Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 31/08/18 – 02/09/18

Traditionally-empty weekend where nothing much of note happens lives up to said tradition, and Other Box Office News.

…I know, you’re confused.  It’s a Tuesday yet the Box Office Report is only just now running.  What gives, right?  Well, you see, friends, I was merely exercising my right to the wonders of Labor Day Weekend by taking the Monday off and doing far more engaging things like, say, finally polishing the various sides in my room or re-alphabetising my CD collection for the hundredth time or diligently not listening to that surprise new Eminem album because it is 2018 WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT EMINEM?!  All of those are far more interesting than reporting on the Labor Day Weekend Box Office because Hollywood never releases anything across this notoriously slow weekend, leading to self-fulfilling prophecies and budding writers having to vamp for time because merely copy-pasting the previous week’s article and calling it a day is considered to be in bad faith.  But I’ve been inconsistent in this ostensibly weekly series up to now, so here we are.  Let’s make room-temperature OJ out of some mouldy lemons!

Threepeating at the summit of the chart, the first film to do so since Infinity War, we have the unstoppable juggernaut that is Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, continuing to do so in utterly dominant fashion with a $22.2 million weekend haul which is a mere 10% off from last weekend, itself dipping just 6% from its opening weekend.  These are the kinds of numbers I haven’t seen since, arguably, My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002 when that film finally went Wide.  And Asians may also be gunning for Greek’s $241 million domestic total given that it has already blown past the $100 million mark this week; for a contrast, The Equalizer 2 has only just now scraped past the century (in Week 7) and that’s toplined by one of the biggest movie stars alive.  Whilst on the subject of milestones, Disney put Incredibles II back into cinemas nationwide this weekend in order to, akin to Black Panther and $700 mil domestic, drag the film kicking and screaming up to $600 million domestic.  Not only did they manage it, making Incredibles II only the ninth film in history to achieve the milestone, they almost managed to break the film back into the Top 10!  Mile 22 only held Incredibles off by a mere $400,000 in case you needed an indicator of how much people love Pixar and how little they give a shit about Mark Wahlberg.

As for the debuting movies that make up the vast substance of this preamble, it’s bad news all round.  Both in the sense that they did poorly and also in the sense that I had not actually heard of any of these before sitting down to write because “fuck you, it’s late-August.”  Leading the charge was the Nazi-hunting drama Operation Finale, a film that reeks of Failed Oscar Bait being pushed out now for fear that dropping it in between the actual good-looking Oscar films may bring down the market value of that release schedule real estate or something.  It’s the highest charting entry of the weekend in fourth place with $6 million, in any case.  Lionsgate made a kid-focussed…?  I genuinely have no idea who Kin is for.  It’s a low-budget sci-fi action film about a boy, his ex-con older brother, a stripper, and a railgun that utterly failed to crack the Top 10 despite playing in over 2,000 theatres; $3,020,000 which, yes, was less than the twelfth weekend of Incredibles II.

Then in Moderate Release, we have the new Lenny Abrahamson no – wait Lenny “Frank, Room” Abrahamson made a new movie AND THIS IS THE FIRST I’M HEARING ABOUT IT?!  Somebody at Focus Features better be getting a stern bollocking for cocking this one up!  And “cocking this one up” they sure did because The Little Stranger, an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ ghost story of the same name, debuted on 474 theatres to promptly disappear without a trace, taking just $417,000.  That’s a per-screen average opening of just $880 which Box Office Mojo describes as “soft,” sort of like calling a high-speed head-on collision with a lorry carrying barrels of hydrochloric acid that wash all over you in the wreckage that occurs on your journey to work “a minor setback.”  Clouds and silver-linings, though, as Searching’s nationwide expansion at least went well, with $5.7 million bitmined from 1,200 theatres.

I’m not even supposed to Full List today!

US Box Office Results: Friday 31st August 2018 – Sunday 2nd September 2018

1] Crazy Rich Asians

$22,235,000 / $110,961,388

Got to see this at a Cineworld Unlimited Screening on Saturday night so a review is coming along in the next few days.  It’s one of the best films of the year.  Get hyped.

2] The Meg

$10,530,000 / $120,516,416

Think it’s weird that this film got away with a 12a?  You’re not the only one, and it’s partly responsible for this big ol’ rant at the BBFC that I penned over at my place as a response to Sean McAllister’s working class documentary A Northern Soul being rated 15.  Why not check that out?  The article and the film, if the latter’s playing near you.

3] Mission: Impossible – Fallout

$7,000,000 / $204,346,529

A strong-ass $77 million opening in China this weekend pretty much guarantees that this is going to topple Ghost Protocol for highest-grossing entry in the series worldwide.  Heck, it’s only $10 mil away from M:I II’s $215 million domestic total as we speak, so let the record books forever enshrine that this series I just don’t get has never before been more successful or whatever.

4] Operation Finale

$6,000,000 / $7,727,095 / NEW

St. Vincent was magnificent, thanks for asking.

5] Searching

$5,700,000 / $6,208,480

As I’ve mentioned before, I saw this a month ago and was a big fan up until the worst final 15 minutes of the year so far.  Do you remember how Their Finest utterly cratered in the stupidest way possible about 20 minutes before the end?  …ok, let me rephrase that, do you remember Their Finest?  Actually, that’s getting off-topic.  Point is, it’s a real bad ending that taints everything great the film otherwise managed to do beforehand.  Aneesh Chaganty hopefully has great things ahead of him, but it’s a shame he fumbled so badly inches away from the endzone.

6] Disney’s Christopher Robin

$5,032,000 / $85,440,868

Christopher Robin has been doing solid business in the US, $85 mil domestic and still climbing is nothing to sniff at, but over here in the UK it is an all-conquering beast of a movie which, y’know, duh.  Whenever I’ve been to my local cinema since the film came out, I have seen actual crowds of people, all ages, piling into the screens showing it and that’s a sight I don’t normally have.

7] Alpha

$4,450,000 / $27,372,220

Aaaaaaand it went before I could see it.  Not saying I am particularly surprised by that development, nor particularly upset since that meant I didn’t have to trek 40-odd miles out of my way to see BlacKkKlansman cos that took its place, nor do I particularly care because it didn’t look very good… Wait, where was I going with this?

8] The Happytime Murders

$4,410,000 / $17,025,694

I didn’t hate this like 90% of other critics do, mainly because I have a soft spot for the technical feats inherent in puppetry that the Henson Company practices, but it is decidedly Not Good at All.  Nobody seems to have put any level of thought into it, which is amazing considering that it’s been in development for a decade, right down to feinting in the direction of the Roger Rabbit “oppressed minorities” metaphor before abandoning it for long stretches of time in favour of endless dick jokes.  Which, for the record, I would have been fine with if they were GOOD dick jokes, but they aren’t in the slightest.  It’s a criminal wasting of a great idea on the laziest version possible that many other people have done better years before.  You’re better off watching something on Owen’s puppet media list instead.

9] BlacKkKlansman

$4,140,000 / $38,330,825

This may be the best film I’ve seen all year, my God.  I look forward to talking about it in less constricted circumstances some time because… WOW.  I actually had a churning sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach during one particular stretch of film and that WASN’T the extremely provocative ending montage.  Nobody does it like Spike Lee when he is on like this.

10] Mile 22

$3,580,000 / $31,776,334

Before the Money in the Bank PPV this year, WWE would constantly run an ad hyping the Ronda Rousey/Nia Jax title match that I always found inadvertently hilarious.  “She was ready for the Olympics,” that was true, yep.  “She was ready for UFC,” also not really up for debate despite those last two matches, so two for two.  “She was ready for Hollywood.”  …err, are you sure about that, WWE?  Cos, well, I know that statistically nobody else saw the Entourage movie, but I did and… eesh, is all I’ll say about that.  And her cameo in Furious 7 was somehow stiffer and more unnatural than frickin’ Rita Ora’s in Fast & Furious 6 despite only having to say, like, two lines!  She’s… she’s a bad actress.  Like, really bad.

Ronda, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.  You can break my bones with a glare.  Please don’t kill me.

Dropped Out: A.X.L.Slender Man

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