Crawl wades, Stuber stalls, audiences enthusiastically greet The Farewell, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Lots to get through since we took the extended July 4th holiday weekend off, which is kind of a blessing on my part due to the typical post-Marvel snooze week going into overdrive on the major releases. So, in the stern face of absolutely no real competition whatsoever, Spider-Man: Far From Home has repeated at the top of the chart with $45.3 million, only a 51% sophomore drop compared to Homecoming’s 62% drop (although that film didn’t have the benefit[?] of opening mid-week so Far’s weekend total ended up coming in way smaller than Homecoming’s) and already well on its way to possibly becoming the first Spidey movie to break $1 billion worldwide which is a fact which I have to keep checking every time I go to type it. You’d really think Spider-Man would have had a $1 billion movie by now, but apparently no. Second place, meanwhile, once again goes to Toy Story 4 whose domestic collective of $346 million has now made it the fifth biggest Pixar film in America of all-time but I’m super-sceptical that it’ll scrounge up the additional $75 mil required to best Toy Story 3’s final total so, altogether now, DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM…
As for the direct-to-video slop whose studios decided to take canny advantage of the post-Marvel snooze week in an effort to salvage some monies from their respective works, gator-thriller Crawl, the long-awaited return of Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja to his preferred fear-stoking instruments – the water, aggressive water predators, and being stuck in Florida – managed the best. A respectable third-place $12 million opening is hardly The Meg numbers but also nearly covers its $13.5 million production budget in one go and fulfils its nature as a time-killer whilst audiences anxiously await *checks notes* the 47 Meters Down sequel next month. Speaking of meeting the bare minimum, Dave “I’d rather do good films” Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani’s meh-gnificent action-comedy/glorified-Uber-commercial Stuber could only wrest an $8 million fare from its unwitting clientele, perhaps as penance for having Bautista and Iko Uwais in an action movie where both of their fight scenes together are over-cut, shaky-cam, incoherent nightmares. Still, at least neither film was Ari Aster’s traumatising Midsommar which has already sank beneath the third week of the third Annabelle and definitely won’t be replicating Hereditary’s near-$80 mil worldwide take when festivities wrap up.
As is increasingly becoming the case, those of you who want to counteract the growing sensation that the movie industry is forked thanks to the changing media landscape and borderline-monopolistic behaviour from major Hollywood studios that should invoke the wrath of anti-trust laws like with United States vs. Paramount Pictures back in 1948 but never will thanks to this heavily-Republican Supreme Court… sorry, lost my train of thought. Limited Releases! Sundance 2019’s big guns have slowly been let loose upon cinemas in recent weeks, but it wasn’t until this weekend that A24 unleashed the biggest “fork off” gun in its arsenal with Lulu Wang’s rapturously-received Chinese-American dramedy The Farewell. And, for once, the film which made the biggest bang at the Fest may also be the one to make the biggest bang at the box office as Farewell’s $351,330 from 4 theatres represents the biggest per-screen average of the year so far, an astonishing $87,833, which bodes well for the nationwide expansion next month. Holding its own if understandably overlooked by the giant-ass elephant in the room, meanwhile, was Riley Stearns’ long-awaited (by me) follow-up to 2015’s superb Faults, dark comedy The Art of Self-Defense which broke $121,000 worth of boards from 7 screens (a PTA of $17,286).
Please rate this Full List five-stars.
US Box Office Results: Friday 12th July 2019 – Sunday 14th July 2019
1] Spider-Man: Far From Home
$45,300,000 / $274,529,305
In stark contrast to my experience with Yesterday from two weeks back, I found myself yelling out “YES!” and spontaneously applauding at the first stinger to this in a crowded cinema, so I think it’s safe to say I was a fan of this one. That and also that I have increasingly poor impulse/emotional control. You know who else was a fan of this one? Dave Bond who has written a great and timely review for you to check out if you’re yet to! No word on the state of his impulse/emotional control, though.
2] Toy Story 4
$20,665,000 / $346,369,574
I know that she’s maybe in this for, like, 40 seconds at most, but Kristen Schaal’s presence gives me an excuse to link us all to “Kristen Schaal is a horse” which makes today a good day.
$12,000,000 / NEW
Not out here in the UK until 23rd of August, along with 75 other horror movies on that exact same date. Seriously, I’ve been laying out the claim sheet for the other writers of this site recently and in doing the work for August I saw that there are no less than five different horror movies scheduled to come out on the exact same day as one another. Admittedly, I doubt all of them will be getting nationwide releases and several of them currently have nothing in the way of marketing despite only being a month out so probably aren’t sticking to that date, but it still feels rather like overkill. Spread your shit out, ya know?
$8,043,000 / NEW
I would not have thought that 2019 was the year in which the world was crying out for an unlicensed Dave Bautista-starring adaptation of Mr. Magoo, but you do you, Movie Industry. For the record: my theory that the trailer’s sole genuinely funny gag (the gun throw) would be the only genuinely funny gag in the whole film came to pass. What a waste.
$6,750,000 / $48,316,525
Now the second-biggest film domestically of Danny Boyle’s career (fourth-biggest worldwide but it’s going to pass 28 Days Later within the next few days). [pro-wrestling heel voice] You people disgust me.
$5,873,000 / $331,489,720
Putting my money where my mouth is, I’m currently down for the Mulan remake. If Disney are going to keep remaking their Animated Classics, most egregiously the ones which are only between 20 and 30 years old and have never fallen out of print and aren’t ragingly PROBLEMATIC, then the least they can do is find new takes on the material which justifies their existences beyond monopolistic all the money in the world desires. Stripping Mulan of the songs, aiming for something more faithful to the original legend, and making it a full-on wuxia (a genre which I am always down for) are all interesting choices full of potential I’m willing to see play out.
Also, Mulan would have been 100x better than it already was if Mushu were nowhere to be seen, don’t @ me for speaking the truth.
7] Annabelle Comes Home
$5,500,000 / $60,760,434
Our resident horror expert Brooker is never better than when he gets the chance to let his withering sarcasm seep into evaluations of otherwise “meh” scary fare, so everybody thank Annabelle Comes Home for enabling that for us all.
$3,551,571 / $18,406,842
Ari Aster owes me money for a therapist. So glad I ended up having to pass review duties for this onto somebody else (in this case Brooker who did an excellent job) because I have no idea how I’m supposed to review a film which played on my personal fears and baggage so heavily that I had an actual uncontrollable panic attack at the climax which persisted for almost half an hour afterwards. What a fucking film.
9] The Secret Life of Pets 2
$3,100,000 / $147,137,185
Spies in Disguise is not a real movie and no amount of freshly-served trailers can convince me otherwise.
10] Men in Black: International
$2,215,000 / $76,483,597
Got that write-up I promised done, at last. Go read it. Or, y’know, don’t. It’s like whatever, we’re all super-cas here.
Dropped out: Avengers: Endgame, Rocketman