Pop Culture Predictions #4

Hi, I'm Drew, a big nerd who happens to run a hybrid marketing and production company. I lead content and brand strategy and use data to build insights that inform our clients' business decisions. In this weekly series, I'm going to pick a couple of pop-culture IPs and make a bold prediction based on past experience, real-time data, and a boatload of moxie. Here we go...

Prediction 1 - Baz Lurhman's Elvis will be the top Grossing Non-franchise or sequel film in 2022

Runner's up: NOPE & Bullet Train

In the age of blockbuster superhero films, cinematic universes, sequels, prequels, spin-offs, reboots, and re-imaginings it's rare when a film comes out that doesn't fall into one of those categories. But yet there are a few original films that try to squeeze some money out of moviegoers that want a film they don't have to read 10 wiki pages to figure out what's going on before the movie starts. You can probably count the number of original story films that will come out this year on your hand, but the only one that matters is Baz Lurhman's Elvis, and I predict it will be the top-grossing non-franchise or sequel film this year. The formula is simple rockstar + biopic + hyper-creative director + amazing library of music + hardcore Elvis fans = $$$$$$. The previous top 4 musical biopics are Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) which made $216.3 million, Walk the Line (2005) $119.5 million, Rocketman (2019) $96.3 million, and Ray (2004) $75.3 million. I for one think Elvis will outperform Freddie Mercury and Elton John in 2022 and bring home upwards of $250 million.

Other films that have a shot are Jordan Peele's sci-fi horror NOPE and Brad Pitt's action comedy Bullet Train. But neither have the legacy or real life story of "The King of Music."

Pick your non-franchise non-sequal blockbuster

Prediction 2 - A Super Hero Film Will Win Best Picture In The Next 3 Years

This years Oscars was for lack of better words "a shit show". Sure there was an incident where a mega star celebrity slapped the shit out of a comedian presenter but that aside, the viewship was the second worst ever with only 16.6 million people tuning in. For comparison just two years ago viewership was 23.6 million and at that's down still substatianlly from just 4 years pior to 34.4 million in 2016.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter and Nielsen

So what's the deal yo? Is it the presenters? Nope. They've always been meh after Billy Crystal. Is it those technical awards where no celebrities win so they're handed out off air and just shown as snippets throughout the live broadcast? Hell no. Please Academy stop being so daft. What could it possibly be? (please hear the sarcasim)

If we look back before the viewship dip at 2016's best picture nominees they include The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road. Two huge blockbuster films that a shit load of people saw. Did they win? No. But a lot of poeple thought they had a shot against the sub par eventual winner Spotlight which no one talks about. Yet everyone still talks about and refrences Mad Max. You could even say the action pieces in Dune are inspired by what Mad Max: Fury Road accomplished. I digress. My prediction is that the Academy may finally pull their heads out of their asses and not only nomiate a super hero film for best picture but garner enough votes to actually win.

If the Academy alone got 1/3 of the Synder Fans to watch the Awards show it would probaby beat 30 million views but Twitter would be an awful place for 4 hours. God help us. As more and more aurteur directors find their way into Marvel and DC's pocket book I think we may find that one will break through the formula and deliver something that changes the way that genre is percieved. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight almost broke through with Heath Ledger winning an Best Actor Oscar for his performance as the Joker. Speaking of, The Joker, was another almost for the genre. At the 92nd Academy Awards, it earned a leading 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, winning Best Actor for Phoenix and Best Original Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir. Maybe Martin Scorsese will direct a super hero film and finally get that 2nd Oscar (there's that sarcasm again).

I'll be back every few weeks with some more predictions. The value of a prediction is not accuracy (though it is better to be right than wrong), but the reasoning and conversation that the prediction catalyzes. Let me know if you think I'm right or wrong in the comments below!

Pop Culture Predictions #3

Hi, I'm Drew, a big nerd who happens to run a hybrid marketing and production company. I lead content and brand strategy and use data to build insights that inform our clients' business decisions. In this weekly series, I'm going to pick a couple of pop-culture IPs and make a bold prediction based on past experience, real-time data, and a boatload of moxie. Here we go...

Prediction - Belfast will win the Oscar for Best Picture and Kenneth Branagh will win Best Director

Full disclosure, I haven’t even seen Belfast yet. So, I’m looking at this prediction solely based on what we know about how the Academy votes from past winners. Personally, I’d love to see Dune win Best Picture as I will always root for well-made science fiction. Alas, here's why Belfast will win Best Picture at this year's Oscars.

Bottom Line: I mean, anything can happen Oscars night, but if I were a betting man (I'm not), then I'd double down on Belfast to win Best Picture and Branagh to win Best Director for his body of work as a whole but then have it taken away by a last min vote recount where Drive My Car wins everything.

Prediction 2 - The Book of Boba Fett WON'T get a season 2 on Disney+

While I enjoyed The Book of Boba Fett and its obvious western tropes and callbacks to the original trilogy, it’s hard not to notice that this series was just a character set up to a larger story being told. Let’s look at a few notable truths:

  1. Boba Fett was only the focus in 5 of the 7 episodes in a show titled The Book of Boba Fett. Two of the episodes focused on the Mandalorian, Baby Grogu, and Luke Skywalker with teases for the upcoming Ashoka series. This right away is a red flag. It seems the writers had a hard enough time filling 7 episodes of Boba’s story and instead felt the need to bring the focus back to the now more popular Mandalorian.
  2. Star Wars is at its best when we explore the larger universe. Lucas understood that when he dreamed up the ice planet Hoth, the floating city of Bespin, and the lava planet of Mustafar. All in contrast to the desert planet of Tatooine, which from Luke’s and the rest of the galaxy’s perspective is unremarkable. The Book of Boba Fett (spoiler alert) ends with Boba in control of the planet as its protector and crime boss with a heart of gold. I’m not sure we need or want another season of antics on Tatooine. The planet has interesting historical significance but is best left as a location we visit and reminisce about vs. making a home there for our characters.
  3. Let’s look at viewer sentiment. Based on scores from Rotten Tomatoes, The Mandalorian far out scores The Book of Boba Fett.

Also, taking a look at search interest, we can see TBOBF spike at episodes 6 and 7 when the show pivots from Boba’s story to the Mandalorian and baby Grogu.

Google Trends Interest Over Time For The Book of Boba Fett

Bottom Line: It's pretty clear that Disney is taking from the Marvel playbook and applying it to the Star Wars universe here. At the rate they are introducing new (and old) characters that all exist in the same time period (The Mandalorian, Boba Fett, Ashoka, Deep Fake Luke Skywalker, Grogu, Black Krrsantan, Fennec Shand, Bo-Katan, Cobb Vanth), they are clearly building towards an interconnected series of moments that fill the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. We may even get our Avengers: End Game type moment at some point.

So we'll clearly see Boba Fett and his group of friends again, but I don't think it will be as a standalone series.

I'll be back every few weeks with some more predictions. The value of a prediction is not accuracy (though it is better to be right than wrong), but the reasoning and conversation that the prediction catalyzes. Let me know if you think I'm right or wrong in the comments below!

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