US Box Office Report: 06/01/17 – 08/01/17

Hidden Figures solves the equation, A Monster Calls but nobody responds, Underworld is not on a Blood-buzz, let’s check in with the Limited Releases, and Other Box Office News.

Within maybe five hours of posting, this article has a strong chance of being out of date.  See, the battle for first place, right now, is so fierce and so close that you’d swear it were the rematch between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.  At time of writing, with only the estimates rather than the actuals to go on, Rogue One is clinging onto the top spot for the fourth week in a row barely, with $21.9 million.  And that is the definition of “barely” as the nationwide expansion of Hidden Figures, still only playing in about a third as many screens as Rogue One, rocketed up to second place with $21.8 million.  There is just $172,000 between the two, so my penning this article on a Sunday night, before the actuals get in, feels like jumping the gun at best and wilful misreporting at worst.  My excuse is that I have now owned DOOM for a fortnight and still haven’t had the chance to play to it.  Can’t a boy be allowed to get his workload out of the way early sos he can play his damn videogame already?

Speaking of expansions, first weekend of January being the first weekend of January, there was only one new release of any degree this past weekend, so let’s instead take a check-in with those Limited Releases from Christmastime that have been on the expansion path as of late.  Most obviously successful, and clearly ready to make the most of its Golden Globe win last night (please disregard if film failed to win the Golden Globe), was La La Land, which cracked the Top 5 with $10 million on its way to a full-on Nationwide expansion next week.  Struggling, however, is Denzel Washington’s adaptation of Fences, which couldn’t seem to turn the solid foundation of its limited release (or whatever the correct terminology for fence construction is) into a strong performance in the mainstream, falling to ninth with $4.7 million for the weekend.  But at least it wasn’t J. A. Bayona’s meh-gnificent A Monster Calls, a film that has just completely failed to gain any traction anywhere, which expanded to 1,523 theatres this weekend and performed, in a word, dismally: just $2 million for 13th place.  If Lucy is reading this, I am still not watching The Orphanage.

A whole bunch of still-Limited Release films are plotting to expand next weekend, meanwhile, so let’s check in with those for the time being, since it’s not like anything else caught the attention this weekend.  Martin Scorsese’s quietly great Silence converted $480,000 from 51 theatres ahead of its Moderate Release into 750 theatres next weekend where it will inevitably die an undeserved death.  Mike Mills’ acclaimed 20th Century Women, a film I know nothing of but have heard decent things about so that leaves me with no snark-able avenues to travel down, moved up to 10 theatres and made a pretty-solid $142,824.  Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg’s abysmal-sounding collective reach-around, Patriot’s Day, has been blowing up ahead of its full expansion next weekend – just in time for Trump’s inauguration, isn’t that fun – with $105,000 from 7 theatres.  But that’s left Ben Affleck’s Live by Night, a film hastily pushed forward to December release to qualify for awards contention and a decision Warner Bros. is probably heavily regretting right now, sleeping with any number of fishes; that film only managing $28,000 from 4 screens ahead of its expansion next weekend.

As for the sole film that bothered to open this weekend, it’s the first in this month’s pair of sequels to crappy low-budget female-fronted action series that were last seen in 2012!  Yes, with Resident Evil: The Final Chapter closing out January – cos you never let this kind of shit escape January, people might mistake it for being a film of actual quality – it was the turn of Underworld: Blood Wars to take the first of the bookending spots!  Fittingly, for a series that hasn’t been seen for an entire Obama term and was never all that popular to begin with, Blood Wars did not exactly set any box office tills a-ringing, even with the promise of Kate Beckinsale getting back into that mediocre Matrix cosplay again, only draining $13.1 million from moviegoers for fourth place.  Is this the end for everybody’s second favourite Vampires & Werewolves series?  Most likely not, so long as Beckinsale is still breathing and Nuts magazine continues to exist.

Underworld: Blood Wars

In this white wave, the Full List is sinking, in the Silence!  …about three people are going to get that reference and they are totally going to nod in recognition before moving on!

US Box Office Results: Friday 6th January 2017 – Sunday 8th January 2017

1?] Rogue One

$21,972,000 / $477,273,354

You may have missed it since it got lost in the shuffle of all those End of Year articles that took up the past fortnight, but I did write a nice-spoilery piece on Rogue One and its timely message of how inaction is the true enemy of effective resistance and rebellion.  I think it turned out quite well, so go check it out if you’re yet to!  Yes, even if you’re already sick of pop culture analysis articles that tie into Donald Trump in some way.

2?] Hidden Figures

$21,800,000 / $24,754,178

Really looking forward to this one because it looks damn great, and that’s in spite of a terrible UK edit of the trailer (that of course I cannot find online now) which tries to reframe this movie as one about how Kevin Costner solved racism in NASA for everybody.  Christ, why are we Brits so afraid to talk about racism, or even just explicitly-Black stories?  I remember when several bits of marketing for Creed purely put Sylvester Stallone out there and left Michael B. Jordan off entirely!  I know that we basically popularised slavery for the western world and we’re deeply ashamed of that fact, but we’re going to have to deal with our nervousness around the issue of race sooner or later.

3] Sing

$19,573,670 / $213,373,315

Out at month’s end, seeing it in a fortnight.  Meanwhile, why not check out another article that likely got lost in the End of Year Extravaganza shuffle?  Lost Cels finally pulled its finger out and tackled Histeria!, hopefully ahead of a re-launch and consistent update schedule!  It’s maybe not worth 15 months of work, but I think it’s a damn great piece you should go read once you’re done here!

4] Underworld: Blood Wars

$13,100,000 / NEW

I’ve never actually seen any of the Underworld movies but am going to race through them this week ahead of seeing this one on either Saturday or next Tuesday.  Maybe I’ll turn my thoughts on them into an article like I did the Ice Age series!  Or maybe I will do literally anything else with my time!  Such possibilities!

5] La La Land

$10,000,000 / $51,656,587

Just five days to go.  Just five days to go.  Hang in there…

6] Passengers

$8,800,000 / $80,893,043

Oh, hey!  Turns out if you make a female-appealing rom-com all about domestic abuse and try to trick people into seeing your movie despite that fact by artificially cooking up the idea of there being “a twist” in your marketing, despite said “twist” being literally the entire damn premise of the movie, then said target audience will skip your movie in droves once word of that domestic abuse premise gets out!  Who could’ve possibly seen that coming?  Good lord, Sony’s film department are a bunch of frickin’ imbeciles…

7] Why Him?

$6,500,000 / $48,559,553

I’m starting to think that Bryan Cranston has forgotten how to act.  Initially I thought he was just wanting to indulge his hammier instincts and picking poor projects once he’d gotten out of Breaking Bad – which would explain his work in Trumbo and The Infiltrator – but he also appears to have lost all sense of comic timing or ability if this piece of interminable shit is anything to go by.  I mean, he’s not helped by the unbearably awful script, nobody in this thing is, but he’s still absolutely dreadful, displaying none of the gifted comic talents he had in Malcolm in the Middle.  Just another thing that Breaking Bad managed to ruin then, I guess.

8] Moana

$6,413,000 / $225,394,182

Yes, I did finally get my second go-around of this – on Boxing Day, during a day where I alternated between cinema screens and toilet stalls, little of which was pleasant on either end – and, rather like Frozen, I liked it a lot more the second time around.  I think that since my expectations were lowered, I was able to enjoy the film on its own merits rather than comparing it to unreasonable standards.  The character work is great, Auli’i Cravalho may be a real find, it is visually gorgeous, and the songs… yeah, the songs were better than I initially gave them credit for being.  I may have had both “You’re Welcome” and “How Far I’ll Go” in and out of my brain on and off for a few days afterwards.  So, yeah, solid thumbs up!  Now try not to screw up Wreck-It Ralph 2, OK?

9] Fences

$4,700,000 / $40,663,264

I didn’t rank my Top 10 Trailers of 2016 list, mostly because I was lazy and pre-occupied with other articles, but if I did, the first trailer for this would have been joint-winner with 10 Cloverfield Lane.  I still get chills whenever it pops up before a film at the cinema, just so brilliant.

10] Assassin’s Creed

$3,800,000 / $49,505,783

Review will be up tomorrow.  Let’s just say that Fox were really goddamn sneaky shifting its UK release to January 1st in order to avoid my wrath, and let’s also just say that this tactic has backfired spectacularly for them.

Dropped Out: Manchester by the Sea, Collateral Beauty

Callie Petch holds a sense of wonder.

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