Movies - Box Office postsSunday May 07, 2017
Box Office: Which Hollywood Movies Gross More in China?
“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” opened to $145 mil in the U.S. this weekend, which is about $50 mil more than the original grossed opening weekend August 2014, but it's not exactly earth-shattering. It's the 17th-best opener ever, and the second-best this year, (after “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened at $174 back in March). But at this point, for this type of film, if it doesn't break $150, or $160, it's hardly news. It's Mike Trout batting .300 and hitting 30 HRs. It's what it's supposed to do.
“The Fate of the Furious” finished second. A distant second: $8 mil in its fourth weekend. The film cost $250 to produce and has earned back only $207 in the U.S., which would seem to be a failure. Except, of course, it's grossed nearly $1 billion abroad. In China alone, its receipts ($374 million) nearly double what it's grabbed in the U.S.
This is an increasingly common phenomenon: the Hollywood blockbuster making more in China than in the U.S. Here's a chart of Hollywood movies that have done that since 2014:
|The Fate of the Furious||2017||$373,921,406||$207,136,495||1.81|
|Transformers: Age of Extinction||2014||$320,000,000||$245,439,076||1.30|
|The Great Wall*||2016||$170,962,106||$45,157,105||3.79|
|Kong: Skull Island||2017||$168,384,464||$165,792,080||1.02|
|xXx: The Return of Xander Cage||2017||$164,066,583||$44,898,413||3.65|
|Resident Evil: The Final Chapter||2017||$159,548,686||$26,830,068||5.95|
|Kung Fu Panda 3||2016||$154,304,371||$143,528,619||1.08|
* Joint Hollywood/China production
Overall, it seems like a film festival in hell. It's sequel-laden with a focus on mechanized power: the musclecars of the “Furious” movies; Transformers and Terminators.
It's particularly interesting noting the movies that die here and are reborn there: “Warcraft,” which is a video game thing; “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” (they love Vin more than we do), and the most recent “Resident Evil,” which, in China, grossed nearly twice as much as “Beauty and the Beast” ($85 mil).
So are these sequels new to them and old-hat to us? Do they flock to the familiar more than we do? I have no answers, just questions.
China also has its huge homegrown blockbusters as well: the “Journey to the West” cycle, randy comedies like “Breakup Buddies,” and particularly “The Mermaid,” its first half a billion domestic grosser from last year. So far, none of these travel the way Hollywood movies travel. Will be interesting to see if they ever do. Would be interesting to see how the world changes.
Box Office: Derbez > Hanks, Watson
I was busy last week taking my wife to the Mayo Clinic, then playing catch-up at work, then trying to stay abreast of the week's nauseating Comey/AHCA debaccles, but I would be a bit remiss if I didn't mention the oddity that occurred in last weekend's U.S. box office.
It was the second-weakest weekend of the year ($99 mil overall), but that's hardly newsworthy.
“The Fate of the Furious” led the box office for the third weekend in a row, but, again, nothing to alert the news media. Or the bloggers.
No, it was really the new releases, which finished in second, third and fifth place, that stand out.
In second place, grossing $12 mil, was “How to Be a Latin Lover,” a broad comedy starring Eugenio Derbez and Salma Hayek. Initially I thought it a Mexican production, or a co-U.S./Mexico production, but it's from Lionsgate's new Hispanic entertainment division, Pantelion, which came about, in part, because of Derbez's previous film, “Instructions Not Included,” which, in 2013, became the fourth-highest-grossing foreign film of all time in the U.S. ($44 mil)—after “Crouching Tiger,” “Life is Beautiful” and “Hero” with Jet Li.
In third place, grossing $10 mil, was “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.” From India. It became the third-highest-grossing foreign opener ever—after two Jet Li movies.
And in fifth place? “The Circle,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. It grossed $9 mil.
That's right: A movie with one of Hollywood's biggest and most beloved stars, along with Hermione herself, who headlines the biggest box-office hit of the year, “Beauty and the Beast,” was surpassed by flicks from Mexico and India. And in Donald Trump's U.S.
It feels like a new thing, like a chance we might have. It reminds me of the ending to James Baldwin's 1955 essay, “Stranger in a Village”: “This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”
'Fate of the Furious' Slows Down at U.S. Box Office But Sets Record Overseas
Ni kanguo ma?
The fascinating fact about the “Fast & Furious” franchise is how much it represents a kind of doofus All-Americanism (muscle cars + muscle men), and yet how much more popular it is abroad than in America.
2015's entry, “Furious 7,” which was a rip-roaring pile of shit, is the 38th-biggest movie of all time domestically ($353 million), behind, among others, two “Hunger Games,” two “Spider-Man”s, two “Jurassic”s, and five “Star Wars.” Also “Secret Life of Pets” and “Despicable Me 2.” But worldwide (international + U.S.), it's the 6th highest-grossing film of all-time, at $1.5 billion.
Indeed, if you look at the top 10 movies worldwide, none has a smaller percentage of its gross in the U.S. (23.3%) than “Furious 7.” To find a smaller percentage, you have to go down to No. 16, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” at 22.2%. That one isn't exactly Einstein, either, which indicates either there are more doofuses abroad (hard to believe after Trump), or the U.S. is the early driver of the franchise, and by the time the rest of the world picks up on it (during its sickly fourth or seventh incarnation), we've kinda moved on.
The eighth installment, “The Fate of the Furious,” looks to exacerbate this trend.
But in other countries it's killed, setting both international ($432) and worldwide ($532) opening-weekend box-office records. Think of that. It had to do so well abroad that it made up for the relatively lackluster U.S. performance to top the worldwide charts. How did it do that? By swamping the international record (“Jurassic World”) by $116 million. That allowed it to edge “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by $3 mil to set the worldwide mark.
What this really means is the rest of the world loves our junk waaaay more than we do. Sad thought for Americans, stuck with Trump, who hoped to find wisdom abroad.
Elsewhere, “Beauty and the Beast” grossed another $13 mil to take over 12th place all-time domestically at $454 million. Vin's cars may go vroom vroom, but they won't be fast enough to catch Belle. Not in the U.S. anyway.
Box Office: 'Beauty and the Beast' Keeps Humming Along
Last weekend, Disney's live-action “Beauty and the Beast” turned in the 6th-best opening weekend ever (domestically, unadjusted), behind only three “Avengers” movies, “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
This weekend, it turned in the 4th-best second weekend ever ($90 mil), behind only the first “Avengers” movie, “Jurassic” and “Force.”
“Ultron” and “Civil War”? Eat her dust.
“BnB” is now at $316 million, which is (again) 4th-best ever after 10 days of release, and the highest domestic total this year by far. (“Logan” is second at $201.) Add another $373 abroad for $690 worldwide, which is (again) the best so far this year, with (again) “Logan” second at $565.
Where might it stop? $400 million domestic is a no-brainer. $500? Wouldn't be surprised. More? Encore?
Oh, there'll be encores. I just hope Hollywood is learning the right lessons: that female-centered storylines, not to mention musicals, can sell. But they're probably learning the wrong lesson and gearing up to just give us more live-action remakes of cartoons. Like Inspector Gadget, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Scooby Doo. Wait, sorry, those have all been made. And bombed.
Elsewhere, “Power Rangers” grossed $40 mil against a production budget of $100 mil. It looks like it contains elements of “Chronicle,” a Zac Efron look-alike as lead, and Earl from “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Also an RT rating of 46%.
“Life” was lifeless (sorry), coming in fourth with $13 mil. “Kong” took in another $14 for third while “Logan” added another $10 for fifth. A comedic remake of “CHiPs,” which I barely heard about, directed and starring Dax Shepard, whom I've barely heard about, grossed just $7.6 in almost 2,500 theaters—apparently deservedly (RT: 20%), while “Wilson,” starring Woody Harrelson as the obnoxious loser we're supposed to love, which I keep hearing about even though I don't wanna, made $330,000 in 310 theaters. Also deservedly (RT: 39%.)
Another Right-Wing Boycott Goes Bust as 'Beauty and the Beast' Breaks Box-Office Records
The live action “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson, grossed $170 million over the weekend. In three days it made more in the U.S. than “The LEGO Batman Movie” has made in 38 days.
It's the 7th-biggest opening weekend ever, and the biggest that doesn't include superheroes, light sabres or dinosaurs. It's also Watson's biggest opener—by $1 million. The final “Harry Potter” opened to $169 in July 2011. Oh, and it's the biggest opener in March, wiping away last year's blemish, “Batman v. Superman,” by $4 mil.
One hopes this whopping weekend sends a message or two:
- To Hollywood: We don't need another hero. A heroine can work.
- To right-wingers: Try boycotting something that has a chance in hell of working.
In the last few months, conservatives have boycotted “Hamilton,” Starbucks, and this. They objected to this because there's a gay character in it. Cue: Randy Rainbow with the rebuttal.
Elsewhere, in its second weekend, “Kong: Skull Island” fell off by only 53%, not bad, but it's still only at $110 million. Not the tentpole Warner Bros. was hoping for.
In its third weekend, “Logan” fell of by 54% for another $17.5 and an overall domestic gross of $184 million. That's No. 1 on the year ... for another day or two. Then it gets swamped by Emma.
Jordan Peele's horror film/social commentary “Get Out” pulled in another $13 mil for a domestic take of $133.