Yeah, sure, I guess we’ll go see The Batman again, and Other Box Office News.
Note: a version of this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
OK, Hollywood, this cannot continue. You have to realise that it’s not healthy long-term to keep pulling your releases at the last minute to a degree which leaves exactly one big film, almost always a comic book one, dominating an entire month due to total lack of other options. You did it in January when Spider-Man: No Way Home was given carte blanche to spend six weeks on top unchallenged (aside from a brief effort by Scream to slay the killer). You did it again in February when only Uncharted and Jackass remained standing firm in the face of non-petition. And now, yet again, March is a dead-zone for The Batman to clean up all by its lonesome. The big yank was the already groused-about Turning Red, as Disney sent Pixar’s best film in years straight-to-Disney+ under COVID panic that’s starting to sound like crying wolf as Sing 2 creeps up on $160 mil – “cry wolf” financially, to be clear; in human terms, it is certainly not “cry wolf” to be worrying about these numbers. And now there’s nothing coming next weekend, either, since STX abruptly pulled Operation Fortune, the new Guy Ritchie joint, again without notice two weeks ago. What are theatre owners supposed to do? You’re leaving them out to dry!
Or, err, I guess not? This was arguably the healthiest weekend in months since everything performed better than expected and the spoils were shared across the board. The Batman, despite opening to a mega-strong $134 million last weekend, fell just 50% in its sophomore frame when most other mega-blockbusters since the never-ending pandemic kicked off drop upwards of two-thirds in their second go at it. Sure, that $66 million is double what the rest of the Top 10 earned combined and our #10 slot is once again in the six-figure mark, but every single one of the rest of the Top 10 holdovers similarly posted exceptional holds. Not a single one dropped more than 23% compared to the past weekend, with Sing 2 winning out in that contest on a mere 3.4% drop twelve weeks into its run.
There were also a pair of unexpected gate-crashers spicing things up a bit. Bollywood continues to prove a sound investment for American theatres slowly expanding its market share as Radhe Shyam posted a strong $1.8 million from 800 screens, good enough for seventh place. But if you want to talk about sound investments, take a looksee at just how well Trafalgar Releasing’s link-up with K-Pop sensations BTS is going. The pairing released their fourth live film together this past Saturday and despite only playing for one showing, Permission to Dance on Stage Seoul raked in an astonishing $6.8 million from 803 screens; the third-best total of the entire weekend. Worldwide, that event brought in $32.6 million, supposedly the highest-grossing event cinema release of all-time. So… yeah, maybe it is actually healthy to leave schedules awkward wastelands for months at a time. Just ensure that a BTS thing drops every now and again, and all should be good, I guess.
I’ve actually seen some of the films on the Full List. Let’s do this thing.
US Box Office Results: Friday 11th March 2022 – Sunday 13th March 2022
1] The Batman
$66,000,000 / $238,520,826
Dave Bond seemed to think he was catching shots from last week’s BOR when I used him as an example of someone who got something more than “it’s… fine” from The Batman, despite my insisting that I am genuinely happy for those people. I realise that a lot of these pieces come inbuilt with a minimum level of snark and/or piss-taking so my sincerity in that well-wishing may have come off as insincere to him and others reading. Therefore, I would like to take this moment to state without undercut or even trace amounts of sarcasm that, Dave, I’m happy you love The Batman. Really. I genuinely wish I could share in that love, if anything I’m a little jealous.
Besides, if I wanted to take shots at you, I’d be bringing up your Matrix Resurrections score at every opportunity. 😉
$9,250,000 / $113,355,790
Hang on. According to this article from Amy Walker, Mass Effect 3 turned 10 years old last week. That can’t possibly be, I swear I only just finished my first playthrough two weeks ago. In fact, I crunched it at the expense of this media studies project I need to finish for my sixth form class tom… *checks calendar* No. No! IT HASN’T BEEN A DECADE! IT CAN’T HAVE BEEN A DECADE! *crumbles to dust*
3] BTS Permission to Dance on Stage Seoul
$6,840,000 / NEW
Guess K-Pop stans are going to save the box office now, in addition to their duties saving the physical music industry, the live music industry, the political system, and racism. I, for one, welcome our new K-Pop overlords so long as I don’t get punished for preferring Red Velvet over BTS.
$5,346,376 / $47,803,478
Haven’t seen this at time of writing, but should have by time of posting. Hey, maybe that’s another benefit of fuck-all coming out 90% of the time? That I get the chance to put off seeing smaller films until the last possible minute in a nice little group pop rather than needing to waste petrol trundling off to see the one film per week, like the screening equivalent of a Tetris?
5] Spider-Man: No Way Home
$4,075,000 / $792,285,954
Did you know we sometimes review gigs, too? We’re quite versatile here at STT! Matt Latham got the chance to see Wolf Alice on their latest tour and had a blast! As did I, though not at the same gig. Came away from mine sodden in sweat, a sensation I had completely forgotten about after two years of almost no gigs and was not fun to drive home in, lemme tell you.
6] Death on the Nile
$2,500,000 / $40,786,252
More like Kenneth Bra-NAW, MATE! GOT ’EM!
7] Radhe Shyam
$1,860,000 / NEW
Allow me to use this spot to briefly commiserate the inbound end of Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review on BBC Radio 5 Live. Whilst it very much sounds like they’re just going to ship it off to a new home somewhere that hopefully doesn’t platform TERFs to such a degree that human rights groups are actively calling out the institution, this is still a major symbolic end to mainstream film discourse here in the UK. I know that stumbling upon episodes of the show back in early 2010 stoked my love of both movies and the art of film criticism to a significant degree, setting me on the path towards writing these words for you now. And, whilst I personally haven’t listened regularly in years (lifestyle changes), I cannot help but lament the fact that other future generations of budding film writers may not find their own Kermode/Mayo equivalent as the mainstream outlets for such coverage start drying up. It’s a crying shame, but I’ll be tuning in for that final show, at least. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
8] Sing 2
$1,580,000 / $155,825,000
Better than the first, although that is admittedly really not saying much. The finale works this time, at least, which goes a long way towards making the contrived and sometimes torturously uninspired journey there slightly less torturously uninspired. It also envisions a world where Bono stopped recording music in 2006 and subsequently disappeared off the face of the Earth, so points for that utopia.
$1,100,000 / $56,281,187
You haven’t lived until you and your best friend have sat together in a big-ass cinema screen and watched Chris Pontius squish his penis flat like a pancake to play paddleball with, trust me.
$445,000 / $80,905,289
No, but seriously, what if someone’s first exposure to film criticism was that creepy racist CinemaBlend review of Turning Red? They deserve a better class of criticism than that.
Dropped out: Cyrano, Gangubai Kathiawadi
Callie Petch still hasn’t found what they’re looking for.