John Wick, open contract, $73 million; Shazam! and the money is gone; and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Did not mean to take a week off, especially a week with a major headline-grabber about another superhero movie eating shit on the big stage. I was just real busy and preoccupied for reasons we shall get to. But first, to catch-up: yes, the big talking point last week was Warner Bros.’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods getting off to a horrendous start with just $30 million. Not only is that a $23 million drop compared to the original Shazam! back in 2019 – which, lest we forget, was sandwiched between Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame in a supreme example of Warner Bros. ongoing efforts to murder DC – it’s the worst opening weekend for any superhero movie since we came back from COVID. Yes, that does mean even worse than Morbius, by a good $9 million even. And if you thought things might look even a little bit up in the sophomore weekend as its two most public faces go on an “I’m not owned” begging spree, failing to clear $10 million and falling behind the fourth weekend of Creed III should start the shovelling of dirt onto this thing’s grave.
So, the cinema yet again needs a saviour! Fortunately, Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski were already busy sliding into the metaphorical DMs with a brand-new John Wick to plug two in the head of the competition. Eight-and-a-half years ago, the original entry in this franchise was a relative afterthought which just barely escaped direct-to-DVD purgatory to come a pretty conclusive second to a dreadful Ouija movie. Today, the entire release slate opens their phones, sees John Wick is on the contract list, and wisely decides to ghost the weekend rather than go up against the Baba Yaga. Obviously, Chapter 4 is your new Box Office #1. What is a surprise, however, even to long time fans and prognosticators like myself, is how much it managed to rake in: $73 million. For a near-three-hour R-rated action flick whose lead star is pushing 60. I mean, I’m glad, because John Wick: Chapter 4 fuuuuuuuuuuuuucks sooooooooo haaaaaaaaard, but I’m still shocked, as a Day 1 Wicker (Not-A-)Man, at just how big this franchise has gotten now.
Fun Fact: a $73 million opening also continues the John Wick franchise’s streak of each entry having a $16 million increase on the previous one. Consistency! My Aspie brain loves that!
But whilst the Wide release calendar may have been headed for the Wicky Wicky Wild Wild West, we do have a couple of Moderate entries sniffing around the fringes of the chart. It’s been almost an entire decade since Wish I Was Here and, just like how that came out almost an entire decade after Garden State, that means it’s time for Zach Braff to get back behind the camera and do his super-twee indie drama thing. This one’s called A Good Person, features the non-problematic star-of-the-moment Florence Pugh, and is at least scoring slightly better reviews than Wish I Was Here did? Alas, it would appear that people in 2023 are only interested in Braff when it’s in a Scrubs-related capacity, and Person picked up a mere $834,018 from 530 screens (a PTA of $1,573). Meanwhile, the long-awaited (by somebody somewhere (presumably)) re-teaming of Philomena’s Steve Coogan and Stephen Frears produced The Lost King… a movie which opened in the UK six months ago to barely any buzz yet is only just now opening in the US. Probably no surprise, then, that, despite opening in 223 more screens than A Good Person (753), King was decisively beaten by Braff; $575,000 for a PTA of $763. Dump its carcass into the plot next to Shazam!’s.
Somebody PLEASE… get this not-a-man a Full List!
US Box Office Results: Friday 24th March 2023 – Sunday 26th March 2023
$73,525,000 / NEW
Yeah, so, the BOR got binned last week cos I was late finishing a different piece and then spent Monday doing a round-trip to London due to my being invited to the press screening of John Wick for a different outlet. Even with doing so being a real stretch for me money-wise, you’d better believe I snapped up that offer the second it landed in my inbox! My review over at Soundsphere Magazine should hopefully communicate just how much I enjoyed myself with this one. Stahelski is such an action movie nerd and I hope he gets blank cheques for the rest of his career. And if one effusively praising review isn’t enough to convince you, Dave Bond’s got one of his own too!
2] Creed III
$10,444,597 / $140,889,000
3] Shazam! Fury of the Gods
$9,700,000 / $46,306,765
Hi, it’s me, I’m the problem, it’s me in that I haven’t actually managed to see Fury of the Gods yet despite adoring the original Shazam! enough to put it on my Top 20 of 2019. The joys of trying to balance screening times with other life plans and money. That said, yeah, Levi and Sandberg really do seem to be trying to attempt some kind of land-speed record in burning through all my goodwill/sympathy. Free advice to all creatives: you can just not tweet/Insta live when your work isn’t doing so hot critically or financially. It’s actually real easy and you look better for it.
4] Scream VI
$8,400,000 / $89,892,710
As somebody with no skin in the game, I gotta say that it’s a pretty damning indictment of the writers of Wednesday if, as the round of interviews she’s been on this month are any indication, Jenna Ortega really is having to come to them multiple times a day to say they’re shit at their jobs and don’t know what they’re doing.
$3,250,000 / $27,834,100
The “different piece” I was late finishing, incidentally, was my comprehensive review of The Last of Us season one. If I didn’t have the time crunch of a train the following morning bearing down on me, plus the risk of Wendy having a heart-attack when presented with the word-count, I probably would’ve written even more about it. There’s a lot to discuss! Most of it good! Go read what did make it to print!
6] Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
$2,420,000 / $209,862,892
There are a lot of developing details coming from the afore-linked Jonathan Majors allegations at time of writing, so I’ll refrain for now from going scorched earth (both for legal and personal-hope reasons). What I will do, however, is boost this tweet and extend its sentiments to any abuse allegation story which comes through the wire. I don’t care if doing so is your coping mechanism or you’re doing it ironically or if it later turns out that the allegations are false or whatever; stop making jokes about abuse allegations. Have some goddamn motherfucking empathy for the alleged victims, what in the hell is the matter with you?!
7] Cocaine Bear
$2,090,000 / $62,132,205
Wanted to try and make a cocaine-based segway for this plug but my sheltered naivety about drugs is causing me to come up dry. Instead, I’ll just say that V/H/S/99 is now on Blu-Ray and Amy Walker’s checked it out.
8] Jesus Revolution
$2,000,000 / $49,033,349
You say you want a re-vo-lution, weeeelll why don’t you PICKITUP PICKITIP PICKITUP! Lee Thacker got the chance to examine the BFI’s restoration of early-80s ska documentary Dance Craze.
$1,540,000 / $13,562,935
I had a really, really fun time at the Dick & Dom in da Bungalow live tour they’re currently doing. You can tell me that nostalgia is a sickness one must always be sceptical of all you want. There was just something really comforting about sitting down for two hours and watching a core joyful memory from my childhood play the hits, like the last 15 years of maturity and increasing existential terror never happened. Also, hilariously, turns out that it’s way easier to get kids to understand the rules of games featured on the show than the grown adults who were on-stage as confessed fans from back in the day.
10] Avatar: The Way of Water
$1,400,000 / $680,440,963
*checks calendar to make sure this will be the last time we see Avatar on the list* Farewell, Avatar! Shame you couldn’t beat out Tom Cruise and Black Panther domestically in the end. But, hey! There’s always next time! And the time after that! And the time after that! And are you absolutely certain, James, that you want to spend the twilight of your career on this franchise instead of literally anything more interesting? Just checking.
Dropped out: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Callie Petch off top on your bitch like Darby.