US Box Office Report: 01/03/19 – 03/03/19

How to Train Your Dragon holds on for dear life, Madea buries Greta alive, let’s check in with the year’s Oscar winners, and Other Box Office News.

Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).

Good news, everyone who is into that sort of thing!  We’ve all born witness to long-term booking in full effect as The Hidden World just became the first How to Train Your Dragon to repeat at the summit of the chart, dropping just 45% in its sophomore weekend and enacting swift vengeance upon an old foe in order to do so.  Long-time Box Office nerds (or just those who chose to open a few additional tabs in their research for penning these things) may in fact remember that one of the two films which managed to displace the original Dragon from the top spot back in March of 2010 was a debuting Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? by just $200,000 – the other film was the justly-forgotten Clash of the Titans remake which pulled in a $61 million opening; 2010 was a strange year.  Well, nine years later, Perry decided to square up against cute cartoon dragons once again and this time brought out the big guns: one last final for definite no take-backsies please don’t dig up statements which show he’s been saying that for years Madea movie.  But, try as they might’ve, A Madea Family Funeral couldn’t unseat The Hidden World; Madea’s $27 million losing to Dragon’s $30 million.

But do not get the mistaken impression that Family Funeral is some kind of failure, oh heavens no!  Sure, it’s one of only three entries in this nine-film series to not debut at #1, but it’s also (excepting 2016’s Boo! A Madea Halloween) the biggest opening weekend for Perry’s flagship character this entire decade.  It is also worth mentioning that Dragon only managed to beat Madea by $3 million despite playing on 1,800 more screens than the competition; were Madea to have opened on even 2,500 screens (it played on 2,400), given its $11,077 per-screen average (assuming it held with the expansion), then we’d definitely be looking at a new #1.  Finally, it could have always been Greta, art-trash extraordinaire Neil Jordan’s batshit-sounding attempt to give Isabelle Huppert her own Fatal Attraction as if Elle wasn’t just two years ago.  There are multiple potential theories as to why this one ended up straight-out bombing with no qualifiers: the fact that the first I heard of this was exactly one month ago when I had a scroll through February’s release slate in order to figure out which films I was going to have to stretch for when it came to commentary, the fact that it didn’t look very good, the fact that it apparently isn’t very good, the fact that it’s too arty for mainstream horror “fans” and too trashy for arthouse “sophisticates…”  Either way, eighth place with $4.5 million is not a good look.

Before we jump into the Limited Release round-up: the Oscars were a week ago, much as we may be trying to blot out every non-Olivia Colman/Spider-Verse related aspect of that whole mess, which means it was time to see if any of the ceremony’s winners were able to parlay that gold into fatter stacks of cash.  The answer, befitting a weak-as-hell nominee slate and GARBAGE ultimate winners, was a “kinda, technically, if you fixate only on certain numbers.”  The 2019 Best Picture Winner and Future Hard Jeopardy Question Green Book benefitted most of all by virtue of Universal pushing it back into 2,600 theatres (almost double the amount it was playing the previous weekend) and resultantly weaselling its way back into both the Top 10 and my last nerve.  Similarly going on an aggressive re-entry push was the prior-mentioned Spider-Verse, the deserving winner of Best Animated Feature, although this one fizzled just outside the Top 10 with an $874 per-screen average from its 2,404 screens, perhaps because it’s now available to buy at home in America.  A Star is Born commemorated its non-Original Song shut-out with an extended cut that actually provided the best weekend-to-weekend improvement of the lot (a whopping 209%) even if it didn’t crack the Top 10, hanging in 13th with $1,885,000.  Unfortunately, If Beale Street Could Talk’s Supporting Actress win still couldn’t do much for that film’s financial woes, dropping 8% between weekends despite playing on the same 126 screens and taking just $137,546.  Go watch Beale Street, you cowards!

Meanwhile, noteworthy Limited Releases come out this past weekend, thank heavens!  Best performing of the lot was insufferable pretentious edgelord – but he’s French and so therefore he’s “provocative” and “experimental” and “many other words that are somehow not ‘unbearable twerp’” – Gaspar Noe’s Climax which made $121,655 from 5 screens for a weekend-winning average of $24,331.  (Fun Fact: it also currently holds the title of Shaun Rodger’s most-hated review assignment, which says a lot given the flagellation that man willingly subjects himself to.)  From there, we come to Transit, Christian Petzold’s follow-up to the masterful Phoenix (a film I cannot recommend enough), which opened on two screens and made $35,368.  Following on from that we have Furie, the first Vietnamese film to ever be released in the USA and also, it must be said, an absolutely fucking RIPPING-looking action flick – no, seriously, go and watch the trailer then join me back here campaigning for a UK release.  On 14 screens, it got off to a pretty fantastic start for something that only just got on radars a few weeks ago, with $145,400 and a per-screen average of $10,386.  Bumping up to a more Moderate Release, we have the IMAX-exclusive Apollo 11 documentary, err, Apollo 11 which Neon blasted onto 120 screens for a strong $1,650,000.  Bringing up the rear we have Michael Winterbottom mixing pulse-pounding thriller action with scenic travelogue serenity in The Wedding Guest, a combination that didn’t do so hot with just $20,156 from 4 screens.  Go watch This Time with Alan Partridge, it’s really good.

Oh, you want me to get to the Full List?  Ok.  *blows raspberry*  Thank you to my editors, Tony, Owen, and Wendy!  Thank you to my friends for supporting me!  Thank you to my non-existent partner of almost 25 years!  Err…  Thank you… um…  Lady Gaga!  *gets played off-stage*

US Box Office Results: Friday 1st March 2019 – Sunday 3rd March 2019

1] How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

$30,046,000 / $97,696,275

I don’t plug the booming film score review part of our good ol’ website enough in these here write-ups, preferring instead to make more lame snarks that theoretically resembled a coherent joke at one point during initial conception possibly.  Well that ends today!  Go check out Luke Bunting’s review of the final How to Train Your Dragon score unless they decide to make more of these movies, then everyone give me a round of applause for being such a selfless guy yielding my time to big up somebody else’s work!  Yay, me!

2] Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral

$27,050,000 / NEW

The Madea movies are something I have sincerely been meaning to check out for coming up on eight years now.  My first exposure to their existence was from back in my days as a member of the community – fifth anniversary of its passing coming up fast, R.I.P. – and I’ve been wanting to try one of them out ever since, both to be a part of the conversation and because they sound utterly fascinating.  Maybe I should finally expose myself to those elements after all these years, it’s not like I’m doing much else.

3] Alita: Battle Angel

$7,000,000 / $72,231,308

Saw this last Monday and put together a wholly-unintended mini-review in last week’s What I’ve Been Watching, because my thoughts were conflicted and multitudinous.  I’m honestly a little disappointed about the fact we’re obviously not going to get another one of these even with that Foreign Box Office working overtime in an effort to make it otherwise, since sequels would have to drop James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis from the writing staff in favour of people with… what’s the phrase I’m looking for… writing talent.  Alas.  Relatedly, at this point, I sincerely cannot decide whether I am more dreading those Avatar sequels or Tom Hooper’s Cats.

4] The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

$6,615,000 / $91,670,040

Did you know that the online co-op servers for LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga on PS3 are still operational?  Not bullshitting you, they are still up and still have at least one person wanting to jump into other people’s games, and I know this because it happened to me the other day!  Those first two LEGO Star Wars games are still super-enjoyable and relaxing experiences, by the by.

5] Green Book

$4,711,000 / $75,920,611

Rather than work myself up even acknowledging this movie and the highway robbery that occurred last week, let me instead utilise this space to inform you all that the newest record from Little Simz, GREY Area, is a serious Album of the Year contender.  It goes hard, slaps like nobody’s business, and contains not an ounce of fat on its 10 tracks and 35 minutes.  Check it out if you’re yet to.

6] Fighting with My Family

$4,691,284 / $14,945,905


7] Isn’t it Romantic?

$4,645,000 / $40,299,003

Now on Netflix in the UK, so I’ll report back next week.  I recognise these words ring hollow given what I’m going to say two entries from now, but I’m a sucker for rom-coms and I still haven’t watched The Breaker Uppers because I am a terrible person and must correct such injustices with a double-bill stat!

8] Greta

$4,585,000 / NEW

What I wouldn’t give for the US-UK release schedules to line the fork back up again so I can either provide my own commentary or link to STT content rather than sit here twiddling my thumbs and consternating to no-one in particular.  It’s 2019, for crap’s sake, COME ON!

9] What Men Want

$2,700,000 / $49,641,004

Now, I know that I said last week I’d finally watch What Women Want sos I can get a sense of what I’m up against when this crosses over a fortnight from now… then I didn’t actually do that.  In my defence, I’ve been working on a really involving new series for you folks that’s going to start running a fortnight from now and continue until either I’m dead or the planet’s dead (whichever comes first)!  As excuses go, I think that’s a good one!  The fact that I spent my weekend gallivanting around London to look at the now-ended “Good Grief, Charlie Brown” exhibition rather than fulfilling my promise to you or continuing work on said series that I bumped watching What Women Want for, less so.

10] Happy Death Day 2U

$2,516,000 / $25,282,610

Speaking of horror stories, Lee Thacker’s been subjecting himself to Sky One’s new flagship series Curfew for reasons known only to himself.  Experience his suffering vicariously each week through his reviews, won’t you?

Dropped out: Cold Pursuit, The Upside, Run the Race

Callie Petch ain’t no goddamn son of a bitch.

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