Ice Cube, Matt Damon and a Creepy Resort in the Alps (Fist) Fight it Out for Presidents Day Weekend at the Boxoffice

By Jim Amos | February 12, 2017 2:23 pm PST
The Great Wall, A Cure for Wellness, Fist Fight posters.

As expected, “LEGO Batman” emerged victorious from this past weekend but with a slimmer margin than expected. Whether the snow in the Northeast was to blame or not, the movie came in at a somewhat lower than expected USD $55 million over the three-day period. That’s still a strong number and holdovers will be solid this coming long weekend (especially if parents living in areas like Boston, New York and Philadelphia couldn’t get the kiddies to the multiplex because of the weather). While “LEGO” was slightly less than predicted (USD $66 mil was the projection here), “Fifty Shades Darker” emerged at a slightly higher than expected USD $46 mil this weekend, very close to our USD $44 mil projection, and benefitted from a Cinemascore of B+ as opposed to the first installment’s C+ rating. The biggest surprise of the weekend was “John Wick 2” who took advantage of a (virtually) sports-free weekend to pull in males to the tune of USD $30 million. Expect a third installment.

Here’s a look at this coming weekend. All projections are 4 day totals.

“Fist Fight” (Warner Brothers)— In the pantheon of poor decisions, getting Ice Cube fired from his teaching job ranks up there with New Coke or parachute pants. Fellow teacher Charlie Day finds that out the hard way when he’s challenged to a fist fight by Ice and hilarity (hopefully) ensues. Early buzz on this movie was extremely strong but has tapered off a bit, yet it’s hard to argue that Ice Cube doesn’t have an audience. His last six live action films have all grossed over USD $20 million and his latest should reach that plateau as well.

The Verdict: Take a look at the boxoffice top 25 from this past weekend-there isn’t a live action comedy anywhere (unless you count “Monster Trucks”, but I digress) and especially with today’s political climate moviegoers are probably begging for a laugh. USD $27 million.

“The Great Wall” (Universal)— As with Warners, Universal releases its second movie in two weeks with a film produced almost exclusively for the Asian (and primarily Chinese) market. This must have been an interesting pitch meeting “ok, so we’ll have Matt Damon play a 15th century European mercenary who travels to China and becomes imprisoned inside The Great Wall. He then…wait for it…helps the Chinese protect the wall and their country from, ready for this, aliens!”. I think I was absent that day from 15th Century China 101 when we went over that particular episode in history. I’m willing to remain optimistic because master storytellers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz are behind the project but jeepers this sounds weird.

The Verdict: Was bigly in China. Less so in Chatsworth. USD $15 million.

“A Cure For Wellness” (Fox)—I know what you’re all thinking, “ugh, yet ANOTHER young-and-ambitious-executive-sent-to-a-Swiss-Alps-resort-to-retrieve-his-company’s-CEO movie”. Oh, and it’s 146 minutes. No, that’s not an alternative fact, it’s actually 2 hours and 26 minutes. The running time, along with a rather no name cast (apologies to Dane DeHaan’s mom), a low Rotten Tomatoes score and the clunkiest title for a mainstream release so far in 2017 don’t exactly add up to boxoffice magic.

The Verdict: Horror/thrillers have so far this year been a dime-a-dozen and, other than “Split”, have underwhelmed (see: “Resident Evil”, “Underworld”, “Rings”). It’s difficult to imagine this grossing more than USD $10 million for the four days.

ALSO OPENING—“Everybody Loves Somebody” is not, I repeat not, the Dean Martin Story but rather a Mexican/American comedy from the good folks at Pentelion. “XX” is a horror anthology helmed by female directors such as Karyn Kusama and recording artist St. Vincent.

Jim Amos
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