Box Office

Box Office: What About Everything Not Named Star Wars: The Last Jedi?

When it comes to this weekend’s box office, this picture from Twitter just about nails it:

https://twitter.com/BryanInSpace/status/941545430663421953

It was Star Wars, Star Wars, and, you guessed it, more Star Wars. The Last Jedi, the sequel to the biggest film of all time, had the second biggest opening weekend of all time, opening to a stunning $220 million domestic, $450m worldwide. It made more in its first day than Blade Runner: 2049 made in its entire theatrical run and more in first 3 days than Justice League has in its first 31 days. All well-deserved for what might just be my movie of the year.

But as hard as this might be to believe, there were other movies in theaters this weekend. Some played to empty seats, others to annoyed Star Wars fans forced to settle for something when their preferred screening of Last Jedi sold out, and yet others to those select moviegoers who don’t actually like Star Wars. How did it work out for them? Well….

Fox’s Future Disney’s Ferdinand managed to siphon some of the family audience away from Last Jedi, opening to $13m, which is almost an exact repeat of what happened the last time a Fox animated movie took on Star Wars. Two years ago, it was Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip opening opposite of Force Awakens. It eked out a $14m opening on way to a $85m domestic total. Ferdinand hopes for a similar result and will likely hold steady over Christmas.

Coco’s reign as the #1 movie obviously came to an end, but it’s still in there at #3 with $10m. It now has a 26-day total of $150m, maintaining its pace to end up making around a quarter more than Tangled but a fifth less than Moana, its two closest comps.

Wonder, which cleared $100m last week, leapfrogged Justice League in the top 10 and is now up to $109m total, meaning it is now guaranteed to be LionsGate’s biggest non-La La Land/Hunger Games/Twilight release of all time. Give it another two weeks and it will have passed Now You See Me ($116m). A feel good movie which found an audience through word-of-mouth despite competition from multiple blockbusters upon a pre-Thanksgiving release, Wonder has officially become this year’s Blind Side.

Justice League’s inevitable slide down the chart finally begins. Despite all the talk of it bombing relative to expectations and budget, Justice League has held fairly consistently near the top of the chart every week since its release. Until now. It’s finally reached the point where just about everyone who is going to see it has already done so, lifting it to $219m domestic, $636m worldwide, both lows for the DC Extended Universe. Even Man of Steel, the movie that made WB so nervous they overcompensated by tossing Batman into the sequel, managed a $310 domestic gross. JL’s probably not even going to make it to $250m.

Like Bad Mom’s Christmas before it, Daddy’s Home 2 continues to perform somewhat respectably for a holiday-themed cash-grab sequel. It’s nowhere near the equal of its predecessor, but far from embarrassing. At least that would be true if Paramount hadn’t spent $69m to make the dang thing. After that, a $96m domestic/$157m worldwide total doesn’t look so hot.

Thor: Ragnarok won’t end up making as much as either Spider-Man: Homecoming or Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Marvel Studios’ other two movies this year, but it’s already set Thor franchise highs, passed Wonder Woman worldwide, left JL in its dust and will at least come far closer to Guardians 2’s worldwide total than anyone would have thought possible.

After dropping nearly 60% this weekend despite playing in over 1,000 theaters for the first time, The Disaster Artist is looking like a box office repeat of Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, a similar ode to the trials of a wannabe filmmaker whose ambitions massively outweigh his talent. That movie, sadly, bombed. Disaster’s grossed $12.9m from several weeks of limited release and now two weeks of wide release, and the big drop-off this weekend suggest a fanboy/fangirl effect. Translation: it’s just playing to people who are already familiar with The Room.

Murder on the Orient Express, which is exactly the kind of movie Fox might not be allowed to make anymore after the Disney purchase, continues to lean on the 50 and over crowd to put it right on the verge of crossing $100m domestic. It’s also made it to $200m worldwide, not bad for a film with a $55m budget.

Lady Bird is now on the tail end of its run, losing hundreds of theaters every week and doomed to drop out of the top ten very soon. However, as a micro budget indie its managed a $25.9m gross and could end up somewhere north of $30m, which is at least more than last year’s critically acclaimed November-released coming of age comedy The Edge of Seventeen can say since it topped out at $14m.

Outside of the top 10, awards contenders like I, Tonya, The Shape of Water, Wonder Wheel, Call Me By Your Name and The Darkest Hour continued on with their platform releases, and among them I, Tonya, The Shape of Water and Call Me By Your Name have consistently posted encouraging per-theater averages. The Shape of Water expands into 750+ theaters next weekend.

Whether you will have a chance to see any of them depends on how big your city is because the theaters are about to get very crowded. According to BoxOfficeMojo:

Beginning on Wednesday with Fox’s The Greatest Showman opening in 3,100 theaters and Sony will release Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle into 3,600 locations. Following that, Friday sees three new wide releases including Paramount’s release of Alexander Payne‘s Downsizing into ~2,500 theaters, Warner Bros. will release the comedy Father Figures into 2,800+ locations and Universal closes out the Pitch Perfect trilogy with Pitch Perfect 3 opening in 3,400 locations. In all we’re talking about seven new wide releases (including Shape of Water) in the span of just seven days, accounting for over 23,000 theaters.

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14 comments

  1. I honestly can live with no more movies along the line of Murder on the Orient Express. It’s a waste of resources to redo a story which has already been done multiple times, once so well that it is hard to top and which has kind of gotten old. You either know the story, so there is no need to watch this take, or you don’t but then it is very likely that you don’t care anyway. And if you want to tackle it anyway, do it on a modest budget, perhaps designed for Netflix.

    1. Yet Murder is doing well enough that they might make a sequel. I think it would be Death on the Nile.

      I get your point, though, and there’s certainly an element of Orient which feels like it doesn’t totally justify its own existence. I more meant that it’s the type of older skewering title that Disney, at least recently, has absolutely no interest in.

      1. Maybe. The point of buying Fox is streaming. It’s about content, about expanding Disney’s international reach (via Fox’s stake in Sky), about fortifying ESPN (via ownership of Fox’s regional sports networks), about obtaining majority ownership of Hulu, and trying to kill Netflix. What that means for the future of Fox’s film output is almost entirely a mystery. We at least know that Fox’s marketing and distribution are all getting fired. Bob Iger referred to that in his comment about being able to save $2 billion in “efficiencies.” The best of the best will either be poached by competitors are folded into Disney’s marketing and distribution. Everyone else is screwed. After that happens, it’s up in the air as to whether Disney will support Fox’s strategy of a diversified film portfolio, or if they will simply convert the studio into a bunch of silos (with Fox Searchlight maybe becoming Disney’s new Miramax) and anything that doesn’t neatly fit into one of those gets to maybe start producing content for online instead of theaters if they get to make anything at all.

      2. Considering that Disney has produced out of the box content in the past I am not to worried. It really wouldn’t make much sense to acquire a thriving business to broaden your portfolio and then shut it down. And personally I think that there is no way that they will shut down Searchlight. A company which does reasonably budget movies while having an excellent track record regarding Oscar nominations? No way that Disney lets this go. They don’t even have to change the name all that much, just remove the “Fox”. Searchlight is a great name for a movie company focussed on finding promising out of the box movie projects.

        Honestly, on the production side the only thing I am really worried about is the movie animation branch of Fox. Disney doesn’t need this, it has something way, way better.

      3. Yeah, the whole idea is already reported as a “rumor” and I kind of wonder if I took part in making it one by repeatedly observing that this move would make sense.

        Anyway, I am currently writing on the first of various articles about what Disney is actually buying and the consequences of it, starting with the movie production. And outside of animation, I don’t think that any of the content producing movie studios are particularly in danger. It’s not like Fox has been doing that shabby overall.

      4. I look forward to reading those articles. With Fox, it makes no sense to fix what isn’t broken. Bob Iger has been smart enough in his time at Disney to earn the benefit of the doubt, but the people responsible for steering Fox in the right direction might not survive the transition and nothing really seems to be set in stone as to how this will all play out. It’s likely this will at least mean some of the other studios will seek to consolidate themselves to be able to compete with the Disney-Fox juggernaut, but if those kinds of rumors were true Paramount would be owned by China by now. So, as always, you just hope for the best and look at track records to make educated guesses. In Iger I trust, I guess.

      5. I think the biggest change will be that they will try to turn Fox productions into a brand, the same was all the other Disney Studios are brands. It is the Disney way.

  2. I enjoyed the Disaster Artist but can’t imagine anyone seeing it twice.

    It’s fun to see James Franco mimic Tommy Wiseau and that’s about it. I enjoyed the book immensely but the film is probably only good enough for one paid viewing.

    1. Everyone who made The Disaster Artist knew their movie probably had a limited audience. They did what they could to get around that (adding the opening testimonials from a cross-section of famous fans, tacking on the side-by-side comparisons over the closing credits), but it was probably unavoidable. A24 took a chance that they could break it mainstream, and the fact that it’s almost up to $17m domestic now has to at least be seen as a “well, it could have been a lot worse” situation.

      1. I hated the testimonial bits. It reminded me of a Pixies documentary where even Bono shows up .

        Did the Tim Burton biopic on Ed Wood have or need side-by-side comparisons? I guess Wood had been around longer and produced a larger body of work.

        The side-by-side would have been better after the credits.

      2. “Did the Tim Burton biopic on Ed Wood have or need side-by-side comparisons?”

        No. Tim Burton trusted that his audience would get it. The Disaster Artist doesn’t. By their own admission, the testimonials and side-by-side comparisons were each added as desperate insurance plays to shout, “This is a genuine bad movie that exists in the world, and these famous people love it. If you like at least one of them and trust their opinion then maybe you’ll give the rest of our movie a chance.” I don’t so much mind it, but I think your point about Ed Wood not needing stooping to the same type of shit is more than fair. Ed Wood’s not as good if it opens with 1994 celebrities talking about their stupid love for Plan 9.

        Sidenote: Franco is so, well, Franco that many assumed he probably simply re-shot the entirety of The Room and could do a full-length side-by-syde for a Blu-Ray bonus feature. Alas, Franco was actually restrained for a change and only filmed the stuff we see in the movie. Trying to do a Psycho-esque shot for shot remake while also making The Disaster Artist was too much, even for him.

      3. TDA should. I have only seen “The Room” in its entirety three times. This is the era of the Internet being ubiquitous and easy access. I have watched my favourite parts on YouTube innumerable times.

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