A Great Wall separates the new releases from the holdovers, Fist Fight gets its ass kicked, A Cure for Box Office Success, and Other Box Office News.
Presidents’ Day weekend just happened and whilst the current President of the United States marked the occasion by holding a massive public-ego-stroking like the totally-not-insecure-egomaniac that he most definitely isn’t, the American public decided they would also like to hear the hits they’ve already experienced one more time for the fun of it! Yes, this was not the weekend to be a new release, unfortunately, as all of them either majorly struggled or straight-out bombed whilst the holdovers from last weekend’s bountiful feast continued to clean up. Leading the charge by a very comfortable margin with only a 35% drop was The LEGO Batman Movie, which effortlessly held onto the top spot with $34 million. Meanwhile, Fifty Shades Darker, the submissive in this particular relationship, and which at least experienced its expected astronomical Valentine’s Day bump, didn’t shoot its load quite as much as Grey did, only dropping 55% into second place with almost $21 million.
From there, we start getting into the spread of new releases. Rather fittingly, heading up that particular valiant charge against a mostly superior opposing force was The Great Wall, China’s attempt to prove that they too can make mediocre action blockbusters just as well as those Americans can! Whilst the merit of that distinction may be somewhat questionable, its American Box Office performance is less vague: third place with $18 million, having spent all weekend slugging it out with John Wick: Chapter 2 for that honour. For a blockbuster that cost upwards of $150 million – the most expensive film in Chinese history, for the record – with a big mega-star in the ostensible lead role, that’s real bad. But, of course, American Box Office doesn’t really matter so much, here, and it is worth noting that the film has already matched its budget from Chinese grosses alone. Whether the film manages to crawl over into profitability is another question entirely, but this definitely will not be the last time that we see such attempts and such an intentional disregard for American Box Office success. [INSERT HACKY POLITICAL JOKE HERE]
As for the other releases, New Line Cinema’s latest insult to the art of cinematic comedy, Fist Fight, performed badly enough to allow all of us hack Box Office commentators to make a bunch of references to it getting its ass whooped, its undies wedgied, its nerd face swirlied, and so on and so forth. With just $12 million for fourth place, it appears that the general public’s appetite for crappy New Line comedies may potentially be on the wane. I’d say “thank God,” but these are basically the only mid-budget films that Warner Bros. are willing to fund anymore, so it’s rather bittersweet, like Life as a whole. Speaking of: Gore Verbinski returned to Horror this past weekend, having finally escaped the Johnny Depp Blockbuster straitjacket he’d spent almost a full decade being shackled to, with the polarising A Cure for Wellness. Unfortunately, sort of like the protagonist of the movie, the more that Verbinski tries to escape that prison, the more that his attempts fail with A Cure for Wellness effectively bombing into tenth place to the tune of just $4.2 million. You bet big on eels and they just end up biting you in the arse, I guess…
Elsewhere, in more Limited Release-land, Lionsgate’s Pantelion division, dedicated to Latinx film, issued the rom-com Everybody Loves Somebody into 333 theatres to thundering indifference, taking just $1 million for the weekend and a dismal $3,003 per-screen average. Actual Limited Release, the sensitive and timely undocumented-immigrant drama From Nowhere, meanwhile, got mauled with just $7,000 from two screens. As for the Best Picture nominees approaching the big night this Sunday, most are experiencing late-life resurgences of a sort. Arrival is a hair’s breadth away from crossing the $100 mil domestic mark, Hidden Figures and La La Land have only dropped 11% and 9% between weekends respectively, whilst Lion may even end up displacing A Cure for Wellness from the Top 10 once the actuals come in, irritatingly. That film just won’t leave me the hell alone, dammit!
Me. You. Full List. After school. You’re going down.
US Box Office Results: Friday 17th February 2017 – Sunday 19th February 2017
1] The LEGO Batman Movie
$34,225,000 / $98,791,314
Coming up on two-and-a-half weeks since first watching the film and “Harvard for Police” is still funny to me. I swear that I am not a literal child.
2] Fifty Shades Darker
$20,966,845 / $86,633,300
In case you’ve missed it, here’s a link to my review of Fifty Shades Darker. I think that, typos aside, it’s one of my strongest pieces in a while, and I also think that I’ve been on kind of a roll with regards to quality content as of late. Gonna have to be careful, though. Next thing you know, I may start believing that I deserve to be paid for my work.
3] The Great Wall
$18,079,140 / NEW
A review will be along either tomorrow or Thursday, depends whether I finish penning this or John Wick first. I wish the film were as interesting to watch as it is to dissect, because this will make a fascinating time capsule in a few years.
4] John Wick: Chapter 2
$16,500,000 / $58,692,083
In just two weeks, Chapter 2 has already made more money domestically and in total that the original John Wick made in its entire theatrical lifetime. I guess we will be getting Chapter 3 after all, and I could not be happier about that! Movies can be pretty friggin’ great sometimes, can’t they, folks?
5] Fist Fight
$12,015,000 / NEW
Anybody been watching The Mick? I am a bit too pre-occupied at the moment to be able to give it a shot myself, but I’ve heard scatterings of decent things? I just want the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia cast to have good things happen to them. Well, not their characters, because their characters are horrible people and there’d be no show or comedy otherwise, but you probably get what I mean.
6] Hidden Figures
$7,100,000 / $142,591,830
This is the one film I saw this weekend that I don’t have plans to try and review, but I did FINALLY get to see it and I thought that it was absolutely sensational! A wonderful, uplifting, emotional crowdpleaser of a film that actively resists dumbing down its depiction of racism at every turn, creating something far more nuanced and bittersweet than one typically finds in films such as this. Henson, Monáe, and Spencer are outstanding, especially the former two, and their characters are so lovable and so well-written that I eventually found myself realising that I didn’t want the film to end, that I could have spent even longer in their company watching them hang out and bust through barriers! This one was worth all of the hype, and you need to go see it sharpish!
$7,038,400 / $123,603,930
So, I know that I delayed this article because I was super-tired during my usual writing period last night and didn’t want to turn in something substandard or slapdash for you fine folk, but… I got nothing. I’ve run out of things to say about this film. I mean, at least, I don’t want to sink to the level of played-out Shyamalan jokes. I have some standards, you know?
8] A Dog’s Purpose
$5,560,855 / $50,676,365
My dog is cuter than your dog. Deal with it.
9] La La Land
$4,500,000 / $133,504,066
Oh, boy(!) Next Monday morning sure is going to be fun, is it not? I just cannot wait to wake up to the news that La La Land has won the big prizes and deal with the mountain of Hot Takes and Op-Eds that result from it and which definitely have not already been repeated 275 fucking times by now(!) Gonna be just swell(!) Can’t wait(!)
10] A Cure for Wellness
$4,200,000 / NEW
In a development that I am sure will cause a few of you to double-check the byline at the end of this piece, I will actually be seeing this myself in about a fortnight’s time, when it comes to the UK and I have money again. I am trying to work through my massive fear of seeing Horror movies in the cinema, and this may end up a pretty good test run for making it through Get Out. Plus, I must admit, I am intrigued as all hell by everything I have heard about this one. I gots to know.
Dropped Out: Rings, Lion (maybe), Sing