US Box Office Report: 23/09/16 – 25/09/16

The Magnificent Seven successfully defends the box office from viewer apathy, Storks delivers a middle child, The Dressmaker is driven out of town, The Queen of Katwe is put in check, and Other Box Office News.

After last week’s embarrassing display, where the much ballyhooed returns of two allegedly seminal franchises synonymous with the turn of the Century were greeted at best with near-total audience indifference and at worst active repulsion, movie studios were most likely extremely nervous.  It’s been a bad year for them so far – technically, sorta, if you apply both Hollywood accounting and general pop culture conversation metrics to the mix – and lots of massively-hyped returns of franchises and names that somebody somewhere assumed were can’t-fail big-shots ended up, well, can-failing.  Who would come and protect the American Box Office in their time of need?  Who would answer the call?  What legendary, feared names would rise up and keep these poor, oppressed movie studios from being exploited by heartless, evil moviegoers and my metaphor has broken down somewhat?

Why, it would be none other than a proven big-shot star-director combo in the shape of… Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua?  Right, err, well with nothing else stepping up to fill the bill, and good old Denzel seemingly bound by some kind of devil’s contract that gives him massive box office clout over mediocre movies but restricts him to only appearing in one film per year, everybody decided to go see that Magnificent Seven remake that probably might be OK, I guess.  With Fuqua, Washington, a name brand that doesn’t automatically inspire eye-rolls, and a bonus heaping helping of everybody’s boyfriend Chris Pratt, Seven pulled off a $35 million opening weekend to very comfortably secure first place.  That’s still under professional analyst predictions, mind, with most pegging it breaking $40 mil, and the release schedule from now through to Doctor Strange is packed tight, but that’s what you get with Fuqua: solid, unspectacular, alright if you add a shit-tonne of qualifiers, and ultimately forgettable, and his box office results aren’t much different.

As for the week’s other release, Warner Animation Group’s first salvo at attempting to try and not repeat prior history, Storks, bucked the usual trend for CG animated features this year by underwhelming rather largely.  In fact, it barely broke past the $20 mil barrier, banking just under $22 million for the weekend, although it still managed to easily reach second place.  Between this, Popstar totally bombing earlier this year, and Brooklyn Nine Nine forever living on the verge of the cancellation bubble, does this mean that audiences just plain don’t like Andy Samberg?  If that is the case then, follow up question: why can’t these people experience joy?  Still, at least Storks wasn’t any of last week’s releases which all experienced precipitous drops relative to their openings, with Blair Witch getting hit hardest of all with a 58% plummet.  Ah well, at least Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett are taking it all in stride and good humour!

In Semi-Limited Release news, the disappointments continue!  Disney made the semi-bewildering decision to launch The Queen of Katwe in semi-limited release before expanding it semi-nationwide next weekend, when FUCKING EVERYTHING IS COMING OUT, and that backfired on them quite semi-spectacularly.  For a film that’s been critically loved and supposedly has potential awards talk behind it, an opening weekend haul of $305,000 from 52 theatres and a per-screen average of $5,865 is mighty underwhelming.  Dammit, Disney!  Stop sabotaging Lupita Nyong’o’s career!  Meanwhile, the gloriously deranged Australian smash The Dressmaker finally got picked up by an American distributor and plopped down into the United States for you lucky Americans to experience for yourselves.  It too underwhelmed, albeit far less surprisingly, taking home $180,522 from 36 screens for a per-screen average of $5,015.  That one’s on me, folks.  If I knew that it was finally coming out where you all are, I would’ve ordered you to go see it and it would’ve been a hit, cos my influential power and fan base are just that massive.  *cough*


Storks

“Mummy?  Where do Full Lists come from?”

US Box Office Results: Friday 23rd September 2016 – Sunday 25th September 2016

1] The Magnificent Seven

$35,000,000 / NEW

I’ll be seeing this on Friday, since I couldn’t make it to the cinema this weekend due to having to housesit for my parents.  I am still yet to see an interesting Antoine Fuqua film – which does mean that, no, I have not seen Tears of the Sun or Training Day yet – so my hopes really aren’t high for this one.  I’d be less down about that potential fact if it weren’t for the fact that 80% of this year’s films have been “uninteresting” instead of outright bad.  Christ, even that one unique selling point for Fuqua’s work has been stolen by everybody else!

2] Storks

$21,805,000 / NEW

I want this one to be good, I would love for this one to be good – especially since I would like for Warner Animation Group to not relive their initial existence all over again, only this time artificially prolonged by pimping out the LEGO Movie franchise – but those trailers are not good, the premise leaves too many now-unacceptable logic holes given Sausage Party just mercilessly mocked that kind of excess suspension-of-disbelief, those birds don’t even look like goddamn Storks, and the poster looks exactly like the one for Shrek 2.  I’m not making that last one up: look at the Storks poster and now look at the Shrek 2 poster!  They’re near-identical!  I don’t want to watch another Shrek 2I didn’t even like the actual Shrek 2!

3] Sully

$13,830,000 / $92,393,447

Did you like the little transition bit in last week’s Box Office Report?  I was quite proud of it!  …you don’t know what it was referencing, do you?  …you don’t even actually read half of these pieces, do you?

4] Bridget Jones’s Baby

$4,520,000 / $16,457,675

Most all of my female friends have been enjoying the hell out of this go-around of the Jones series – one could even say they have a Jones for Jones, fnar fnar – as one of them let me know on Twitter this week.  Fair play to them, I acknowledge that these films aren’t made for me and can most likely only be fully enjoyed by women, and I look forward to spirited debate/helpful explanations as to why that’s the case if I ever get to see them in person again.  At the very least, maybe they’ll be able to explain why this film has it in for Pussy Riot and continued women’s right’s activists so much.

5] Snowden

$4,144,989 / $15,139,215

Oh, no(!)  The hacker movie is failing(!)  Who could have possibly foreseen this occurring(?)  It’s not like this kind of thing has ever happened before(!)

6] Blair Witch

$3,950,000 / $16,128,695

In related hilariously-tragic Horror movie news, Rings has been pushed back for a fourth time, this time on the eve of its release, to February 3rd 2017, whilst that Friday the 13th reboot that I don’t even think has a director or cast assembled yet has also unsurprisingly been put back to October 13th of 2017.  You know, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Paramount is in some kind of trouble, the kind of trouble that even twenty bazillion Transformers movies can’t fix…

7] Don’t Breathe

$3,800,000 / $81,110,808

I’ve run out of things to say about this movie I’m most likely never going to see, so here’s a “Good Job, Movie!” for its continued success and let’s all now move on.

8] Suicide Squad

$3,110,000 / $318,133,343

Goddammit, I’m going to end up being That Guy who ends up putting all of the year’s superhero movies on his Bottom Films of 2016 list, aren’t I?  Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and X-Men: Apocalypse were all basically guaranteed places already, that much probably won’t surprise you to learn, but I was reminded of Captain America: Civil War’s atrocious ending last Monday and I got furious about it all over again.  Now I’m considering putting Civil War, a film I really enjoyed in spite of it failing totally as a storytelling and thematic exercise, up there with the other genuinely garbage superhero films just to drill the “THIS GENRE HAS GOTTEN SUPER STALE AND/OR AWFUL THIS YEAR” point home even harder.  That Honest Trailer joke where they’d yell “cut to the airport scene!” every time the film looked to be falling apart could not be more accurate.

9] When the Bough Breaks

$2,500,000 / $26,613,349

…the mediocre box office takings will fall.

10] Kubo and the Two Strings

$1,103,000 / $45,954,573

Oh, I see how it is!  “Let’s keep Kubo around and have it crush The Wild Life so thoroughly that the latter drops off the list!  Then he won’t get so angry at us for not going to see Kubo in the first place!”  Well, you were WRONG, GOOD SIR/MADAM/OTHER!  In fact, if I didn’t have to go out right now necessitating a quick wrap-up of the writing of this piece, I would be getting so angry with you all!  Flames on the side of my face, the works!

Dropped Out: The Wild Life, Pete’s Dragon

Callum Petch has never missed a single day’s party.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

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