US Box Office Report: 25/10/19 – 27/10/19

Joker dances on the grave of Countdown, leaves new releases Black and Blue, The Lighthouse fries The Current War, and Other Box Office News.

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

…ok, what the fuck has happened to Box Office Mojo?!  I leave for four London Film Festival-ish weeks, during which time I still kept an eye on the site regardless because I am a statistics ho if there ever was one, only to come back and see… whatever the fuck this shit is!  Where have the genre charts gone?  Why is everything so much harder to find now?  How is the general design and layout both much simpler and more needlessly cluttered & opaque than before?  Why is some of the data just flat-out wrong?  The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is “because Amazon” and “paywall subscription services.”  Fantastic, not like broke-ass aspiring film writers heavily rely on a non-broken service such as Box Office Mojo to get both this type of news writing and many other articles where box office info is a vital supplement bashed out or anything.  Guess I’ll be relying on The Numbers in future for these.  Apologies if the substance in these pieces takes a real nosedive from here on out.  Blame Capitalism, the spooksiest monster there is.

Because, and I don’t know if you folks reading are aware of this, WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY that just sent Joker back up to the #1 slot after a week being cowed by Disney’s bugfuck Maleficent: Mistress of Evil… maybe, possibly, it’s so close on the estimations – Joker currently on $18.9 million whilst Maleficent has dropped to $18.537 million in its sophomore frame – that there is every chance both films could’ve switched places by the time this goes live and the actuals cement things in stone.  A similar flip-flop could also affect the two films currently in the running for the weekend’s bronze medal, that Addams Family reboot I keep forgetting is a thing because it’s not shaped like Shaun the Sheep, and that Zombieland sequel I keep forgetting is a thing because why were people asking for a Zombieland sequel in 2019 which are both separated by an even tighter $105,000.  But although almost the entire top half of the chart is potentially in flux at time of writing, one thing is for certain: they’re all countries ahead of the week’s new releases.

Best performing in the loosest possible sense of the term was STX’s nonsensical killer-app poltergeist horror Countdown which took advantage of the fact that there are absolutely no genuine scary movies out this Halloween season – no, really, Doctor Sleep doesn’t release in the US for another fortnight and there’s nothing else other than these two movies filling that niche – to brick itself for the pittance of $9 million and fifth place.  Better performing if coming in lower than Countdown due to screening in 600 less theatres, and again we’re using the term “better performing” in the loosest possible sense, was Screen Gems’ gritty cop thriller Black and Blue which read $8.3 million worth of audiences their rights and, somehow, managed to write-up an “A+” Cinemascore of all bloody things.  Meanwhile, in a truly fitting conclusion to its ignoble road towards screening in front of general American eyeballs as well as overdue karma for the existence of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s constantly embattled The Current War finally received a release this past weekend, touted as some kind of nebulous Director’s Cut, and shone about as bright as a 20w lightbulb: ninth place with a pitiful $2.7 million.

Frankly, the genuine best performing films of this weekend were the Limited Releases of last weekend, building upon their prior-established momentum to expand both their theatre counts and their coffers.  Most notably, Robert Eggers’ intentionally hilarious The Lighthouse immediately leapt from its tiny 8 screen opening last weekend all the way to nearly 600 and cracked the Top 10 before the inevitable general audience revolt occurred!  That sort of “paying actual attention to one’s momentum and capitalising post-haste” is the sort of initiative Neon should probably take to heart given that Bong Joon-ho’s unanimously acclaimed Parasite has been bothering the edges of the Top 10 for three straight weeks now, this time playing in 129 screens and raking in $1,819,784 (a PTA of $14,107 which is once again the second-best on all the chart).  Ditto Disney whose acquisition of Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is continuing to burn up the charts, this week breaking the $1 million mark and averaging an astonishing $18,927 across its 55 screens, yet frustratingly still has no plans to actually go Wide any time soon.  Is this because it’s originally a Fox joint and Disney clearly have no plans to be even the slightest bit respectful to the latest victim of their Unicron-esque takeover of all pop culture?  Cos that’s super-petty if so.  I’m talking Heartbreakers-level Petty.

It’s good to be back.  Here’s the Full List.  I’ve actually seen some of these!

US Box Office Results: Friday 25th October 2019 – Sunday 27th October 2019

1] Joker

$18,900,000 / $277,583,522

But not this one, though.  Still not seen Joker and, frankly, I want to be one of the very last people to see it in theatres because, Jesus, I am still just so tired of this thing.  Whatever ends up playing in front of me, good or bad, is not going to have been worth the last three straight months of endless forking DISCOURSE relating to it, I guarantee.  Even in my London Film Festival bubble, conversations about this movie still permeated every single forking day and I am now at the point where I just want to Charlie Kelly every time it’s brought up, especially since Awards Season is still four months out.  Anyways, congratulations on it becoming the biggest-grossing R-rated movie worldwide of all-time and probably breaking $1 billion by close, I guess.

2] Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

$18,537,000 / $65,412,158

It is my duty to inform you all that the Maleficent franchise has gone from “Baby’s First I Spit on Your Grave” to “what if Shrek 2 was Game of Thrones?”  I don’t know who the absolute lunatics that keep coming up with this stuff are or what (I assume are) extremely compromising dirt they have on the purse-controllers at Disney which allows them to keep getting nine-figure budgets for these bong-ripping ideas, but I hope they keep getting away with it.  This series, whilst objectively being a real bad self-serious mess, is my trash.

3] The Addams Family

$11,705,007 / $72,800,705

Haven’t managed to see this yet because, as mentioned, it was not shaped like Shaun the Sheep and, therefore, was gonna get its ass to the back of the line along with everything else whilst I got that sweet Shaun the Sheep goodness in my system.  Yes, indeed, that does mean my first cinema day back from London involved immediately taking in Farmageddon before even considering anything else; you know ya boy has their priorities straight.  One of the year’s best films, by the by.  Block-book the next four available screenings if you’re yet to see it.

4] Zombieland: Double Tap

$11,600,000 / $47,000,273

No, but seriously, who was chomping at the bit for this?  Shaun of the Dead is still readily accessible.

5] Countdown

$9,010,000 / NEW

Oh, P.J. Byrne.  What would Bolin think of you lowering yourself to appearing in this?  Hell, you were actually in a real Final Destination film – the fifth one, to be exact!  Don’t legitimise this lame-ass knock-off-ass Forgetting Sarah Marshall joke gone sentient!

6] Black and Blue

$8,325,000 / NEW

On the subject of Naomie Harris action movies, she let slip on the Black and Blue press tour that Barbara Broccoli was pitched by her and motherforkin’ BARRY JENKINS a Moneypenny solo movie only to have it shot down for unknown reasons.  Would it be an actually good combination in practice?  Can Barry Jenkins direct action?  Would it seriously interfere with the *snickers* rich and *snickers* meaningful series narrative of the *snickers* current Bond universe?  Who knows, but when your series has batted a grand total of one truly great movie, two basically-fine ones, and three absolute stinkers over the past two decades, I wouldn’t exactly be in such a rush to turn down one of our greatest living filmmakers coming to me with a cool-ass idea regardless of its likelihood of working out.  Shit, you’re gonna try telling me Barry Jenkins couldn’t measure up to your standards but SPECTRE could?

7] Gemini Man

$4,000,000 / $43,342,413

Mary Elizabeth Winstead did not kick all of the ass.  0/10.  Dave Bond’s got a slightly less hardline take.

8] The Lighthouse

$3,082,722 / $3,663,209

Not out over on these shores until the start of January, I guess because A24 made some kind of blood oath with The Ancient Ones that, in exchange for becoming the most respected and seeming can’t-miss Indie studio in the industry today, they’d have to perpetually screw over the rest of the world on release dates or something.  Or maybe Universal & Focus Features (the UK distributors) think they have an Awards Season contender on their hands which, if so, is the kind of naivety I thought that secondary school was supposed to harshly beat out of you.  Will still be a riot of a thing whenever it gets released, at least.

9] The Current War: The Director’s Cut

$2,730,200 / NEW

No idea whether the version that opened here in the UK two months back was this ballyhooed Director’s Cut or not, but the version I did see was blandly fine.  Gomez-Rejon goes overboard on the style – way, way overboard on the style; it’s like he’s compensating for otherwise not being an interesting narrative filmmaker or something – but that at least gussies up a bog-standard failed Oscar Bait biopic.  If somebody could stop loaning out Chung Chung-hoon to lens forgettable slop which is beneath his talents, that’d be grand.

10] Abominable

$2,000,000 / $56,818,595

You may have heard this movie has managed to find itself as a little flashpoint for the rising controversies over China’s growing influence on the American film industry – not entirely accurate in this case since Abominable is more specifically Pearl Studio’s (who reside in China and used to be Oriental DreamWorks) baby than regular DreamWorks, but I do get it – thanks to a briefly-glimpsed map that references the controversy over Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.  I am here to tell you that is the only thing remotely interesting about Abominable, a film I forgot all about within five minutes of leaving the theatre.  So, congrats, DreamWorks and Pearl, on inadvertently finding a way to keep the name of your film in my head sporadically for a few days longer?

Dropped out: Downton Abbey, Judy, Hustlers, IT: Chapter Two

Callie Petch *sad chiptune*.

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