Not enough of you bastards saw Christopher Robin, you cretins, you monsters, you joyless pissants; and Other Box Office News, I guess.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
How dare you! How DARE YOU! Yes, YOU! YOU, specifically, reading this here article right now! You make me sick! Stood there, scrolling through your phone, trying to kill time at work, unaware of the gravity caused by your unawares negligence! You thought I wouldn’t know? You thought I wouldn’t find out? You thought that I’d be too incapacitated by this heatwave’s second wind to work up the necessary anger at your thoughtless betrayal of my trust, my heart, my love? Well you thought wrong, you dead-inside joy-killing cobblepot! …don’t give me that dumbfounded blank-faced expression, you know damn well what you did! You (statistically) decided to skip Disney’s Christopher Robin this past weekend, leaving it lost to the fog of aging depressed workaholic adults for all-time, with a paltry $25 million for second-place, losing to a goddamn Mission: Impossible movie! Your lack of childhood glee and refusal to support sweet old Pooh Bear disgusts me! Go stand in that corner and think about what you done did!
Unless you did actually see Christopher Robin, or you’re from a country where the film isn’t out yet. In which cases you are my new favourite person and on-blast for when the film does come out, respectively.
Admittedly, it’s largely been a bummer week for releases in general, as the semi-traditional “first weekend of August” glut were given their marching orders to get out of their studios’ hair as expediently as possible. Christopher Robin was merely the most successful of the four wide releases (plus one nationwide expansion) that took turns fighting in vain for overflow tickets from sold-out screenings of Mission: Impossible – Fallout – which, for the record, held firm at the top with $35 million, its second week drop of 43% being a series best (if you exclude Ghost Protocol because that got a weird gimmicky release strategy). Next-best of this some kind of Suicide Squad was The Spy Who Dumped Me, because somehow all the spy-themed movies tend to inadvertently cluster around the latest Mission: Impossible. Perhaps because it looked absolutely terrible (but apparently might actually not be), the Kunis/McKinnon comedy couldn’t get out of first gear and managed to sink under even the low-bar set by the dire Witherspoon/Vergara “comedy” Hot Pursuit from a few years back, sliding into third with $12.3 million (compared to the latter’s $13.9 million).
Still, everybody involved can at least take comfort in the fact that they weren’t The Darkest Minds, Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s adaptation of the famous(?) and beloved(?) Young Adult book series Not the X-Men. It’s not been a good few years for prospective YA franchise starters since The Hunger Games (a.k.a. The Only Good One of These) wrapped up, where not even series in their penultimate instalments are safe from complete audience antipathy, but oh boy did Darkest Minds ever manage to slide gracefully and totally underneath that low bar! Behold, friends and acquaintances, the eleventh worst opening weekend on more than 3,000 theatres of all-time ($5.8 million for eighth place on the weekend chart)! I guess at least it’s still not as bad as The Seeker: The Dark is Rising? (Also, Fun Fact: I’ve seen half of the films on that list but not a single film by Ingmar Bergman.) Meanwhile, Bo Burnam’s indie phenomenon Eighth Grade made the jump to a nationwide (1,000+) release before being slapped straight back down with a disappointing $2.8 million for twelfth place.
For those of you ready to dive headfirst into your sky-is-falling bunkers, however, it’s not all terrible news. We do indeed have a couple of bright spots to report. The first of which being Desiree Akhavan’s damn great adaptation of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a film some enterprising schmuck had already seen and reviewed here (I hear he’s an asshole). Kicking off its run in a pair of New York theatres, it obviously became the sensation of the weekend with a taking of $53,000. Second on the docket is the fact that Black Panther, which we reported on two weeks back about its attempt to scratch and claw its way towards $700 million domestic, has finally managed to do just that via another $25,000 taken in its twenty-fifth week of release.
And finally, saving the best for last, convicted felon and admitted fraudster Dinesh D’Souza released his latest propaganda piece masquerading as a “documentary” – one in which he tries to claim that the Nazi agenda of the 1940s reads like it was written by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders because it has, gasp, a healthcare plan – Death of a Nation: Really Long Hyperbolic Subtitle I’m Not Going to Indulge by Typing Out Again. D’Souza, depressingly, has had quite the successful career hawking his abysmal far-right screeds against progressivism, common sense, and actual documentaries; 2016: Obama’s America, his first go, is still the fifth highest-grossing documentary of all-time in America. But maybe, just maybe, his time has finally passed since Death of a Nation fittingly died, taking just $2.3 million for thirteenth place, the weakest wide-release opening performance of his series of movies to date. Perhaps crying the victim doesn’t work so hot when you’re the ones in power whilst everything goes to shit, so you just look like a baby having a particularly obnoxious temper tantrum?
Feel free to disregard that optimism if you’re reading this after Midterms in November and the Republicans haven’t been largely wiped the fuck out.
Oh, bother. Silly old Full List.
US Box Office Results: Friday 3rd August 2018 – Sunday 5th August 2018
1] Mission Impossible – Fallout
$35,000,000 / $124,487,371
I saw this on Thursday and was genuinely bored stiff by it. I swear to you all, I am not deliberately trying to be contrarian about these movies! I just don’t get them and I have no idea why! On paper, this is my favourite action series: spy movies, cool gadgets, deliberately constrained situations where the fun is watching everyone get out of them, emphasis on practical stunts and action sequences, multiple actors and actresses and filmmakers I like/love, one of the best theme songs of all-time… In practice, I’m left bored every single time. Normally, I’d let it go, admit that it’s objectively fine but just not for me (like Manchester by the Sea), but I just can’t with these films! I should be the goddamn president of its fan club and the fact that I just don’t get them, and that I can’t figure out why I don’t get them, is actually driving me insane! Somebody please help me understand why, preferably without calling me “jaded” in the process!
2] Disney’s Christopher Robin
$25,003,000 / NEW
Not out here for another fortnight which is something I consider to be a violation of my human rights.
3] The Spy Who Dumped Me
$12,350,000 / NEW
It’s still kind of amazing to me that movie studios, even when they’ve had multiple decades to get it right and no shortage of opportunities throughout this decade especially to practice, are so thoroughly incapable of appealingly marketing female-driven and female-targeted comedies that aren’t the kinds of garbage fluff made for octogenarians with twelve cats at home. Seriously, watch this trailer again. Count how much of it involves screaming as the sole source of hilarity; it’s a lot. Maybe the full film is good, maybe it’s horseshit, but it’s never gonna get masses of people into the cinemas with marketing like that.
$9,090,000 / $91,335,550
“Taylor Swift and James Corden (no) will star in Tom Hooper’s (NO) adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s (NO) musical Cats (NO)” is scientifically the absolute worst possible news story for a person or algorithm to generate. But it’s real, and it’s happening, and I want to die! The only thing worse than having to sit through an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is having to sit through Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, so imagine having to sit through a version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats starring two of the most irritating people alive and directed by that one Uncle of yours who does not grasp the concept of Personal Space.
5] The Equalizer 2
$8,830,000 / $79,886,265
I saw Inside Man for the first time last week. Now THAT’S a good fun Denzel Washington movie!
6] Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
$8,200,000 / $136,455,881
Light, immediately forgettable, and deflates a lot in the second half once the plot needs to kick in, but I had fun all the same. So, y’know, it’s a Hotel Transylvania movie. Nobody else better understands just how much perfectly-timed animation can sell even the lamest and most played-out of gags than Genndy Tartakovsky, and if you, like me, have a huge nerd-on for Golden Age animation techniques, then there’s a lot to like here. Now, please Sony, let Genndy make whatever he wants for once! Put that Popeye movie back into active production or something!
7] Ant-Man and the Wasp
$6,188,000 / $195,469,435
Back on the MCU train again, as I feared I would be. This is basically just Guardians vol. 2 but without that film’s megaton kick in the gut or its misguided need to bolt fate-of-the-world/galaxy stakes onto a deeply personal and small-scale story. So, naturally, it’s one of my favourites of the entire Phase and I want more MCU films to be like it going forward rather than making big swipes towards grand gestures it has no intention of following through on. Even the stinger didn’t annoy me, and I am still deeply frustrated by Infinity War!
8] The Darkest Minds
$5,800,000 / NEW
Oh, wow, this isn’t even going to last the seven days I need before it comes out here. That’s… Yeah, I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for the involvement of the director of Kung Fu Panda 2, I wouldn’t give a shit about this.
$5,009,000 / $583,141,290
I feel like my general dissatisfaction with Film so far in 2018 can be adequately summed up by the fact that it has only been three weeks since I saw Incredibles II yet I cannot remember a single thing that happens in it.
10] Teen Titans GO! To the Movies
$4,860,000 / $20,784,557
Loved it. Might try and whip up a review this week if I get time, cos things are piling up as I wind down my writing activities, but just in case not, I want it on record that I loved it and laughed my ass off from pretty much start to finish.