Movies - Box Office postsSunday September 27, 2015
The #1 Box-Office Hits the Year Our Last Five Presidents were Elected
|YEAR||PRESIDENT-ELECT||#1 BOX-OFFICE HIT|
|1980||Ronald Reagan||The Empire Strikes Back|
|1988||George H.W. Bush||Rain Man|
|2000||George W. Bush||The Grinch|
|2008||Barack Obama||The Dark Knight|
Mostly I was amused by the juxtaposition of Ronald Reagan and the return of far-right conservatism with “The Empire Strikes Back,” but some of the others aren't bad, either.
Box Office: 'Maze Runner' Doesn't Get Lost, 'Black Mass' Doesn't Kill, 'Captive' Doesn't Break Out
“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” the second in the “Maze Runner” series, won the weekend with a $30 million domestic haul. That almost guarantees a $100 million run ($30 mil+ opening wknd generally equals $100 mil+ overall domestic gross), but it's still $2 mil less than what the first “Maze Runner” grossed a year ago. The series is not exactly lighting the teen world on fire. It's the red-headed stepchild of YA/high-school-clique dystopias.
“Black Mass,” the rather lifeless retelling of the White Berger saga starring Johnny Depp, finished second with $23 mil.
Other openers: “Everest finished in fifth place in only 545 theaters—a lot of those IMAX. It earned $7.5 for a $13K average. (The movie's recommended, btw. P and I saw it yesterday.) But the highest per-theater average belonged to ”Sicario,“ which opened in six theaters and grossed $390K, or $65K per theater. According to Brad Brevert at Box Office Mojo, that's the highest per-theater-average so far this year. It's just ahead of ”Ex Machina“ ($59K per in four theaters) and ”While We Were Young“ ($56K in four theaters).
Then there's ”Captive,“ which I'd barely heard about, and which seems like a suspect topic to me. It's based upon the horrific Brian Nichols shootings in Atlanta in 2005 in which, in the middle of trial, Nichols overpowered a sheriff's deputy and killed a judge, court reporter and police officer. He then took a woman hostage in her home but she talked him down, and back into police custody, with religious teachings. That's why it was made, I assume, and why it was written by Brian Bird (”Touched by an Angel“) and directed by Jerry Jameson (”Walker: Texas Ranger,“ ”Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman“ and ”Murder She Wrote,“ among others). But critics weren't impressed (36% on RT) and it died at the box office: 806 theaters, $1.4 million, $1.7K per theater.
Of the return flights, M. Night's ”The Visit“ dropped 55% for $11.3 million and third place; ”The Perfect Guy“ dropped 62% for $9.6 million and fourth place; and ”War Room“ dropped only 19% for $6.2 million and sixth place.
The rest of the top 10 were filled with the third weekend of ”A Walk in the Woods,“ the eighth weekend of ”Mission: Impossible,“ the sixth weekend of ”Straight Outta Compton“ and the fifth weekend (but first to appear in more than 1,000+ theaters) for Lily Tomlin's ”Grandma.“ For the year, ”Mission“ is at $191 mil ($656 worldwide) and ”Compton“ is at $158 ($183 worldwide).
Hang tight, kids. Nearly through with September.
Kate Mara in ”Captive": trying to escape into a better movie? Or simply get out of September?
Box Office: 'War Room' Prays Away the Competition During Another Weak Weekend
Miss Clara prays for weak competition in “War Room.”
Last weekend, an African-American hip-hop story barely beat out an African-American Christian story for the top of the box office.
This weekend? Strike that, reverse it.
Alex Kendrick's “War Room,” about a wise, elderly woman named Miss Clara who brings clarity and stability to a black family that's lost its way, grossed $9.3 million in its second weekend for first place. “Straight Outta Compton,” a music biopic on the rap group NWA, grossed $8.8 million in its fourth weekend for second place.
“War Room” did all that while playing in only 1,526 theaters. It's now at $24.6 overall, while “Compton”'s total gross of $147 million is the most ever for a music biopic (unadjusted).
As for the new films, Robert Redford's turn as Bill Bryson in “A Walk in the Woods” finished third with $8.4 million, “The Transporter Refueled” stalled at $7.1 million and fifth place, while a Mexican cartoon, “Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos,” grossed an astonishing $3.4 million in only 395 theaters to finish in eighth place.
Rounding out the top 10: “M:I-Rogue Nation,” “No Escape,” “Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Sinister 2” and “Inside Out.”
All told, it was the weakest weekend of the year, bringing in only $86 mil. Oh, and the last time a movie won the weekend with less than $10 mil? Three years ago, Sept. 7-9, 2012, when the second week of “Possession” also finished with $9.3 million.
Box Office: 'Compton' Wins Weakest Weekend of the Year
The third weekend of a hip-hop biopic narrowly beat the first weekend of an African-American family's tale of Christian redemption, which beat the fifth weekend of the traditional white hero adventure story, which beat the first weekend of a white family fleeing dark-skinned revolutionaries in South East Asia.
But overall box office was down. Way down.
“Straight Outta Compton” dropped 50% but won for the third weekend in a row, grossing $13 mil for an overall domestic total of $134. That's the highest gross (unadjusted) ever for a music biopic.
“War Room,” written and directed by pastor-turned-auteur Alex Kendrick (“Fireproof,” “Facing the Giants”), about an African-American family that finds the right path thanks to an older, wiser woman named Miss Clara, finished second with $11 mil. Would love to see the racial breakdown of its demographics. Did white Christians show up or was it just black Christians? Either way, Kendrick is apparently filling the void left by Tyler Perry, who's mostly on TV now.
Tom Cruise's fifth “Mission: Impossible” added another $8 mil (for $170 domestic, nearly $500 worldwide), while “No Escape,” directed by horror filmmaker John Erick Dowdle (“Quarantine,” “Devil”), about Owen Wilson, Lake Ball and their two girls trying to flee a coup in SE Asia, grossed only $8.2 in more than 3,000 theaters. It got lambasted by Jeff Wells in a great takedown review.
But mostly Americans stayed away from the movies this weekend. If the overall gross holds at $85 million, it will be the weakest weekend of the year, beating out March 6-8, which grossed $89 million, and which was highlighted by a battle between “Chappie” and “The Second Best Exotice Marigold Hotel.” Who could forget?
Summer Box Office: Winners, Losers, Lessons
Some of the surprise winners: music, dinos, the life of the mind.
Channing Tatum and Seth MacFarlane need to send Fox Studios a thank-you note.
Their films (“Magic Mike XXL” and “Ted 2,” respectively) massively underperformed at the box office this summer, but as we're entering September nobody's talking about them in disparaging terms. Instead it's all about “Fantastic Four,” the Fox Studio reboot that was a massive critical and commercial bomb: 8% on Rotten Tomatoes, $50 million at the box office. That's one-third of what Tim Story's “FF” movies made back in the mid-2000s. You know that scene from the trailer (cut from the movie) where the Thing drops from a plane and lands like a bomb on the earth? Like that.
Here's what the two big predictors figured the summer box office would be:
|Rnk||EW Prediction||BO||HitFix Prediction||BO|
|1||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$555||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$550|
|3||Inside Out||$275||Jurassic World||$300|
|5||Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation||$195||Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation||$200|
|6||Ted 2||$190||Mad Max: Fury Road||$180|
|7||Mad Max: Fury Road||$180||Ant-Man||$175|
|8||Terminator Genisys||$170||Ted 2||$165|
|10||Fantastic Four||$160||Magic Mike XXL||$145|
|12||Magic Mike XXL||$155||Fantastic Four||$125|
|15||Pitch Perfect 2||$105||Pixels||$100|
And here's what it's been, as of Thursday, and including the top 20 to account for the underperformers:
|2||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$457|
|5||Pitch Perfect 2||$183|
|7||Mission Impossible–Rogue Nation||$161|
|9||Mad Max: Fury Road||$152|
|10||Straight Outta Compton||$119|
|17||Magic Mike XXL||$65|
|19||Insidious Chapter 3||$52|
Each of the predictors got the first four right, just not in the right order. Everyone assumed Avengers. Then a dinosaur roared.
EW did predict 13 of the 15, but without the messy variations in box office. They, and HitFix, played it safe, assuming most of the big movies in the $100-$300 million range, nothing below that, and nothing gargantuan. In fact, if you focus only on the rank of the prediction (1-15) vs. the actuality, you get this:
Basically we gorged on some movies and ignored others.
So what underperformed, based upon these industry predictions?
- Fantastic Four: EW figured $160, or about the Tim Story “FF” numbers adjusted for inflation. HitFix took the bold movie of assuming a disappointment at $125. But it was the Thing dropping from a plane.
- Ted 2: Against the original's $218, EW assumed $190, HitFix $165. So again, they were assuming a dropoff. They got a cliff: $81.
- Magic Mike XXL: $155/$145 vs. $65. The original grossed $113 and no doubt picked up adherents via home entertainment. But the chicks didn't flock.
- Terminator Genisys: $170/$120 vs. $89. I think we're done with this story. Oh, except it grossed $352 worldwide. Damn foreigners.
- Entourage: Off of everyone's charts, it wound up grossing $32 mil. Bye-bye, boys.
- Avengers: It's weird to say the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time (unadjusted) underperformed, but ... The original took in more than $600 mil, this one was predicted at a safe $550, and it delivered at $100 million below that: $457. It made nearly half (41%) of its gross opening weekend. Not good.
And what overperformed?
- Jurassic World: Did about twice the business everyone thought. Unadjusted, it's the third-highest-grossing film domestically and worldwide.
- Pitch Perfect 2: HitFix didn't even include this and EW had it down at $105. Instead, it grossed $183 for the fifth-biggest movie of the summer.
- Straight Outta Compton: Nobody had this. It's at $119. It's already the highest-grossing music biopic of all time (unadjusted), and the 10th-biggest movie of the summer.
- Inside Out: $275/$265 from the predicters; $342 in actuality. Unadjusted, that's the second-highest-grossing Pixar movie of all time (after “Toy Story 3”); adjusted, it's sixth-highest, behind only the three “Toy Story”s, “Monsters, Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.”
So: Lessons Hollywood might learn from this?
Well, the underperforming list is full of muscle-bound and/or loutish guys. The overperforming list includes movies that focus on women and African Americans.
There might be a lesson somewhere in there.
Boys behaving badly performed badly at the box office.