Hollywood rolls out Oscar contenders

Last weekend was expected to be one of the smaller theatrical draws of the year, as studios focus on awards-bait movies rather than big-budget franchise offerings.
Last weekend was expected to be one of the smaller theatrical draws of the year, as studios focus on awards-bait movies rather than big-budget franchise offerings. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) - Marshall, about the early life of the first black US Supreme Court justice, kicked off the season when Hollywood starts to highlight smaller movies seen as Oscar contenders.

Last weekend was expected to be one of the smaller theatrical draws of the year, as studios focus on awards-bait movies rather than big-budget franchise offerings.

The highlights of the quarter in terms of ticket sales are expected to be superhero films Justice League and Thor: Ragnorok, which open next month, as well as December's new Star Wars movie.

Until then, most weekends are peppered with smaller movies like Marshall that producers hope will win prizes from industry groups.

Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman as the young Thurgood Marshall, is based on an early trial in his career as a lawyer. 

The movie is listed as a potential Oscar contender at Goldderby.com and has an 86 per cent positive rating at RottenTomatoes.com, which compiles critics' reviews.

The film, which cost US$12 million (S$16 million) to make, placed 11th over the weekend at the box office.

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women was in 15th spot.

The R-rated film tells the story of psychologist William Moulton Marston who created Wonder Woman. The picture focuses on the intertwined relationship of Marston, his wife and mistress, and the controversy over the comic-book character.

Rotten Tomatoes has an 86 per cent positive for the picture which features Luke Evans in the title role, Rebecca Hall as his wife and Bella Heathcote as mistress Olive.