US Box Office Report: 22/07/22 – 24/07/22

NOPE? More like YEP!, and Other Box Office News.

Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).

If you live in Britain, then you understand why there was no BOR last week.  The upside to what may have seemed like selfish short-sighted decision-making is that this edition of the BOR needs to cover two weeks instead of the one.  And whilst that would sound on-paper like a negative, it is after all more work to squeeze two weeks’ worth of news into an article than just the one week, the only major new release of this week was Jordan Peele’s NOPE… a movie which is not out here in the UK for another three weeks and that I am trying to stay as in-the-dark about as possible until then!  (The DISCOURSE is not gonna take any potential enjoyment of this one from me, NOT TODAY SATAN!)  Therefore, the need to update you on all the non-NOPE films going about their merry little business means I need to stall less and have less chance of being spoiled/discoursed to death on the one decent-looking film out right now!  Clever thinking, Past-Heatstroke Callie!

So, to last weekend where things looked to be pretty dire for our ol’ pal Thor: Love and Thunder.  Sure, it was still comfortably running a train on its competitors in first-place with $46.6 million, almost exactly $20 million more than second-place Minions: The Rise of Gru, but the fall it had suffered from opening weekend was substantial.  68%.  That’s almost Morbius levels of plummet!  Potential cause for alarm, particularly when taking into account that predecessor Thor: Ragnarok only dropped 53% between weekends from not-all-that lower an opening take.  As we enter weekend #3, however, perhaps ringing the alarms may have been premature as Love and Thunder’s third take of $22.1 million (a 52% drop) is slightly better than Ragnarok’s third weekend take of $21.6 million (a 62% drop).  Of course, Ragnarok’s drop was due to the arrival of original flavour Justice League on the scene as direct competition, so anyone who wants to draft their latest unasked-for “Marvel exhaustion” piece still has ammo for their chamber.

There were also three B-tier new releases which all made an impact, for good or ill.  Leading the pack was the much-ballyhooed adaptation Where the Crawdads Sing that, despite being mauled by critics, carried a strong-enough tune for a third-place $17 million debut.  And, unlike other Gone Girl-wannabes over the years such as The Girl on the Train, it’s held pretty decently in the second go-around with a meagre 40% drop.  Hot on Crawdads’ heels for that #1 of the runners-up distinction, though, was Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, a movie whose title I have become intimately familiar with over the last year due to Universal continually batting it around the schedule at random like a cat does a mouse toy.  Last week, the genial dramedy plonked itself at the bottom-end of the chart with $1.9 million but managed to do so on just 980 screens (almost a quarter of the other releases), and this weekend has held on supremely well to that initial audience by dropping just 31%.  Bringing up the rear, we have Paws of Fury, an animated kids’ comedy some of you may be aware was originally named Blazing Samurai and has been punted around schedules in various stages of production and delays since 2017.  Accordingly, it’s not been making waves; a miserable sixth place with $6.3 million last week, although it did only drop 38% and one place this week likely due to inertia.

All of which finally brings us to NOPE.  The third Jordan Peele film, and I can describe it like that because Peele movies are already Events.  Who can forget the mega-run that his zeitgeist-capturing debut Get Out went on in 2017?  Or when his 2019 follow-up absolutely obliterated the perception of what an R-rated original horror property could open to with Us’ $71 million debut?  Of course, the little asterisk I think a lot of people were forgetting regarding the Us box office – though great by almost all metrics, let me make that very clear – was that the movie ended up being more difficult and divisive than Get Out, by design, so had shorter legs.  One could argue that Peele spent some cache with Us and that the opening of his next film would tell the tale of how things may look going forward.

And now we have our answer: #1 by far but with $44 million.  Which, again to be very clear, is a success for an original R-rated horror flick with no big-name stars; it’s the biggest non-franchise opening since the pandemic kicked off, trouncing The Lost City’s $30.5 mil.  But it shares a “B” Cinemascore with Us on a much higher budget than that movie, so time will tell regarding word-of-mouth.  It’s a strong start, but a little more earthbound than perhaps everyone was expecting.

Credit: Liam Daniel / © 2021 Ada Films Ltd

This Full List is a bad miracle.

US Box Office Results: Friday 22nd July 2022 – Sunday 24th July 2022


$44,000,000 / NEW


2] Thor: Love and Thunder

$22,100,000 / $276,220,698

Ended up rewatching this last week because I’d promised a friend I’d see it with her but she kept having to delay, and I’m a little warmer to Love and Thunder afterwards than I was on initial viewing.  I have a better understanding of what the film was trying to do and, now the eventual destination is known, it does hang together with an understandable progression; my feeling that Waititi and co. had no idea what film they were making with their hearts not in it turned out to be off-base.  The problems instead arise from sloppy filmmaking, a failure to properly set-up and pay-off those destinations in clear immediate ways, lame schtick which just isn’t funny, and a hatchet of an editing job which only exacerbates every one of those issues.  It’s still the worst Marvel film in almost a decade, but I’m a bit kinder to it now.

3] Minions: The Rise of Gru

$17,710,410 / $297,857,000

Better than the last six Illumination movies by virtue of never being actively intolerable to get through and having more than a handful of decent gags.  But the storytelling is more scattered, the characters aren’t as well-defined, the jokes aren’t as snappy or effective, and overall it’s just a major step down from the first Minions which I thought (and still think) was genuinely great.  Yet again, the most financially successful name in animation aims squarely for “passable mediocrity” and just barely lands on-target.

4] Where the Crawdads Sing

$10,330,216 / $38,331,000

Not got a lot to say on this one for now.  Seeing it in just over a week, hopes are not high but stranger things have happened.  Yes, I am so desperate for something great to knock on my door that I’ll even give the benefit of the doubt to the movie adaptation by a…. controversial figure.

5] Top Gun: Maverick

$10,000,113 / $635,566,000

Speaking of things going higher further faster, please welcome Caitlin Dickenson to the STT team with her glowing review of the Ms. Marvel TV series!  Always nice to have fresh faces on the team I can gently roast the tastes of in these Box Office articles!

6] Elvis

$6,299,727 / $118,376,000

Great for up to five minutes at a time.  As with basically every Baz Luhrmann movie, though, it’s never great for longer than five minutes at a time, many of those great sequences seem to occur by complete accident cos his arrangement of shots and edits are so haphazard, and you gotta wade through a lot of CHOICES to get to the good stuff.  When this thing hits, it really HITS, but it is still all flash no trousers.  Then again, I liked what Tom Hanks was doing in this movie, so maybe I’m the one with shit taste.

7] Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

$3,875,351 / $13,758,000

I have had to suffer through adverts for this a minimum of 14 times a day for the last month due to it being a Sky Cinema “Original” (read: sold off as a last resort cos no reputable studio or streamer wanted this turkey, like all Sky Cinema “Originals”).  Having already been following this film’s tortured development, I thought it looked and sounded terrible from the off.  Now, I think it is the devil’s arsehole and you legitimately could not pay me to watch it.

8] The Black Phone

$3,450,100 / $78,555,000

It’s only been six years since the original release, yet Robert Eggers’ spellbinding horror debut The VVitch has gotten a lavish restoration re-release treatment, courtesy of those 4K wizards over at Second Sight.  Charlie Brigden’s got the scoop on whether it’s worth picking up for those who already have their standard-edition Blu-Rays proudly on display.  He does, however, insist on calling it The Witch so take his opinions with a grain of salt.

9] Jurassic World Dominion

$2,960,365 / $365,512,000

On the subject of dinosaurs well past their prime, Vince McMahon retired over the weekend, most likely as a result of mounting allegations about sexual misconduct by him and his cronies over the decades and, more pertinently to his dismissal, utilising company funds for personal means without crediting them as expenses.  For, as we all know, they can excuse the sexual harassment but they draw the line at defrauding investors.

10] Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

$1,350,015 / $4,655,000

Was not kidding in the pre-amble.  I have shunted this movie around our in-house release schedule claim sheet no less than five times over the last year as Universal kept changing their distribution plans on a dime.  As of this publication, it’s due to release in the UK on the 30th of September, but it’s turning into Charlie Brown with the football… if Charlie Brown wasn’t actually the least bit bothered about kicking the football cos, seriously, the hell even is this?

Dropped out: Lightyear

Callie Petch would like to catch the dust of a memory from a photograph.


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