Well so much for wondering about the holding power of the big black cat. Marvel’s “Black Panther” mauled the competition again this weekend with a gigantic USD $108 million second stanza and its domestic total now stands at a staggering USD $400 million Stateside. It was indeed a case of second verse same as the first as boxoffice records fell again this past weekend.
comScore was up early this morning tallying the second weekend boxoffice records broken by the film: the second highest second weekend, the highest for a Marvel movie, the fourth film ever to cross USD $400 million in its tenth day and the highest grossing title ever in February. Ah yes, remember the days when the industry had to shoehorn all of its tentpole titles into summer and Christmas because INSERT YOUR BEST OLD-TIME STUDIO BOSS VOICE HERE “No one goes to see a superhero movie in February!!! What are you insane, Jenkins?”
Warners’ “Game Night” proved to be a welcome little diversion for a more adult demographic as the Jason Bateman, Rachel MacAdams comedy scored a perfectly respectable USD $16 million this past weekend, exactly where we had it in last week’s column. These are the types of films that hold well so expect a 3-4X multiplier. What will also help will be the B+ Cinemascore grade and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 82. To work, all the film had to be was “good enough” and it was certainly that.
Paramount’s “Annihilation” wasn’t so lucky. It came in at USD $11 million this week, $3 mil below our projection, but $11 million ahead of its international boxoffice gross (where it debuted on Netflix, not in cinemas). The film was embraced by critics, as shown by an 87 Rotten Tomatoes score, but moviegoers begged to differ, giving the film a C Cinemascore grade. Especially with “Red Sparrow” on the horizon this coming weekend look for a second week decline that will necessitate us keeping our hands and feet safely inside the vehicle.
Orion’s “Every Day” managed a USD $3.1 million weekend, right about where we projected. The film didn’t have a ton going for it from the start but maybe the B+ Cinemascore will help their tenuous grasp on the top 10 for this coming weekend. But don’t bet on it. I do, however, give the studio credit for only going out on 1,625 runs. This is an example of a studio understanding that the vast majority of a film’s business on this kind of title can be done in the best 1,500 or so runs and they didn’t have to try to shove the film down the throats of small town and limited screen exhibitors.
Lastly, we turn to the Sony holdover front where “Peter Rabbit”, thanks to school vacation week, dropped only 28% and held its grip on the fourth spot in the Top 10 and the studio’s “Jumanji” did its best impression of the horror movie killer who just won’t die, occupying the #6 spot in its tenth(!) week. When was the last time a Christmas film was still in the top 6 at the boxoffice as we prepared to turn the calendar page to March?
AT THE ART HOUSES
Nothing to write home about.
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
- It’s time to do your good deed for the day. If you love old cinemas and want to preserve their history please sign the petition to save the The Cinema Museum in South London, which is facing eviction at the end of March, despite their best efforts to actually purchase the property at a fair price. Movie theaters have been such an important part of the lives of many of us in the industry and it’s imperative we don’t let their rich history and memories slip away. So many of us have worked in cinemas at some point in our careers so please look through the following link and donate or share on social media if you can.
- The Cineworld purchase of Regal Cinemas here in the States should be finalized any day now and the changes have already started happening in a big way at the #2 exhibitor in the US. The two main players in the company, CEO Amy Miles and COO Greg Dunn, are leaving the company along with SVP Chief Programming Officer Steve Bunnell.
- By California law there has to be a Moviepass Item Of Note every week so here goes: On Friday Moviepass sued rival Sinemia for copyright infringement. An article in Friday’s Variety details the allegations.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-WIDE RELEASES
“RED SPARROW” (Fox)—Jennifer Lawrence stars as a Russian ballerina recruited against her will to Sparrow School, a part of the Russian Intelligence Service. Her first mission is to seduce and compromise a CIA agent. The film is from Francis Lawrence who directed JenLaw in “The Hunger Games” films and despite a rather hefty running time, the film moves at an energetic clip and keeps the moviegoer guessing until the end, always a sign of a crowd pleasing thriller. The supporting cast is top-notch as well with Joel Edgerton, Charlotte Rampling (who is determined to be in every film in 2018) and Joely Richardson along for the ride.
The Verdict: The film does feel like it’s more geared to international audiences but moviegoers Stateside love Lawrence as well and she has become one of the very few true bankable boxoffice draws. Want proof? Get this, eight of her last ten wide release films have all grossed over $100 million dollars domestically. Show me a male actor who can make that claim. I’ll wait. While this may not quite reach the century level it still should be a very solid winter thriller. USD $26 million.
“DEATH WISH” (MGM)—On tonight’s episode of Déjà vu Theatre, toss on your fringe vests and bell bottoms, cue up the Bay City Rollers cassette, jump start the Plymouth Valiant and head to the local multiplex for a trip back in time to 1974 for a movie called “Death Wish” from a studio called MGM. Yes everything old is new again and just to top it off Bruce Willis returns to his action leading man days taking over the iconic Charles Bronson role.
The Verdict: There’s something nostalgic and oddly comforting having Willis back in this kind of role in a remake of this 1970’s defining movie. And kudos to MGM for hiring Eli Roth as director. Well done, gents. Roth, albeit an acquired taste, is one of the edgiest and most talented filmmakers working today and I, for one, am dying to see what he does with this. MGM is betting I’m not alone. $14 million.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-LIMITED AVAIL TITLES
Nothing of note unless you’re suffering from withdrawals because you haven’t seen a really good Japanese comedy with Josh Hartnett in a while. In that case, “Oh Lucy” opens this week. Have at it.
Ready to play a game? OK, I’m going to give you two sets of event cinema releases this week and you tell me which are being released in the States and which are in the UK/Ireland.
Set One—The Royal Ballet: The Winter’s Tale (Wed 2/28), The Bolshoi Ballet Live (Sun 3/4)
Set Two—Kirk Cameron’s Connect (Tue 2/27) and Primal Rage: Bigfoot Reborn (also Tues 2/27).
Tell them what they’ve won, Johnny.
CJ QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams”
–Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Footnote: This week’s quote selected by my wife Lori.
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- Distributors Open Up Film Archives for Re-Opening UK Cinemas - June 19, 2020