Commentary pieces are longer, stream-of-consciousness style essays about a particular topic. They can and will take many forms, are randomly organized, and are deeply saturated with personal bias.


The weekend of September 14-16 saw a slew of new releases, but had little to celebrate as domestic box office totals were down a frustrating 11.3%, according to Box Office Mojo. This happened despite one of the more anticipated films of the year, The Predator, debuting in over 4,000 theaters across the country. It isn’t all bad news, however, as Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor and other newcomer White Boy Rick both saw strong(ish) opening weekend numbers.

Personally, dear reader, I did not attend the multiplex this past weekend. As I mentioned in my previous box office report, Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the East coast with a vindictive rage that put not only over ten million lives at risk, but over 70% of the nation’s Bojangles restaurants. Storm of a life-time, to say the least. Rather than begrudgingly attend another instalment in one of film’s choppiest franchises, I piled sandbags at my back door and waited patiently for the storm clouds to disappear.

Apparently, I didn’t miss much.

Regardless, a few movies hit some significant milestones, some underperformed, and others just kept making money. Let’s check it out.

A reminder of last week’s predictions:

  • The Predator opens with $30-35 million.
  • The Nun stays at number two with $20-25 million.
  • A Simple Favor opens with $15-20 million.
  • Crazy Rich Asians earns $10 million.
  • White Boy Rick opens with $5-8 million.
  • Unbroken: Path to Redemption opens with $4-6 million.
  • Peppermint earns $6-7 million.
  • The Meg earns $3 million.
  • Searching earns $3 million.
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout earns $1.5-2.5 million and finally surpasses Mission: Impossible II as the highest grossing entry in the franchise at the domestic box office.

Let’s see how they panned out.


The Numbers

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As I mentioned above, total domestic earnings were down 11.3% from the previous weekend. North Americans spent about $107 million at the cinema – not including the $400 million spent on popcorn, Mike & Ike’s, and 40oz tubs of Diet Coke. CONCESSIONS SURE ARE EXPENSIVE, RIGHT GUYS?

Here’s the weekend’s top ten:

  1. Leading the pack is Shane Black’s latest attempt at franchise work, The Predator. Studios were undoubtedly hoping that his particular brand of flamboyant wise-cracking would inject some much-needed energy into the property, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It debuted to a weak $24.6 million, less than a third of its production budget ($88 million), and a disappointing $6,102 theater average. Considering the film opened in over 4,000 theaters – an allotment reserved for the likes of Marvel’s superhero features – it doesn’t bode well for the future of the franchise. Oversees it pulled in about $30 million for a $54.6 million worldwide total. It isn’t a bomb, not yet, but considering the controversy surrounding the picture, it’s reasonable to assume a rocky few weeks are on the horizon.
  2. The Nun saw a significant drop-off in attendance. It earned $18.2 million in its second weekend of release, a drop of 66.1% – a franchise worst – for a domestic total of $85.1 million. Internationally it’s sitting pretty at $144.8 million for a $229.9 million worldwide total – or about $207 million over the film’s production budget. The Conjuring brand isn’t going anywhere.
  3. Paul Feig’s latest, A Simple Favor, debuted to a respectable $16 million. This speaks volumes about the likeability of stars Anna Kendrick and Black Lively, as this was an R-rated creative departure for Feig, who’s most known for Bridesmaids and the divisive Ghostbusters (2016) rebootOh, and for putting his face up an adult man’s ass on The Joel McHale show. It earned an additional $3.5 millon internationally for a worldwide opening of $19.5 million.
  4. Matthew McConaughey’s latest, White Boy Rick, opened to a within-studio-estimates $8.8 million from 2,504 theaters across North America. That’s higher than I gave it credit for, but barely. Someone find the gif of McConaughey smiling in that Lincoln ad.
  5. Crazy Rich Asians dropped a solid 33.9% in its fifth weekend and earned another $8.6 million. That brings its domestic total up to $149.5 million. Oversees it’s earned $38.5 million for a worldwide total of $188 million. It has yet to release in most Asian markets, so we’ll see how that plays out in the coming weeks. As for North America, it’s made a killing.
  6. Jennifer Garner’s revenge-flick, Peppermint, dropped 55.3% and four places in its second weekend. In North America it added $6 million for a domestic total of $24.1 million. Oversees it’s barely managed $1.4 million for a worldwide of $25.5 million. Not including marketing costs, the film has barely earned back its $25 million budget.
  7. The Meg had a respectable drop of 36.6% and added another $3.8 million to its domestic haul. So far it’s earned $137.1 million here and $369.5 million internationally, bringing its worldwide total up to $506.6 million. Half a billion dollars is nothing to shake a fin at.
  8. Below that is social-media thriller Searching, which dropped only 30.4% to earn $3.1 million. Its domestic total is currently $19.6 million. Oversees it’s managed another $26.3 million for a worldwide total of $45.9 million.
  9. Best action movie of the year, Mission: Impossible – Fallout earned another $2.2 million off a 41.2% drop. Its domestic total just hit $216.1 million, which – drumroll please – has finally pushed it over the $215.4 million domestic total of franchise shit-pile, M:I-II. It’s been a long road, ladies and gentlemen, but we’ve made it. I hope you’re as unapologetically elated as I am. I really do. Internationally it’s amassed $544.8 million – $144.1 million of which from China – for a worldwide total of $760.9 million, another franchise best. Mission: accomplished.
  10. Closing out the top ten is the faithful sequel to Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, the subtly named Unbroken: Path to Redemption. It pulled in $2.2 million domestic in its opening weekend, averaging $1,383 per each of its 1,620 theaters.

Outside the top ten are leggy films Christopher Robin and BlacKkKlansman. The Pooh-adventure earned another $2.1 million from 1,902 theaters in its seventh weekend (seriously, Disney?), for a domestic total of $95.1 million. You watch, Disney will pull over 1,000 of those theaters once the film passes $100 million domestic. As for Spike Lee’s latest joint, it added $1.2 million after losing almost half of its theaters – an impressive feat. It currently sits at $45.9 million domestic. Well earned.

Scrolling down the list we can find Hotel Transylvania 3, Incredibles II, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, and Slender Man all enjoying similar sub-$1 million grosses. I promise this will be the last time I mention any of those films.

Comfortingly, Mile 22, The Happytime Murders, and especially A.X.L. have plummeted down the charts. It does my heart good to see people leaving garbage where it belongs. None of these films made over $250,000 this weekend, or has grossed over $40 million in North America. In fact, Mile 22 dropped 80.1% after losing 1,389 theaters. All of which happened after the film had earned over $50 million in worldwide grosses – its production budget, as it would happen.

Okay, how did I do?

  • The Predator came in almost ten million shy of my lax expectations. Proof that either Olivia Munn has serious influence in the industry (anyone else remember her from Attack of the Show?), or people don’t like to see bad entries in stale franchises. Or both. Shane Black should stick with what he does best, standalone R-rated buddy-cop misadventures.
  • The Nun came in about $2 million shy of my estimate, but I was close.
  • A Simple Favor landed within my $15-20 million estimate – it helps to give them a wide berth.
  • Crazy Rich Asians came in about $2 million shy of my estimate.
  • White Boy Rick earned over $8 million, which was my high estimate. I’ll take my victories where I can get them.
  • Unbroken: Path to Redemption earned half of my low estimate – I am filled with hope.
  • Peppermint earned $6 million – I was right on the money.
  • The Meg earned $3.8 million, where I predicted $3 million. Close enough for me!
  • Searching earned a little over $3 million, my estimate. Awesome.
  • And M:I – Fallout gave me everything I had hoped for.

Not bad! I’m not bowling strikes yet, but I’ll get there.

Time for some speculation.


Speculation

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This coming weekend we see the release of a kid-friendly Eli Roth film (I know), The House With A Clock In Its Walls. We also have the highly anticipated Amazon Studios production, Life Itself. People went ape-shit for This Is Us on TV, so maybe this one will be big. Also hitting theaters is the latest Michael Moore documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9, about Trump’s rise to the presidency. What could have influenced people to vote for such a vile, contemptible narcissist? Perhaps a liberal millionaire in cargo shorts can chase down enough of the white working poor and wheeze as many condescending, ideologically debasing questions as required to lend us an answer. It will be revelatory, I’m sure.

Here are my domestic predictions for the coming weekend:

  • Life Itself draws out the date-night crowd for an impressive $40-45 million.
  • A House With A Clock In Its Walls debuts with a kid-boosted $15-20 million.
  • The Predator falls to the new kids on the block, drops around 50%, and earns about $12-15 million. Expect this to fight to earn back its budget.
  • A Simple Favor holds well, earns around $10 million.
  • The Nun drops similarly to its second weekend and pulls in $8 million.
  • Crazy Rich Asians – which I’ve never been able to adequately predict – earns $5.5 million.
  • White Boy Rick holds well, earns around $5 million.
  • Peppermint earns $3 million.
  • Fahrenheit 11/9 appeals to the Moore-faithful and earns about $2.5 million.
  • The Meg earns $2.5 million.

And that’s my top ten for next weekend. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’re enjoying my box office updates. I enjoy writing them. Please like, share and subscribe to this blog and its social media pages using the widgets at the bottom of the page.

Until next time.

 

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