Dinosaurs eat Disney, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Well, well, well. At the risk of my fellow smug naysayers being written off as Captain Hindsights, even though we’d been banging this drum ever since January, it turns out that Disney’s decision to make Lightyear the first Pixar film to get a theatrical release since Onward has backfired a bit. That or Pixar are just cursed when it comes to dinosaurs in any capacity. The film which screamed “Disney+ Original Movie” from every fibre of its being was unable to dethrone the latest entry in the increasingly terrible dinosaur franchise and Lightyear became only the third Pixar movie in history to debut at #2 on the US chart with $51 million. Those other second-place debuts? Inside Out in 2015, which released the week after Jurassic World’s colossal debut, and The Good Dinosaur on Thanksgiving 2015, where it failed to overcome the sophomore weekend of the Hunger Games finale (something which honestly feels like forever ago).
So, what are the takeaways from this? After all, this is technically a Toy Story movie and the public’s appetite for those can rarely be sated, as evidenced by Toy Story 4 opening to a massive $120 million in the Summer of 2019. Well, for starters, the biggest and most unavoidable one is that people really fucking love dinosaurs above all else. Seriously, if it turns out that James Cameron has snuck some dinosaurs into any one of his Avatar sequels, you can consider all Box Office records his property for the rest of time. Next is that the practice of trying to make unconventional spinoffs of beloved cinematic franchises rather than straight sequels is still a very risky proposition regardless of whether you’re Toy Story or Star Wars. At least theatrically, anyway, you’re gonna have a hard time selling the must-see urgency to general audiences for something which screams “unnecessary” to their eyes. And, perhaps biggest of all, Disney should’ve read the goddamn motherfucking room and sent Turning Red to cinemas rather than putting all their chips in the Lightyear basket. I heard way more buzz for Turning Red before its release than I did Lightyear and I bet I’m not the only one. Anyone who had this coming in at $70 million was much too heavily banking on the current drought of animated features out there which, yes, would normally have counted for a lot but, again, DINOSAURS.
Anyways, congrats to the crap dinosaur movie. Commiserations to the apparently mid-tier Pixar movie. Look forward to them both being sacrificed to our unyielding Minion overlords in two weeks.
To Full List, and beyond!
US Box Office Results: Friday 17th June 2022 – Sunday 19th June 2022
1] Jurassic World Dominion
$58,660,000 / $249,796,690
Look, I tried with this one. I really did. I love watching dinosaurs menace, eat, chase, and just generally screw with stupid humans, so I can willingly forgive a lot when it comes to giving me my silly dino thrills. But, god, why is so little of this 150 minute ostensible dinosaur movie devoted to dinosaurs, and why is all of that non-dinosaur time so INTOLERABLY BORING AND SHIIIIIIIIIIIT?
$51,000,000 / NEW
Not actually seeing this til next Monday on account of having to finesse my cinema trips a little bit around gigs this month. From what I can tell, I’m not missing much? Was honestly rather hoping the IP usage were merely an excuse for Pixar to do a big proper fanciful space adventure, but everything looks so muted and colourless in most of those trailers? Especially when compared to the teaser for Disney’s own upcoming Strange World that dropped two weeks ago and bursts with gorgeous life; an act of trailer-dropping which comes off a little bit as self-sabotage, to be honest. We’ll see in time, I guess.
$44,000,455 / $466,168,000
Fun Fact (regurgitated from Bruce Nash’s write-up over at The Numbers but still worth mentioning regardless cos it’s cool): this is the first time since June 2013 where three films finished a weekend with more than $40 million each! That previous time involved Monsters University, World War Z, and Man of Steel pulling in the cashola so, hey, Pixar continue to have their feet in some history! Don’t you just love statistics that’d make fiendish pub quiz questions?
$4,200,000 / $405,083,660
Yeah, the collapse after that Top 3 is immediate and terminal, alright.
5] The Bob’s Burgers Movie
$1,100,000 / $29,762,030
If you’re looking for something very, very different from the feature-animation world, special effects wizard Phil Tippett’s long-in-the-making passion project, the stop-motion horror flick Mad God, premiered on Shudder this past weekend. Shaun Dewhirst tried his best to explain what he deems is much better experienced.
6] The Bad Guys
$980,000 / $94,239,005
Billie Eilish is going to absolutely slay her Glastonbury headline slot, believe me. The best live gig I’ve been to so far this year and I’ve been to a lot of live gigs so far this year.
$959,631 / $64,920,186
Can we get Ke Huy Quan into a proper Wong Kar-wai film stat, please? Relatedly, can we get Wong Kar-wai back behind a film camera stat, please?
8] Downton Abbey: A New Era
$830,000 / $42,196,350
Eureka!’s streak of giving loving restorations and re-releases to classic pieces of East Asian cinema continues abreast with Lee Hsing’s gutting Taiwanese melodrama Execution in Autumn. Charlie Brigden’s checked the package out.
$228,392 / $190,478,000
Yup, knew I’d called the death of this one just a week too soon. Oh well, at least I get an excuse to pimp the still-brilliant JelloApocalypse “So This is Basically…” video for Sonic now.
10] Brian and Charles
$198,000 / NEW
…no, I’d never heard of this one either. Apparently this is a British comedy about the creation of artificial intelligence which kicked up some buzz at Sundance, but isn’t getting released in the UK for another three weeks to die a death against Thor: Love & Thunder. In the meanwhile, Focus Features dumped it into 279 theatres with negative-zero hype/awareness and saw the thing get smashed to bits with a hideous $709 per-theatre average. Shame, this could actually be decent. Dunno why this is the first I’m hearing of it, to be honest.
Dropped out: Firestarter, Ante Sundharaniki