How The Grinch Stole the Chart, Overlord failed to resurrect, The Girl suffocated in The Spider’s Web, The Front Runner fell to mid-field, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Gonna have to disappoint everybody right off the bat this week by admitting that my “skills” as a “writer” unfortunately do not extend to penning sentences that rhyme. So, alas, I cannot pay adequate tribute to Dr. Seuss which you can take either as a negative, an indicator of my failure to bring you entertaining and appropriate content, or you can take as a positive, in that there’s one less Box Office/Grinch-related article you’ll have to read that badly approximates in the inimitable stylings of a timeless genius. Either way, Christmas started basically the second that Halloween ended this year, to the great consternation of people like myself who know that there’s A FULL GODDAMN MONTH between the end of Spoopy Season and the start of your Advent Calendars, COME ON PEOPLE! Respect the seasons! What’s the point of even having a strictly/arbitrarily delineated structure for the year that we have to base our entire lives around if we’re just going to throw it all to the wind whenever it suits us?! First Christmas now starts on November 1st despite that being a good 55 days in advance of the actual day, next people start claiming that they have “Birthday months?” WHEN DOES IT END!?
That allegedly grinchy behaviour makes for a good segway into chatting about Illumination’s The Grinch, the first feature adaptation since Ron Howard’s live-action nightmare back in 2000 and the first animated adaptation since Chuck Jones’ still-iconic television special back in 1966. Regardless of a whole load of mean-old critics advising audiences not to touch this new adaptation with a 39-and-a-half foot pole (our own review is coming later this week), The Grinch is still a story that carries a whole bunch of cache so it should come as no surprise that this is yet another all-conquering #1 for the world’s second(/maybe third depending on how Pixar’s doing that week)-biggest animation studio: $66 million. That’s good enough for the third-biggest opening weekend for an animated movie released in November, or technically the second since Frozen ACTUALLY (*pushes glasses up*) started in limited release. Admittedly, that’s also less than the opening of The Lorax, Illumination’s abominable previous attempt to adapt the works of Dr. Seuss into a feature, which opened to $70 million back in 2012, but this Grinch is at least better than that Lorax and will almost definitely run well all the way through to Christmas so I highly doubt Chris Meledandri will be crying into his slightly-lesser-than-expected fat stacks of cash tonight.
It’s weird to say this given that we’ve had three Wide Release films, but it was kind of a slow weekend outside of Ol’ Grinchy, as he likes to be called. Julius Avery’s off-brand Wolfenstein movie, Overlord, made the bewildering decision to open several weekends after the end of Spooky Month and, whilst I get the desire to remain out of the rapidly-plummeting Halloween’s way, that galaxy-brain decision backfired majorly. Ripped apart by the metaphorical gunfire of “unseasonability” and perhaps also “not having the Cloverfield branding, to sucker in people who don’t understand how anthologies work, like a bunch of us thought it would for a while,” Overlord could only manage third place and $10 million. But at least Overlord wasn’t meant to relaunch a franchise, which is something that can’t be said for Hollywood’s continued bizarre obsession with turning The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo into the Next Big Thing. Suffocated in the metaphorical latex bodysuit of “who asked for this,” The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story, and yes that is the actual unabridged title, landed in fifth place with $8 million. Not a great weekend for R-rated genre pictures, unless your name was A Star is Born which, in its sixth weekend, is still hanging on strong with just a 27% drop.
In Limited Release, Jason Reitman’s second attempt this year to resuscitate his career, here in the form of messy fiasco The Front Runner, tried to get off to a cheeky start by opening on Election Day, Tuesday 6th. Fortunately for us all, that release date did close to jack-shit to goose those totals, adding only an additional $20,199 from those three bonus days; any higher and that would have indicated a bunch of people who didn’t vote. The weekend performance was pretty decent, in any case, taking $56,000 from 4 screens for a decent per-screen average of $14,000, so let’s see if Front Runner can capitalise on that momentum heading into its expansion over the next few weekends unlike the actual Gary Hart. Speaking of expansions, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning keeps doing surprisingly ok, this weekend expanding to 27 theatres and banking, considering the kind of film Burning is, a respectable $79,644. A Private War expanded to 40 screens and notched up a score befitting its status as the “huh, which one’s that?” of this year’s Awards Season wannabe field; $201,400 for a per-screen average of $5,035. Finally, Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? is currently tickling the edges of the Top 10 as it expanded to 391 screens this weekend for a $1,475,000 result which is not the worst given that it’s now been out for a month and platform-releasing rarely works well here in the year of our lord 2018. Seriously, how is this still a thing?
This Full List’s heart is full of unwashed socks and its soul is full of gunk.
US Box Office Results: Friday 9th November 2018 – Sunday 11th November 2018
1] The Grinch
$66,000,000 / NEW
2] Bohemian Rhapsody
$30,850,000 / $100,010,548
Right, look, the Mike Myers cameo in this movie is “Donald Trump in Home Alone 2” levels of bad. It’s rightly one of the first things that any critic trashing the film brings up and I myself harped on it last week as well. I, however, would like to posit that the true nadir of the entire ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ sequence, including the recording phase where I was half-expecting Freddie to request “50,000 digeridoos,” is actually the bit where they play the song and a list of contemporary reviews slamming it flash up on-screen. Do you know how incensed that made me? Like, yeah, it’s true that critics slammed Queen for pretty much the entirety of their existence whilst the general public embraced them with open arms, but do you know how petty putting that shit into your own biopic is? As a “what do those arty-farty elitist critics know, anyhow?” jab in the ribs to the audience? Screw you, Brian May and Roger Taylor! Get over yourselves! I can’t believe I like Queen less after seeing this goddamn piece of shite!
$10,100,000 / NEW
Shaun Rodger would like for you to know that he wanted to rate this film 3.5 stars but was ordered to round down by The Man (read: our editors) because half-stars go against site policy. Well, we’re not gonna take it, ya hear, Eds! We’re gonna make a petition, signed by those of us who have been crushed underfoot by your authoritarian ratings system! And when we make that petition, we’re gonna want a memo distributed! And that memo will be carbon-copied and REDISTRIBUTED AN…
4] The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
$9,565,000 / $35,256,534
Review went up on Friday, which is technically midweek if you squint. Actually, no, it is midweek because I deem it so! If Christmas can apparently begin on November 1st, midweek can extend to Friday as well! #TEAMCHAOS!
5] The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story
$8,015,000 / NEW
Good thing this is only gonna hang around for like two weeks because otherwise I would get really annoyed at having to write that title out over and over again. Of course, this is a Sony project.
6] A Star is Born
$8,010,000 / $178,020,388
Fun Fact: Bradley Cooper now has more UK #1 singles than Pulp. Sorry, did I say “Fun Fact?” I meant, *screams eternally into the void*
7] Nobody’s Fool
$6,540,000 / $24,276,108
Because, as far as I’m aware, Paramount have completely neglected to mention this fact in any capacity, Nobody’s Fool releases here in two weeks’ time. But, yeah, sure, let’s throw the advertising force behind Nativity Rocks! instead. …yes, I know this joke/cutting observation only makes sense if you ignore that both films are from different distributors, aimed at different audiences, with different age ratings, and that Nobody’s Fool is apparently awful anyway. Don’t let that distract you from the fact that we are about to have had FOUR NATVITY! MOVIES! Who keeps asking for these and why haven’t they been shot?!
$4,850,000 / $206,233,603
This was released in China this past weekend and brought in record-breaking amounts of money. $111 million is the second-biggest opening weekend for a superhero movie in the country and the biggest opening weekend ever for Sony in the country. Everybody thank China for guaranteeing further exposure to Jared Leto in a few years’ time. At least that’ll keep him away from musical and recording equipment for a bit.
$3,840,000 / $156,810,845
Wait, so did people actually like this? Because I know that it opened huge, and I know that horror movies don’t display much longevity anyway, and I know that it’s no longer seasonally appropriate and all, but this has seen such a mass exodus in its third and fourth weeks that I can’t help but get the impression that people were only seeing this due to it being The Horror Movie for the season and once that obligation passed they split in droves. Let me know in the comments what YOU thunk of it!
See! A call to action! I can totally operate inside the hideous unknowable SEO algorithmic machine when I try!
10] The Hate U Give
$2,070,000 / $26,705,883
D’oh! I totally pegged this being a goner and at least one of the three films above it on last week’s chart (all of which I finally saw this week) sticking around, so I didn’t prepare anything for this! Err… good work, underappreciated movie!
Dropped Out: Smallfoot, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, Hunter Killer