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Monday May 30, 2016

Box Office: 'X-Men,' 'Alice' Get Small

X-Men: Apocalypse

CGI villain tries to destroy humanity. Again.

The eighth “X-Men” movie apparently isn't the charm. Neither is the second “Alice” movie. 

“X-Men: Apocalypse” opened to an estimated $65 mil over three days, and $79 mil if you count Memorial Day, which is down from the $90 mil, three-day total the seventh “X-Men” movie (“Days of Future Past”) grossed on its opening weekend just two years ago. 

Maybe we're tired of groups of bickering superheroes saving the world from monstrosities. If you adjust for inflation, that's the third-worst opener for our merry marching mutant society:

  Title Opening (Adj) Date Tot/ Gross (Adj)
1 X-Men: The Last Stand $134,595,500 May-06 $306,996,900
2 X2: X-Men United $121,740,300 May-03 $305,848,800
3 X-Men Origins: Wolverine $97,828,100 May-09 $206,889,700
4 X-Men: Days of Future Past $93,549,500 May-14 $241,381,100
5 X-Men $86,709,700 Jul-00 $250,395,500
6 X-Men: Apocalypse $65,300,000 May-16 ??
7 X-Men: First Class $58,656,500 Jun-11 $156,026,100
8 The Wolverine $58,127,000 Jul-13 $144,966,900

In some way, I'm not surprised. I remember seeing the trailer back whenever and just sighing. I don't even know what year it is in that universe anymore. Reviews weren't good, either (49%). 

The other sequel that opened this weekend was “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” which, yeah, did even worse: $26 mil vs. the shocking, $116-million opener for the original, Tim Burton-directed film in March 2010. This one was directed by James Bobin (“Muppets”) and the reviews were not good (30%). All in all, not a happy weekend for Johnny Depp.

Some changeover: “Captain America: Civil War” added another $15 mil to become the highest-grossing domestic film of the year at $377. It's the seventh highest-grossing superhero movie, 12th if you adjust for inflation. Worldwide, it's at $1.1 billion. That's 15th-best all-time. 

It's been a lopsided year so far: five movies have grossed more than $300 mil, compared with only one movie (“Kung Fu Panda 3”) which grossed between $100 and $300. Compare this with just two years ago when we didn't get our first $300 mil feature until the August release of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” 

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Posted at 01:50 PM on May 30, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday May 15, 2016

Box Office: 'Cap' Passes 'Batman v Superman' Worldwide

What difference does 10% make? Depends. If you start at, say, $166-169 million, you're talking a little bit of change.

This weekend, “Captain America: Civil War” fell 59% in its second weekend, earning $72 million domestically. Compare that to the second weekend of the similarly themed but roundly maligned “Batman v Superman,” which fell 69% back in March, grossing $51 million.

And that's the difference between a quality movie (“Cap”) and a travesty (“BvS”). But that's just the beginning. It's going to grow. It's going to be huge.

It already is. On its 10th day of release, “Cap” is at $295 domestic, which “BvS” didn't reach until its 17th day. And “BvS” had a bigger opening Friday: $81 vs. $75. But then word got out. 

“BvS” opened big overseas, too. It looked like a surefire $1 billion movie. But it's stalled worldwide at $868. Because word got out in other languages.

“Cap,” in fact, has already passed it. It's at $940.9 worldwide and will probably wind up at $1.5 billion or so—half a billion ahead of “BvS.” That's what Warner Bros. flushed down the toilet when they put Zack Snyder in charge of their DC universe—dubbed the “murderverse” by pissed-off fanboys. (I'd dub it the stupidverse; it's Snyder's stupidity, more than his lack of ethics and morality, that I truly can't stomach. But yeah, the killing and torture can get to you, too.)

So will Warner Bros. finally give Zack Snyder the boot? Please. Before he has superheroes kill again. Or reminisce about their mothers' names. 

Elsewhere, “The Jungle Book” continues to clean up, grossing another $17 for $311 domestic and second place for the weekend. Jodie Foster's “Money Monster” debuted in third place with $15 mil. Anyone see it? I might check it out. 

#FireZackSnyder.

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Posted at 08:52 AM on May 15, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday May 08, 2016

Box Office: 'Captain America: Civil War' Has 5th-Best Opening Ever

Captain America: Civil War

#TeamCap trying to catch a plane. 

“Captain America: Civil War” grossed an estimated $181 million this weekend, more than “Captain America: First Avenger” grossed in its entire domestic run back in 2011. But that, of course, was B.A.: Before “Avengers.”

It's the fifth-best opening weekend ever, but some might see it as a comedown since “Civil War” is essentially an “Avengers” movie (+ Spider-Man), and it's not quite at their monetary level: “Avengers” opened to $207 back in 2012, “Ultron” to $191 in 2015.

But to me it's a startlingly high number for a series that I thought was oversaturated. Put it this way: We've seen Captain America, in some form, every summer but one since 2011:

It's a testament to star Chris Evans and the filmmakers, who have created interesting continuity, that we're not sick of him yet. Good reviews help, too. DC helps, too, by showing us godawful versions of same. We could all use a Zack Snyder to make us look good.

Speaking of: “Batman v Superman” fell off 73% in its seventh weekend, grossing just over a mil, for a domestic total of $327. Looks like it won't even double its opening weekend take of $166. Moviegoers have fled from that movie like Metropolisians from a Superman/Zod battle. 

The year's biggest domestic grosses so far:

  Movie Dist. Total Opening
1 Deadpool Fox $362,192,266 $132,434,639
2 Zootopia BV $327,624,990 $75,063,401
3 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice WB $327,250,133 $166,007,347
4 The Jungle Book (2016) BV $284,985,265 $103,261,464
5 Captain America: Civil War BV $181,791,000 $181,791,000

“Civil War” review up tomorrow. 

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Posted at 09:28 AM on May 08, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Sunday May 01, 2016

Batman, Superman Robbed of Millions by Zack Snyder, Warner Bros.

Fire Zack Snyder

Snyder, before the heist. 

Zack Snyder's “Batman v Superman” shed 736 theaters this weekend, dropped 30% from the previous weekend, and grossed another $3.8 million (ninth place) for a total domestic gross of $325 million. It's the second-highest of the year, the third-highest-grossing DC movie ever (after “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Returns”), and the highest-grossing Superman film ever. 

That, I suppose, is the good news. 

The bad news:

  • “BvS” is second on the year to “Deadpool,” a little-known, R-rated Marvel comics character that opened Valentine's Day weekend. It won't catch it. 
  • Repeat: Batman and Superman combined can't beat Deadpool. 
  • If you adjust for inflation, “BvS” drops to eighth all-time in the DC Universe. The movies above it include “Batman Returns,” “Batman Forever” and “Superman II.”
  • “BvS” is about to set an undesirable record among the highest-grossing openers ever. For that, let's get off bullet points. 

Among the top 50 openers of all time, these are the films that had the longest legs (opening weekend /domestic gross):

Rank Movie Opening Dom. Gross % Thtrs
1 Shrek 2 $108,037,878 $441,226,247 24.5% 4,163
2 Inside Out $90,440,272 $356,461,711 25.4% 3,946
3 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $247,966,675 $936,121,508 26.5% 4,134
4 Toy Story 3 $110,307,189 $415,004,880 26.6% 4,028
5 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen $108,966,307 $402,111,870 27.1% 4,234
6 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $97,852,865 $352,390,543 27.8% 4,088
7 Guardians of the Galaxy $94,320,883 $333,176,600 28.3% 4,080
8 Spider-Man (2002) $114,844,116 $403,706,375 28.4% 3,615
9 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone $90,294,621 $317,575,550 28.4% 3,672
10 Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith $108,435,841 $380,270,577 28.5% 3,661

Give or take a “Transformers” or “Sith,” pretty good movies for their type. 

Now here's the bottom 10 in terms of legs:

Rank Movie Opening Dom. Gross % Thtrs
1 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice $166,007,347 $325,132,593 51.11% 4,242
2 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 $138,122,261 $281,287,133 49.1% 4,061
3 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 $141,067,634 $292,324,737 48.3% 4,070
4 The Twilight Saga: New Moon $142,839,137 $296,623,634 48.2% 4,024
5 Godzilla (2014) $93,188,384 $200,676,069 46.4% 3,952
6 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 $91,608,337 $202,853,933 45.2% 4,324
7 Spider-Man 3 $151,116,516 $336,530,303 44.9% 4,252
8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $169,189,427 $381,011,219 44.4% 4,375
9 X-Men: The Last Stand $102,750,665 $234,362,462 43.8% 3,690
10 Iron Man 3 $174,144,585 $409,013,994 42.6% 4,253

They're either movies that have a small core audience (“Twilight”), or shitty word-of-mouth (“Spider-Man 3,” “X-Men: The Last Stand”). 

And “Batman v Superman” is about to beat them all. 

The movie needs another $13 mil or so to ensure that it's not No. 1 in this category, and it looks iffy to make that. Either way, it will only double the gross of its opening. That's it. 

Now look back up at the first table. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” shattered the record for biggest box-officer openers last December with $247 mil, yet it still grossed almost four times that amount. Because people liked it. They went more than once. They recommended it to friends. 

If “BvS” had been such a well-received movie, it would've grossed something like $664 million. Instead, it's half that. Warner Bros. is losing hundreds of millions of dollars because they hired Zack Snyder to direct, and everything Zack Snyder touches turns to stupid. And people can only take so much stupid. 

And that's not even taking into account international, and all the money lost in merchandising. Is it a $500 million loss? A billion? Whatever the final number, it's an epic disaster. I'd suggest Warner Bros. call Superman to save the day, but look what they've already done to him. Look what they did to my boy.

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Posted at 03:55 PM on May 01, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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Friday April 15, 2016

Box Office: 5 Lessons from the First 3 Months of 2016

Chris Pines in "The Finest Hours"

Nothing says “January box office” like movie stars dunked in frigid waters. 

1. Pick a memorable title.

Turns out the movie that grossed the least while being distributed in more than 3,000 theaters was “The Finest Hours,” which managed $27.5 million in 3,143 theaters in January—just a notch below “Zoolander 2,” which grossed $28.8 in 3,418 theaters in February. “Zoolander” I had no trouble placing, but ... “Finest Hours”? Worse, I'd seen its trailer incessentantly in the fall. Oh right, that Chris Pine, Boston Coast Guard thingee. Men fighting big, cold waves; the woman who loves him fighting the uncaring bureaucracy. It probably never would've done well but a title that has weight, that people can remember, might've helped.

2. Shitty sequels to shitty movies generally mean shitty box office. 

Here's the domestic #s for the three “Kung Fu Panda” movies: $215,  $165, $141.

“Ride Along” did $135, “Ride Along 2,” $90. “Olympus Has Fallen” managed $99, “London Has Fallen” fell to $60.

“Zoolander,” which I always thought overrated, never did much business in 2000, $45 mil, but “2” did just $28. Unadjusted. 

My favorite is the “Divergent” series, which was supposed to be the new “Hunger Games.” It disappointed when it opened with just $150. The second one disappointed further: $130. And this one? $62. The fourth (and last) is scheduledl for next year. How low can you go? 

3. Are Conservative Christian films dead?

In the spring of 2014, the tepid “Heaven is for Real” grossed $90 mil, the insipid “God's Not Dead” grossed $60, and the European miniseries resurrected as a feature film, “Son of God,” grossed $59. So the moneychangers flocked to the temples. 

This spring? Not exactly hosannas. “Miracles from Heaven” did OK biz, $54, but “Risen,” with Joseph Fiennes, in a story similar to “Hail, Caesar!”'s (Roman tribune is converted) managed only $36. After two weeks, “God's Not Dead 2” is sputtering at $15 mil, while “The Young Messiah,” released in February, hardly got out of the manger: $6 mil. 

Christian moviegoers: Why have you deserted him? 

4. Stars schmars.

Anyone see the Natalie Portman movie, “Jane Got a Gun”? Or Sasha Baron Cohen's “The Brothers Grimsby”? Of course not. They grossed $1.5 and $6.8, respectively. Do I add “Dirty Grandpa” with Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, to the list? It did better, $35, but is that total worth it? For the ickiness factor?

Speaking of....

5. Make better movies.

All of these movies sucked. Every one of them was deemed rotten, or way rotten, on the Rotten Tomatoes site—with one exception: “The Finest Hours,” which managed a 63%. Which brings us back to the first lesson. 

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Posted at 06:16 AM on Apr 15, 2016 in category Movies - Box Office
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