It came. It saw. It kicked some ass. Disney/Marvel’s “Black Panther” launch was stratospheres above what was predicted with a three day of USD $192 million and a projected four day in the USD $215-220 million range. The film ended up being the sixth highest three day debut, barely nudging out the previous number five, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” After an enormous opening Friday, the industry wondered if “Black Panther” could topple “Captain America: Civil War” and its USD $179 weekend. As if. “Black Panther” is smashing past that record as we speak.
And talk about having both quantity and quality. The movie currently enjoys a 97 Rotten Tomatoes score and was presented with an A+ Cinemascore from its audience. It is only the second Marvel superhero movie to grab the A+ ring. The gender breakdown looks to be a straight 50/50 and according to the lads and lasses at comScore, opening weekend’s audiences were 37% African American, 35% Caucasian, and 18% Hispanic. It grabbed a 5 out of 5 on PostTrak and a 88% definite recommend. Theoretically the film should take a hefty drop next weekend because it won’t be Presidents weekend here in the States but I’m not going to project anything as far as this film is concerned, plus this coming Friday is a day off of school for many kids in the States. The weekend as a whole was record setting with comScore projecting the first ever USD $300 million four day President’s Day weekend in history with the long weekend total possibly hitting the USD $320+ million range.
Oh that’s right, two other movies opened this past weekend. Aardman and Lionsgate’s “Early Man”, much to our dismay, came in right where we it was projected with USD $3.1 for three days, USD $4 million-ish for four days and Pure Flix’s “Samson” was beaten by Goliath, managing only $1.9 million for three days.
Elsewhere, the second weekend drop on “Fifty Shades Freed” (56%) was exactly the same as for the previous outing, “Fifty Shades Darker.” Sony’s “Jumanji” is now at USD $377 million and, astonishingly, has a shot at USD $400 million. Final note, the Culver City studio’s “Peter Rabbit” outing held onto its number two slot for the second consecutive week, watching “Fifty Shades Freed” plummet past it, and now standing at USD $48 million with an upcoming school vacation week without any kid titles opening.
AT THE ART HOUSES
Nothing to write home about.
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
- In one of the more mind-numbing weeks on the release schedule front, no fewer than eighteen major movies were either added to the upcoming release schedule or switched dates, including a game of musical chairs in late July/early August that was the cinematic equivalent of a Saturday night demolition derby in West Virginia. Titles bounced around July 20th and August 3rd so fast over a two day period last week after James Cameron’s “Alita: Battle Angel” moved its debut that it was difficult to keep track. Check out your favorite release schedule site for details.
- The BAFTA awards are this evening on BBC America here in the States. For this writer it remains the best awards show on television.
- Great article by my colleague Patrick Von Sychowski here on Celluloid Junkie this week about how Russia has become Europe’s largest cinema territory.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-WIDE RELEASES
“Annihilation” (P)—If you currently reside overseas then all you have to do to watch the latest Natalie Portman thriller is flip on Netflix but here in the States we tend to value the moviegoing experience, well at least for this month, so you’ll have to trudge to your local multiplex to see this sci-fi adventure from the director of “Ex Machina”. In addition to Portman, the cast includes Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Oscar Isaac. The film revolves around an expedition of four women to a mysterious region called Area X.
The Verdict: To say that Ms. Portman’s recent openers have been all over the board is akin to saying Bergman films were a tad esoteric. Check out Natalie’s recent debuts here. The female slant on this film and the fact it was helmed by Alex Garland should theoretically generate some interest among moviegoers but is this audience tied up seeing or talking about having seen “Black Panther?” USD $14 million.
“Game Night” (WB)—Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a couple trying to solve a murder mystery at their friends’ weekly game night. The film is from the team that brought us “Horrible Bosses” (yay) and “Horrible Bosses 2” (boo).
The Verdict: Somehow it feels like Bateman and McAdams are falling too easily into these suburban couple roles. They are natural choices to play the leads but the question is, are they too natural? It feels as if someone walked into the head of production’s office, described the concept and then imagined a cast of actors “oh say, like Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.” Still, this should be harmless, let’s-get-a-sitter night out entertainment for adult moviegoers and something feels like that audience needs a night at the cinema where they can stop screaming at political talk shows and just check their minds at the concession stand. USD $16 million.
“Every Day” (Orion)—They say everything old is new again and there’s no better example of that than the debut film for the revamped Orion Studios. Angourie Rice from “Spider-Man Homecoming” stars in this young adult romantic drama which probably can best be described “50 First Dates” meets “Zelig.”
The Verdict: It’s an interesting concept and the film is directed by Steve Sucsy, who handled TV’s excellent “Grey Gardens,” but it feels like there isn’t enough of a hook to draw young females and I’m going out on a limb to say my “Zelig” reference won’t result in them putting down their Miranda Sings videos and stampeding to their local multiplex. USD $4 million.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-LIMITED AVAIL TITLES
“The Young Karl Marx” (Orchard)—Nothing screams a scintillating night of entertainment more than a synopsis that reads “the depiction of the early years of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.” I do not, however, believe there is a scene where Marx borrows money from Engels at a 7-11 (pat yourself on the back if you get that reference).
“Hannah” (Parade Deck)—Drama featuring the hardest working septuagenarian in show business, Charlotte Rampling.
“Is Genesis History?” We’ll found out this Thursday here in the US. Also Thursday is the National Theatre Live’s presentation of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with Jack O’Connell and Siena Miller. We return to The Met this Saturday for Puccini’s masterpiece, “La Boheme.” Finally, next Sunday The Henson Company’s “Dark Crystal” returns to the big screen.
CJ QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“You don’t normally see that kind of behavior out of a major appliance”.
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