Death on the Nile is murdered, Marry Me gets dumped, the Blacklight shuts off, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
I mean, what did y’all expect on Superbowl weekend? America’s real religious holiday – screw you, Jesus; clearly can’t draw a dime to save your life, what with all those piles of new releases which drop on the Xmas weekend and do really well for themselves! Historically, Superbowl weekends don’t do so hot for studios since an entire day effectively gets booted out of existence due to the unmissable sportsball extravaganza hoovering up all the attention. In The Before Times, this sacred weekend would be where studios dump the films whose financial disappointment would be actual worrying news if they happened on any weekend not taken up by the biggest of games. The January-est of January (or early February) releases, if you will. And, in perhaps the surest sign yet that we are clawing our way back towards a new normal which looks distressingly like the old normal, the first proper Superbowl weekend since that whole Stupid Apocalypse kicked off chose to continue the fine tradition.
So, Kenneth Branagh’s terminally-troubled Death on the Nile is technically a “winner” this weekend, albeit only by virtue of not losing to the sophomore weekend of Jackass Forever and finally seeing a theatrical release after nearly two years of marketing. However, that first place $12.8 million purse isn’t even half of what Murder on the Orient Express’ third place $28.6 million bag scarpered off with in *checks notes, checks notes again, stares off into the uncaring void in pure terror* November 2017. Even with all the pandemic qualifiers we now have to attach to every film’s financial performance, one still expects the sequel to a pretty big hit that’s been granted almost double the budget of its predecessor to open at least somewhat close to the original’s first weekend. Barring some kind of miracle, perhaps parachuted in from China given that Nile is opening there very soon and they did a lot for Express’ global box office, I think we may have seen the last of Branagh’s Poirot. Shame, I was really looking forward to seeing him do Five Little Pigs with Kevin Spacey, Mel Gibson, Louis C.K. and Evangeline Lilly.
Elsewhere, Universal rolled the dice on the weekend before Valentine’s being enough of an incentive to help jump-start the theatrical fortunes of the rom-com with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson’s Marry Me. Alas, love is dead, or at least content to just stay home and catch these sorts of things on TV and the ninety-billion streaming services where it’s less likely to contract COVID and legitimately die, so only $8 million worth of people accepted the proposal, just enough for third place. It may have gotten a boost from Monday being actual Valentine’s but, as I must constantly remind your sweet sympathetic minds, this is a Weekend Box Office Report and not a Weekend Plus Whatever Many Days It Takes to Make Films Look Like They’ve Done Well Box Office Report. Speaking of dying genres, we may be witnessing the long-overdue end of the Liam Neeson action vehicle as his third such film since this whole mess started, Blacklight, crashed and burned into fifth place with $3.6 million. Sure, that’s in line with the results posted by Honest Thief and The Marksman but with the caveat of audiences actually being back now so this kind of piddly total isn’t impressing anyone.
The only murder that this Full List is guilty of committing is the murder of comedy.
US Box Office Results: Friday 11th February 2022 – Sunday 13th February 2022
1] Death on the Nile
$12,800,000 / NEW
I wasn’t a fan of Branagh’s take on Murder on the Orient Express, if I’m being completely honest, so can’t say I’m surprised his attempt at a lesser Christie that significantly better directors have struggled to translate into film is a massive step down from even that. Dave Bond is liking it a little more than most, at least.
2] Jackass Forever
$8,050,298 / $37,420,000
Yes, I got to see it on Saturday. Mid-afternoon yet with a surprisingly packed audience like I wanted but feared not getting due to missing the opening weekend (for, it turns out, no reason whatsoever since my MOT hadn’t actually expired). By far my favourite cinema experience of the last two years, the communal joy and hysterics of everyone in the room wanting (and getting) a good time enhanced the film so much. This was everything I wanted and everything it needed to be. “Silence of the Lambs” almost had me in actual tears from laughing. Loved it.
3] Marry Me
$8,000,000 / NEW
Gotta say, pretty surprised to hear all my friends give this a thumbs up of varying degrees. I mean, sure, I like me a cheesy-ass rom-com but everything I’d seen about Marry Me gave me real Own Brand Notting Hill vibes. Looking forward to catching it at some point. Meantime, Kelechi Ehenulo’s cranked out a review to convince you too.
4] Spider-Man: No Way Home
$7,150,000 / $759,000,817
OK, that new Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer looks way more Sam Raimi than the one which got attached to the post-credits of Spider-Man. Y’all, the virgins, out here losing your minds over wild Internet speculation regarding past franchise cameos which may not really come to fruition, whilst I, the chad, am out here losing my mind over seemingly getting my first Raimi film in 13 years. (NO, WRONG, IT’S BEEN 13 YEARS!)
$3,600,000 / NEW
Speaking of bad films with the colour black in their title, Helen Balls has taken a look at horror-comedy Black Friday and called for a clean-up on aisle two.
6] Sing 2
$2,950,445 / $143,389,000
I offer up a lot of Hot TakesTM in these here articles, usually in the form of jokes or the takes actually being colder than an iced smoothie. But since I am still yet to subject myself to Sing 2, I’d like to share with you a genuine Hot TakeTM which I am certain will cause no end of controversy. Ready?
“City of Blinding Lights” > “Where the Streets Have No Name.” And it’s not even a contest.
$2,850,000 / $15,153,549
Falling faster than Anne-Marie at the BRIT Awards.
$2,835,368 / $73,177,000
That NOPE trailer is outstanding. And, what’s this? A trailer for Alex Garland’s new movie which is also an out-and-out horror? Is 2022 the year in which many of Callie Petch’s favourite working directors get together to force them into the cinema for horror films despite their being a scaredy baby?
9] Licorice Pizza
$922,501 / $13,991,311
Alana Haim and Lady Gaga are not the Best Actress snubs worth getting enraged about. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both really good performances in not-so-good movies, but their snubbing isn’t even close to the level of tragedy that Rachel Zegler’s bewildering snub is. Dammit, I knew that Ansel Elgort would ruin this for her!
10] The King’s Man
$433,000 / $36,747,611
Y’all know you could just watch this bad film at home on Disney+/Hulu now, right?
Dropped out: Redeeming Love, American Underdog, The 355
Callie Petch wants to be the shoelace that you tie.