Split unites audiences, the Return of Xander Cage is more-or-less embraced, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone converts nobody, The Founder chokes on its own greasy junk, and Other Box Office News.
M. Night Shyamalan has built his career upon the foundations of implausible outcomes from seemingly-straightforward scenarios. Bruce Willis was dead the whole time, Unbreakable was actually a superhero origin story, the aliens were allergic to water, and it really was possible to make something Avatar: The Last Airbender-related worse than “The Great Divide.” Yet, even those who have built their entire Amateur Comedian careers around guessing stupid twists in fake Shyamalan movies couldn’t have seen this coming: his successfully pulling off a career renaissance, after a full decade of sucking, first with a found-footage Blumhouse movie, and then with a January Horror flick. After The Visit was apparently quite good(?) and resultantly tentatively embraced by the public at large, Shyamalan has followed that up with Split, also apparently very good(?) and now reaping the rewards of a general public ready to forgive the man who gave us After Earth, The Lady in the Water, The Happening, tangentially Devil… wow, that’s quite the rap sheet, are we sure we’re gonna give this guy a free pass? Well, Split took in $40.2 million, in any case, the fourth highest January opening ever, just ahead of Cloverfield, so I guess this is really happening, then.
Speaking of unlikely returns, that other Vin Diesel action franchise made a long-awaited return this past weekend. No, not the Riddick one, the one that is impossible to search for because Google believes that what you want to see when you Google its name is not a Vin Diesel action franchise, but rather a lot of sexual acts with no forewarning as to such. Yeah, that one. Fittingly for a franchise whose first instalment, way back in 2002 when the X-Games were a thing and you could play Drowning Pool without an entire party collectively bursting into hysterics, was directed by the same guy who directed The Fast and the Furious, Vinny has attempted to retrofit this absurd raspberry towards James Bond (because 2002) into the cheaper b-tier Fast & Furious series he can make in between shooting that other one. It even seems to have sort of paid off, given that xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the third entry in the otherwise completely-forgotten “franchise,” managed a rather respectable $20 million for second place. Far more importantly, it’s already banked $50 mil from international markets, which means I might get to see more movies that feature Ruby Rose and Donnie Yen kicking ALL of the arse whilst Nina Dobrev acts like the fangirl version of Kinzie Kensington and THAT’S FINE BY ME!
Meanwhile, January’s run of drip-feeding Awards Season contenders into cinemas where people can actually watch said films has reached The Founder, the biopic about McDonalds and hostile takeovers and… Sorry, my eyes just glazed over so far that they accidentally fell out of my sockets, let me just pop them back in. Weirdly, unlike the usual procedure for Awards Season films, this one is only just now getting in front of public eyes, despite my being pretty sure that it had been out in some form for a while now – it got a premiere back in December, but otherwise has stayed away from proper cinema screenings for some reason – and that strategy seems to have bitten the Weinsteins in the ass, as The Founder only cooked up $3.7 million from 1,115 theatres for ninth place. Still, could be worse. Could’ve been The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, WWE’s attempt to get in on the faith-based movie boom approximately 3 years after this genre stopped being a guaranteed revenue stream. Even with such undeniable star power as The Boring One from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Janitor from Scrubs, and HBK himself, Shawn Michaels, this was just straight-up dead on arrival: $1,356,900 from 887 theatres for 18th place.
Elsewhere, in one brief round-up summary of random news before we get going cos very little else came out this weekend, Martin Scorsese’s Silence figured that the reason why its expansion last weekend didn’t exactly catch on was simply that it didn’t expand to enough theatres, and added another 833. Shockingly, this didn’t take, and it dropped 40% with a pitiful $1,150,000 for the whole weekend. Live by Night, already a poor performer, plummeted even harder in its second weekend on Nationwide release, almost a full 65% with just over $1.8 million. Sony took a punt at releasing the Studio Ghibli co-production The Red Turtle into 3 theatres and were rewarded for their efforts with modest returns of $21,811. Finally, of all of last week’s new releases, the one that sank from the chart was surprisingly not the completely unknown Jamie Foxx vehicle, but rather The Bye Bye Man, which collapsed a staggering 73.6% to eleventh. Maybe Split did some good, after all.
Kick some ass, write the Full List, and try to look dope while you’re doing it.
US Box Office Results: Friday 20th January 2017 – Sunday 22nd January 2017
$40,190,000 / NEW
I’ll find out for myself later in the year, cos Horror movies, but I still cannot help but be sceptical as all hell about this Shyamalan-aissance that everybody is talking up, particularly since a lot of it is based on the man apparently having grown a sense of humour and self-awareness in the last few years. You see why that’s hard for me to accept overhearing from other people? The man who wrote and directed The Lady in the Water and The Happening gaining self-awareness and making intentional Horror-Comedies. That guy.
2] xXx: Return of Xander Cage
$20,000,000 / NEW
I had a genuine blast with this one. It’s so, so, so utterly dumb, bordering on stupid, but is fully aware of that fact, so commits totally to it. Yes, it’s utterly ridiculous. Yes, its plot makes absolutely no sense at all. Yes, all the dialogue is atrocious. I would like to submit as my counterargument, however, the fact that the final setpiece features both two super-entertaining badass women mowing down a warehouse full of mooks back-to-back guns akimbo like the John Woo movie of my dreams, and a mashup of the plane setpieces from Saints Row: The Third and Uncharted 3. The defence rests, your honour.
3] Hidden Figures
$16,250,000 / $84,238,751
My heart swelled at the images of those Women’s Marches on Saturday. Every retweet, every screencap of city streets drowning in seas of protestors, every sign, every well-intentioned criticism, every message of solidarity… All of it gave me hope, real hope. If that can remain mobilised, active, organised for all of the next 4 years, then maybe we’re in with a chance.
$9,036,530 / $249,361,725
Review will be up tomorrow, I should be starting writing it by the time you read this. Short version: it’s bad. Not awful like I was expecting it to be, but still really bad with very little to recommend. Sigh.
5] La La Land
$8,350,000 / $89,680,497
Gonna try and get in a second screening of this at the weekend, hopefully. In the meanwhile, here’s an SNL sketch that mentions La La Land but could really be about any pop culture conversation in most any forum over the last few years. I don’t really have a better introduction than that, other than “Aziz Ansari in more things, please.”
6] Rogue One
$7,036,000 / $512,201,563
Rogue One has now passed the $1 billion worldwide mark, now meaning that Disney has four films that made over $1 billion last year and is still the only studio to have released even one $1 billion grossing film last year. Because, as I like to constantly remind you all, Disney can buy and sell any of us in a heartbeat should it so choose.
7] Monster Trucks
$7,000,000 / $22,612,000
That’s actually a really impressive hold on last week (36.1%). Would have been far more impressive had it opened to any money at all in the first place, but what can you expect from a movie that has already cost its studio $115 million?
8] Patriots Day
$6,000,000 / $23,639,945
So, I guess a Peter Berg-directed vision of Mark Wahlberg being the sole lynchpin for the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, or even just having the man stop 9/11 from happening altogether which he could have totally done bro, is probably off the table then. Oh, how the world weeps for such a loss.
9] The Founder
$3,758,000 / $3,759,266 / NEW(?)
OK, real talk: I actually don’t think this looks too bad. Sometimes I put upon snark in these pieces in a desperate attempt to try and make these otherwise dry reports of Box Office statistics somewhat pleasurable for you, the reader, to experience, and you have seen how hard it is for me to conjure up compelling words about films I am interested in seeing but can’t for a while because Release Window Disparity Bullshit. It’s all a sham! An act! A charade! Subterfuge! Playing out bits long past their potential joke window in order to fill out artificial word quotas! Exclamation marks! Stalling tactics!
$3,706,444 / $15,193,348
You know who’s been real sleepless as of late for deep-seated psychological reasons you don’t want to hear about but I’m gonna tell you of anyway? This g- *slams asleep face first onto keyboard in order to try and make up for the sleep he didn’t get last night*
Dropped Out: The Bye Bye Man, Underworld: Blood Wars, Passengers