Audiences hold a pretty big grudge against The Grudge, here’s what you missed whilst we were away, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
New year, new decade, same old Box Office Report! To be fair, I’ve been doing this in various forms on and off for a decade as of next January, why mess with a winning formula? We’ve been off since the pre-Election BOR not because everyone here even slightly associated with this series elected to drink themselves into a numbing stupor following those results – well, not just because of that, anyway – but because it was Christmas and everyone wanted to either take some long overdue time off (everyone but me) or burn themselves out completely through a stupidly over-extensive Listmas series of articles (me, the fool). And since the first week of the first January of the new decade continued the storied tradition of there being jack and shit out, that at least gives us the opportunity to do a nice little quickfire catch-up of those missing weeks instead! Fun!
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, a highly-befitting conclusion to the last half-decade of Disney-spearheaded Star Wars movies that absolutely nobody could possibly have any strong opinions about whatsoever on the Internet, has been ruling the roost for the past three weeks but on somewhat shaky ground. For one, its opening weekend of $177.4 million was the weakest of the official new trilogy. For two, its week-to-week drops have been surprisingly steep, all things considered, with a sophomore slump of 59% over Christmas and another 53% drop this week (notable for being the weakest over a period where other films have actually held on really well). For three, it’s been out around the world for over three full weeks yet has still failed to cross the $1 billion mark. It will, don’t get me wrong, cos it’s sitting at $900 mil globally at time of writing, but if the apparently mega-divisive scourge on humanity Last Jedi knocked that milestone down within 19 days whilst the grand climax to four decades of storytelling is closer to limping over that finish line… it doesn’t look great, comparatively speaking. And yes, I am aware of how vital that “comparatively speaking” qualifier is when discussing Star Wars box office. We’re not talking about Cats, here. It’s Star Wars, after all. Star Wars is gonna exist forever. Unfortunately.
Speaking of Cats, and because I wanna talk about literally anything other than Star Wars for the next millennia, Callumstradamus struck once again as Tom Hooper’s deranged Thing That Should Not Be is not going to break $500 million worldwide! In fact, it’s not even going to get to $100 million if the $6.6 million opening weekend and swift dismissal from the US charts are any indication. As for the Christmas openers, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women has (THANKFULLY) been doing extremely well for itself, smashing studio expectations over the five-day opening weekend for a $29 milli haul and not even dropping 20% across the sophomore three-day weekend! Sam Mendes’ newly-minted Golden Globe winning WWI action-drama 1917 has been making a total killing in Limited Release ahead of its nationwide expansion next week; first opening last week with an exceptional $576,126 from 11 theatres (a PTA of $52,383) and a five-day just over $1 million, but the sophomore frame in those same 11 theatres saw the film increase its take to $590,000 so yeah this thing is gonna destroy in Wide. Meanwhile, the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems has been on a real rollercoaster of a ride: starting off with the second-best opening weekend per-screen average of any film in 2019 – $107,448 from 5 theatres (a total opening of $537,242) – going wide over Christmas with a respectable $9.5 million for the three-day but a decidedly ominous “D” Cinemascore, only to bounce back this weekend with a mere 18% drop. These are odds which probably give Howard’s crippling gambling addiction tingles.
As for the one new release this weekend? Nicolas Pesce’s remak-se-prequel of The Grudge made just $11.3 million and became only the 20th film in the organisation’s history to score an “F” on Cinemascore. Even with it being January, this one probably ain’t hanging around for long.
Happy New Decade, everyone! Let’s try and avoid blowing up, burning, choking, or otherwise destroying the world before it even has a chance to get started, eh? Here’s the Full List.
US Box Office Results: Friday 3rd January 2020 – Sunday 5th January 2020
1] Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
$33,739,000 / $450,796,441
I really am just so tired of hearing, talking and thinking about Star Wars by this point, folks, especially after this not at all good movie. Here are links to Joel Thornton’s middling review, my write-up as part of My Bottom 10 Films of 2019 countdown, and an episode of Dave Bond’s podcast where he and his co-hosts spend just over the length of the movie itself ripping the thing a new one. Come back next week when maybe I’ll have re-summoned up the passion to think about Star Wars for more than 30 seconds without losing the will to live.
$26,500,000 / $236,206,405
Oh, right, this also came out over the hiatus! It’s been so long and so busy on my end. Much like the last time a Jumanji movie released over the December period in the shadow of a Star War, The Next Level has been doing pretty well for itself. Opened to just a hair under $60 million, had a brief falling-apart blip the following week once Skywalker arrived, experienced a solid rise over the Christmas break, and whilst it’s likely not going to match Welcome to the Jungle’s near-$1 billion worldwide it has become of 2019’s biggest films and guaranteed another sequel. I don’t have a joke, here. The movie’s pretty fun and this is all pretty good.
3] Little Women
$13,375,000 / $60,023,332
I received some blowback from other writers at Set the Tape when I closed the Best Films of 2019 ballot submission process the day before Star Wars released, on account of assuming maybe folks wouldn’t want to work through Christmas cos I’m kind and considerate like that (shut up I am too). Turns out, however, I was indeed quite the asshole because Greta Gerwig came through at the last possible second with one of the best, if not the absolute best, films of 2019, as Eamon Hennedy will gladly tell you.
4] The Grudge
$11,300,000 / NEW
There’s actually just $9,000 separating this from our next film at time of going to press so I fully expect the two to switch places once Actuals come in. This one was so non-anticipated that not a single person on-staff claimed review duties for its UK release in two weeks’ time. That’s a big deal, have you seen some of the stuff we review?
5] Frozen II
$11,291,000 / $449,876,364
Now the highest-grossing animated film of all-time worldwide. Need to squeeze in another screening ASAP, if for no other reason than so I can seethe even harder over how anybody could think that “Into the Unknown” is a worse song than “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” a song I wasn’t even thinking about as it played in front of me when I saw Rocketman let alone months later.
6] Spies in Disguise
$10,084,000 / $46,729,961
I’ll finally be seeing this next week, but I still do not believe that this is a real film. I fully expect to sit down and be greeted by 90 minutes of dead air as the culmination of a particularly involved art project, like something Death Grips would pull at their most insufferable.
7] Knives Out
$9,025,000 / $130,256,694
WE’RE GETTING A SEQUEL! I know that I can occasionally pull a Ricky Gervais in these write-ups and be an asshole towards you, the readers, by witlessly calling you names, insulting your taste in cinema, and just generally being a smug faux-above-it-all prick. But I want to take a sincere moment to thank you for going to see Knives Out and then continuously going to back to see Knives Out again and again. Your doing so has gotten me the sequel I’ve been wanting ever since I stepped out of its screening at the London Film Festival and has more or less wiped clean the debt of Joker making $1 billion worldwide. So, cheers, really!
8] Uncut Gems
$7,820,000 / $37,825,474
Netflix have the UK distribution rights and are releasing it here on Friday, although I still currently don’t know whether it’ll be on the streaming service at the same time as the limited theatrical run they’ve booked or if it’s just the cinemas now and then the streaming service at some unspecified point in future. They’ve been strangely unclear about this. Give me a straight answer, guys! My annual BAFTA predictions piece depends upon it maybe (this is being written pre-nomination announcements)!
$4,075,000 / $24,569,144
The point in this trailer where the Billie Eilish “bad guy” soundtrack cuts out whilst Roger Ailes is making his thinly-veiled sexual proposition, then cuts back in with “I’m the bad guy” and the trap breakdown on a reaction shot of Margot Robbie’s face was one of the most inadvertently hysterical things I saw all of last year. I bet the person who decided upon that edit spent the rest of their afternoon running door to door in their trailer house office asking for hi-fives from their brethren.
$2,600,000 / $24,690,935
One of the many, many things I didn’t mention in my review for this masterpiece of an atrocity – mainly cos it had nothing to do with the film – is that no less than six people in my modestly-sized screening got up and walked out at some point, never to return. During the Bustopher Jones number, a couple very slowly made their way down the stairs to the exits, clearly wanting to get out as fast as possible but also too horrifyingly entranced to look away from what was happening on-screen. Further evidence that James Corden drives people to the exits of whatever they’re experiencing.
Dropped out: Richard Jewell
Callum Petch knows that it’s true, it’s gonna be a good year.