US Box Office Report: 04/11/16 – 06/11/16

Doctor Strange resuscitates the Box Office, Trolls can’t stop the feeling, Hacksaw Ridge is showered in dismembered bits of cash, Loving in the Moonlight, and Other Box Office News.

The American Box Office has been having a rough time as of late.  One could put that down to America currently being fully immolated and speeding towards the nearby cliff-edge at 2000MPH and therefore being a little preoccupied at the moment to go to the cinema, or perhaps it could be the fact absolutely nothing of much interest has been released in well over a month.  I mean, Inferno?  You really thought Inferno was gonna be a big-ticket must-see extravaganza?  Christ, Paramount, no wonder you’re in the shitter this year.  But if there’s one thing that can unite the people (and simultaneously divide them totally because 2016) it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe!  The latest entry in the movie franchise destined to terrifyingly outlive us all dropped this weekend and, with the helping of an extra Cumberbatch boost, Doctor Strange went on to become the most successful solo debut MCU movie ever (excepting Iron Man) with just under $85 million for the weekend, putting it comfortably in first place and likely inspiring a tonne of return matinee showings throughout the next week!  Because drugs, that’s the joke.

Contrary to how these things usually go, however, Doctor Strange did not end up being the only game in town this weekend.  Instead of getting out of Marvel’s way like everybody usually does, Fox and Lionsgate decided to send two of their relatively precious soldiers in to what many would have assumed was a suicide run against the ceaseless Marvel juggernaut.  And for a hat-trick of surprises, that gamble actually paid off and the other new releases held their own in battle!  The most surprising of the two performances came from DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls which I had pegged to die a quick miserable death given DreamWorks’ recent losing box office streak and a load of dire marketing.  Instead, and I guess proving the power of a good Justin Timberlake song (it’d be nice if he made more of them to offset The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 being utter garbage), Trolls bounded its way to a $45 million second place finish, besting the opening of The Peanuts Movie in the same weekend last year, which bodes well for its long-term future… well, until Disney arrives at the end of the month to devour DreamWorks like the Bergen it is.

As for the other major release to take on Doctor Strange: hey, everyone(!)  Mel Gibson’s back(!)  And he’s gone and made another Mel Gibson film(!)  Yaaaaay(!)  Two hours of extreme gory near-pornographic violence that’s supposedly meant to preach the virtues of pacifism and Jesus Christ (because Mel Gibson) was apparently something that a lot of people were down for – that, or they just really wanted to see Andrew Garfield pay some kind of penance for his part in the Amazing Spider-Man trainwreck, EASY JOKES! – and Hacksaw Ridge consequently banked just under $15 million for third place.  I could make a tasteless joke here where I say that the violent chaos of this film may be replicated on the real streets of America in 48 hours, but I can’t think of how to phrase it properly so consider yourselves saved from my poor man’s Frankie Boyle comedy routine.

In Limited Release News, 2016 has proven itself to not be a total washout on all fronts, cos it’s gifted us two Jeff Nichols films in the same year – unless you live in the UK, then you get to eat shit until February 2017!  Loving, the one that’s clearly intended to win awards but it’s Jeff Nichols so I don’t care it’s gonna be AMAZING, began its box office battle in the 4 theatres that matter (Los Angeles and New York City arthouse places obviously) and went home with a very strong $169,000 for a per-screen average of $42,250, only $21,000 less than Nichols’ Midnight Special made on 5 screens back in March.  The real Indie success story, though, is that of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, currently on its third week of release and showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.  After opening two weeks’ back with a staggering $402,075 from just 4 screens, the film has been riding a tidal wave of critical adoration, audience word-of-mouth, and awards talk to bigger and better numbers as it expands across the country.  This week it sits just outside of the Top 10, at 11th, with $1.3 million from 83 screens and a per-screen average of $16,053.

I have absolutely no snark or jokes here.  That performance is genuinely sensational, and I am genuinely pissed that it’s got no UK release date yet and that all London Film Festival screenings of it sold out super-early.


This Full List has come to bargain.

US Box Office Results: Friday 4th November 2016 – Sunday 6th November 2016

1] Doctor Strange

$84,989,000 / NEW

Saw this last weekend when I was feeling extra crappy than usual and quite certain I would either really dislike it or just be too miserable to enjoy it, and found it to be darn great!  It feels like a Phase One film that’s been mistakenly released during Phase Three and consequently is the first superhero film I have seen in a long while that is about something other than itself, other than brand management, instead being about its characters and actual themes.  It’s still a Marvel movie – bluntly, it’s the exact same film as Iron Man but with mysticism and a stoner art major’s first term design project – so the usual standbys of boring villains and marginalised women are disappointingly present and correct, but there are quiet improvements throughout and that modest Phase One charm feels refreshing in a landscape of bloated loud punch-ups.

It’s the first one of these since Guardians of the Galaxy, basically, where I haven’t had to reconcile my enjoyment of it as pure popcorn cinema with my irritation at its major underlying hypocrisies and storytelling failures.  So, yeah, I’m calling this a win.  Plus, Tilda Swinton kicks so much ass, GOD, she is AMAZING!

2] Trolls

$45,600,000 / NEW

Review’s coming tomorrow – it should have been with you two weeks ago, and I am genuinely sorry about that, but depression has been a real asshole since I got back from London, hence the total lack of new content these past three weeks – but I will let slip that I am utterly bewildered by the constant praise this one has been getting because it is easily DreamWorks Animation’s worst film in half a decade.  That’s not even getting into its super condescending and harmful ideas on what “being happy” is and takes, but I’m gonna save that for the review.  Be hyped!

3] Hacksaw Ridge

$14,750,000 / NEW

You know, I know that there are people out there who have a taste for Gibson’s brand of masochistic, gleefully-violent, narratively-inert madness.  I’m just having a hard time picturing them or having a sustained enjoyable conversation with them.

4] Boo! A Madea Halloween

$7,800,000 / $64,990,055

To any Madea fans/experts out there who happened to stumble across this article.  Say you knew a friend who hadn’t seen any Madea films before, but is really curious about this (let’s be honest) phenomenon and wants to try and understand and experience it for themselves.  Where would you advise them to start?  Let me know in the comments!

5] Inferno

$6,250,000 / $26,057,930

If Lucy’s reading this, I’m going to re-watch Rush next month when I have finally moved into what-is-effectively my new place.  I’m expecting to feel about it the same way I did the first time through back in 2013, but at least then we can finally shut down this argument of just how long it’s been since Ron Howard made a decent film that’s been going on as long as we’ve known each other.

6] The Accountant

$5,950,000 / $70,858,194

It took them a full goddamn hour to do so, but The Accountant did in fact specifically mention Autism in relation to its main character so I don’t have to fail the film outright on principle!  Yay!  But in all seriousness, this is Good, held back from Great by being a total structural mess.  The kind of structural mess that stops dead just as we’re getting our third-act momentum for 20 minutes so J.K. Simmons can monologue vital backstory that would have made the initial two-thirds far better and more involving had we been privy to it beforehand.  Still, it’s entertaining, Affleck gives a surprisingly nuanced and respectful performance, Kendrick does wonders in a nothing part, Gavin O’Connor is a capable action director, and Jon Bernthal is in this!  Call it lowered standards based on this year, but it’s a solid time.  A few more passes at the script and it could’ve been great, but it’s solid.

7] Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

$5,580,000 / $49,240,000

Cobie Smulders needs to top-line her own action franchise yesterday, please.  You know that bit in Winter Soldier where Maria Hill takes out two mooks whilst rolling back on her chair then gets back to quarterbacking the operation like nothing just happened?  Yeah, that’s no fluke, and she looks like an absolute badass in these action scenes, completely convincing whether she’s kicking ass or being manhandled.  Marvel, as is par for the course with their female characters, is wasting her and somebody needs to get her in a violent, slightly-cheesy-but-in-a-fun-knowing-way action series of her own now whilst she’s still capable of this stuff.

Other than that, the film is mind-numbingly awfully boring garbage, like a crap Shane Black movie, and you shouldn’t bother with it.

8] Ouija: Origin of Evil

$3,983,000 / $31,372,250

I have spent the last 40 minutes searching all over the internet for this one excellent article I read last week explaining the dissonance between what audiences want out of horror movies and what film critics want out of horror movies, and I can’t find it anywhere.  It’s recent, because it talked about Under the Shadow and the new Blair Witch and this Ouija film, but I cannot remember what it’s called, who wrote it, where it was posted, nothing.  Unless… maybe it never existed in the first place!  OooooooooOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!

No, but for real, if you know the article I am talking about, please link it to me.  This is driving me mad.

9] The Girl on the Train

$2,775,000 / $70,732,365

This is really bad.  Emily Blunt’s realistic and nuanced take on destructive barely-functioning alcoholism turns out to be marooned in a big budget Lifetime Movie of the Week – not that you’d realise this is supposed to be a movie that cost $45 million if you actually watched Tate Taylor’s utterly abysmal over-saturated 90s TV soap opera direction.  One built on a nonsensically stupid twist that throws away all of the themes of memory, addiction, alcoholism, self-destruction, projection, and unconscious actions in favour of yelling “SURPRISE!  It’s actually about gaslighting misogyny, just like every other generic airport paperback thriller!” whilst all of the supporting cast do their best Law & Order: SVU performances.  God, what a waste of Emily Blunt…

10] Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

$2,100,000 / $83,334,389

Pretty sure I have missed the chance to see this one, a fact I weep massive tears over every day, as I’m sure you’re aware.  I’ll just stick with Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events instead, which has nothing to do with Miss Peregrine but which I am reminded of every time I read that irritatingly pure-Burton title.  Maybe not the new Netflix version, though.  That’s… not looking very good, if I’m being honest.

Dropped Out: Keeping Up with the Joneses, Storks (surprisingly great), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Callie Petch’s body’s strained but, God, they like it.

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