Fantastic Beasts and Mediocre Box Office Takings, on The Edge of Seventh, Bleed for This spills its claret all over the chart, Nocturnal Animals will chew you up, and Other Box Office News.
Warner Bros. Pictures’ latest hare-brained scheme to remain in business in six years’ time was put into action this past weekend, as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them transmogrified its way into theatres nationwide. And why shouldn’t Warner have been betting big – specifically, five goddamn films nominally based on a 128-page annotated expanded-universe glossary with basically zero ties to the main story it’s based on big? After all, it’s Harry Potter-related, a series that has (bewilderingly) remained culturally steadfast for over two decades like a zombie; it stars Eddie Redmayne, whom all the ladies adore and whom all the critics are trying to claim is one of the finest actors of his generation despite all of his performances so far looking more like a rap sheet than a filmography; and… err… did I mention that it’s Harry Potter-related?
Yes, as I called back in goddamn July – side note: I have now been sat on my arse with no drive, direction, purpose, or much in the way of written work for 5 months, GOD JUST KILL ME PLEASE – Fantastic Beasts hit the slight snag of not doing anything to sell itself to people not already hypnotised by the Potter spell and are therefore aware that there are far better Young Adult literature series out there. This kind of blatant “Fan’s Only” marketing never works quite as well as everybody seems to hope it will, and consequently, whilst Fantastic Beasts is still your new #1 by a considerable margin, it only banked $75 mil domestic for its opening weekend, the lowest of all the Potter series so far. Furthermore, only 18% of opening day audiences were under the age of 18, whilst 55% were over the age of 35, cos those young whippersnappers only have room for one wizard film in their lives and you’d better believe that they’re gonna go for the entertaining one! That all said, with the notable exception of Moana, there is literally nothing out between now and Rogue One, so look for this to still earn all the money forever and force me to have to sit through FIVE of these bastards.
Perhaps sensing the potential blood in the water, two other films attempted to pull off a nationwide release against Fantastic Beasts this weekend and, especially since they were technically aimed at roughly the same audience, this experiment ended exactly as you’d have expected it to. Fairing slightly best, and further continuing the disappointing decline of the High School movie in the modern film landscape, was The Edge of Seventeen which had strong reviews and Hailee Steinfeld but was saddled with this release date, no marketing, and an R-rating. That could only manage $4.8 million for seventh place, but at least lets me make an obvious Stevie Nicks reference in the transition to the Full List. Meanwhile, being dropped to the mat like a sack of Scorsese knock-offs, there’s the wannabe-Raging Bull of Bleed for This which had Miles Teller going for it and Miles Teller going against it. The film’s distributor would have thrown in the towel and walked away with just $2.3 million for eighth, except that that’s where the metaphor breaks down somewhat.
As per usual, the success stories this weekend were in the pair of Limited Releases gearing up for Awards Season contention. Opening on the more screens was Tom Ford’s pretentious but not-unenjoyable Nocturnal Animals which, much like fashion in general, is really trying to say something but I’ll be buggered if I can tell you what exactly that is. From 37 screens, $494,000 worth of people parted with cash in order to watch an alright Jake Gyllenhaal male-impotence thriller be constantly gate-crashed by Amy Adams’ most vacant staring, for a per-screen average of $13,351. Whilst releasing in the 4 theatres that all Serious Awards Contenders must debut on if they’re hoping to be talked about as Serious Awards Contenders, we have Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea which has been tearing up festivals all year long and is finally making its big play for some golden statuettes. You will likely be unsurprised to hear that it banked $241,230 for a per-screen average of $60,308.
Oh, yeah, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk went into general release in 1,176 theatres and proceeded to crash and burn with just $930,000 overall. So that’s that.
Just like the white-winged dove, sings the Full List, sounds like she’s singing…
US Box Office Results: Friday 18th November 2016 – Sunday 20th November 2016
1] Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
$75,000,000 / NEW
Have not seen this yet. Pushing it to next week – well, this coming weekend, since you’re reading this on the Monday – for three reasons. The first being that I have absolutely no money left this month and I cannot justify the petrol required to make the trip over to Hull for the sole film released this past week (even if I were to also try and squeeze in a third Arrival viewing). The second being that the screenings should hopefully be less packed next weekend because I really do not want to watch this in a room full of hardcore Potter fans. And the third is DEAR GOD EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE SOUNDS LIKE CINEMATIC WATER TORTURE TO ME.
2] Doctor Strange
$17,676,000 / $181,542,877
Coming up fast on Iron Man’s worldwide total, just in case you thought Superhero Fatigue was a real thing happening at this moment that would finally vindicate all of those Hot Takes that have been going about since the release of Iron Man 3. That said, it is in a photo-finish right now with our next film…
$17,500,000 / $116,214,533
Gonna talk more about it in this week’s “What I’ve Been Watching” – yes, there I go again, promising content, but these anti-depressants are doing a number on my self-esteem so I’m gonna knuckle down and get some articles out this week if it kills me – but Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids is as excellent a concert film as you’d expect Jonathan Demme to make and Timberlake is one hell of a live performer. It’s obvious that his heart isn’t really in music anymore, given the existence of The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2, but at least this film and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” make better potential end notes to that part of his entertainment career than “Drink You Away” or “Not a Bad Thing” did. Have I mentioned that 2 of 2 is almost entirely garbage enough times yet?
$11,800,000 / $43,370,799
I gave you all express instructions last week to go and see this movie immediately, yet you all quite clearly have not. What the hell, folks? It’s almost like none of you are actually reading these articles or much of anything that I write!
…let’s move on.
5] Almost Christmas
$7,040,000 / $25,420,740
Hang on, let me consult my calendar… uh-huh… yeah… nope, nope, it’s still definitely nowhere near almost Christmas yet. At least let Thanksgiving get out of the way, first, you holiday hog!
6] Hacksaw Ridge
$6,750,000 / $42,854,292
Oh, hey! Andrew Garfield’s in that upcoming Scorsese movie! The one that absolutely is going to make its planned December 23rd release date and that we should get a debut trailer for any day now! Any day now. …any day now.
7] The Edge of Seventeen
$4,825,000 / NEW
This one’s due out here in a fortnight, which means that it definitely won’t be hanging around on this chart by the time I see it and that you most likely won’t get to hear my non-Twitter thoughts on it. However, it may end up re-igniting a piece I’d planned to do way back in the Summer about the disappearance of the High School movie that eventually fell off due to both time, the slight feeling that it sort-of retread ground I covered in my Divergent piece, and the fear that it may have been unintentionally condescendingly presumptuous about female teenage audiences. But who knows! Maybe it’ll come back! It’s not like I’m ever going to do the physical exercise these pills are begging my mind and body to do!
8] Bleed for This
$2,357,946 / NEW
I may have clowned Teller back in the pre-amble, but I actually like him more than most critics appear to. When he’s good, he can be amazing, but when he’s bad, he can be real bad, and he doesn’t seem to try and elevate lesser material, preferring to sleepwalk in those instances. Plus, y’know, he sounds like a bit of a cock outside of acting.
9] The Accountant
$2,115,000 / $81,252,018
I bought Scrappy Little Nobody on Wednesday after therapy because, even though I couldn’t really spare the cash, I was basically looking for any reason to do so. I was miserable and vulnerable, OK! And was also going to buy it at some point anyway and am still Me and therefore trash AND SHUT UP!
10] Shut In
$1,600,000 / $6,036,645
You know, I really thought that this would be the week that Moonlight finally broke through into the chart – and it still might, there’s only $16,000 between these two films – but its latest expansion didn’t do so hot, so this is still hanging around and, honestly, I used up all my material last week. There’s the hacky joke with the title, the stupid twist, and that’s it. I, uh, really did not expect this one to hang around. Goddammit, it’s every single time that I make a joke predicated on a film dropping out the week after that it hangs around and I look stupid.
Dropped Out: Boo! A Madea Halloween, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Inferno
Callie Petch has been afraid of changing.