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.”