Panther ($41 mil) and Wrinkle ($33 mil) Give Disney a Powerful 1-2 March Weekend Punch. This Weekend at the Box Office.

By | March 11, 2018 4:34 pm PST

WEEKEND RECAP

It was the boxoffice version of Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” this past weekend. It was the best of times (Disney) and the worst of times (everyone else). On a weekend where diversity reigned supreme, Marvel’s “Black Panther” won its fourth consecutive weekend, grossing USD $41 million and in doing so passed the USD $1 billion mark in worldwide gross according to comScore. BP is the fourth Marvel Universe title to cross that lofty level and has a shot at a fifth weekly win this coming weekend, depending upon the grossing power of “Lara Croft” (more on that later).

Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time” opened below industry (and our) expectations at USD $33 million and both critical and audience reactions were disappointing as well. The film has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 42 and a Cinemascore of B. The film’s core audience of young females were the most receptive, far more so than their adult counterparts. Still and all, a USD $33 million debut is nothing to sneeze at and kudos to DuVernay and Disney for trying to launch a new franchise. Whether or not there will be additional “Wrinkles” remains to be seen.

Aviron won the best-of-the-rest award as their “Strangers: Prey at Night” easily outdistanced the other new openers. The movie just did crack double digits, as we guessed here last week, scaring up USD $10.4 million. The film’s C Cinemascore is not unusual for a horror title and I don’t think many of its genre fans care about what Didley Von Hooten and his critical cronies gave the film on Rotten Tomatoes (35 if you’re scoring at home).

Entertainment Studios’ “Hurricane Heist” was nothing more than a gentle breeze at the box office, with its USD $3 million box office take, 27 RT score and B- Cinemascore.

STX’s “Gringo”, meanwhile, was the cinematic equivalent of a night in a Tijuana hostel, managing only USD $2.6 million and a C+ Cinemascore.

Finally, The Met Opera continues to amass huge Saturday afternoon grosses as their presentation of “Semiramide” tallied USD $1.2 million. Reminder, that’s not a weekend gross. That’s one show only, one which goes on at 11:00am here on the west coast.

Box Office Chart - March 9, 2018

 (Source: comScore)

AT THE ART HOUSES

Very solid debut for Focus’ “Thoroughbreds”, which opened to USD $1.2 million on only 550 theatres.

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

  • Terrific article in our own Celluloid Junkie listing the Top 50 Women in Global Cinema. Check it out.
  • Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One opens in a few weeks and tracking has been good but not great. THR had an interesting article about how WB is hoping a last minute push at SXSW and buying ads on March Madness basketball games will help propel interest in the film. The piece continued by saying Warners was encouraged by strong interest among young males. Ummm, I would hope that you already have that audience, ladies and gentlemen at Warners. That’s akin to saying that it’s encouraging to see how many people from Reykjavik are interested in the new Bjork film.

THIS COMING WEEKEND’S WIDE RELEASES

(Warners)—Because everything old is new again we have a reboot of the 2001 Angelina Jolie videogame adaptation, this time starring Alicia Vikander, best known from her work in “Ex Machina”. Daniel Wu and Dominic West co-star and the film is directed by Roar Uthaug, a Norwegian helmer who is dipping his toe into the Hollywood mainstream for the first time with this effort.

The Verdict– If you’d like an indication of how this film is tailored specifically for an international audience just recheck the aforementioned names. A Swedish actress, a co-star mainly known for Asian films, another co-star from Yorkshire, England and a director from Scandinavia. All that’s missing is the hot new actress from Ecuatorial Guinea and a theme song from A-ha. The original TR opened to USD $47 million and the 2003 sequel dipped significantly to USD $21 million. Despite projections from other industry sources that this could threaten $30 million I just think there’s too much noise in the marketplace for this to break through. USD $22 million. And even that may be too high.

“Love, Simon” (Fox) — Comedy/drama from director Greg Berlanti (“Life As We Know It”) starring Nick Robinson as a gay teen coming to terms with his identity. The TV spots are some of the best of the year so far and the studio believes in the film so much that they dusted off the 1995 Distribution Playbook to schedule sneaks this past weekend. And to prove how right they were the #LoveSimon hashtag was trending most of Saturday night on Twitter. Nicely done.

The Verdict: Backed by a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 91, the film has a lot going for it and there hasn’t been a solid comedy for a younger audience since “Lady Bird”. We don’t mind going out on a limb here at CJ so we’re going higher than anyone we’ve seen so far with a USD $18 million debut and a long shelf life at the multiplex.

“I Can Only Imagine” (Roadside) — Faith based title based on the song “Mercy Me” from singer-songwriter Bart Millard starring J. Michael Finley. The film is directed by the Erwin Brothers, who also helmed “Moms Night Out” which grossed a total of $10 million in 2014 for Sony.

The Verdict: This is the first film in recent memory (or long term memory for that matter) where the lead actor’s IMDB page doesn’t include a photo of him. Note to Mr. Finley’s agent, spring for a head shot. Co-star Dennis Quaid has to be wondering WTH happened to his career and we won’t even mention the film’s other co-star Cloris Leachman other than to say she played the Granny character in the film version of “The Beverly Hillbillies”. And that was 26 years ago. As we like to point out on faith based titles, it all revolves around whether there is a grassroots movement around local church groups and whether the studio can “convince” Fox’s Sean Hannity to proclaim it’s the greatest thing since “Ben-Hur”.  USD $2 million.

THIS COMING WEEKEND-LIMITED AVAIL TITLES

Perhaps it was time for a new telling of the 1976 Air France hijacking thriller but early reviews indicate that “7 Days in Entebbe” is not the movie to do so. Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike play the terrorists and Jose Padilha directs. 800 runs.

EVENT CINEMA

If you haven’t had your anime fix for a while, “Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie” journeys back to the big screen starting today here in the US. Tuesday we return to respectability with the Royal Shakespeare production of “Twelfth Night”. Wednesday is Funimation’s “Free! Take Your Marks,” the sequel to one of the top-selling television anime series in recent years. Finally, zip up the go-go boots, rev up the Vespa and join Michael Caine on Wednesday for “My Generation”, a look at the swinging 60s in London. Yeah baby.

CJ QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Thank you, Clear Lake. We’ll see you next year!”

–The Buddy Holly Story (1978)

Jim Amos
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Jim Amos

Founder at Scout53
Founder of Scout 53 Entertainment Consulting. Former President of Distribution at Sony Pictures and Head of Theatrical Sales at Fathom Events and STX Entertainment. Husband, vegan, Anglophile and one-eyed rescue cat owner.
Jim Amos
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