I, for one, am shocked that Frozen II single-handedly ate everybody else’s lunch, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Yeah, who could’ve possibly foreseen that the sequel to the biggest animated movie of all-time worldwide, a film that became basically sacrosanct to an entire generation of moviegoers from the very instant it was released and whose resonance and brand power has managed to withstand six years of oversaturation – I’m kinda shocked Disney hasn’t received a class action lawsuit from parents the globe over about lasting psychological damage due to enforced prolonged exposure to that soundtrack – plus a truly miserable “short-film” (i.e.: a television special misguidedly sent to cinemas), would dominate the weekend’s release slate? And whilst the tippest toppest of the November opening weekend records continue to remain just barely out of Disney’s grasp (cos Twilight and that second Hunger Games movie were MAD POPULAR YO), Frozen II does currently have the fifth biggest of all-time, dethroning the first of the Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows movies, and lest we forget $127 million is still $127 million. It’s also been getting the brooms out for everything else internationally, with #1 debuts in every market Disney released it in which includes $53 million in China, the best opening weekend ever there for an animated Disney flick. So, like I always say, Disney can buy and sell you at a moment’s notice.
(Also, hey, I think this officially marks six years since I first made that joke/reference in these write-ups, when the original Frozen opened in Wide release alongside the afore-referenced Catching Fire! …what have I been doing with my life?)
Anyways, with Disney yet again sucking all the air out of the room and doing such a good job at it that Aardman have been forced to sprint over to Netflix for the American release of Farmageddon, that didn’t leave a whole lot for the rest of the openers despite their best efforts to counter-programme. Marielle Heller’s excellent Mister Rogers not-really-biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood ended up being the one most affected, opening disappointingly softly in third place with $13.5 million, albeit perhaps not exactly due to Frozen Fever running wild. Rather, James Mangold’s Ford v. Ferrari is having quite the bravura showing so far, dropping only 49% in its sophomore weekend, because I guess The Dadliest Movie Ever Made has meant THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE in that specific adult drama field at any one time. On that note, 21 Bridges, the latest flailing effort by STX to launch some kind of successful gritty mid-budget action franchise please for the love of God they’re begging here, is your major casualty for the weekend as this mediocre-looking Redbox movie that’s been shunted back down the schedule multiple times this year was shot dead with just $9.3 million.
Noteworthy Limited Releases are having a bit of a snooze for the next couple of weeks, waiting as they so often do for the pre-Christmas last-minute awards-qualifying crush, but we do have a couple of things to check in on. Up first, did you know that Todd “By God Velvet Goldmine By God I’m Not There By Motherfucking God Carol” Haynes had made another movie?! I hadn’t until roughly two weeks ago, but indeed he has in the shape of true story legal thriller Dark Waters, a film that’s not out until the very end of February here in the UK which does not inspire much confidence as to its quality. Still, those usual four theatres received it pretty warmly with a $110,000 opening (a PTA of $27,500). Trey Edward Shults’ Waves started its slow expansion by creeping onto the shores of 21 screens only to immediately recede without leaving much of an impact; $168,760 for a not-great PTA of $8,036. That’s not a whole lot better than Honey Boy’s third weekend performance on over double (44) the number of screens, as Alma Har’el’s engrossing drama continues to see successful dividends from betting on Joe Public being utterly fascinated by the mental state of Shia LaBeouf: $269,280 and a PTA of $6,120. None of these came close to the PTA for Frozen II ($28,604) from 100x the number of Honey Boy screens, mind.
All will be assimilated by the Disney Borg. Resistance is futile. Here’s the Full List.
US Box Office Results: Friday 22nd November 2019 – Sunday 24th November 2019
1] Frozen II
$127,000,000 / NEW
Completely unsurprisingly, nobody on-staff stepped up to claim review duties for this one. My guess is that all of them are parents still traumatised from excess exposure to the first Frozen and are already forcibly committed to seeing this 19,000,000,000 times but would find seeing it 19,000,000,001 times just too much for their fragile minds to handle. My excuse for not having gone yet despite normally being Day 1 for this stuff is I had to drive to Manchester on Friday night to see The Chemical Brothers and am resultantly broke-as-shit for another few days. Also, let’s be real, this thing is colonising multiple screens in every cinema the globe over until at least January. I got time.
2] Ford v. Ferrari
$16,000,000 / $57,989,570
I need to get back into racing games. I keep meaning to pick up one of the more recent Codemasters F1 games because I used to love F1 2010 – and, before that, the Sony Studio Liverpool games on the PS2 and EA Sports’ F1 2000 for the PS1 (mainly cos it introduced my young impressionable self to Leftfield and Placebo) – and they’ve apparently really gotten their shit together for the more recent current generation titles. Maybe I should put it on my Christmas list which is a totally normal thing for a 25-year-old to still be doing in 2019 stop judging.
3] A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
$13,500,000 / NEW
Seems to be more a victim of bad timing schedule-wise than anything else, but I’m still bummed that more people haven’t turned out for this especially after Won’t You Be My Neighbor? did gangbusters last year. Of course, maybe that’s also the problem. Shame because both films offer complimentary perspectives and deserve to be loved equally just the way they are. Really glad I got to see this back at the London Film Festival as an Odeon-sized room of journalists took turns snotting into their hankies.
4] 21 Bridges
$9,300,000 / NEW
Dave Bond was not impressed. I, meanwhile, keep getting Sleepless vibes from this one. Given that I cannot remember a single thing about that justifiably forgotten January 2017 Jamie Foxx vehicle other than I maybe fell asleep during it for about 10 minutes, that’s not a good omen.
$4,700,000 / $43,107,561
Going on Tuesday to tick this off my backlog along with Harriet and the already-turfed and autopsied Terminator: Dark Fate. Like I have said repeatedly these past few weeks, I’m way behind.
6] Playing with Fire
$4,615,000 / $31,621,647
I have not had the chance to watch WarGames: Chicago yet, but I have seen clips of the Women’s match and if WWE don’t strap the biggest possible rocket to Rhea Ripley and have her as the face of the entire company within the next three years, then why the hell do we even have professional wrestling anymore? Just look at her clobbering Kay Lee Ray in the face with a trash can and tell me she’s not a star about to go supernova! Jesus, she’s just so goddamned good.
7] The Good Liar
$3,375,000 / $11,765,794
This… certainly went somewhere. Honestly, I rather enjoyed this thing and was engaged the whole way through even as the merging of classy drama aesthetics with sudden bursts of casual sadism jarred well prior to the gonzo poor-taste reveal. Maybe men shouldn’t be allowed to tell stories about sexual violence for a while, let’s put it that way.
8] Charlie’s Angels
$3,175,000 / $13,940,592
Jeeze, this isn’t even gonna make it to next weekend when I get to actually see the film and therefore have substantive things to say, is it? Yeah, that hurts.
9] Last Christmas
$3,040,000 / $27,792,390
Back to the Future II turned 30 (in the UK) last week and Eamon Hennedy hit 88mph to see if it still holds up in a world that frustratingly refuses to grant me a goddamned hoverboard already!
$2,820,000 / $326,931,813
Hypothetical question to the chairpeople at VUE: had Joker seen any acts of mass group violence at any one of its screenings, like there was a constant (let’s be real) artificially-inflated fear of there being in the run-up to its release, would you have knee-jerk pulled the film from all screens immediately and made a big deal out of that happening? Just asking given that you decided to do such a thing for Rapman’s Blue Story this past weekend despite the fact that there is recorded evidence said violent brawl DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN IN A SCREENING OF THE FUCKING FILM YOU’VE SOLELY BLAMED IT ON. But no yeah sure it’s definitely the Black film’s fault. Fuck all of this. Check your goddamned selves.
Dropped out: Doctor Sleep, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Harriet