Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 13/07/18 – 15/07/18

Hotel Transylvania has many repeat guests, Skyscraper is burning down, many viewers repeat Eighth Grade, …He Won’t Get Far on Foot doesn’t particularly, and Other Box Office News.

Hang on.  Are you trying to tell me that a Friday the 13th came and went without one new release spooky movie to commemorate such an occasion?!  Did the day even happen?  How are we supposed to know about the arrival of a Friday the 13th if there isn’t also a brand new likely ultra-cheap and often terrible spook-fest in tow with it?  I know for a fact that Blumhouse had one ready to go because they’ve got a new Unfriended coming next weekend!  Instead, spook connoisseurs had to settle for spoops as Sony Pictures Animation and Genndy Tartakovsky returned to Hotel Transylvania for a third go-around.  Even despite the shift out of the series’ traditional September release slot, and the middle of Summer not exactly being prime spooky season, Summer Vacation still managed to cream all comers, cruising (eh EH EH) to first place with a weekend haul of $44.1 million, slap-bang in the middle of the series’ openings so far.  Maybe for their next trick, they should try opening in January, I hear there’s a market for that niche…

What there isn’t a market for, however, is watching The Rock star in massively generic and instantly forgettable Die Hard clones as Universal’s attempt to redo The Towering Inferno but with absolutely no new ideas and nothing appealing-looking, Skyscraper, couldn’t even best the pitiful second-weekend of Ant-Man and the Wasp (more on that in a sec).  Opening in third with just $25.4 million, it’s Dwayne Johnson’s worst non-R-rated opening weekend of the decade unless you count The Tooth Fairy, and nobody should ever count The Tooth Fairy in any capacity.  But, of course, as is the Legendary Pictures way, Skyscraper isn’t made for Americans!  It’s made for those lucrative filthy foreign dollars, and in that respect things are… honestly not that much better at the moment, with a combined weekend foreign total of $40.4 million, as is what happens when you launch your movie on the same day as Incredibles II in the UK.  Then again, the film’s not being released in China until next weekend, so maybe they can cause the film to turn a profit in the same way they did that godawful Tomb Raider movie you already forgot came out in March.  Christ, this has been a long year.

Before we move on to the Limited Releases, a brief check-in on last week’s openers.  I know, this is something we don’t normally keep a main-body eye on in these here Reports, but believe it or not, a film’s opening weekend performance doesn’t always equate to its performance over the long-run!  Consider: Ant-Man and the Wasp.  I believe I may have even used the phrase “the Marvel Cinematic Universe is effectively bulletproof by this point” repeatedly around it.  But, uh oh, what’s this?  Not only did it not repeat atop the chart – only the fifth Marvel film to do so, and without the excuses of early in the franchise (Incredible Hulk, Captain America 1) or major competition (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man: Homecoming) – but it also suffered the biggest second-week drop in MCU sequel history: 62%.  62%!  More people went to see Thor: The Dark World a second time than Ant-Man and the Wasp; literally, too, since that even opened higher!  By contrast, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, a film that blew the roof off in Limited Release last weekend, went Wide to 800 theatres, comfortably cracked the Top 10, and all with a per-screen average only slightly below Skyscraper’s ($5,289 to the latter’s $6,738).  GET THIS FILM A UK DISTRIBUTOR ALREADY!

In Limited Release, Gus Van Sant made a grand return to directing apparently good movies again with the Joaquin Phoenix-starring biopic Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot, and you have absolutely no idea just how much the lack of a comma in that title bugs the absolute shit out of me.  Any other weekend and that would be the big story, opening with a healthy $83,120 from 4 screens for an average of $20,780.  But it ain’t, cos A24 came to A24 the place up and remind us that, regardless of some previous shaky results, they still run this Indie game.  Bo Burnham’s rapturously received coming-of-age dramedy Eighth Grade – another one without a UK distributor GET YOUR GODDAMN SHIT TOGETHER PEOPLE – kicked arse and took names, making $252,284 from 4 screens for a year-best average of $63,071.  That average is also more than Rob Reiner’s latest, Shock & Awe, made in total across all 100 of its screens; $41,000.  How the mighty have fallen.

Finally, before we get into proceedings, a correction.  Two weeks ago, I reported that Leave No Trace, the newest feature by Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik, opened to a horrific $24,349 across 9 screens.  This weekend, however, I found out that I was mistaken.  That $24,349 was actually the film’s per-screen average and its actual weekend total across all 9 screens was an infinitely better $219,140.  Such a mishap was the result of Box Office Mojo, where I get my info for these pieces, initially printing the per-screen average as the weekend total, with an accompanying per-screen average for that average, a goof that has since unceremoniously been fixed.  I regret the error and felt the need to mention it since this here is a proper-ass professional-ass web-ass site we got going.  We got standards to uphold!  …ok, mid-level standards, but standards nonetheless!

Oh, God, it is way too hot to be doing this.  Roll the Full List, already, before I actually melt!

US Box Office Results: Friday 13th July 2018 – Sunday 15th July 2018

1] Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

$44,100,000 / $45,376,000 / NEW

That discrepancy comes from the fact that Sony held special Amazon Prime exclusive previews on June 30th, in case you’re wondering.  I also can’t believe we Brits actually got the better name out of proceedings for once.  Like, come on, would you rather watch Summer Vacation – generic, placeholder, is not a pun – or A Monster Vacation – works on multiple levels, had thought put into it, is a pun?

2] Ant-Man and the Wasp

$28,840,000 / $132,825,225

So, what’s the big takeaway that Marvel needs to learn from this?  If you answered, “maybe space out your goddamn releases more to let each film breathe instead of trying to drown people in infinite content, gradually devaluing your individual movies until nothing means anything anymore,” then you are technically correct but also don’t display the ruthless business savvy to work at Disney.  Sorry/yay?

3] Skyscraper

$25,485,000 / NEW

Shaun Rodger has reviewed this, and he has informed me that it is “the lovechild of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, competently done but treads no new ground.”  Figured as much.

4] Incredibles II

$16,220,000 / $535,818,492

“Wednesday,” before anyone asks.  As mentioned before, I am dirt poor so my cinema trips have to be rolled into full day sojourns to Hull plotted out long in advance, which means I don’t get to go as often or as easily as I’d like to anymore.  You’ve all managed to hold off on telling me anything for well over a month, which I thank you for, so another 48 hours shouldn’t be too much harder.  I did rewatch the original for the first time in years at the weekend, though, and goddamn is that movie still one of the all-time best superhero films or what?

5] Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom

$15,515,000 / $363,297,215

So, it is weird as hell that something like this, with its prominent human bisection and mass murder and sustained horror, is PG-13 but stuff like Eighth Grade and The Edge of Seventeen are rated R purely because the latter two dare to have characters say the word “fuck” just like, gasp, real teenagers who could do with watching those films made specifically for them, right?  I mean, the latest Insidious or even X-Men: Apocalypse (with multiple clearly-shown beheadings) are perfectly a-ok for 13-year-olds to watch unsupervised but the second somebody says a naughty word more than once or even deigns to mention consensual sexual activities NOPE WE DEFINITELY CANNOT BE HAVING ANY OF THAT!

You can also swap out much of that previous paragraph for BBFC-related gripes and the point would be the same.  What we as a society consider “socially acceptable” is fucked.

6] The First Purge

$9,130,000 / $49,509,970

It is coming, I’m sorry.  I’ve tried all week, really forced myself to get it done and out, but I’ve just been completely lethargic, right down to falling asleep unprompted basically every day for vast periods of time, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why.  And it ain’t just the heat because it’s only been this weekend where it really turned up to affecting levels.  This week: you’ll get my review this week, I promise. In the meantime, here’s what Shaun Rodger thought of it.

7] Sorry to Bother You

$4,258,000 / $5,322,952

*grumble grumble goddamn useless UK distributors grumble will put out Patrick but completely ignore this grumble twits grumble*

8] Sicario: Day of the Soldado

$3,850,000 / $43,200,345

I see we’re all vomiting this one back up in a hurry, thank Christ.

9] Uncle Drew

$3,225,000 / $36,692,040

This is surprisingly fine for a good while.  No gut-busters or anything special, but a solidly entertaining watch until it runs out of steam.  It’s just that said running out of steam occurs by about the 50-minute mark and there’s still another 50 to go after that, so it largely drops the comedy in favour of cheap attempts at unearned drama, and basketball that director Charles Stone III largely overcuts and undershoots despite basketball being one of the few legitimately thrilling spectator sports.  Cast is fun, it’s not horrible, maybe worth a Netflix in the future.

10] Ocean’s 8

$2,910,000 / $132,255,936

Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Widows is opening this year’s London Film Festival, HELL TO THE FUCK YES!  Bring on one last fortnight of pretending I have drive or ability to make this whole “writing about films” thing into a career instead of something that just makes me feel cranky and worthless!

Dropped Out: Tag, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Deadpool 2

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