When Awards Circuit’s Mark Johnson saw Hereditary he proclaimed that Toni Collette was sure to win the Oscar. The film has earned a high 90s Rotten Tomatoes score and is quite beloved by critics and bloggers overall.
I have no idea what to make of #HereditaryMovie but I can tell you it would take an all-time performance between now and the end of the year for me to feel anyone other than Toni Collette deserves the Oscar.
— Mark Johnson (@MarkLikesMovies) June 8, 2018
But why then the D+ on Cinemascore? That isn’t just an “I didn’t get it” B, or a “It wasn’t very good” C – that is an “I HATED it” score. What, then, could be the problem? Was it sold as something it wasn’t? Were they going in expecting it to be one of the jump scare movies to which they have become accustomed? It opened at number two on Friday, right behind Oceans 8.
Traditionally the best horror movies have not fared all that well with critics at the time of release. Even Jaws was panned in the LA Times. Halloween, Christine, The Shining – none of them really hit their target. And as I pointed out a while back, the brilliant Se7en, easily among the very best films of that year, was not really appreciated by critics as it should have been.
But the thing is, the critics LOVE Heredity. It isn’t the critics this time around. But it is an interesting thing to note, how extremely opposite they are.
A friend said to me today that he thought the bad Cinemascore meant the end of Western Civilization, that audiences were simply too dumb now to help bring great movies through. And to an extent, that’s right. On the other hand, we’re still living at a time when all of us online believe ourselves to be “pros.” We watch box office numbers, we watch Cinemascore. Cinemascore is often a pretty good indication of how much money a movie will make – not always but a lot of the time. So in the past we might see Hereditary not make that much money. If you look at Solo’s A- you think okay, it’s not going to do as well as it might have with a shiny solid A. Black Panther has the rare A+ and is the number one earner of the year so far.
The question for us, though, is not whether teenagers looking to be spooked got what they paid for (although we in the film coverage business all too often disregard that we get to see movies for free while others have to pay for them) but whether Mark Johnson is right about Toni Collette’s chances. Are we talking a win here? Or are we talking a nomination. Or are we talking a movie Oscar voters will not be able to sit through.
Meanwhile, what is our Best Actress race even looking like? So far, the horror genre seems to be a pretty good place to start. Claire Foy in Unsane, Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place and now Toni Collette in Heredity. They join – at least so far – Charlize Theron – a lock for a nod for Tully, and perhaps Michelle Pfeiffer for Where is Kyra.
With just five slots to choose from, it’s always tricky to predict at this stage how it will go. Right now, I’d stick with Theron as the one sure bet.