Movies - Box Office postsSunday May 27, 2018
Box Office for ‘Solo’: A Great Disturbance in the Force
Did you know “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is the first “Star Wars” movie to open in more 4,300 theaters? Twenty other movies have done that—superhero movies, mostly—but none were in the “Star Wars” franchise. The previous biggest for “SW” was the last one, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which opened in 4,232 theaters last December and grossed $220 million over three days.
“Solo” opened this weekend in a little more than that, 4,381 theaters, and grossed a little less than that: an estimated $83 milliion.
How does that rank? Among the 21, it's 16th-best. That's not supposed to happen to “Star Wars” movies.
How does it rank among “Star Wars” openings? Harder to judge. The first one, after all, opened in 1977 in 43 theaters. Unadjusted, “Solo” is fifth-best. But the three other “Star Wars” movies that opened north of 4,000 theaters grossed the following: $247, $220 and $155 million. $83 looks pretty flimsy by comparison. Call it a great disturbance in the Force. It's as if millions of voices suddenly said “Nah” and walked away and did something else.
The question is why.
I assume it's a combination of “Star Wars” fatigue, some mild disappointment in recent “Star Wars” movies, and lukewarm reviews. The movie had a troubled birth, too. Original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“The Lego Movie,” “21 Jump Street”) were fired early in the project and Ron Howard was tapped to step in. Much felt unimaginative about it. Emilia Clarke—again? Woody Harrelson—again? One of the biggest complaints I heard was casting Alden Ehrenreich as the young Solo. He's a good-looking kid, but he often plays wide-eyed (“Rules Don't Apply”) or wider-eyed (“Hail, Caesar!”). He doesn't exactly have the knowing smirk of Harrison Ford. I guess the movie is how he acquired that smirk but that's not what people want to see. People want to see Harrison Ford.
Is this one of those instances where the actor matters? Stephen Metcalf has a piece in the latest New Yorker entitled “How Superheroes Made Movie Stars Expendable: The Hollywood overhauls that got us from Bogart to Batman.” For anyone who's been paying attention, it's sort of a no-shit-Sherlock headline. At the same time, the actor replacing the actor who previously played the character has to be right. Good luck, for example, finding a new Iron Man. Or, apparently, a new Han Solo.
Shining City on a Hollywood Hill
It still astounds me that one of America's most successful industries is forever being disparaged by the political party that claims to care about American industry.
This is from two weeks ago on box office mojo:
Look at that. What other country can do that? None. I‘ve written about the box office of “Wolf Warrior II” and other Chinese films, as well as the fact that China is on the verge of becoming the world’s No. 1 movie marketplace. But Chinese films don't travel well. Few besides the Chinese go see them. The world goes to see Hollywood films.
Americans don't comprehend how much Hollywood dominates the world maybe because we‘re used to it and maybe because we’re too close to it, but it's stunning and has real-world consequences. China Daily just posted an article on the number of Chinese students who come to the U.S. to study. Their lede is about a young man from Henan province who became determined to study here after seeing a Hollywood movie (“High School Musical”). He's not alone. People don't come here just because there's greater freedom, or because within a generation your family can become American—in a way that you can never become, say, Chinese or French. It's more than that. It's the movies. The shining city on a hill has a Hollywood sign on it.
Box Office: ‘Deadpool 2’ Opens Down from ‘Deadpool’
“Deadpool 2” opened in a better month than “Deadpool” (May vs. Feb.) and in nearly 1,000 more theaters (4,349 vs. 3,558) but did slightly less business opening weekend ($125 million vs. $132). That's still the third-best opening of the year, after “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity,” and the 30th-best all time. Nothing to sneeze at. But it's got to be a slight disappointment for Ryan Reynolds and Fox Studios.
Meanwhile, in its fourth weekend, “Avengers: Infinity War” fell 53% to rake in another $28 mil for $595 domestically. That's slightly ahead of “Black Panther”'s numbers in its fourth weekend ($561); but “BP” was falling much less fast. It actually grossed $40 million that weekend and $26 in its fifth. Don't know if “Avengers” can catch it. Right now “BP is at $697 million and grossed another $800k the past three days. I'm sure Buena Vista will push for the magic $700 million mark, which only two domestic movies (”Star Wars: The Force Awakens“ and ”Avatar“) have ever reached.
Speaking of magic numbers, the worldwide gross of ”Avengers“ is at $1.8 billion and climbing. That's fourth-best all-time. Ahead: ”Force Awakens“ and the two Camerons. Bigger question: Can it pass the $2 billion mark? I think it can.
The other new releases? Not much. The awful-looking ”Book Club“ (my favorite ‘70s actresses read ”Fifty Shades of Gray“) finished in third place with $12 million; the awful-looking ”Show Dogs“ (Will Arnett + talking dogs in a police comedy) finished in sixth with $6 mil; and the intriguing-looking doc ”Pope Francis: A Man of His Word“ grossed $481k for 16th place.
Better doc news, as Mark Harris tweeted this morning, is that for the second weekend in a row, ”RBG," the doc on SCOTUS justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, finished in the top 10. It’s grossed $3.8 mil, and is worth seeing, btw.
Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend. Han Solo gets into the act.
Box Office: ‘Avengers’ Keeps Roaring
After 10 days, “Avengers: Infinity War” is the 15th-biggest domestic hit of all time—unadjusted—and it's just shy of the final total the subpar “Avengers: Age of Ultron” took in: $450 million vs. $459.
It fell 56% from its record-setting opening but still brought in the second-biggest second weekend of all time: $112. It's also the fastest film to a billion bucks worldwide. Took eight days. It's 15th in terms of worldwide gross, too. Yes, unadjusted. $1.164 billion. “Ultron” wound up at $1.4, “Marvel's The Avengers” at $1.5. I expect this will eclipse both.
If you adjust for inflation, “Infinity” is 110th with a bullet. It's already ahead of “Top Gun,” the No. 1 movie of 1986.
In second place for the weekend was “Overboard,” which, last December, I called an early candidate for the worst movie of 2018. Its RT number is 30%, and that's on the backs of positive reviews of the “It's not a perfect movie by any means” type. It grossed $14.7.
I didn't see it. The movie I saw this weekend is “RBG,” the documentary on Supreme Court Justice, and cultural icon, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It didn't do poorly for a doc in 36 theaters across the country, grossing $16K per for a total of $560k. “RBG” had the second best per-theater average in the country, after “Avengers.”
Third place for the weekend, by the way, was “A Quiet Place,” which grossed another $7.6 for a domestic total of $159.8. It's now the fourth-biggest horror film of all time (unadjusted), after “It,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “The Excorcist.”
Box Office: Moviegoers Assemble for ‘Avengers’
Sorry. Hulk faster than that.
And it belongs to “The Avengers” once more.
Records are made to be broken, and what goes around comes around, and what came around this past weekend was the lastest (and last?) installment of Earth's Mightiest Superheroes, the Avengers, in “Avengers: Infinity War,” which—shocking me anyway, since I thought we were kinda done with them—opened to $257.7 million. That's the new record. it broke the opening-weekend record (domestic, unadjusted) set two and a half years earlier by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which opened to $247.9 million . That broke “Jurassic World”'s record of $208, which just nipped the record set three years earlier by, yes, “The Avengers.” Sorry. “Marvel‘s The Avengers.”
It’s the 10th time this century that a new opening weekend record (domestic, unadjusted) has been set. Chronologically:
|Rnk||Movie||Opening||% of Total||Thtrs||Total||Release|
|65||Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone||$90.2||28%||3,672||$317.5||11/16/01|
|24||Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest||$135.6||32%||4,133||$423.3||7/7/06|
|14||The Dark Knight||$158.4||30%||4,366||$533.3||7/18/08|
|11||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2||$169.1||44%||4,375||$381.0||7/15/11|
|5||Marvel's The Avengers||$207.4||33%||4,349||$623.3||5/4/12|
|2||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||$247.9||26%||4,134||$936.6||12/18/15|
|1||Avengers: Infinity War||$257.6||n/a||4,474||$257.6||4/27/18|
You know what's interesting about this list? Every one of these movies wound up the biggest movie of their respective years. Even the movies that burst out of the gate and kinda died. Your “Spider-Man 3”s and “Harry Potters and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”s. Even those.
But becoming the biggest movie of the year is much tougher for this “Avengers” since another film in the MCU, “Black Panther,” has already become the third-highest grossing film of all-time (domestic, unadjusted). So for “Infinity War” to beat it, it has to do what “Marvel's The Avengers” did back in 2012: gross three times its opening weekend gross. It can't burst out of the gate and kinda die. It can't be “Spider-Man 3.”
I know. It already isn't.
Interesting list. Which movie on it would you see again? Which three would you choose for a film festival? None are exactly “Casablanca.”
I see “Infinity War” tomorrow. Wish me luck.