America Screams that they wanna go faster, the power of Christ compels Redeeming Love, The King’s Daughter drowns, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Karma: taking last week’s entry off primarily due to laziness, having to do this week’s entry in the throes of a fourth flu in three months. This is why you don’t try and cut corners, folks. The one bright side to this being that I’ve got two weekends’ worth of content to chat about rather than just a single since, dunno if you’ve heard, everything’s vacated to February or later meaning that there are literally no Wide release films set for next weekend. Goody gumdrops.
Anyways, Spider-Man: No Way Home has reclaimed the #1 spot now that opening weekend fever for Scream – the legacyquel (credit to Emily St. James for the pun) not the 1996 original and, god, please can we not import video game sequel naming conventions into movies – has subsided a touch. That’s not to undermine the meta-slasher’s opening, however, since its MLK-holiday weekend of $33.8 million was almost more than Scre4m managed in its entire domestic run, and a 59% drop between weekends is pretty normal for horror flicks. But, just like a slasher movie red herring protagonist, Scream failed to double-tap Spider-Man and ended up with a slit throat for its troubles. You’d think that something so desperate to prove its smartness about hackneyed genre tropes would’ve backed up its words instead of straight-facedly indulging in them anyway.
As for the few other openers from the past fortnight, it appears that Christian movies are finally ready to assert their dominance yet again. By far the best-performing non-Scr5am release has been faith-centric Western romance Redeeming Love which rounded up a $3.7 million posse of gold nuggets this weekend for a very comfortable fourth place. By far the worst-performing non-S5ream release, meanwhile, is the eight years on the shelf The King’s Daughter, the debacle of an adaptation of a Nebula-winning sci-fi historical-romance novel that’s been in release purgatory for so long its male and female leads had met, dated, married, and conceived two children between shoot-wrap and release. Surprising absolutely nobody, this movie zero people were asking for barely scraped $750,000 from 2,170 theatres yet still broke into the Top 10 because things are that dire right now. And squarely in the middle of that Scre5m sandwich, we have Mamoru Hosada’s magnificent Belle which also got a Wide release, presumably from distributor GKIDS seeing how barren the schedule is and going “eh, why not?” In fairness, it worked out decently last weekend, taking seventh with $1.56 million and almost beating American Underdog for sixth. But things came crashing back down to earth this weekend with 65% plummet out of the chart. Shame, I wanted to spread cheer about a film I love in here for once.
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US Box Office Results: Friday 21st January 2022 – Sunday 23rd January 2022
1] Spider-Man: No Way Home
$14,125,000 / $721,010,988
I hope y’all turn up with this level of fanaticism for Across the Spider-Verse Part One in October. Just saying. Gonna be some major barely-restrained side-eying if you don’t.
$12,400,000 / $51,348,000
This is going to give our tag and search archives such a massive headache. What happened to giving horror movie sequels increasingly ridiculous subtitles? Why can’t we go back to something like Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare – which, incidentally, Adam Massingham gave a 30th anniversary write-up to the other week – instead of this impossible-to-organise title reusage? How am I supposed to meaningfully organise and keep track of my Blu-Ray collection when there are two movies called Scream with identical logos?! Pity me, dammit!
3] Sing 2
$5,710,370 / $128,412,000
A TV ad for this I saw recently was made up of nothing but five-second clips of songs performed in the movie. No jokes, no plot synopsis, not even a flash of the starry cast-list Illumination keep blowing all of their budgets on instead of higher-quality writers or severely overhauling their visual designs. Just a basic bro’s iPod shuffle being thoughtlessly and indecisively clicked through with the aux cable still plugged in. Thanks, I hate it.
4] Redeeming Love
$3,710,000 / NEW
The director of Redeeming Love, D.J. Caruso, has almost exclusively made garbage that’s at-best a guilty pleasure but mostly just stinks – Eagle Eye, Disturbia, I Am Number Four. But he also directed xXx: Return of Xander Cage, a film which was genuinely way better and more legitimately fun than it had any right to be. So, maybe his ledger balances out? …I use the question mark because I haven’t actually watched that xXx sequel since it came out and I don’t want to commit myself to being known as “the Xander Cage fan” in case I was mistaken, even for a BOR bit.
5] The King’s Man
$1,179,000 / $31,510,014
Confoundingly incoherent. Multiple clashing films squished awkwardly together in ways that should be horribly offensive but just end up surprisingly boring. Vaughn remains one of our best working action technicians, yet that fun pulpy style he brings to the bizarrely-irregular action is completely the wrong fit for this movie. It tries so hard to be a serious historical WWI drama, then every 20 minutes a bit of Kingsman nonsense shows up in a way that undermines both approaches. There’s too much incongruity and the entire thing is a directionless disaster; tonally, thematically, and narratively.
6] The 355
$1,600,000 / $11,081,010
It’s been a fortnight and I’m still fuming at just how terribly-made The 355 is. How does a director given the keys to eight-figure budgets and a dream line-up of actresses fail to block scenes properly?! Fan Bingbing legit never once looks like she appeared on-set with any other member of the main cast, it’s astonishing!
7] American Underdog
$1,225,000 / $23,132,748
I’m sure that Kurt Warner, the subject of American Underdog, found himself wondering if he had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything he ever wanted whether he would capture it or just let it slip. Eamon Hennedy can relate to that quandary, albeit cos his Music in the Movies series reached 8 Mile, a film he’s not actually all that enamoured by.
8] The King’s Daughter
$750,000 / NEW
Rather than wasting time with this, Amy Walker recommends that folks looking for sci-fi dramas should instead check out new novel The Chosen Twelve by James Breakwell.
9] West Side Story
$698,000 / $35,051,495
Elsewhere, Shaun Dewhirst has taken a gander at a pair of Sammo Hung classics, Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son, the latest to get Eureka’s usual lavish restoration treatment.
10] Licorice Pizza
$683,357 / $10,786,005
Awards Bodies, I know that it was a really slow, bordering on just-plain bad year for movies. But I guarantee you that things were not dire enough to feel like you need to nominate Bradley Cooper’s five-minute cameo in this for Best Supporting Actor. Or, in fact, 70% of this alleged front-runner field; Jesus wept. In no list should I be seeing Jared Leto above Jeffrey Wright. Not a single one.
Dropped out: Belle, The Matrix Resurrections
Callie Petch is moving to the moon.