For the fifth consecutive weekend, Marvel’s “Black Panther” found itself perched atop the boxoffice charts, tallying USD $27 million and easily defeating newcomer “Tomb Raider”’s $23 million. Panther is now up to a gargantuan USD $605 million domestic and USD $577 million internationally. I’m assuming its stay at the top will finally come to an end this coming weekend with “Pacific Rim Uprising” set to make its debut but at this point who knows.
The aforementioned “Tomb Raider” came in very close to our projection with $23 million, far lower than what most of the industry predicted. Again, the film should enjoy a heartier boxoffice life overseas and has a decent shot at making its USD $100 million budget back. For all the industry know-it-all sites proclaiming the film to be a disappointment this morning, just check the international take when all is said and done and get back to us. This film was never meant for domestic audiences, plain and simple. And talk about a middling reaction, the film garnered a 50 Rotten Tomatoes score and a straight B on Cinemascore.
The real surprise of the weekend was Roadside’s faith based effort, “I Can Only Imagine”, which grabbed the third place slot with USD $17 million on only 1,629 screens. The film proved to be a gift from the heavens to exhibitors, especially in the south and midwest where the film was #1 in many theatres and had the highest per location average on the board. The movie also garnered a very respectable 80 RT score and an A+ Cinemascore. Who knew Cloris Leachman was this popular? As we mentioned in last week’s column, faith based title success often revolves around two factors: does the studio have the appropriate agency in place to cultivate a following with church groups and is there a media focus on the film. Those two things obviously happened here.
AT THE ART HOUSES
Evidently very few moviegoers wanted to relive a 1970s hijacking drama and as such “7 Days in Entebbe” floundered with USD $1.6 million in 800 theatres.
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE
- Get ready for a bloodbath on Monday morning with five studios trying to find space at your local multiplex for their titles along with seven holdover films that all grossed north of $5 million this past weekend. This week is one that keeps film buyers up on Sunday nights.
- Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” made its debut at SXSW this past week where audience reaction was excellent, despite technical flaws. The film opens on March 30.
- Very quietly, Sony’s “Peter Rabbit” has now grossed more than $100 million domestic.
- If you have a minute or two head to Rotten Tomatoes and compare the scores for TV shows vs movies on the site. Only 3 out of the top 10 movies have fresh ratings while 15 of the 16 TV shows listed have fresh ratings. That begs the question, is the content coming from cable and streaming THAT much better than from films with big time stars and directors? Or are critics simply grading on two different curves? There’s a lot of talk about whether or not RT is affecting the movie industry. Maybe we should look at whether the site is indeed comparing apples to apples rather than apples to sofas.
- Look for my yearly Summer Movie Preview and Projection column this coming week in Celluloid Junkie. It looks at every wide and moderate release from the start of summer (which apparently now is April 27th) until the end of the season (which is still August 31 last time I checked).
THIS COMING WEEKEND’S WIDE RELEASES
PACIFIC RIM UPRISING (Universal)— “Pacific Rim Uprising” is back and seemingly the only thing left over from the 2013 original is the title. Director Guillermo del Toro is gone, as are Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam. Universal is obviously hoping that Scott Eastwood and John Boyega ably fill in this time out.
The Verdict– The original opened to USD $37 million in 2013, going on to total USD $101 million Stateside and a lofty USD $309 million overseas. Without del Toro this feels like an unnecessary sequel and the movie will have boatloads of trouble finding multiple screens this coming weekend with five new films opening and strong holdovers. That will limit the film’s grossing potential. USD $21 million.
SHERLOCK GNOMES (Paramount)—This certainly wins the award for best cast, even if they only appear in vocal form. Garden gnomes call upon the brilliant detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the theft of other garden ornaments. Funny, I don’t remember reading that particular Sherlock adventure in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Strand adventures. As if that’s not funny enough, we have Johnny Depp stepping into the role that Basil Rathbone and William Gillette made famous and none other than Chiwetel Ejiofor, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, James McAvoy, Mary J. Blige and Ozzy Osbourne (yes, Ozzy Osbourne) are along for the ride.
The Verdict: Though this is easily the most interesting wide release of the group it probably won’t be the highest grossing one. I doubt kids watch BBC’s Sherlock so they undoubtedly don’t know the character and the vocal talents are more geared to their parents or, in the case of Smith and Caine, their great-great-grandparents. USD $14 million.
PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST (SONY)- One week after “I Can Only Imagine” pulled a stunner, Sony is obviously hoping that lightning strikes twice with this Biblical drama from faith-based filmmaker James Hyatt. The film follows the life of Paul from famous persecutor of the Christians to becoming Jesus’ most influential apostle.
The Verdict: Can someone provide Jim Caviezel a role where he isn’t wearing something that too closely resembles a shroud? For the love of Mike, just put this guy in “Baywatch 2” or “Bad Dads” and bring him into this millenium. Exhibitors were mixed on group presales but the Easter holiday here in America should help the film. USD $11 million.
MIDNIGHT SUN (Open Road)- Maybe just once we can have a young adult romance that doesn’t feature a main charcter with some kind of Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not malady. In the latest installment of Calamity Courtship, Bella Thorne stars as a young woman who suffers from a condition that prevents her from being out in the sun. I’m no certified dermatologist but I think that’s called being a vampire.
The Verdict: This kind of sappy, afterschool special type of offering will ensure that moviegoers also suffer from a condition, one that prevents them from buying tickets to “Midnight Sun”. USD $4 million.
UNSANE (Bleecker Street)– The man who was going to be the self-proclaimed disrupter of film distribution, Steven Soderbergh, is back with this horror/thriller about a woman sent against her will to an insane asylum where hilarity ensues (OK, I made that last part up). Claire Foy (“The Crown”) stars.
The Verdict: Any moviegoer who thinks this might be an evening’s worth of enjoyable entertainment should have their head examined. USD $4 million.
THIS COMING WEEKEND-LIMITED AVAIL TITLES
Hallelujah, it’s the return of director Wes Anderson to the big screen, whose “Isle of Dogs” opens in 25 locations this coming week. The movie is the animated tale of a Japanese boy’s search for his lost dog and features the voices of Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Bryan Cranston.
Just to prove Hollywood hasn’t completely run out of historical figures for biopics, Sony Classics has Geoffrey Rush and Armie Hammer in the life story of Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti in “Final Portrait”. Stanley Tucci directs.
Hitchcock’s Vertigo is back on the big screen tonight and Wednesday here in the US. The nature documentary “The Riot and the Dance” is Monday night. Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” takes the stage on Tuesday in the UK and Ireland and the NTC presents “Julius Caesar” on Thursday. Finally, what’s a week without an anime offering? If you answered “not a week at all” then you’ll be ecstatic to learn that “The Ice Dragon” is on screen in the US next Saturday.
CJ QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
–The Godfather (1972)
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