Weekend Openings: Oscar Nomination Bumps

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This weekend, a would-be 2016 award hopeful and a potential 2017 tearjerker join the post Academy Award nomination market. Expect a big bump for Oscar nominees like “La La Land” and “Hidden Figures,” plus potential legs for M. Night Shyamalan‘s hit “Split.” Now, let’s check out what new options this slate has to offer today:

Best Bet This Week

“A Dog’s Purpose” (Universal Pictures)

Few movies not revolving around terminal illness seem as sure a bet to make audiences cry than this one. A dramedy about a dog being reincarnated multiple times and coming back into contact with a former owner (played by Dennis Quaid)? There’s tears flowing just from writing that sentence. An Oscar nominee this is not, but it could turn into a big hit. Bad publicity from a video showing a dog potentially being endangered on set could bite into the audience, but that remains to be seen. Families likely will make this their option over the weekend.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 27%
Oscar Hopes – No chance
Screen Count – 3,050 Screens

Also Opening of Note

“Gold” (The Weinstein Company)

Matthew McConaughey initially was looked at as potentially a return Academy Award nominee for this adventure drama. Reviews and a jumbled release date killed its prestige shot, outside of an Original Song nomination at the Golden Globes. Now, it just hopes to find an audience and make some money. A week after The Weinstein Company did the same with “The Founder,” this one will hope to shake off a poor precursor season at the box office. Stay tuned to see if it ultimately does.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 34%
Oscar Hopes – It got shut out
Screen Count – 2,200 Screens

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” (Sony/Screen Gems)

This long lasting horror franchise supposedly comes to a close this weekend with this final installment. Milla Jovovich has anchored things from the beginning, with filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson helming most of the sequels, as well as the original. Never a critical favorite, this would-be blockbuster didn’t screen for critics. Much like the final “Saw” film, it seems like this is just hitting a bit late. Look for it to disappear relatively quickly, until of course it inevitably gets rebooted in a few years.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – No Reviews Yet
Oscar Hopes – Not a chance
Screen Count – 3,000+ Screens

The Salesman” (Cohen Media Group)

An Oscar nominee in Best Foreign Language Feature, this new drama from Asghar Farhadi hits theaters at the perfect time. Earlier this week it got that Academy Award nomination and can hope to catch on like “A Separation” did years back. It probably won’t be able to upend “Toni Erdmann” in the Oscar category, but it should solidly become the alternate option for voters without much trouble. In addition, it has received strong reviews, including on this very site. Don’t sleep on this one as a foreign/indie success in the weeks to come.

Rotten Tomatoes Score – 96%
Oscar Hopes – Nominated in Best Foreign Language Feature
Screen Count – Limited Release

The Rest

“I Am Michael” (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Kung Fu Yoga” (Well Go USA)
“Lost in Florence” (Orion Pictures)
“Midsummer in Newtown” (Participant Media)

What will you be watching at the movies this weekend? Discuss it in the comments below!