ALL YOUR BASE BELONG TO SPIDER-MAN, The 355 is 404, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Right, remember last week when I said that No Way Home could possibly usurp Black Panther in the all-time domestic charts? How about we upgrade that from “possible” to “basically certain” after another near-$60 million week for the unkillable superhero behemoth, $33 million of which came from this weekend. On the worldwide standings, Spidey has already despatched of the original Avengers for eighth best box office of all-time. When we reconvene next week, I see absolutely no reason why it would still be sat behind The Lion King 2019 and Jurassic World on that list. Hell, what’s everyone gonna go watch? The Scream rebootquel? That’s certainly gonna be fun for all the family. Sony even just punted Morbius back to April because No Way Home is doing so well. Trust me, you should put money on it topping $700 mil by next week. It’s a can’t-lose bet and that’s a Callie Petch guarantee!*
[Set the Tape and Callie Petch do not condone or endorse the practice of gambling and should not be held responsible in the event that you decide to place a bet based on their words which causes you to lose money.]
Even by Pandemic January standards – a phrase I can say because we have now had more than one January in which this goddamn pandemic has man-spread its shit all over the place ruining everything – this release schedule is pretty goddamn barren. Especially now that the forever-delayed Sesame Street movie, which frankly may just be vapourware, and Morbius have both been last-minute yanked. There are multiple weeks where nothing is going into Wide release! (OK, technically just the one but I refuse to believe that The King’s Daughter is a real movie I’m expected to pay money for.) To that end, I must applaud Universal for sticking to their guns and releasing The 355, a women-(and their Daddy issues)-centric spy thriller, into cinemas as planned despite doing so obviously being a suicide mission. Said applause is not big enough to drown out my boos over Simon “terminally incompetent hack at everything” Kinberg being the writer/director and the film resultantly being utter shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, but… yeah, I don’t have a viable counterpoint to that. In any case, literally everyone smelt a dead rat and steered well clear of 24 #GirlBoss Edition, resulting in a calamitous $4.8 million for third place.
Yay, January! Here’s a proper Full List.
US Box Office Results: Friday 7th January 2022 – Sunday 9th January 2022
1] Spider-Man: No Way Home
$33,015,000 / $668,753,195
Regular perceptive readers of this column may have noticed that I am yet to openly mention my thoughts on No Way Home in any particular direction. They may have even read something into that part-inadvertent/part-deliberate creative decision. Honestly, I just thought it was ok. Some fun moments, some stuff I really liked, some stuff I really didn’t, most of my issues coming down to the fact that both Into the Spider-Verse and the Insomniac games execute all of the beats and aims of No Way Home significantly better, plus my having fundamental disagreements with how the MCU has handled Peter Parker in general. It’s fine, I’m not gonna be one of those people who proclaim the mindboggling financial success as some kind of death knell for cinema and taste – though I will side-eye a touch with a mild Amy Poehler-esque “really?” from time to time – but I just didn’t want to be a party pooper whilst everyone else is having a great time. At least not until I get my write-up about Miles Morales done, anyway.
2] Sing 2
$11,950,000 / $109,012,985
So, Pixar’s Turning Red has become the studio’s third straight film to skip theatres outright for a debut on regular old non-premium Disney+. If I were working at Pixar, particularly their upper-management, I’d find it very hard to not take this edict from the Mouse House a little personally. In particular, I’d be shifting my eyes back and forth between chairman Kareem Daniel’s public excuse about “delayed box office recovery, particularly for family films” and Sing 2 having effortlessly busted past the $100 mil domestic mark (even if it is lagging behind the original’s takings) with great disgruntlement.
3] The 355
$4,800,000 / NEW
Swear to God, if Simon Kinberg is let near a movie set or a film camera or even just the email inbox of anyone on his inexplicably massive Hollywood rolodex ever again, I am booking a flight to L.A. and dragging his talentless arse to Movie Jail myself.
4] The King’s Man
$3,272,000 / $25,091,034
One of the Xmas movies I am still yet to see but will get around to in the next fortnight on account of there being absolutely nothing on for bloody ages. Can’t dump out underperforming movies if you got no new ones to replace them! Dave Bond thought this was better than No Way Home, btw.
5] American Underdog
$2,413,000 / $18,742,589
Is this getting a non-US release at some point? I mean, yeah, the market for American football movies and Christian movies outside of the US are individually the size of a Nat, so it would stand to reason that the overlapping circle for both is the size of a Nat’s arse and therefore not worth the effort. But… wait, cancel that “but,” I just answered my own question.
6] The Matrix Resurrections
$1,860,000 / $34,317,103
Much as I disagree with him about the quality of the film, I’m really glad that Dave Bond took the review writing honours over me. Partly for the logistical reason that I spent most of the holiday season in a bit of a funk playing Spider-Man: Miles Morales; mainly because I would’ve turned in something that was 3,000 words long, deeply personal, very embarrassing, and probably impenetrable to anyone who is not a Wachowski Sisters stan. On reflection, that would’ve been a very accurate reflection of the movie in question. Regardless and obviously, I adore the shit out of this, the haters can suck on a lemon.
(Well, not all of the haters since I can very much understand why a lot of people wouldn’t care at all for Resurrections. More a specific subsection of bad-faith haters who clearly refused to try engaging with the text on its own terms and judge it on levels of “wokeness” instead of filmmaking quality whilst pushing the outright lie of it being “cynical” and “hating the fans” when Lana Wachowski is pathologically incapable of making a cynical work which hates the viewer and I’m being told to wrap this section up already. Point is: those haters can suck a lemon.)
7] West Side Story
$1,413,000 / $32,150,449
So much of this is great. The cinematography and production design (aside from the occasional distractingly out-of-control lens flare) are immaculate, updating and grounding the musical without taking away its unique Broadway charm. The reworked staging and ordering of the musical numbers (aside from moving “I Feel Pretty” to after the rumble) often enhances the narrative and pacing, in particular giving Tony more agency and conflict in his relationship to the Jets in the new take on “Cool.” All but one of the major performances are exceptional, Ariana DeBose living up to the tradition of Anita being West Side’s best character whilst newcomer Rachel Zegler turns in the best performance of the year… And then there’s Ansel Elgort. Horribly miscast as Tony, utterly unconvincing as the romantic lead, woefully out of his depth when trying to convey emotion, and out-sung at every turn. So much of this is great, but it’s hard to appreciate that when one half of your leading duo is this awful.
8] Ghostbusters: Afterlife
$1,140,000 / $125,064,125
Did you check out our Listmas series over the holiday week? You should! We all put a lot of effort into it and I’m particularly proud of what everyone contributed. We wrote up our favourite shows of the year, our favourite albums of the year, our favourite films, and got personal about the media which helped comfort us through these traumatic 24 months. Also, Amy Walker wrote a whole list of her ten favourite books because I am convinced that woman wakes up in a morning and does nothing but book-read until the dead of night, only stopping every few hours to tweet. Point is, check all of these articles out!
9] Licorice Pizza
$1,028,156 / $8,198,967
After adoring Phantom Thread, I’m right back to business-as-usual when it comes to Paul Thomas Anderson: I thought this was just alright and it didn’t do much more than that for me. Alana Haim was very good, though; surprisingly the best of the anointed Best Actress frontrunners – her, Gaga, and Kristen Stewart – I’ve seen this year.
10] House of Gucci
$632,348 / $50,085,553
…please don’t tell Gaga I said that last bit. If she asks, she is definitely still #1 in my heart.
Dropped out: A Journal for Jordan
Callie Petch don’t wanna feed more oxygen to your fire.