Cry Macho cries uncle, Copshop gets taken to the chop shop, Dune dominates (internationally), and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Week 3 of The Great “Are Theatrical-Only Releases Still Doable?” Experiment and signs are pointing to the solid “yes, at least if you’re Marvel” conclusion I think we all saw coming when this became a whole thing. Shang Chi is still your US Box Office #1 if for no other reason than we’re waiting for Venom: Let There Be Carnage to get its bloody skates on and inject some viable fresh meat into this ongoing trial. But the hold between weekends is mighty impressive, at least; $21.7 mil for a 37% drop. By next weekend, it’s going to surpass Black Widow as the year’s biggest box office earner domestically and has a very good shot at hitting $200 mil since, what, is Dear Evan Hansen supposed to stop Marvel? The latest incontrovertible evidence that theatre kids were a mistake? I’m not falling for that again.
Unsurprisingly, it’s brutal out here for the rest of the chart yet again even by pandemic standards, with Shang-Chi outgrossing the combined totals of #2 – #7 (which is at least a comparative step up from it lapping the whole chart like the last several weekends). Warner Bros.’ HBO Max simul-release once more bites the studio run by lobotomised chimpanzees in the butt as Clint Eastwood’s latest grumpy old man drama, Cry Macho, faceplanted under even the most conservative (heh) expectations with $4.5 million. To the shock of no one, it turns out that the aging loyalist Eastwood posse who do such weird things as make The Mule a $100 mil+ domestic earner would much rather sit on their couch and see his newest film for free on streaming services if the option is there, which it was. Meanwhile, the “king of B movies” Gerard Butler – and this is why aristocracy sucks, folks, I wouldn’t have voted him for such an honour if this were a democracy – might have picked the wrong time to finally start making good ones as he and writer-director Joe Carnahan’s Copshop was taken to the woodshed with just $2.3 million. That one, however, was theatrical-only which throws some speculative gasoline onto that experimental fire. Did Copshop fail because it went to theatres in a landscape where such fodder does better numbers direct-to-streaming? Or did it fail cos nobody cared about Copshop? It’s definitely the second, btw.
In Moderate and Limited Release, Wet Hot American Summer’s Michael Showalter has decided to make that bid for respectability seemingly all alternative comedy maestros eventually must try with a biopic about televangelists Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker. Perhaps as an indicator that arthouse-adjacent crowds aren’t ready to brave theatres in large droves just yet, or perhaps an indicator that less than effusive critical reviews still make or break wannabe Awards Season contenders, The Eyes of Tammy Faye could only manage $675,000 from 450 screens which bodes poorly for its alleged expansion next weekend. Similarly stuck in that murky loop is Justin Chon’s Blue Bayou whose timely yet melodramatic bummer about ICE and immigration fared even worse with $315,000 from 477 screens. Completing the trifecta of fog sirens from the Indie scene, St. Vincent and Carrie Brownstein’s long-buzzed Lynchian mockumentary The Nowhere Inn, honestly an extremely niche prospect for a very specific audience at the best of times, was also booed off-stage with $20,000 from 46 screens.
Before we jump into the Full List, let’s cast our eyes overseas for a moment to take in Denis Villenueve’s adaptation of Dune, a movie that half of Reddit seems to believe is going to be a global smash mega-hit and that the other half of Reddit has working eyes and functioning brains for its actual box office chances. Well, maybe dreaming big is the right way to go because Dune’s gotten off to a very early start in 24 international markets and is, somewhat surprisingly given what early reviews are saying (they’re saying it’s a Denis Villenueve movie), cleaning house. $36.8 million in all those markets on opening weekend, almost all of them seeing the thing top the charts too, and a Chinese release now locked in for 22nd October. Dare we hope? Hope is the mind-killer, lest we forget. Or is it actually fear? I’ve never read Dune and, be honest, neither have you.
He’s a macho, macho, macho Full List! Gotta be a macho, macho, macho Full List!
US Box Office Results: Friday 17th September 2021 – Sunday 19th September 2021
1] Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
$21,700,000 / $176,893,555
Am I going to have to hear about how “WandaVision was ROBBED at the Emmys!” for the next week in the Hot Take-o-Sphere? I really hope I don’t have to hear that “WandaVision was ROBBED at the Emmys!” in the Hot Take-o-Sphere. Watch more TV, seriously.
2] Free Guy
$5,200,000 / $108,576,030
Still have not managed to see this yet. Would’ve this past weekend, but I got held up doing more… important things. Very important things. Business things. *attempts badly to shuffle a 4,000 word retrospective on Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” out of sight*
3] Cry Macho
$4,515,000 / NEW
HE’S A MAAAAAAAAAAAAN! SUCH A MAAAAAAAAAAAN! (SUCH A MAAAAAAAN!) HE’S A REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAL, REAL MAN’S MAAAAAAAAAN!
$3,500,000 / $53,168,490
Spooky Season is coming up and maybe you’re in the market for getting your horror-loving bestie an appropriate gift to mark the occasion? Well, Charlie Brigden has checked out Second Sight’s fancy deluxe re-release of the original Paranormal Activity which might be up his, yours, and their street!
$2,680,000 / $9,803,527
In related news: there’s a new Paranormal Activity coming straight-to-Paramount+, the Division 3 of streaming services. It looks terrible!
$2,310,000 / NEW
Despite the cheap pop cynicism I displayed earlier, I actually have mildly optimistic hopes for when I finally get to see Copshop. Yeah, I know that Gerard Butler is pretty much the kiss of death for any project he turns up in, but Joe Carnahan is one of the slightly more reliable purveyors of this kind of schlocky ultra-masculine action entertainment so I’ll always give the guy who made The Grey the benefit of the doubt. Also, hell, maybe Butler is turning a minor corner. I genuinely enjoyed Den of Thieves, to my eternal surprise, and they’re making a sequel to that (somehow for some reason)!
$2,089,000 / $112,583,336
If you are yet to watch last week’s Dark Side of the Ring about the infamous Plane Ride From Hell, you should go and do that ASAP. Be warned, mind, that it will be very triggering for anyone suffering PTSD from sexual assault and harassment, but it’s extremely sobering and required viewing for any wrestling fan nonetheless.
8] PAW Patrol: The Movie
$1,750,000 / $37,143,497
I have seen the trailer for that My Little Pony: A New Generation movie which is being dumped to Netflix. It doesn’t look terrible! Curious to find out whether the all-CGI art direction and “big name” celebrity voice cast become a major stickler when this inevitably goes to a TV series, mind. A clean visual break from the Friendship is Magic generation is absolutely the right call, but whether this manages to stick out visually going forward in a similar way that the previous gen could remains to be seen.
9] The Eyes of Tammy Faye
$675,000 / NEW
Speaking of eyes – photographer’s eyes, that is! – Leslie Byron Pitt caught up with Rob West, director of just-released photography documentary Picture Stories, to quiz him about the making of the film, the history of photojournalism, and to pontificate about the relationship of photography and photographer in today’s ever-changing world.
10] Don’t Breathe 2
$665,000 / $31,338,128
You know what’s more terrifying than a below-par action-horror sequel? The unceasing passage of time that’s coming to murder us all! Guns N’ Roses’ bloated double-album project Use Your Illusion turned 30 last week and resident “Coma” apologist Adam Massingham went all-in on the retrospective duties.
Dropped out: The Card Counter, Show Me the Father, Respect
Callie Petch is a hummingbird bomb just moving along at the speed of sound with a target in mind.