Box Office: Pacific Rim's Tepid Victory
The big news isn't that the first weekend of “Pacific Rim Uprising” overtook the sixth weekend of “Black Panther” to become the No. 1 movie at the domestic box office, since that was predicted, nor that “PRU”'s total ($28 million, down from $36 for the original) was a disappointment, since that, too, was predicted. The movie got made for the international, particularly the Chinese market, not ours.
No, the big news, as I see it, is that for the 10th weekend out of 12 this year, the No. 1 movie at the box office starred a person/people of color:
- Jumanji (Dwayne Johnson): 4 weeks
- Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman, et al.): 5 weeks
- Pacific Rim Uprising (John Boyega): 1 week
The others are “Maze Runner 3,” which was one and out, and “Fifty Shades Freed,” ditto.
Don't know if this is getting enough attention.
And sure, you can say that people went to see “PRU” less for Boyega than the giant roboty things, and to “Black Panther” less for Boseman, et al., than its superheroness (although that snap analysis misses something crucial to “BP”'s popularity), and that only Johnson is the true star among the group—the guy that people love and will follow from movie to movie regardless of how shitty it is. Yes. Agreed. But it also means that black stars aren't the detriment to box office that Hollywood execs have long thought. Even in China, which often wears a kind of obtuse racism on its sleeve, they spent $95 million on “BP” during its first week, and $65 mil on “PRU” during its first weekend.
Among other new movies, the animated “Sherlock Gnomes” opened to $10 mil and fourth place (good riddance); the Biblical cheapo “Paul, Apostle of Christ” opened to $5 mil and eighth place (ditto); the teen tearjerker “Midnight Sun” opened to $4.1 mil and 10th place; and Steven Soderbergh's well-reviewed “Unsane” opened to $3.8 mil and 11th place.
Oh, and Wes Anderson's well-reviewed animation “Isle of Dogs” opened to $1.5 mil and 15th place ... but that was actually a feat, since it opened in only 27 theaters. It grossed $58k per. The others are all opened in at least 1,400 theaters. They grossed between $1 and $6k per. Ruff.
Among returners: “I Can Only Imagine,” the feel-good tale of a bad upbringing that led to a hit song, seems like a hit itself, since it fell only 19% and grossed another $13.8 to bring its domestic total to $38.3. That said, I doubt it‘ll do well abroad. The new “Tomb Raider” fell 56% (fifth place, $41 mil domestic), and the much-ballyhooed “A Wrinkle in Time” fell 50% (sixth place, $73 mil domestic). Not the Year of Women at the box office?
Best news? The attempted reboot of “Death Wish” is dead. After four weeks, it’s earned $32 mil and this weekend it finished in 16th place. Playing in more than 1,300 theaters, it couldn't make what “Isle of Dogs” made in 27.