“I was surprised that Guardians of the Galaxy won the weekend”, said absolutely no one on the face of the planet. The Marvel gang’s second weekend of USD $63 million brought the film’s overall gross to USD $246 million and easily outdistanced this past weekend’s two new openers. Then again, we use the terms “openers” loosely. Speaking of which…
Dieppe. The Lusitania. Gallipoli. Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur”. In the annals of famous British disasters, the “Snatch” director’s ill-advised retelling of the 12th century English legend ranks well up there. This wasn’t simply a trainwreck. The train ran off the rails, tumbled down an embankment sending townspeople fleeing from their homes and burst into flames when it slammed headfirst into the nuclear power plant. As initial critical (and I do mean critical) reviews started trickling in, it was clear that most reactions would be ladened with a level of vitriol normally reserved for American town hall meetings. In the end, what this all amounted to was a catastrophic USD $14.7 million opening for a film that cost USD $175 million to produce and that’s before the obscene amounts of money spent on worldwide marketing.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, this past weekend’s counter-programming, the Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy “Snatched”, fared a liliputian amount better but still well below our high 20’s projection of last Monday. The film tallied a yawn-inducing USD $17.5 million and just to show how long it’s been since Ms. Hawn last appeared on screen, that’s actually the second highest opening ever for one of her films. In the case of Ms. Schumer, that weekend gross ranked well below 2015’s “Trainwreck” which cracked the USD $30 million opening plateau. The dichotomy of the two movies’ Rotten Tomatoes scores gives you a good indication as to why this film came in significantly below Schumer’s debut. BREAKING NEWS: A comedy has to be funny to be successful.
With that, let’s preview the openers of May 19-21, otherwise known as Fox Weekend at the Movies.
“Alien Covenant” (Fox)—OK so he’s not going to win Open Mic night at The Comedy Store but Ridley Scott certainly knows how to make a good sci-fi movie. The last time he and Michael Fassbender collaborated in outer space, “Prometheus” opened to USD $51 million on its way to USD $126 million domestically and USD $276 million overseas. Not too shabby for a franchise that first debuted during the Carter administration.
The Verdict: It’s fairly certain that AC won’t open to as lofty a level as “Prometheus” but the Alien name, having Scott and Fassbender back on board and an early Rotten Tomatoes score of 75 should add up to Fox wrestling the boxoffice crown away from the gang over at Disney. USD $42 million.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Long Haul” (Fox)—Nothing endears a studio to its distribution sales force, or exhibition for that matter, like three movies in two weeks. Trust me on that one as while I was at Sony I once thought that “Bucky Larson”, “Straw Dogs”, “Moneyball” and “Courageous” all on subsequent weeks was a rather neato idea. Some of the Sony sales team members from my time there still aren’t talking to me over that one. Yet, Fox felt compelled to stick the fourth installment of this franchise the same week as “Prometheus” and one week after “Snatched”. Let the logjam begin.
The Verdict: The opening weekend figures for the previous three films went from USD $23 mil for the first to USD $24 million for “Rodrick Rules”, dipping to USD $14 million for “Dog Days”. That aforementioned downward trajectory doesn’t exactly bode well for “Long Haul” and this may be as good a time as any to retire the franchise. USD $9 million.
“Everything, Everything” (WB)—Evidently there was a legislative act in the state of California recently that mandated that all movies based on young adult novels MUST insure that one of its two main characters has some sort of fluky and random disease that will lead to uncontrollable Kleenex use during said film. Warners complies with this new law by offering up Amandla Stenberg suffering from, wait for it, an autoimmune disorder which forces her to live her life indoors. The movie is based on a novel by Nicole Yoon and co-stars Nick Robinson who must just be dying to utter the phrase “we just don’t get out much anymore, honey”.
The Verdict: Nothing, nothing. USD $6 million.
Nothing much from the art film market this week.
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