Movie News – The Roar Of Lionsgate – The Whimper Of A Dog’s Purpose


Box Office Brasserie – Movie News For Movie Lovers

Oscar Noms & On…

With all of Hollywood abuzz, basking in the golden light that shines on Tinseltown when the Academy Award nominations are announced, it’s easy to forget the industry marches on. That said, in a year’s time audiences will likely have a difficult time remembering the three new entries–“A Dog’s Purpose,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” and “Gold”–that arrive in multiplexes on this blustery cold winter weekend.

The awards heat will certainly boost many of the Best Picture contenders, none more so than Lionsgate’s “La La Land,” which now shares an Oscar record with “Titanic” and “All About Eve,” garnering 14 nominations.

In fact, Lionsgate instantly transformed from YA wasteland to Best Picture wonderland as the studio has three films nominated for the top prize: “Hacksaw Ridge,” “La La Land,” and “Hell or High Water.”

With 24 nominations total, the beleaguered studio is suddenly the belle of the Oscar ball this season, eclipsing the combined nominations of Disney, Universal, WB, Fox, and Sony, which totaled 18.

Paramount was the top winner of the Big 6 studios with 18 nominations themselves, including two for Best Picture: “Fences” and “Arrival.” The biggest loser was Universal, which has just one nomination: “Hail, Caesar” for best Production Design.

So will there be any box office bumps? Most assuredly. With “La La Land” and “Hidden Figures” in full stride right now, they will both blow past $100M+ and close to $150M when all is said and done–especially “La La Land,” if it ends up sweeping the Oscars like it did the Golden Globes.

So who takes home the ultimate Golden Boy? If not “La La Land,” which film? I’d put my money on “Hidden Figures,” “Lion,” and “Moonlight.” However, when “Titanic” and “All About Eve” were also nominated with a record-breaking 14 nods, both ended up winning the coveted Best Picture. So the odds are forever in Lionsgate’s favor.

A24’s “Moonlight” and Weinstein’s “Lion” have the most traction to gain as they both have seen limited box office success with around $16M each, so expect a big push from both of their respective studios over the next month.

“Lion” is the more commercial of the two films, and should see a major box office boost, deservedly so. It’s my favorite film of the year, and it’s not even close in my opinion. Sorry, “La La Land.”

Hollywood has already patted themselves on the back with “The Artist,” “Argo,” and most recently, “Birdman,” so it would be nice to see them go a different direction. No doubt “La La Land” is really good, but I have my doubts that it will be remembered as a truly great film in decades to follow.

It’s certainly the populous choice, which to me, highlights just how vanilla it really is.  Director Damien Chazelle’s previous film, “Whiplash,” is much more poignant and gripping in terms of artistic achievement.

The biggest story concerning the new films this weekend is probably PETA’s fierce boycott of Universal’s “A Dog’s Purpose,” which lifted its leg on the film as leaked footage revealed animal abuse on the set.  Not sure how much this will affect the box office, but family films are much needed in the marketplace right now, and this was/is expected to fill that void.

One of the producers and the screenwriter have now publicly apologized for the occurrence and have tried to make the mistreatment as apparent as possible. Usually in society when you admit to wrongdoing, face the issues head-on, and apologize…all is eventually forgiven.  We’ll see what happens this weekend.

Honestly, in 2,900+ theaters, it probably would have made up to $25M without the controversy– now, who knows, maybe $20M or so; it’s really difficult to gauge, as public sentiment sways radically with issues of animal abuse.

Abusing corrupt corporations and mutant spawn, however, are always welcomed, and that brings us to Sony’s video game conclusion, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.”

The most successful video game franchise of all time is set to conclude after already injecting $915M worth of cold hard cash into theaters. The sixth in the series, “The Final Chapter” will bring that total to over $1B, as the last two installments “Afterlife” and “Retribution” scored $296M and $240M, respectively.

In 3,000+ theaters expect upwards of $20M, although with M. Night’s “Split” swiping a massive $40M last weekend, his film will no doubt bleed money straight from the main vein of “Resident Evil.”

Will this really be the last we see of “Resident Evil?” Well, remember that Part 4 of “Friday the 13th” was called “The Final Chapter” and Part 5 of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” was called “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.” And those series just kept killing it, barely taking a breather, in fact.

Oh yeah, and the last time we happened upon Jigsaw in the “Saw” franchise it was called “Saw 3D” and advertised as “The Final Chapter” on the poster. Guess what? A new “Saw” is being fired up this Halloween. So, you do the math, horror gurus.

No matter what kind of fuzzy math you subscribe to, it won’t save Weinstein’s latest failed Oscar bait film, “Gold.” The R-rated drama failed to score a single nomination, and will be unceremoniously dumped into theaters this weekend, just like Weinstein did with Michael Keaton’s “The Founder” last weekend, as it debuted with a tick less than $4M.

With audiences rushing out to catch up on all the Oscar nominated dramas out there, no doubt they will likely skip this Matthew McConaughey starrer, even though the Oscar pedigree is there, as it’s directed by “Traffic” and “Syriana” scribe, Stephen Gaghan.

Digging into 2,200+ theaters, “Gold” likely won’t pan out: $4M.



  1. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – $20M
  2. A Dog’s Purpose – $19M
  3. Split – $19M
  4. Hidden Figures – $13M
  5. La La Land – $12M



Best Picture:

“Arrival” Paramount

“Fences” Paramount

“Hacksaw Ridge” LGF

“Hell or High Water” LGF

“Hidden Figures” Fox

“La La Land” LGF

“Lion” Weinstein

“Manchester by the Sea” Roadside Attractions

“Moonlight” A24

Lead Actor:

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”

Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Lead Actress:

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

Dev Patel, “Lion”

Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”

Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director:

“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson

“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins

“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan

“Arrival,” Denis Villeneuve

Animated Feature:

“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner

“Moana,” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

“My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras and Max Karli

“The Red Turtle,” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki

“Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Animated Short:

“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev

“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj

“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller

“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne

“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Adapted Screenplay:

“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer

“Fences,” August Wilson

“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

“Lion,” Luke Davies

“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Original Screenplay:

“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills

“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan

“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle

“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou

“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan


“Arrival,” Bradford Young

“La La Land,” Linus Sandgren

“Lion,” Greig Fraser

“Moonlight,” James Laxton

“Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto

Best Documentary:

“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

“Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo

“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety, and Hebert Peck

“Life, Animated,” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman

“O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Best Documentary Short:

“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki

“Extremis,” Dan Krauss

“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen

“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis

“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best Live Action Short:

“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi

“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten, and Giacun Caduff

“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson

“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy

“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Man Called Ove,” Sweden

“Land of Mine,” Denmark

“Tanna,” Australia

“The Salesman,” Iran

“Toni Erdmann,” Germany

Film Editing:

“Arrival,” Joe Walker

“Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert

“Hell or High Water,” Jake Roberts

“La La Land,” Tom Cross

“Moonlight,” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Sound Editing:

“Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare

“Deep Water Horizon,” Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

“La La Land,” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan

“Sully,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound Mixing:

“Arrival,” Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, and Peter Grace

“La La Land,” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio, and Stuart Wilson

“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Mac Ruth

Production Design:

“Arrival,” Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock

“Hail, Caesar!,” Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

“La La Land,” David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

“Passengers,” Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Original Score:

“Jackie,” Mica Levi

“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz

“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell

“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Original Song:

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Trolls” — Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, and Karl Johan Schuster

“City of Stars,” “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story” — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana” — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Makeup & Hair:

“A Man Called Ove,” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson

“Star Trek Beyond,” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo

“Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson

Costume Design:

“Allied,” Joanna Johnston

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Colleen Atwood

“Florence Foster Jenkins,” Consolata Boyle

“Jackie,” Madeline Fontaine

“La La Land,” Mary Zophres


“Deepwater Horizon,” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington ,and Burt Dalton

“Doctor Strange,” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, and Paul Corbould

“The Jungle Book,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon

“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, and Brad Schiff

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel, and Neil Corbould


Jeff Bock, NewsWhistle’s movie editor, is the senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at


Poster Image (A Dog’s Purpose) Courtesy of Universal, Poster Design by Leroy and Rose and Ignition

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