This is Jordan Peele’s world, the rest of us just rent living space off of him, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
I officially never want to hear a studio executive or industry analyst or halfwit dumb-dumb on YouTube utter the words “Black films don’t sell” again. OK, I’ve been wanting that falsehood shot in the head and buried in a desert somewhere since at least five years ago, but evidence has thankfully been constantly on my side in these past couple of years and any glass ceilings caused by such unquestioned prejudice have arguably been shattered once and for all this weekend. Jordan Peele’s sophomore sensation Us is your new US Box Office #1 as I think even the most relentless of cynics called well in advance, but the extent of its dominance is truly astonishing. $70.25 million. That is a 7 followed by a 0, followed by a 2 and a 5, then finished off with four straight 0s. That is the biggest non-Captain Marvel opening of the year in a landslide. In fact, it’s the biggest non-Captain Marvel opening since Halloween’s $76 million start back in October besting debuts for Fantastic Beasts 2, The Grinch, even motherflippin’ Aquaman!
But that’s not all, folks! Us’ stonking performance means that it is now the biggest opening for an original R-rated horror movie of all-time, completely demolishing the previous record holder (2012’s hilariously woeful The Devil Inside) by more than double that film’s $33.7 million start, and the third highest for an R-rated horror period, behind the aforementioned 2018 Halloween and 2017’s It the First (whose $123.4 million opening may likely never fall if this year’s It the Second can’t do the job but is at least delightfully ordered). But wait still further! That $70.25 million is also enough to make Us the largest opening ever for an original R-rated film, leapfrogging 2012’s Ted ($54.4 million), and the twelfth biggest for R-rated movies ever, just nestled behind 300 which it could also untether should a few extra hundred-thousand dollars make themselves known when Actuals come in. And, to cap it all off, on a list which has been utterly dominated by sequels and remakes and adaptations this decade, Us also has the best opening weekend of any original live-action film since James Cameron’s Avatar took $77 million in 2009. Once again, this is all for an R-rated horror movie with a predominately Black cast and which does not go down easy by the end. “Black films don’t sell,” fuck off with that White people shit.
All of this means that, yeah, Captain Marvel failed to threepeat at the summit of the chart which the troglodyte section of YouTube and those clickbaity ZergNet writers baselessly claiming that “Disney reportedly unhappy with Brie Larson and Captain Marvel” will likely take as an indicator that they’ve brought down the great grand Feminazi SJW conspiracy. Meanwhile, Disney and Marvel will just have to content themselves with a $35 million third weekend, a domestic total well over $300 million (with a $400 million finish likely assured), several of the best week-to-week percentage holds of any entry in the MCU, a guaranteed crossing of $1 billion worldwide within the next fortnight, and the fountains of Carol Danvers cosplays and inspirational goodwill earned by fans and young women the world over. Truly a hollow consolation prize. I also refer to her as Carol Danvers rather than Captain Marvel because, surprise, Shazam! has been getting off to an early start ahead of its official opening in two weeks with a series of Fandango-endorsed preview screenings, so hero names are about to get complicated. And it seems that the public are very much jonesing for Chuck Bartowski to finally have his moment in the big screen sun with preview takings of $3.3 million, outdoing How to Train Your Dragon 3’s $2.6 million back in January and even Aquaman’s Amazon Prime screenings in December ($2.9 million). So, look forward to that utterly demolishing Pet Semetary in a few weeks.
We also have some Limited Releases to briefly touch on, though none of them were able to steal Us’ thunder even with our first one managing to be the only movie to outdo the champ on per-theatre averages ($21,623 to Us’ $18,778). Yes, it’s Hotel Mumbai, a dramatized account of the 2008 Taj Mahal Palace Hotel terror attacks and which Bleeker Street have clearly resigned themselves to the fact that there would never be a tasteful time to put a film like that out so, sure, the week after Christchurch, why not. It’s worked, anyway, at least for now with a taking of $86,492 from 4 screens. At the very back we have IFC’s existential cop drama Out of Blue which disappeared into a black hole never to be seen again, making a mere $17,682 from 35 screens for a genuinely pitiful PTA of $505. That’s barely more than László Nemes’ anticipated (?) follow-up to the Oscar-winning Son of Saul made on a tenth as many screens, Sunset taking $15,006 from 3 screens. Also, S. Craig Zahler’s Dragged Across Concrete had a simul-theatrical release with VOD services but hasn’t disclosed any ticket numbers at this time. I only mentioned it because Owen has made it mandatory site policy to reference Zahler films by name whenever it is appropriate to do so and because, despite the man’s dumbass (wrong) belief that his films don’t express values, Dragged Across Concrete is really good.
This Sunday, join hands across America in order to raise awareness for the Full List.
US Box Office Results: Friday 22nd March 2019 – Sunday 24th March 2019
$70,250,000 / NEW
Just finished penning a review prior to getting this here article out of the way. When you go read it, which you should do, please remember that the views reflected within that review are likely already out of date even if you’re reading these pieces on their respective post-days. It’s one of those films where locking in definitive takes 48 hours after a single viewing is most certainly not the way to go about things, but I did so anyway because Brooker was eying up writing duties himself even after I called dibs and it’s a dog-eat-dog world here at the Set the Tape writers room! On-topic: Us is brilliant no matter what, but also it’s a mess but also maybe not? Again, however things shake out after my inevitable second viewing in the very-near future, I really enjoyed it and had a blast, but that second viewing (and another week’s worth of reflection) is going to be where I firmly decide whether those four-stars were fair or if I’m going to kick myself for not going the full five. It’s been a while since I’ve had a film like that, which is a good feeling!
$35,021,000 / $321,498,835
Anyone out there read West Coast Avengers? The AV Club gave it a spotlight the other week and it sounds like my kind of fun jam, even with it already being cancelled, so additional words either way would be a good help in my deciding how to spend money I don’t have.
3] Wonder Park
$9,000,000 / $29,477,304
Still not out for another few weeks on these shores, but the Original Score’s been shunted out into the wild regardless because… reasons? Luke Bunting had a dive inside, anyway.
4] Five Feet Apart
$8,750,000 / $26,461,064
Gonna watch either this or Fisherman’s Friends on Wednesday pre-Shazam! which is certainly a lifestyle choice I am making for myself. Technically, I could have seen this already on Friday, but I was in too much of a depressive mope prior to watching Us with a friend so I instead impulse-bought Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs on vinyl with, again, money I don’t have.
…hmm? …look, I’ll stay on-topic with write-ups on films like this when the release schedules start properly lining up.
5] How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
$6,533,000 / $145,752,630
Oh, wow, that TV series spin-off which the films chose to largely ignore ran for eight seasons before finally concluding last month. That’s way more than I would’ve expected. Good for Dragons, though! I think we’re unlikely to see any other DreamWorks TV spin-off run for such a lon- *holds finger to earpiece* Hang on, I’m getting word that the Netflix Trolls series is about to enter its sixth season?! Didn’t that film only just come out two-and a-bit years ago?!
6] Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral
$4,500,000 / $65,881,232
In honour of Tyler Perry’s directorial career crossing a cumulative $1 billion worldwide, here is an appropriate clip from Justin Simien’s Dear White People.
7] Gloria Bell
$1,802,500 / $2,498,485
Good on A24 for smart release planning, letting this sweet Indie romance build up a decent head of steam in Limited Release for a few weeks then taking advantage of an Event Movie Week to expand its reach just enough (654 screens) to crack the Top 10 without faceplanting financially. It’s strategy like this that’s gonna keep A24 in business and thriving for years to come (with any luck) whilst the also great and admirable Annapurna drowns in financial woes and threats of restructuring.
8] No Manches Frida 2
$1,780,000 / $6,626,279
*throws dart at screen for unrelated site articles to plug in this space* Hey, there, you! Have you been following along with Marlene Stemme’s revisiting of Northern Exposure? She started coverage of Season 2 this past Friday, so now’s the perfect time to hop aboard that particular train!
9] The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
$1,125,000 / $103,328,550
I’m just gonna say it: unless this extremely summary-laden trailer is stuffed entirely full of lies, rehashing the plot of Toy Story 2 except with museums & The Prospector switched out for fairground towns & Bo Peep, also there’s a talking spork, does not do a very good job of dissuading folks like me from the belief that Toy Story 4 has the stench of “blatant safe cash-in” emanating from its every pore.
$1,015,000 / $83,748,050
Boy, it’s been getting dire once you cross the halfway mark of each week’s Top 10 as of late. Endless growth is obviously not sustainable, great lie of Capitalism that it is, but this is still absolute pittance down here in the dumps. Redistribute wealth to all equally, dammit!
What on earth am I on about?
Dropped out: Captive State, Green Book
Callie Petch was home when you came, it threw them out of touch.