I’d never thought I’d see the day when a USD $572 million movie was spoken of in such harsh tones, yet here we are. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” dropped a hearty 55%, by far the largest drop on the board according to ComScore, and watched helplessly as Dwayne Johnson and his “Jumanji” gang whizzed by it en route to the number one spot at the post-holiday box office. The news wasn’t all that hot for the Jedis overseas either as the film didn’t only fail to break box office records there but it couldn’t even land in first place. As is the case in Hollywood, we often times remember the end of a theatrical run on a film rather than opening weekend. It will be interesting what exhibitor reaction will be if/when Disney goes for the same “Star Wars” terms on this summer’s “Solo” movie. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile somewhere in the Hawaiian jungle, “Jumanji” grabbed another USD $36 million this weekend and its overall total is now at USD $244 million, an overwhelming success for Sony. Meanwhile, “The Last Jedi” suffered the aforementioned 55% tumble and fell to, no not second, but third place after Universal and Blumhouse’s “Insidious: The Last Key” pulled a bit of stunner, grossing USD $29 million, which won it the place position. ComScore points out that this opening is even higher than the last installment of the franchise, which debuted to USD $22 million in June of 2015.
Elsewhere, STX’s “Molly’s Game” opened to USD $7 million, which landed it in 7th place, just ahead of 2018 Oscar winner Gary Oldman (I’m just going to keep referring to him as that until he finally wins) and everyone at “Darkest Hour,” which added screens this week to get to the USD $6.3 million level. A Jessica Chastain win at tonight’s Golden Globes would help Aaron Sorkin’s film’s cause.
AT THE ART HOUSES
Again this week we’ve listed anything under 1,000 screens just so we include everyone not in wide release.
- “The Shape of Water” – USD $3.1 million (804 locations – USD $3,850 PLA)
- “I, Tonya” – The real success story of the weekend for limited releases, expanding to 242 screens and nabbing USD $2.5 million. Yes, that’s a PLA of over USD $10,000
- “Lady Bird” – USD $1.5 million (562 locations – USD $2,770 PLA)
- “Disaster Artist” – Continues to roll down the box office chart, with USD $780,000 this weekend at 478 locations
THREE BILLBOARDS…-Also going in the wrong directioon, with USD $705,000 in 310 locations
PHANTOM THREAD—zzzzzzzzzzzzzz, oh sorry, I even fell asleep just writing the title of that film. USD $245,000 for a PLA of USD $40,800.
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
- Kieran Harvey of Tamworth, UK wins the Cinema Attendance award for 2017. On social media he posted that he tallied up his visits to his local Odeon and they came to a staggering 216. Thankfully he has an Odeon card, otherwise he’d probably be working at his fourth job right now. Kieran’s most viewed movie of the year was “Baby Driver”, having seen it 13 times, which might have been more than director Edgar Wright saw the film.
- Our last Oscar preview looks at Best Supporting Actress. DEFINITES—Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”), Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”). POSSIBLES—Holly Hunter (“The Big Sick”), Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”), Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”). DARK HORSES-Melissa Leo (“Novitiate”), Kristen Scott Thomas (“Darkest Hour”)
- From the “It Didn’t Quite Go As Planned” file, Village Cinemas in Australia scrapped a plan to raise ticket and concession prices by USD $1 on Friday and Saturday nights after a cavalcade of customer backlash.
- Patrick, Sperling and I peered into our crystal ball for some brave 2018 projections this week in Celluloid Junkie.
- Having been an Academy voter for a few years I’ve seen some novel promotional stunts from studios attempting to secure your vote for their films. This one may top them all and it actually comes from the Academy itself. I was invited on Thursday to the Academy Maskeup and Hairstyling Bakeoff. Yes, Bakeoff. I am truly hoping that Bakeoff is a figurative term, rather than a literal one. If not, then the thought of Scary Mary Berry at an Academy event is too much for this feeble mind to envision.
- • Speaking of the aforementioned event, does anyone else find it head-scratching that “Bright” is up for an Oscar? It is nominated for Best Makeup. True, 11 million people saw the Will Smith piece of content, but at home on the streaming service Netflix. I checked with other industry box office aggregators and not a one can remember any kind of theatrical release for the film. If there was it was probably a one week fourwall in New York and Los Angeles. Does that really qualify it for an Oscar in this streaming day and age? If it does then watch for next year’s Golden Globes to possibly have a piece of content nominated in both a theatrical category as well as a TV one. That could prove a bit embarrassing.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-WIDE RELEASES
“The Post” (Fox)—Steven Spielberg’s depiction of the race to publish the Pentagon Papers is proving to be this year’s best thriller. Propelled by excellent performances by Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, the film has enjoyed a robust life in the limited arena and now expands to a national run. By the way, hopefully Oscar voters don’t overlook the beautifully understated performance from Bob Odenkirk, which is by far the best of his career.
The Verdict: Oh to be a fly on the wall when President Trump screens this during the week. He requested a print from Fox and studios always provide requested prints for Presidents. During my time at Sony it was hilarious to compare the films requested by President Bush versus those by President Obama. I’ll leave that to your imagination. How this expands into predominantly red states will be the answer to whether the film breaks the USD $20 million barrier query. For the four day Martin Luther King weekend look for it to do its Sergey Bubka impression and just get over that bar to the tune of USD $22 million.
“The Commuter” (LG)—Liam Neeson plays a New York commuter who gets caught up in a conspiracy on his afternoon train ride back to suburbia. I did that commute for 20 years and the most exciting thing that ever happened on my train ride was when the train got a Bar Car. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson co-star.
The Verdict: The film reunites Neeson with his “Non-Stop” director but Liam’s non-“Taken” openings have been on the downslope as he’s gotten a bit longer in the tooth, shall we say. Thankfully Lionsgate doesn’t have him running across the top of the train in pursuit of the villain so this is more of a Hitchcockian thriller. Still and all, look for an opening in the mid-teens over four days and hope that Neeson has got one more of these kind of roles left in him.
“Paddington 2” (WB)-Taken over from The Company Formerly Known As The Weinstein Company, Warners sets off on another adventure with everyone’s favorite station bear. Ben Whishaw voices Paddington and the list of co-stars looks like an afternoon of Brit Box or the commissary at tea time at the BBC. Hugh Bonneville, Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters and Brendan Gleeson round out the cast. Evidently Michael Gambon was busy and Liz Dawn is still dead.
The Verdict: How about this for a Rotten Tomatoes score. The film has received a perfect 100 from 64 critics, mostly worldwide, where the film has already opened to the tune of USD $200 million. In fact, the US is one of the last countries to open the movie, behind such box office powder kegs as Cyprus, Lithuania and Estonia. Oh if I had a nickel every time a producer said to me at Sony, “I don’t care how we did at Lincoln Square this weekend, what did we do in Vilnius!!!” 2015’s original opened to USD $18 million for three days and this should land in roughly the same ballpark. USD $20 million for four days.
“Proud Mary” (Sony)—Taraji P Henson plays a Boston hitwoman who ends up saving a young boy. Danny Glover and Rade Serbedzija are along for the ride and hopefully not attempting Southie accents.
The Verdict: An odd choice for Ms. Henson, to say the least. And what’s with the truly bizarre Hendrix-like artwork for the film? (above) Check out the one-sheet, but only after making a stop at one of the (now legal) California pot dispensaries. USD $11 million for four days.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-LIMITED AVAIL TITLES
Lionsgate releases its Mexican animated title, “Condorito”. Hmm, a Mexican animated movie. We haven’t had one of those since way back in…never mind.
Back with a vengeance, there’s plenty on the Event Cinema plate this coming week. Wednesday has the triumverate of “Exhibiton on Screen: American Impressionists”, showings of Tommy Wiseau’s original “The Room” and Eric Clapton’s “Life in 12 Bars”. Moving on to Thursday there’s “Alien Intrusion with John Schneider”. Then over the weekend, The Met Opera returns with “The Opera House” doc and TCM brings “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” back to the big screen beginning on Sunday.
CJ QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Remember men, we’re fighting for this woman’s honor, which is probably more than she ever did.”
–Duck Soup (1933)
- The 6 Things Cinema Owners Need To Do When Movies Return - February 16, 2021
- Is 2020 Now a Write-Off Year for Cinemas? - July 27, 2020
- Distributors Open Up Film Archives for Re-Opening UK Cinemas - June 19, 2020