Movies - Box Office postsSunday January 05, 2020
Box Office: ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Does Great for Anything But a Star Wars Movie
The first movie of each trilogy also has the biggest box office for each trilogy.
What do the following verbs have in common?
Yep. They‘re the verbs in the subtitles of the various “Star Wars” sequels. Just tossing in for no reason. I guess for their sameness. Although not quite, right? The originals and the prequels, sure, they’re the same (strike/attack, return/revenge), but the new ones are less about combat and more about ... growth? Self-improvement? They‘re positive, and mostly about the heroes. They’re selfies, befitting the age.
“Rise” is the latest and it hasn't exactly done that at the box office. Here's a list of the nine SW movies ranked by domestic box office and adjusted for inflation:
|2015||The Force Awakens||$965,467,843||1||11|
|1980||The Empire Strikes Back||$876,078,543||1||13|
|1983||Return of the Jedi||$839,950,442||1||17|
|1999||The Phantom Menace||$806,487,053||1||19|
|2017||The Last Jedi||$603,618,885||1||44|
|2005||Revenge of the Sith||$529,768,678||1||70|
|2002||Attack of the Clones||$477,473,705||2||99|
|2019||The Rise of Skywalker||$450,796,223*||3*||110*|
* Still in theaters, yo
Nothing's coming close to the first one again but “Force” muscled to the No. 2 slot in 2015. Since then, a downhill slog. Most franchises would take such a slog. In terms of the canon, “Revenge of the Sith” grossed a piffle in 2005, but it was still the No. 1 movie of the year. Only the second of the prequels, on the heels of the disappointing, antiseptic “Phantom Menace,” wasn't the No. 1 movie of its year, and it still finished No. 2—to the first “Spider-Man” movie. “Skywalker” also won't be No. 1, since another superhero movie, “Avengers: Endgame” is in a galaxy far, far away at $858 million. “Skywalker” needs another $93 mil just to reach “The Lion King”'s $543.6 in second place. Can it do it?
Maybe. Here's box office for the three recent films after 17 days—along with the final domestic totals for the first two:
|YEAR||MOVIE||17 DAYS||DOM. GROSS|
|2015||The Force Awakens||$742,208,942||$936,662,225|
|2017||The Last Jedi||$517,218,368||$620,181,382|
|2019||The Rise of Skywalker||$450,796,441|
By Day 17, “Force” had grossed about 79% of its total, “Jedi” about 83%. If we assume, say, 80% for “Skywalker,” that's another $90 mil. It‘ll be close.
Of course, domestic box office matters less these days than worldwide, so how is “Skywalker” doing there? Even worse. “Force” earned $2 billion worldwide, “Last Jedi” dropped to $1.3, “Skywalker” is at $918 million. It’s ninth for the year, and I think it‘ll wind up fourth. New territory for “Star Wars.”
So what makes a franchise lose 3/4 of a billion dollars and a lot of interest? Too many, too soon? And too similar? Or just not interesting enough? All “Star Wars” movies drop, as we’ve seen above, but that's not true for other franchises. The most popular “Avengers” was the last.
None of which matters much to Disney since it owns both franchises. Want to see something sad? These were the studios for the top five films of the year when “Star Wars” was released:
- 20th Century Fox (Star Wars)
- Universal (Smokey and the Bandit)
- Columbia (Close Encounters)
- Paramount (Saturday Night Fever)
- United Artists (A Bridge Too Far)
And this year:
- Disney (Avengers: Endgame)
- Disney (The Lion King)
- Disney (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker)
- Disney (Frozen II)
- Disney (Toy Story 4)
The No. 1 animated movie in 1977 was Disney's “Pete's Dragon” and it was at No. 11—several notches below “Annie Hall.” We were so much older then; we're younger than that now.
Box Office: ‘Skywalker’ Doesn't Exactly Rise
How does J.J. Abrams have so much power? What is he considered good at?
He directed the worst of the “Mission: Impossible” movies—the third. He rebooted “Star Trek” by destroying Vulcan and then directed the worst of the reboots—“Into Darkness.” He made his own Spielberg-homage film, “Super 8,” but it was less than super, then took over the “Star Wars” franchise and promptly killed off Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Now he's directed one of the worst of the “Star Wars” movies. I guess he's more producer (69 credits) than director (15)? Maybe he should stick to that.
Anyway, the third of the new “Star Wars” movies, or No. IX overall, “The Rise of Skywalker,” opened this weekend to pretty good box office for anything other than a “Star Wars” movie:
- “The Force Awakens”: Dec. 18-20, 2015: $247 million
- “The Last Jedi”: Dec. 15-17, 2017: $220 million
- “The Rise of Skywalker”: Dec. 20-22: $175.5 million
This is the latest in terms of calendar date it's opened—i.e., closest to Christmas, a very busy time for everyone, so it may recover. But “Force” opened with a new weekend box office record, while “Jedi” was still second all-time to “Force.” “Skywalker”? It's 12th. The “Star Wars” opener has fallen off by $75 million.
The other opener this weekend, the much-panned “Cats,” did as poorly as you'd think: $6.5 million in 3,380 theaters. One wonders how many attendees went out of morbid curiosity.
Interesting to see that “Parasite,” the critics' darling from Korea, has already grossed $21 million. That's got to be top tier for foreign-language films at the domestic box office, but I don't know if Box Office Mojo still lists such a thing, and if they did, where I might find it.
Hollywood Hits Quadfecta at Worldwide Box Office
What's one more than a trifecta? A quadfecta? Is that a thing? Anyway, we hit it this year—or Hollywood did.
- G: “Toy Story 4,” $1.07 billion
- PG: “The Lion King,” $1.65 billion
- PG-13: “Avengers: Endgame,” $2.79 billion
- R: “Joker,” $1.05 billion
What do they have in common? Yes, they‘re all 2019 movies.
One might think that happens a lot—movie prices keep going up, China’s movie market keeps getting bigger, etc.—but I doubt it. It's been 10 years, for example, since the last time a new PG-13 king was crowned.
But let's check it out. Has any movie year hit the MPAA rating worldwide quadfecta before?
The last time it could‘ve happened was 2009, when “Avatar” (PG-13) set the worldwide box-office record; but that year, to hone in on just one of the other categories, the highest-grossing R-rated movie worldwide was the comedy hit “The Hangover,” which grossed $467k, far behind then-leader “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), at $741k.
So what about 2003, then? “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (PG-13) grossed more than $1 billion, after all. But that was still way shy of “Titanic”’s then-record PG-13 total of $1.8 billion.
So back to 1997, when “Titanic” was released? Nope. Biggest PG film worldwide that year was still “E.T.,” from 1982. And at that point, in 1982, PG-13 didn't even exist.
It's never happened before. Not even close.
Domestically, it didn't happen in 2019, either, since while “Toy Story 4” set the North American record for G-rated films, the others didn't break through. The record for PG films is still “The Incredibles 2” from last year (two Pixars!), PG-13 is still “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” from 2015, while R remains “Passion of the Christ” from 2004. It's only on the worldwide stage that this happened.
Keep in mind: All of these worldwide box-office kings are Hollywood movies. Hollywood. That's the city/industry the right-wing is constantly attacking as “liberal.” Because apprently nothing is more liberal, and angers conservatives more, than an American industry dominating a global market.
Box Office: ‘Joker’ Has Grossed More Abroad than Any ‘Batman’ Movie
You either die a hero or you live long enough to see the villain surpass you.
Last weekend, “Joker” became the first R-rated movie to gross north of $1 billion worldwide. It’s currently at $1.035 billion. But what’s truly astonishing to me is less the $327 million it’s earned in the U.S. than the $700+ million it’s earned abroad.
You know how much that is? That’s 30th all-time. Only 29 movies have earned more in international markets than “Joker.”
Most of the movies ahead of it are what you’d expect: Marvel movies (7), Animateds (5), plus the Tokiens, Transformers, Jurassics, Fast/Furiouses, Star Warses, and the Camerons (2 each). The one-offs include a Potter, a Bond, a Pirates. All of this is basically wish-fulfillment fantasy and Hollywood endings.
“Joker,” meanwhile, is a gritty reboot of Batman’s No. 1 nemesis that owes more to the oeuvre of Martin Scorsese than DC Comics.
It's actually doing better abroad than any DC Movie save “Aquaman.” Yep, it’s already grossed more in foreign markets than any of the “Batman” movies. Apparently people would rather see the villain than the hero:
|Movie||Foreign Gross||Foreign %||Domestic Gross||Domestic %||Year|
|The Dark Knight Rises||$632,902,188||58.6%||$448,139,099||41.4%||2012|
|Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice||$543,274,725||62.2%||$330,360,194||37.8%||2015|
|The Dark Knight||$469,700,000||46.7%||$535,234,033||53.3%||2008|
The kicker? “Joker” hasn’t even opened in China—and probably won’t. So it’s doing all this without the most lucrative market abroad—a market where “Batman v. Superman” grossed $95 million, “Justice League” $106 millon, and “Aquaman” $292 million.
Any thoughts on the how and why of this? Is it because it's good?
Here’s a deeper question: Is “Joker” the most grown-up movie to gross $1 billion worldwide? A good argument can be made.
Box Office: ‘Ford’ Vrooms, ‘Angels’ Die
The fourth reboot of a ‘70s jiggle show may be the last ... for a while.
Still not a fan of Box Office Mojo’s redesign. So much data is now hard to find on the site, or is now only available if you pay $100+ a year for IMDb Pro. All this is Amazon, by the way. They didn't create either site, just bought them years ago, and are now mucking them up. No character searches any longer on IMDb; now all this crap.
That said, there may be advantages to the new setup. The No. 1 movie for the weekend, and the highest-rated (92%) RottenTomates new release, is “Ford v Ferrari,” which grossed just over $31 million. Second was the second weekend of “Midway,” $8.7 million, third was the first weekend of “Charlie's Angels,” $8.6.
Wait, whoa. Third? Not even $10 mil? Shame. Elizabeth Banks directed, which probably means—despite her “Pitch Perfect 2” grossing $184 in 2015—she won't be getting many more chances. On the plus side, maybe this is a stake in the heart of this intellectual property. How many variations have there been? From 1970s jiggle TV show to 2000 hit movie to 2003 disappointing sequel to 2011 disappointing TV show to 2019 disappointing reboot. Three disappointments and you‘re out? Probably not.
Anyway, I lost the thread. The advantage to the new cross-pollinated amazon setup may be this: I was curious what else “Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold had done, and checked it out as part of my trial subscription to IMDb Pro. I was like: Oh right, the Wolverine stuff. Also “Walk the Line” and “3:10 to Yuma” and “Knight and Day” (underrated for that kind of film).
But to get to that info you have to go through “Projects in Development,” one of which, for Mangold, was this:
“Untitled Joe Namath Project”
The story of American football star Joe Namath, who became one of the sport’s early media sensations as well as a Super Bowl champion.
For a second, I was excited. I would totally be there for this. Then I saw how many other “Projects in Development” Mangold has: 10, and with eight of them he's attached as director. No way that's going to happen. So we‘ll see.
BTW: Elizabeth Banks has 30 projects in development right now, including five in which she’s attached as director, so I probably shouldn't worry too much about her. Or at all, given the state of the world.
BTW II: Adam Driver as Broadway Joe?