erik lundegaard

Movies - Box Office posts

Sunday April 21, 2019

Box Office: Calm Before the Avengers Storm

Probably because it hops around a lot—so far this century, showing up as early as March 23 (2008) and as late as April 23 (2000)—Hollywood doesn't seem to have much of an Easter weekend strategy the way it does with other holidays.

Here are the box office winners for movies opening on past Easter weekends. Detect the pattern:

  • 2009: Hannah Montana the Movie ($32.3)
  • 2010: Clash of the Titans ($61.2)
  • 2011: Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family ($25)
  • 2012: American Reunion ($21.5)
  • 2013: G.I. Joe: Retaliation ($40.5)
  • 2014: Heaven Is For Real ($22.5)
  • 2015: Furious 7 ($147.2)
  • 2016: Batman v. Superman ($166)
  • 2017: The Fate of the Furious ($98.7)
  • 2018: Ready Player One ($41.7)
  • 2019: The Curse of La Llorona ($26.5)

Yeah, there isn't one. It's gotten more blockbustery, but that's true for March and April, generally. They‘ve opened everything from concert films to gross-out comedies to muscle-car muscle-man movies to—this year—horror. Generally we celebrate the weekend Christ died and ascended by watching people beat each other up. As the Bible intended. 

This weekend, after “La Llorona,” a horror movie I hadn’t heard of until it opened, “Shazam!,” Warner Bros.' more tongue-and-cheek entry into the superhero world, finished second with another $17.3, to bring its domestic total to $121. It's not falling fast (just 29% this weekend) but seems assured of being the lowest-grossing entry in the DCEU—a title currently held by “Justice League” (of all movies) at $229. It also seems just as assured of catching the lowest-grossing entry in the MCU (“Incredible Hulk” at $134) but that's probably the only one it‘ll catch. The second-lowest-grossing MCU movie, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is at $176. 

Anyway, I liked “Shazam!” and hope they keep making movies like it. 

The religious entry for Easter weekend, “Breakthrough,” about a boy who falls through the ice and is saved by prayer, got surprisingly good reviews (67% on RT) considering how painfully bad the trailer always felt to me. But even with good reviews, it still just grossed $11 mil. This is why you can’t have nice movies, Christians; you don't go see them. Unless they‘re not nice and/or part of the culture wars. (Cf., “Passion of the Christ.”)

Fourth is the seventh weekend of “Captain Marvel”: another $9 to bring its total domestic gross to just over $400 million. That’s seventh-best in the MCU, and only needs another $9 mil to be fifth-best. Another $12 and it surpasses “Wonder Woman”—the highest-grossing DCEU film. 

All in all, a quiet weekend at the box office. It's next weekend that things get noisy. 

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Posted at 05:47 PM on Apr 21, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday April 07, 2019

Box Office: Shazam! Lightens DCEU

Remember, kids: Floss before you fight.

This weekend, we got the first “Shazam!” movie in 78 years, the first “Pet Sematary” since 1992, and the first “white man overcomes racism with the help of an unlikely black friend” period piece since “Green Book” opened six months ago. 

“Shazam!” wins. No surprise.

The surprise is that its $53.4 million opening is the worst of the DC Extended Universe by far. The second-worst is “Aquaman,” which opened the week before Christmas 2018, and that's always a busy time to see movies. Almost everything else in the DCEU debuted with more than $100 mil. 

You could argue “Shazam!” is hardly DCEU anyway. Or if it is, it indciates how schizophrenic that universe has become. It began dark, with Superman killing people, got darker, with Batman a nutjob and with the death of Superman, lightened its (and our) load with “Wonder Woman,” chuckled a bit with “Aquaman,” and is now it's an outright comedy. That's not a universe, with consistent laws, but an entire spectrum. But at least it's going in the right direction. I‘ll take laughs any day over the groans Zack Snyder’s crap causes.

“Pet Sematary” finished in second with $25 million. Unadjusted, that's the second-biggest opener for a movie based on a Stephen King story/novel. Adjust for inflation and things change only slightly:

1 It $124,785,300
2 The Green Mile $32,026,600
3 Pet Sematary $27,399,700
4 1408 $27,060,700
5 Secret Window $26,519,400

Except, oops, that “Pet Sematary” is the 1989 one with Fred Gwynn and Denise Crosby. When I wrote a Stephen King Top 5/Worst 5 list for MSN back in 2004, I tapped 1989's “Pet Sematary” as the third-worst of the bunch, behind only “Sleepwalkers” and “Maximum Overdrive.” But it opened well and did well at the box office. Here's SK's top 10 total box office, adjusted:

1 It $329,672,600
2 The Green Mile $235,822,400
3 The Shining $147,760,900
4 Carrie (1976) $143,293,000
5 Misery $131,089,100
6 Pet Sematary (1989) $130,717,700
7 Stand by Me $127,265,600
8 1408 $94,481,100
9 The Running Man $87,677,100
10 The Lawnmower Man $69,848,300

Where's the now-beloved “Shawshank Redemption”? In 15th place, with $60 million—just ahead of one of my favorites, “Dead Zone” with Christopher Walken. Where will this year's “Pet Sematary” wind up? Who knows, but it won't touch the 1989 version. At the same time, it's probably better. Can't get no worse, as John sang. 

The other opener, “The Best of Enemies,” this year's “Green Book,” didn't do so well out of the gate: sixth place, $4.5. Trivia that doesn't feel trivial: “Green Book” has grossed almost as much in China ($70 million) as in the U.S. ($84).

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Posted at 12:56 PM on Apr 07, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday March 31, 2019

Box Office: Dumbo Drop

Disney's live-action “Dumbo,” directed by Tim Burton, finished first at the domestic box office, grossing $45 mil, about $11 milion ahead of the second weekend of Jordan Peele's “Us,” which fell 52.7% while adding another $33.6 for a domestic total of $128.2. 

If that seems like a weak open for “Dumbo,” it is. Here's Box Office Mojo's rankings of the best opening weekends of Disney live-action remakes:

1 Beauty and the Beast (2017) $174,750,616 $504,014,165 4,210
2 Alice in Wonderland (2010) $116,101,023 $334,191,110 3,739
3 The Jungle Book (2016) $103,261,464 $364,001,123 4,144
4 Oz The Great and Powerful $79,110,453 $234,911,825 3,912
5 Maleficent $69,431,298 $241,410,378 3,948
6 Cinderella (2015) $67,877,361 $201,151,353 3,848
7 Dumbo (2019) $45,000,000 $45,000,000 4,259
8 101 Dalmatians (1996) $33,504,025 $136,189,294 2,901
9 Alice Through the Looking Glass $26,858,726 $77,041,381 3,763
10 Pete's Dragon (2016) $21,514,095 $76,233,151 3,702

Not a good spot to be in. Adjust for inflation and it's behind “101 Dalmations,” too. 

“Captain Marvel” finished third with another $20 mil. It's now at $353 domestically, which is the eighth-best domestic run for an MCU movie—behind, going up the chain, “Guardians 2,” “Cap/Civil War,” “Iron Man 3,” “Avengers/Ultron,” “Avengers,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Black Panther.” Meaning it's Marvel's second-biggest debut after “Black Panther.” It's also the No. 1 movie of the year worldwide, currently at $990 million.

Fifth for the weekend was “Unplanned,” an anti-abortion movie, at $6 mil. So that kind of thing is back again.

Of the top 10, I've already seen “Us” and “Captain Marvel,” and want to see “Dumbo” and “Hotel Mumbai,” which finished eighth at $3.1 mil. 

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Posted at 07:49 PM on Mar 31, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday March 24, 2019

Jordan Peele's ‘Us’ Scares Up $70 Mil at Box Office

Class is in session. 

If you discount Oscar contenders that opened in two or four theaters before going wide (“Shape of Water,” “Lady Bird”), and movies that opened the week before Xmas, when hardly anyone goes, and then hit it big (“Jumanji,” “The Greatest Showman”), the 2017 movie with the longest legs, as measured by how big its final domestic total was against its opening, was Jordan Peele's horror flick, “Get Out.” Its $33.3 million opening in February was 19% of its final domestic gross: $176 million. These days a movie does well if it grosses, says, three times its opening—particularly one that wins the weekend, as “Get Out” did—and horror movies tend to merely double their opening.

“Get Out” grossed five times its opening. That's a word-of-mouth movie. That's everyone saying, “You gotta see this.” It dropped only 15% from first to second weekend and its total gross wound up second only to “The Exorcist” among R-rated horror movies. (Both have since been surpassed by “It,” which opened in Sept. 2017.)

I doubt “Us” will have those kinds of legs, but if it does it will surpass “It” and become the all-time R-rated horror champ. 

“Us” grossed $70 million this weekend, far surpassing predictions, which had it around $50 mil. I always like when they‘re wrong here, as if with all of their stats and charts they haven’t figured us out yet; but I wouldn't be surprised if the movie's power was underappreciated because of race: black director, black cast. The assumption was: it won't go boffo. But it went boffo. That $70 mil is the third-best opening for R-rated horror after “It” and 2018's “Halloween.” “Us” averaged $18.7k a theater, second-best for the weekend after “Hotel Mumbai,” which opened in only four theaters as opposed to 3,741.

Will be interesting to see where it finally lands. It got a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes but only a 69% for an audience score. Critics like it better. In terms of box office, that's never a good thing, sadly.

Overall, I think it's going to be less satisfying for a lot of people, who will leave the theater scratching their heads. That's what I saw at SIFF Egyptian yesterday afternoon when Patricia and I went. As the crowd drained out and blinked in the late-afternoon light, I saw a lot of confused faces, and conversations starting “So....” or “So wait, if...” Me, I liked parts of it, but it wasn't as cohesive as “Get Out,” and not as scary. Then I woke up at 1 this morning, terrified of dopplegangers. Go know. We'll see what kind of legs it has. 

Elsewhere, “Captain Marvel” fell to second place but grossed another $35 to bring its 17-day domestic total to $321 (already 10th-best out of 21 MCU movies), and its worldwide total to just shy of a billion dollars: $910 million. 

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Posted at 01:36 PM on Mar 24, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
Sunday March 17, 2019

Box Office: ‘Captain Marvel’ Keeps Soaring

Last weekend, “Captain Marvel” had the seventh-biggest opening among Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies, $152 mil, and this weekend it only fell 54.8% to gross another $69 mil (including my ticket), which brings its 10-day total to $266. Among 10-day grosses, that’s the 19th-best ever.

Where does it stop? One assumes north of $400, putting it in the top rank of MCU movies. 

Overall, there have been 21 since “Iron Man” was released in 2008. The lowest grossing is “The Incredible Hulk” with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner: $134. It’s the only MCU movie that never grossed $150.

Let's just do the rundown:

  • < $200 million: “Hulk” ($134), “Captain America: The First Avenger” ($176), “Ant-Man” ($180) and “Thor” ($181)
  • > $200 million: “Thor: The Dark World ($206), “Ant-Man and the Wasp” ($216), “Dr. Strange” ($232), and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ($259)
  • > $300: “Iron Man 2,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Iron Man,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”
  • > $400: “Captain America: Civil War,” “Iron Man 3,” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
  • > $500: n/a
  • > $600: “Marvel’s The Avengers” and “Avengers: Infinity War”
  • > $700: “Black Panther”

I’ve seen them all. God help me.

My initial guess, for what it’s worth (nothing), is “Captain Marvel” finishes in fifth place in the current MCU: ahead of “Iron Man 3,” behind “Ultron.” We’ll see.  

The rest of the weekend was poorly-reviewed movies doing not-great business. The animated movie “Wonder Park” (30% RT) finished in second place with $16 million from 3,838 theaters, while the latest sick-teens-in-love romance, “Five Feet Apart,” grossed $13 mil in 2,803 theaters.

The near-future, sci-fi flick “Captive State,” about aliens taking over, finished seventh, grossing an abysmal $3 million. It actually finished behind the Mexican comedy “No Manches Frida 2,” despite debuting in 2,548 theaters as opposed to “Manches”’ 472. 

Has anyone seen “The Mustang” starring Matthias Schoenaerts? Four theaters, $76k. I’m interested. Redemption songs and horses.

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Posted at 05:07 PM on Mar 17, 2019 in category Movies - Box Office   |   Permalink  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard