US Box Office Report: 17/02/23 – 19/02/23

Ant-Man embiggens its opening, Winnie-the-Pooh dines on Blood and money, and Other Box Office News.

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

Did any of you see the active crime scene that were the BAFTAs on BBC One Sunday?  Absolute unwatchable disasterpiece, and still would’ve been even if they hadn’t gone for the most BAFTA possible winners that’s gonna force us to relive the same unchanging discourse we’ve been going through for a decade cos HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TEACH YOU THIS LESSON, OLD MAN?  (Also, slap jokes?  Really?  We’re still doing this tiresome pearl-clutching?  Some of y’all weren’t wedgied enough in high school.)  But let’s do our collective sanity a favour and leave that discussion out of this week’s BOR.  After all, we’ve instead got that freshest and least-tiresome of discourse *checks notes* “the opening weekend of a new Marvel film”?!  Oh, God, this is always death…

So, let’s get the obvious out of the way.  Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is your new Box Office #1; the 31st consecutive MCU film to debut at the top, as Disney took great pains to point out to industry outlets like it’s not just a given for MCU films to debut at #1.  $104 million is more than what either prior Ant-Man movie opened to and the fifth MCU film in a row to open in nine-figures.  Sure, it’s by far the lowest of the direct sequel movies released since the MCU returned exclusively to theatrical screens, but it’s also had better day-to-day percentage holds over the weekend than Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Thor: Love and Thunder managed (though not by a whole much).  This would be where I bring up Quantumania’s shockingly low-for-the-MCU “B” Cinemascore as an “ooooooh, maybe THIS is the one” peril indicator… except that Eternals, the only other MCU film to have a “B” Cinemascore, still made double its budget worldwide and Love and Thunder, which also had unimpressive word-of-mouth and a Cinemascore just slightly better (“B+”), became the highest-grossing Thor of them all in the US.  So, rather than rehash that tapped out DISCOURSE, I’m just going to resign myself to Kevin Feige’s recent threat of wanting the MCU to run for “80-plus years” as being unavoidable.

Credit: San Sebastian Film Festival.

Unlike when an MCU film usually whips its ginormous metaphorical dick out and everyone runs for the hills to avoid being crushed, a couple of brave souls tried to go dick-for-dick with performances worthy of some note.  After last weekend’s surprise #1 debut in a weirdly hobbled 1,500 theatres, Warner Bros. realised too late that there may have been an audience for Magic Mike’s Last Dance after all and doubled the number of screens just in time for word to get around that the movie is baaaaaaaad.  Still, doubling the screens stemmed the bleeding to just a 35% drop and third-place on the chart.  It’s been a hot minute since we had an interchangeable Liam Neeson thriller in cinemas, so Marlowe came along to rectify that oversight.  For some reason, Open Road chose to start the film’s run on a Wednesday rather than the usual three-day weekend, not that it helped much with only an additional $760,000 from those two bonus days and an eighth-place $1.9 million sub-$1,000 PTA for the three-day.

Then we have the most ballyhooed dick on the playground, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey.  Y’know, the one where Pooh and Piglet are generic serial killers cos, with enough gumption and a comfortable nest egg for funding, you too can film your try-hard fan fictions from when you were nine-years-old in the name of online virality!  Fathom Events decided to go a mite unconventional on this one.  Firstly, they opened the film on Wednesday in a special saturated 1,652 screen engagement where it made $760,954 of blood and honey, the #3 film for the day.  Then, after that burning off of initial interest, they scaled back down to just over 400 screens for the weekend proper where it took in less than that one-night special; $679,291.  Maybe that special Wednesday opening was actually the smartest possible move – I imagine the vast majority of the film’s take in general came from people who saw it as an inherent novelty rather than legit excitement, and most genre fans may have just gone to Ant-Man on the Friday – but to me it feels like everyone blew the opportunity to make a surprise Top 10 splash; $1,518,549 for the five-day.

© 2022 Jagged Edge Productions

Dicks out for the Full List.  I promise to stop mentioning dicks and the outing of them for the rest of this article.

US Box Office Results: Friday 17th February 2023 – Sunday 19th February 2023

1] Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

$104,000,000 / NEW

Not seen it yet, will do sometime this week.  My feverish excitement for everything the MCU puts out just isn’t there anymore, to be honest, likely not aided by the only film in Phase 4 worth a proper damn being Wakanda Forever.  (Shang Chi’s fun until the dragon shows up and should’ve cut Trevor entirely.)  Like, I am hyped for Guardians vol. 3 but that’s entirely because both prior Guardians films are in Marvel’s S-tier and James Gunn may be incapable of doing wrong right now *touches all the wood in a twenty mile radius*.  Otherwise… eh.  We’ll see if I’ve been revived come our meet-up next week.  Dave Bond’s got your review needs covered for now.

2] Avatar: The Way of Water

$6,118,000 / $657,075,991

Titanic tried to rally a defence, but in the end the inevitable happened.  Avatar 2 is now the third-biggest film of all-time worldwide.  I wonder if Jimmy Cams will be getting a congratulatory phone call from Steve Spiels telling him, like Spiegs told Tommy C, that he saved Hollywood’s ass.

3] Magic Mike’s Last Dance

$5,400,000 / $17,990,454

I’m sorry.  The pain’s still too raw.  I’m not in a position to discuss the bad Magic Mike movie yet.  Please respect my privacy at this time.

4] Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

$5,260,000 / $166,076,100

Everybody else was not kidding.  This is the second or third-best thing that DreamWorks Animation have ever done and one of the very best films of 2022.  Even as a long-time DreamWorks defender and scholar who literally wrote their dissertation on Shrek, I did not see this coming.

5] Knock at the Cabin

$3,900,000 / $30,372,270

I’m OK with Sami Zayn failing to topple Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber so long as he doesn’t go tumbling back down the card.  Cody Rhodes is over, I’m not gonna dispute that and claim this is another Batista/Daniel Bryan situation, but Zayn is still a white-hot white-meat babyface and I hope this new Triple H-led creative era of WWE recognises that a truly healthy wrestling organisation has multiple viable Top Guys all treated with the respect they deserve.

6] 80 for Brady

$3,600,000 / $32,247,811

Y’all see Janelle Monáe at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game this weekend?  Just delightful.  Their new song is pretty good, too.

7] Titanic

$2,290,000 / $671,896,000

Lotta Throwbacks this week worth checking out!  Leading the charge, mariachi hats and nanomachine senators in tow, we have the gloriously extra Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which turned 10 and tortured Amy Walker’s spellcheck even more than mine.

8] Marlowe

$1,910,000 / $2,670,000

Next, and with the threat of both Martin Scorsese runtime and Joker 2 DISCOURSE looming overhead once again, Leslie Byron-Pitt marked 40 years of The King of Comedy and its haunting final shot.

9] Missing

$1,725,000 / $29,667,645

Lastly, Matt Latham got all up in his feels like its 2003 for the 20th anniversary of The Postal Service’s magical debut.

10] A Man Called Otto

$1,555,000 / $60,577,204

I finally managed to play CAT GAME CAT GAME CAT GAME this week.  Yes, I did cry, though not for the reasons you might expect.  Really was not prepared for Stray to cut right through me with its explorations about what humanity and consciousness even are in an artificial world, almost as much as I wasn’t prepared to be seriously freaked out by the most effective horror I’ve experienced in a while.  Gave me what I knew I wanted and what I didn’t even know I needed!  That’s great storytelling!

Dropped out: M3GAN, Plane

Callie Petch is a pleasure centre siphoning your fill.


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