutting down everyone’s federally paid salaries except their own.

In honor of this time of year and Melissa McCarthy joining a very select group of people to voted for a Razzie and Oscar in the very same year, it’s time for the 2018 Holiday Movie Pool Final Report!!!

[And in case you were wondering, the same year Sandra Bullock was nominated in 2009 for The Blind Side, the Razzie’s remembered her already forgotten, released on Labor Day Weekend movie All About Steve, which co-starred the now “big deal” Bradley Cooper and received an impressive 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. At least Melissa McCarthy’s The Happytime Murders got to 23%. Still, I can’t even ever remember Melissa’s Oscar Nominated performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me even actually coming out. I just remember seeing the trailer a few times. Given the huge amount of Bird Box buzz, whether positive or negative, I’m going to still just call it a yearly win for Sandy again and that’s the way it’ll always be. Suck on that, McCarthy!]

Someone asked me if this was a down year for Holiday Movies at the end of the year. Considering I saw most of them and when asked what I’ve seen I still draw a blank for a few good seconds, that’s not a good sign. Despite my often highly caffeinated sarcasm, I’m generally a glass half-full person when it comes to movies. While many were in the “alright to good” range, probably Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the only I’d be up to see again anytime soon. Ralph didn’t just Break the Internet. He also broke me from wanting to see his awesome first movie for awhile.

All that said, people did go to the movies. Ten films grossed over $100 million in the Holiday Movie Pool season. That’s a ton! Only three crossed $200 million though and I bet by next Holiday Season we’ll draw a blank at naming more than three of these flicks. I’ve already forgotten Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald came out and would’ve delayed the pool update another few weekends if I had to just so it wouldn’t be in the Top Five. Thankfully, two other films passed it just this weekend to save me that horror.

So, let’s get to it. Time to bury our dead, have a toast of lukewarm water for middling success, and five cheers for our final Top Five films of the 2018 Holiday Movie Pool!!!

Box-Office Burials…

- Mortal Engines belongs in that rare club of hugely expensive blockbusters that people literally had zero interest in. You know what Battlefield Earth, Jupiter Ascending, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, John Carter and The Lone Ranger? They all did better than Mortal Engines. Run for the hills, everyone!

- The Nutcracker and the Four Realms wasn’t much better. All the Disney horses and all the Disney men couldn’t put this ballet back together again.

- The Girl in the Spider’s Web made sure we’re more likely to get a film starring The Muppets’ Swedish Chef before Lisbeth Salander shows up again.

- Overlord was like that… wait, what the heck was this movie again? Next…

- Robin Hood stole from the movie’s investors and gave to the poor Key Grips and Caterers that needed a gig. There are worse things that can happen.

- Welcome to Marwen was like that all-inclusive resort at Chernobyl. Hard pass.

- Holmes and Watson couldn’t solve the biggest mystery of all: Was this a mystery or a comedy? Or, was it just a mystery why they tried to make this a comedy? They could’ve called the characters Frank and Beans and literally nothing would’ve been different in the movie.

Lukewarm Success (Like staying at Stateline instead of going to Vegas)...

- Second Act gave us a reason to celebrate Jennifer Lopez still looking great at age 49, so there’s that. There’s a huge crew right at 49 though that are all still amazing: Jennifer Aniston, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani, Puff Daddy, Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, and, of course, the only one still willing to get naked on screen, Ken Jeong.

- Vice seemed like it kept waiting for all the critical acclaim and awards to boost it into something special. Even after receiving that it still kinda petered-out with around $40 million. Maybe folks just could never figure out whether seeing it was an act of support or an act of rejection for Dick Cheney and his ways.

- Widows seemed like a hard sell from the get-go. It felt like a super well-cast version of Set It Off (which, truth be told, Vivica A. Fox, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith in 1996 was nothing to sneeze at!) and all you could wonder about director Steve McQueen is, “You spent five years since 12 Years a Slave to make this?”

- Instant Family fulfilled its purpose in making sure Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne make at least two or three movies every single year and saved everyone the time by having them combine their efforts for a change. Congrats to everyone involved!

The Close But No E-Cigarette…

- The Mule just wouldn’t get out of the way, stubbornly walking it’s way to a $100 million gross. It’s always an uplifting story when seniors find new ways to contribute to society and continue to feel useful!

- Creed II wasn’t exactly Rocky IV, yet it will probably save Creed III from being Rocky V which is the best gift anyone could ask for.

- Bumblebee buzzed its way to a feel good story of the “best reviewed Transformers movie ever” and yet made less than every other Transformer movie ever. Uh... yay?

- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had the most pretentious title of the holiday season and yet still was in the Top Five up until the very last weekend. If the next in the series drops another $75 million from the first film, it’ll be called Fantastic Beasts and Nowhere to Find Them.

- Mary Poppins Returns may be the most shocking, at least to me, film to miss the Top Five in sometime. I knew there was a chance it wouldn’t quite connect or even be bad, however, I didn’t expect someone who was practically perfect in every way and the lack of any other traditional family films for weeks to do so, well, mediocre. I mean, completely forgettable Sing made $270 million just two years in this same slot. How does frickin’ Mary Poppins not compete with that?!

At last, we’re here… The Actual Top Five Films of the Holiday Season!!! It took till the very last three-day weekend for our #5 film to settle into place and send shockwaves through poolers everywhere. There’s no way I would’ve ever pegged these five flicks to be the top dogs. I guess there’s only so much I can do with my AMC A-List membership. WIthout further ado, here we go...

#5. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse - $161.1 million
With $600,000 to spare, Spidey swung in and knocked Mary Poppins out of the Top Five. Sony came up with their best Spider-Man story since 2004’s Spider-Man 2 and their best animated movie since Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (“Steve!!!”). It all worked together for one of the funnest, freshest, and actually comic book geekiest takes on the superhero genre.

#4. Ralph Breaks The Internet - $194.4 million
Ralph broke the screenplay rule of don’t have the drama lead the story, have the story lead the drama. Everything felt forced in this “dads have to let their kids grow up” trope and the intended laughs, outside of some fun Disney paradies, couldn’t make up for it. It figures Wreck-It Ralph would wreck a sequel. Still, it’s all the sadder when you consider some of the best videogames are sequels: Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong Jr., and Street Fighter II. This was more like Frogger II: Three Deep.

#3. Bohemian Rhapsody - $202.5 million
There’s almost been more drama about this film than the actual drama in the film. At the end of the day, we’ve learned what we’ve always learned: people like what they like. Did they sanitize the story, did they mess-up dates, and should the credited director go to jail if the charges against him are true? Yes, yes, and, please God, yes. Did they put together an entertaining story of a band coming together, was Rami Malek really good as Freddie Mercury, and was it fun to feel like you were in the middle of a big Queen concert? Yup, yup, and yup. Also, as far as the pool goes, this was the only non-sequel, non-reboot, non-superhero movie to make the Top Five. It’s nice to know there’s room for other types of films at the box-office.

#2. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch - $270.3 million
Maybe we should’ve all seen this coming. No one was really a “fan” of the live-action Grinch and yet it went on to make $260 million. I didn’t see the new animated one myself, but I don’t recall bumping into anyone “raving” about it and here it is making even more money 18 years later. Clearly, Benedict Cumberbatch trumps Jim Carrey. Maybe it’s just that at the end of the day, it’s hard to get tired of a story that tells us no matter how grumpy, angry, and frustrated we are, we want to believe things can still cause our heart to grow three sizes one day. Ooh, and can we sell you a green Grinch Icee at the concession counter while we’re at it!

#1. Aquaman - $306.8 million
Aquaman... Aquaman... Does whatever an aqua can. And, if you’re like me, you’re also still not exactly sure what an aqua can do. There’s a bit of talking to sea animals, yet it mostly seems to be about spinning tridents, having really large muscles, avoiding lasers that never seem to hit even if they’re moving at the speed of light and you’re most likely not, cracking one-liners, and drinking copious amounts of beer. Actually, these seem like exactly the kind of superhero attributes most guys wish they could have! No wonder it was a hit. There were a lot of doubters out there, but by hook or by fish hook or by nothing else grabbing our attention, Aquaman delivered the goods as a fun film to wrap up the 2018 Holiday Movie Season!

by Matt Neuenburg on 01/23/2019

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Aquaman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bumblebee, Creed II, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Holmes & Watson, Instant Family, Mary Poppins Returns, Mortal Engines, Overlord, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Robin Hood, Second Act, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, The Mule, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Vice, Welcome to Marwen, Widows
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