US Box Office Report: 24/09/21 – 26/09/21

Dear Evan Hansen hits all the bum notes, it’s the calm before the storm, and Other Box Office News.

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

Don’t worry, folks.  October is just around the corner.  So close that we can almost taste it!  And with October shall come the big wannabe blockbusters who have presumably seen the consistent cleaning-up that Shang-Chi and Free Guy have been doing during the month that those two were left to be canaries in the COVID coalmines and therefore feel emboldened to get back to work.  It’s been a dry spell, I think we can all agree, but a necessary one since, y’know, COVID not over and I think we’re all sick of reading about No Time to Die delays by this point.  Still, there are only so many ways to say “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is still #1 and still outgrossing much of the rest of the chart singlehandedly” and I’m already dry out of things to say about the rest of the list when most of these are yet to get UK releases for whatever reason.  Basically, when you see me say “thank god Venom 2’s on the way,” it ain’t because I’m excited to watch that incoming disaster.

Anyway, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is still #1 and still outgrossing much of the rest of the chart singlehandedly, in this case that’d be the entire bottom-half of the Top 10 with $2 million in change left over.  Unsurprisingly, unwanted uncanny third-negative-adjective-beginning-with-an-“un” Broadway adaptation Dear Evan Hansen could not dethrone the Marvel machine from its perch.  It came nowhere close, in fact, with a mere $7.5 million for second place and well under the studio expectations of *checks notes* $10 million?!  My dudes, if In the Heights, an actually good musical which received a good adaptation and good reviews, could barely scale past $11 million in its opening weekend, what on earth made you think 2021’s online and critical whipping boy was gonna make comparable or better bank?  In fairness, those who did see it gave it a Cinemascore average of “A-” which may indicate some legs, and it only cost $27 mil to make in the first place, but it is a well-established fact that theatre kids have no taste so that means nothing.  Take it from me, an ex-wannabe theatre kid loaded down with too much anxiety and self-loathing to ever have made a proper go of being one.

That’s pretty much it in terms of major news.  As expected, the Wide expansion of The Eyes of Tammy Faye did not go so hot, jumping up to 1,352 theatres this weekend yet somehow making less money than it did in just over a tenth of that number last weekend; $621,000 for eleventh place.  Instead, Michael Showalter’s big awards gambit got outdone by the Indian romance drama Love Story, a pretty big hit in its native country, whose battles to production completion in the face of COVID managed to see it even crack the Top 10 in the US for this weekend at least.  The only Limited Release was based around that most fantastical, preposterous, and unattainable yet also relatable of sci-fi premises: the existence of a perfect boyfriend robot with the skin and voice of Dan Stevens.  I’m getting tingles just typing that sentence but it would seem arthouse nerds weren’t getting the same sensation – presumably because they’re DEAD INSIDE – as I’m Your Man could only manage $34,239 from 16 screens for a $2,139 per-screen average, about on a par with Dear Evan Hansen.  Maybe theatre kids and arthouse nerds deserve each other and their TRASH TASTES.

Lastly, Your International Dune Update: it’s holding well, up to $76.5 million.  This has been Your International Dune Update.

Photo: Universal Pictures

Thank god Venom 2’s on the way.  Here’s the Full List.

US Box Office Results: Friday 24th September 2021 – Sunday 26th September 2021

1] Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

$13,285,000 / $196,459,084

If anyone out there is looking for some Shang-Chi discourse which is not vomiting out conspiracy theories that [SPOILER REDACTED] might actually still be alive and not murdered purely because it wasn’t actively shown on screen since we all live in the miserable world of J.J. Abrams mystery box overanalysing information we’d normally just take for granted, my old friend Kyle Turner!  He’s written a piece over at Medium analysing the effectiveness of Shang-Chi’s alleged efforts to bring some “authentic” Asian representation to the MCU, the homogeneity of the franchise, and his relationship to such declared “Important Cultural Milestones” as a member of the very audience the film purports to speak for.  Really excellent and thought-provoking read, go check it out.

2] Dear Evan Hansen

$7,500,000 / NEW

Somebody, for the love of Christ, get Amy Adams a new agent and do so sharpish.

3] Free Guy

$4,129,000 / $114,139,071

Oh, man, this is so close to being great.  Ever so close to being great.  A smart, thought-provoking yet accessible existentialist sci-fi comedy about the value of digital life, self-determinism, free will, and the crushing indifference of capitalism.  But it just keeps getting interrupted by a dispiritingly average PG-13 Ryan Reynolds family blockbuster in ways which feel like the movie has no confidence in itself or the audience it’s playing to.  Much of that last third is really condescending and groan-worthy.  So darn close…

4] Candyman

$2,510,000 / $56,841,910

So, Where’s the Jump? have done their thing on this new Candyman and I was real shocked to discover just how few jump scares are purportedly in this, especially when compared to the very jumpy original.  Guess I’m going to see Candyman this week?  I can take atmosphere, dread, gore, etc.  It’s just jumps I cannot deal with, which is kinda funny.  The long-lasting fright of a truly great horror movie I can live with, the short-pop startle of a jump I can’t.

5] Cry Macho

$2,115,000 / $8,342,538

Dammit, if I’d have known this wasn’t due out in the UK until mid-November, I wouldn’t have blown my William Regal reference at the first available opportunity!  Now I got nothing!

6] Jungle Cruise

$1,722,000 / $114,890,736

Hate to be Captain Buzzkill, but every time I see these jokes in WWE-produced media about The Rock running for or becoming President of the United States in the not-too-distant future, I break out in cold sweats and Kubrick-esque thousand-yard stares of pure terror.  Frankly, I’ve had more than enough of unprofessional, inexperienced, ill-equipped people being elected into offices of political power for “the bantz” for at least this lifetime, cheers, and I’ve especially had my fill of WWE Hall of Famers occupying the White House, ta.

7] Malignant

$1,500,000 / $12,263,503

It’s almost spooky season so why not revisit one of the greatest horror games of all-time, Silent Hill 2, which turned 20 last week?  Amy Walker’s got a few reasons why you should.

8] Copshop

$1,265,000 / $4,491,996

This is the kind of film that nobody sees in cinemas but will instead discover on Netflix in 9 months or as a Channel 5 Saturday night film in 18 months and lead to them saying “why on earth didn’t we see this in the cinemas, and who was that cool-as-hell lead actress who should be in more movies immediately?!”  Copshop kicks arse, I rescind my cheap cynicism from last week!

Also, her name is Alexis Louder and if there is any justice she will be a STAR.

9] PAW Patrol: The Movie

$1,120,000 / $38,760,919

Y’know what’s also wholesome family entertainment?  Tales of self-inflicted alcoholism!  Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round is finally out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK, and Charlie Brigden’s given it a looksee!

10] Love Story

$971,000 / NEW

*Jessica Walter voice* Good for her.

Dropped out: Don’t Breathe 2, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Callie Petch writes words for a livin’ and still can’t communicate.

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