The people were rather unmoved by Exodus: Gods And Kings, Top Five thankfully makes the top five, Inherent Vice has the worst opening of anything ever, Wild runs wild on you, brother, and Other Box Office News.
For those of you keeping track at home, 2014 has only had one faith-based drama that was worth anybody’s time released in its twelve months, despite this sub-genre being strangely thriving this past year. I am of course referring to Darren Aronofsky’s sublime and surprisingly moving and beautiful Noah, and most certainly not Ridley Scott’s, by all accounts, insipid Exodus: Gods And Kings. Fortunately, in this instance, it seems that most of the public agreed and, although Exodus is still our new box office #1 by dint of being the first new wide release in two weeks, it reached that summit with only $24.5 million in ticket sales. Noah, meanwhile and having to follow surprise hit Divergent, opened to $43 million. VICTORY!!
In more good news, Chris Rock’s Top Five, which by most accounts I’ve heard is something really special, was an out-of-the-box success! Playing at 979 theatres, with a full-on nationwide release coming soon, the film broke into the top five with wondrous ease, finishing in fourth with $7.2 million in ticket sales and a $7,000 per-screen average. That’s $1.6 million more than Chris Rock’s last directing gig, 2007’s I Think I Love My Wife, opened with and that film had the luxury of almost double the number of screens that Top Five did! So, not only did Top Five manage to send Chris Rock back on the interview circuit – seriously, I want him to keep making movies purely so he can keep going around giving interviews like this one and this one – it’s also apparently a really damn great movie and managed to make a fair bit of money! DOUBLE VICTORY!!
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news, folks. Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Inherent Vice was released in those five New York and Los Angeles art-house cinemas that all major awards season wannabes have to start off their life in if they want to taken seriously, apparently. It managed $330,000, which sounds really great, and a per-screen average of $66,000, which is probably more than anybody working for this site or reading this article makes in a year. But that’s also less than There Will Be Blood and The Master made opening weekends (per-screen in Blood’s case, overall and per-screen in Master’s case), so therefore Inherent Vice is a colossal failure of epic proportions that has ruined the careers of everyone involved. Sorry Inherent Vice, thanks for trying!
In further limited release news, the Weinstein-backed The Imitation Game – so look for Benedict Cumberbatch to steal the Best Actor awards of whoever we’ve arbitrarily decided as a collective hive mind deserves it this year – continues to rake in the cash like Scrooge McDuck on a hot streak at the casino Blackjack table. Expanding to 25 screens, the film took $875,000 this weekend for a per-screen average of $35,000, so look for it to crack the full list some point soon. And finally, before we get down to business, we have Wild, which added 95 more screens this past weekend, cracked the Top 10 and allowed me to make a dreadful Hulk Hogan reference in the headline. Yay films!
This Full List used to be a visionary, but has spent the past decade phoning it in with boring sh*tty spectacle pieces instead of anything decent.
Box Office Results: Friday 12th December 2014 – Sunday 14th December 2014
1] Exodus: Gods And Kings
$24,500,000 / NEW
Nope, can’t do it. I can’t get over the fact that they cast white actors to play the roles of Middle East natives. Especially since the good leads are lightly tanned, whilst the bad leads are made much darker in skin, and that the slaves are still people of colour. I mean, sweet lord, how f*cking tone deaf do you have to be to not get that?! We were raking The Last Airbender over the coals for trying to pull this sh*t back in 2010, and you thought that you were honestly going to get away with it now?! Ridley Scott’s explanation doesn’t help matters, either, as all it does is remind us all of just how broken the Hollywood system is and… well, it’s not like casting recognisable names has helped much at the box office, has it?
2] The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
$13,200,000 / $277,398,000
This is going to close around $750 million, I’d say. It’s already at $611 million, it’ll pass The Hunger Games some point in the next week or two, and it shows no real signs of slowing down. It’ll wrap up lower than Catching Fire’s $865 million worldwide, but it’s definitely going to be, in be within spitting distance of being, the biggest grossing film domestically of 2014 when all is wrapped up. Does this mean we’re now done calling this a box office disappointment, even though it never was one to begin with?
3] Penguins Of Madagascar
$7,300,000 / $58,839,000
Well, sh*t. At least I’ll be at the forefront of the “This movie was criminally overlooked at the box office!” brigade in a few years’ time! Or more likely, considering how quickly we are to label things as underrated and “cult classics” and the like nowadays, two months’ time.
4] Top Five
$7,210,000 / NEW
March 20th. March 20th. What did I do to deserve withholding of this level, American film industry? Huh? Got a halfway acceptable answer you’d like to share with me or are you withholding that, too? Look at you, getting off!
5] Big Hero 6
$6,145,000 / $185,325,000
You should see how quickly I sprint out of whatever screen I’m seeing new release movies in when the trailer for this comes on. I refuse, I completely refuse, to have even one second of this film spoiled for me. It’s a new Disney film, I am there. You don’t need to throw jaw-dropping setpieces, trailer-ready quips, Fall Out Boy songs or anything else at me to get me in. Just, “YO! DISNEY PUTTING OUT NEW FILM! IT’S CALLED [X], IT’S OUT [Y]!” and you have my attention.
$5,500,000 / $166,800,000
Next week is The Hobbit, so expect this to sink like a stone as Peter Jackson confiscates all of its IMAX screens. Still, pretty good run, all things considered. In fact, I find it strange that people keep insisting that the box office has been in a horrendous state of affairs this past year when, week in week out, I keep typing out Total Grosses that stretch into 9 figures for many films featured in this list…
7] Horrible Bosses 2
$4,630,000 / $43,601,000
I don’t really have anything to put here. Here’s an It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia clip instead.
8] Dumb And Dumber To
$2,757,000 / $82,117,000
This isn’t tracking particularly well overseas. Still, I do find it rather comforting that the only people who were crying out for a Dumb And Dumber sequel 20 years later are apparently all contained on one mass of land. Good to know the crazy is bottled up, kept from being spread, and not in control of anything particularly important.
9] The Theory Of Everything
$2,525,000 / $17,148,000
Adds 394 screens, to cross the 1,000 screen mark, makes less money than the week before. Maybe this signals the upcoming slide out of my goddamn chart! It’s all going to be OK, folks! It’s all going to be OK.
$1,550,000 / $2,423,000
The Dissolve’s Tasha Robinson, following on from her piece this past Summer about The Trinity Effect (which I referenced in this week’s DreamWorks Retrospective entry, *plugplug*), wrote an excellent piece last Monday about how the new breed of genuinely strong female characters are those that are relatively weak. You should go and read it. Like, right now. Don’t worry about missing anything, we’re done here for the week.
Dropped Out: Gone Girl, The Pyramid, Birdman