It’s a long Martin Luther King weekend here in the United States and despite snow, freezing temperatures, NFL playoff games and a oops-my-bad Hawaiian missile warnings, moviegoers still found time to trudge to their local multiplexes, led by Sony’s “Jumanji,” which won yet another weekend to the tune of an estimated USD $34 million for four days. ComScore will provide final four day numbers tomorrow morning (January 15th). That USD $34 million haul will put Dwyane Johnson & Co near the USD $300 million stratosphere. If you had told anyone at the beginning of 2017 that you projected a “Jumanji” reboot would gross over USD $300 million, just in the US alone, you’d probably have been sent straight to Bethlehem Royal Hospital for evaluation or nominated for a Trump cabinet position.
As for the new recruits, Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” led the pack with a solid USD $23 million start for four days, right where we projected, and with an A Cinemascore, a Rotten Tomatoes score of 87 and possible Oscar nominations coming, the film seems poised to hang in the box office Top 10 for quite a while. I know I’ve said it before, but this is quality filmmaking at its best and is a film desperately needed to be seen in today’s perilously uncertain climate.
The ride home for “The Commuter” wasn’t quite as smooth as this Liam Neeson thriller – and how many times have we written those words over the years – came in very close to what we predicted with USD $16 million. Critics weren’t quite so willing to grab a seat as they gave it an RT score of 53 and moviegoers weren’t much kinder with a B Cinemascore.
Elsewhere, Warner Bros.’ “Paddington 2” was a bit of a disappointment as the marmalade loving bear bearly (sorry) hit the USD $12 million mark despite a 100 RT score and a straight A Cinemascore. That figure was well below what we, and most in the industry, projected. The producers will have to be happy with solid numbers around the world. As we love to say in this industry, thank god for Tonga.
Finally, the Taraji P. Henson mob thriller “Proud Mary” proved to be a curious choice for the Oscar winner and could only entice USD $12 million worth of an audience. A B+ Cinemascore isn’t bad but reviews were far from positive (see separate commentary in the Items Of Note section.)
AT THE ART HOUSES
Again this week we’ve listed anything under 1,000. These are three day figures.
- “I Tonya” – USD $3.3 million (517 locations – USD $6,386 per location average)
- “The Shape of Water” – USD $2.7 million (723 locations – USD $3,734 PLA)
- “Lady Bird” – USD $1.6 million (652 locations USD $2,586 PLA)
- “Phantom Thread” – USD $1.1 million (62 locations – USD $18,486 PLA)
- “Call Me By Your Name – USD $756K (174 locations – $4,112 PLA)
- “Hostiles” – USD $276K (42 locations – USD $6,572 PLA)
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
- As if “All The Money In The World” didn’t have enough speed bumps on the road to box office success, word leaked out this past week that Michelle Williams was paid USD $1,000 for her reshoots on the film while co-star Mark Wahlberg was paid — drum roll please — USD $1.5 million. Wrong decision at the very wrong time. After seeing it this past weekend, Wahlberg truly is the supporting actor here to Williams which makes the pay discrepancy even more unfair
- Sue Kroll stepped down as President of Marketing and Distribution at Warners, to be replaced by Toby Emmerich, who will now hold the President of Marketing, Production and Distribution titles. That must be one really large business card
- “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” officially became the highest grossing 2017 film worldwide this past weekend. I thought it would be nice to post something positive on the film. After a record breaking debut, the movie has been disparaged by fans and has come to a screeching halt at the box office as if it did the 100 yard dash in a 99 yard gymnasium.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-WIDE RELEASES
“12 Strong” (WB)—Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon and William Fichtner star in this story of the first Special Forces unit deployed in Afghanistan after 9/11. Nicolai Fuglsig directs the drama based on the Doug Stanton book, “The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers.”
The Verdict: Interest has been picking up in the south and midwest as the trailer is playing very well in those areas. Still, the film figures to have a somewhat limited audience and it’s difficult to see a path to anything more than $14 million.
“Den of Thieves” (STX)—Gerard Butler has long been listed as the star of this bank heist film but lately the focus has shifted to co-stars 50 Cent and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. Jackson is Ice Cube’s son and played his father in Straight Outta Compton. The thriller deals with a group looking to pull off the perfect crime at the Federal Reserve Bank. Yep, forget about robbing the local Wells Fargo, set your sights high, that’s what I always say.
The Verdict: It feels like the ad campaign has taken in a decidedly urban direction as the outdoor now features the aforementioned co-stars rather than Butler. Perhaps it’s because his openings have been going in the wrong direction as of late. $8 million.
EXPANDING THIS WEEK
“Hostiles”—I do have to give the company credit. For the first time ever I saw a TV spot for a film’s opening weekend that featured “Best Actor”, “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Picture”, all preceded by a very brief, almost whispered “For Your Consideration”, making it look like the film has been nominated for these particular awards.
“I, Tonya”—This is a film that garnered a great deal of press here in the States when it was released on a limited basis several weeks ago but thanks to award nominations and a Spinal Tap-like press tour with everyone’s favorite loon Tonya Harding, the movie has regained momentum. And that’s a good thing as it is one of the better films of the year, thanks in large part to the performances by the entire cast.
“Forever My Girl”—Country music romance. I could relay more about the film but I lost interest after I read those three words on the film’s IMDB page.
“Phantom Thread”—Daniel Day-Lewis’ acting swan song expands this week. There, that’s the most complimentary snippet I can muster this morning.
If you’re hankering for a little anime, ballet or the story of the lead singer of the band Madness, have we got a week for you. Tuesday brings “Rigoletto” from the Royal Opera House. On Wednesday you can discover everything you always wanted to know about the guy who sang the 80s song, “Our House,” with Suggs, “My Story.” Thursday is the anime feature “Mary & The Witch’s Flower” and finally on Sunday the Bolshoi Ballet presents “Romeo and Juliet.”
CJ QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Raise a glass. Raise it high. To Ned Devine”
–Waking Ned Devine (1998)
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