Audiences use all of their senses to see Don’t Breathe, Mechanic is semi-successfully resurrected, some people are now going to the Southside with You, Hands of Stone has Feet of Lead, and Other Box Office News.
It turns out that all you need to break prospective audiences out of a Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship, such as the one that they’ve had with Suicide Squad for the past month, is a damn-good, old-fashioned, hard-R-rated horror movie! In what’s been a pretty darn strong Summer for horror movies – almost like their necessary reliance on semi-original ideas and sequels which try new things rather than rehashing old ground is providing something that 90% of the Summer’s other films have not – Don’t Breathe made off with an excellent $26.4 million to secure the top spot. That’s more than writer-director Fede Alvarez’s previous film, that 2013 Evil Dead remake that we all mostly forgot about but was actually pretty good, managed in its opening weekend ($25.7 mil) and that had brand name recognition, absolutely no competition, and a blitzkrieg of marketing; all things Don’t Breathe lacked. Gee, it’s almost like original mid-budget movies are a necessary part of the film ecosystem or something…
For a further mid-budget example, let me point you in the direction of Mechanic: Resurrection, the Jason Statham sequel that we got instead of Crank 3D. Now a fifth place opening of $7.4 million, which is in line with Statham’s other vehicles from the 2010s somewhat sadly, against a budget of $40 million – and if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know exactly why I can’t stop laughing at that figure – may seem like a massive failure, a studio having wasted a bunch of money on attempting to jumpstart a franchise non-starter, and it may well still be. However, according to Lionsgate, Statham films do well in his native England (which I can attest to as my Friday screening was pretty well populated) and, more importantly, apparently make anywhere between 150 – 200% of their box office receipts on home media (something I can also attest to since I watched a shitload of these films growing up), plus streaming rights and giving Cable channels easy Saturday night programming in six months’ time. Couple all of that with cheap marketing and even cheaper rights acquisitions, and that performance starts to look pretty good, all things considered. I mean, it’s not like they spent $100 million on it and then sent it off to die an ignominious death, right?
Outside of those, it was the week of moderate-releases, albeit not a particularly successful one for any of the three films we’re going to speed through. Leading the pack, and also opening on the most screens, is Southside with You, a dramatization of Michelle and Barack Obama’s first date that is, by all accounts, surprisingly pretty great and genuinely romantic, which makes perfect sense given that Michelle Obama is a friggin’ treasure! Anyway, the Sundance Hit, like 80% of Sundance Hits, couldn’t really break out with the general public and had to settle for $2.8 mil from 813 screens and a $3,529 per-screen average. Behind that on 810 screens was the long-delayed boxing drama Hands of Stone which could only take $1.7 mil for a $2,162 per-screen average, although it is expanding to 2,000 screens on Wednesday so this may not be the last we hear of this film, which is irritating cos I don’t have any jokes for it. Bringing up the rear was faith-based sports drama Greater which could only tackle $627,674 in the end zone from 340 screens and who gives a shit about faith-based movies let’s move on.
In Actual Limited Release News, John Krasinski continued his attempts to not be the poor-man’s Josh Radnor by directing The Hollars, a film with my near-literal dream-team line-up of actors and actresses being wasted on the Sundanciest of Sundance material. It at least did better than Krasinski’s directorial debut, but $38,210 from 4 screens still isn’t really anything to write home about. At least he’s got that sweet Lip Sync Battle royalty money! And Emily Blunt! And is now surprisingly ripped in ways I’m still not sure if I’m ok with or not! Plus, he’s not Gus Van Sant whose abysmal The Sea of Trees finally opened on 2 screens and couldn’t even be laughed out of any buildings because absolutely nobody saw it, closing with a pitiful $1,877. So, silver linings and all that!
This Full List is late because yesterday was a Bank Holiday in England and therefore I didn’t have to work! Absolutely that! Not at all my being lazy. Not in the slightest.
US Box Office Results: Friday 26th August 2016 – Sunday 28th August 2016
1] Don’t Breathe
$26,411,706 / NEW
So Jane Levy, who stars in this and that Evil Dead remake you already forgot about despite my mentioning it here less than three minutes ago, is also starring in Chris Wedge’s live-action directorial debut, an adaptation… of the Monster Trucks toy-line. No, seriously. You know what’s weirder? It actually looks genuinely entertaining, like that really fun Goosebumps movie from last year! Here, I’ll embed the trailer below for you to watch because I know you don’t believe me.
$12,248,439 / $283,021,066
…I really don’t have anything else to add here now, which surprises me. I honestly thought I’d have more material than 3 weeks’ worth to fire in its direction, but I guess not. Then again, that’s only really a surprise until you remember that Suicide Squad has nothing going on anyway and one can only make so much out of nothing. BOOM! Pulled it out!
3] Kubo and the Two Strings
$7,844,822 / $24,856,200
Oh, no. I’ve learned my lesson from when this happened to The Boxtrolls! A 38% drop is nowhere near as incredible and calming as it sounds on paper when the film opened rather poorly to begin with! You could’ve all seen this last weekend like you were supposed to, but NOOOO(!) You just HAD to go see Suicide Squad yet again despite that film not miraculously getting better the more times you see it(!) You people friggin’ suck.
4] Sausage Party
$7,525,655 / $79,869,165
Seeing it Friday. Don’t disappoint me, please.
5] Mechanic: Resurrection
$7,456,525 / NEW
You know those bad and distractingly cheap-looking direct-to-video sequels to mediocre action movie vehicles where they keep the film name but replace the name lead-actor because he’s too expensive to bring back? That’s this movie, except that not only did they manage to get Statham back, they also somehow roped in Jessica Alba, Michelle goddamn Yeoh, and Tommy Lee Jones with a ridiculous hairpiece and a fucking soul patch! Whatever they were paying this film’s casting director, it wasn’t nearly enough for their magic talents.
6] Pete’s Dragon
$7,441,458 / $54,874,836
In case you’re wondering, this did manage to out-rank Ben-Hur last week when the actuals came in. Ah, all of this laughing at the new Ben-Hur is going to be a lot less funny next Friday when I have to actually watch the damn thing.
7] War Dogs
$7,022,257 / $27,524,944
Most watchable film that Todd Phillips has made in close to a decade, but it’s still not particularly good. I’ll explain more in this week’s What I’ve Been Watching that I now have to write because I just promised you one. Not that that usually kicks my productivity into gear, but maybe if I wildly overpromise then I’ll actually deliver on something for once! [FUTURE EDIT: I did not.]
8] Bad Moms
$5,573,833 / $95,267,068
This is going to cross $100 mil domestic after all! Yay for female comedies making all the money! Just a shame it couldn’t have happened to an actually good female comedy.
9] Jason Bourne
$5,141,045 / $149,268,280
OK, look, that Bourne piece I promised you most likely isn’t going to happen now. I’m sorry, too much time has passed. Sorry for jerking you around. If it’s going to be finished and posted, it’ll be this week. If you hear nothing, though, then it simply didn’t happen and you’ll instead have to busy yourself with all the other crap I’ve written and posted on this site, like this piece on The Purge: Election Year and the lack of anger in the Left that I think came out quite well!
$4,560,825 / $19,583,702
One last laugh for the road, eh? Man, I really cannot believe that anybody thought this was a good idea, let alone a $100 million good idea!
Dropped Out: The Secret Life of Pets, Florence Foster Jenkins
Callie Petch picks up their friends and hopes we don’t die.