Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 24/01/20 – 26/01/20

Audiences turn, tuurn, tuuuuuurn, tuuuuuuuurn away from new releases, and Other Box Office News.

Although it may be a busy month by the usual January standards of the past two decades, this is still a January we’re dealing with, so today’s Box Office Report looks a heck of a lot like last Tuesday’s Box Office Report in terms of numbers crunched.  Bad Boys for Life is still reigning atop the chart with a shockingly excellent 46% drop to $34 million in its sophomore frame, perhaps making this one film with a mid-credits sequel tease that’ll actually get followed up on – that particular trend being another way that movies have been stealing from video games in recent years, although at least this one is stealing from PS2-era gaming rather than current-gen gaming?  Newly-minted DGA winner Sam Mendes is once again in the silver medal position with 1917 which held on far better this weekend than it did following those Oscar nominations, dropping just 28% to $15.8 million in incontrovertible proof that the Director’s Guild Awards are clearly better and more important to the general public than the Oscars.  And Doolittle once more slotted into the bronze seat with an alright 43% drop from opening weekend to $12.5 million cos there are zero other family movies out in January and the kids have gotta see something other than the bad Star War eventually.

It’s not until fourth that we find Guy Ritchie’s midlife crisis return to the overly-complex fast-talking British gangster movie world which made his name and, frankly aside from Man From U.N.C.L.E., his only halfway decent movies, The Gentlemen.  To be fair, $11 million isn’t really much of an upset given that this is an R-rated, dialogue-heavy, and unapologetically British (right down to the specific kinds of prevalent racism) throwback gangster movie being dumped in mid-January by a studio who (supposedly) hasn’t been advertising it much in the US.  What’s definitely an upset is Floria Sigismondi’s adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, here shortened to just The Turning for reasons I can’t fathom, which managed a mere $7.3 million and, far worse, became the 21st movie in Cinemascore’s history to be slapped with an “F” grade by audiences.  In fact, that’s the second instance of such a record this month, following on from Nicolas Pesce’s Grudge pre-make-quel three weeks ago, which is a great sign for next week’s Gretel & Hansel – the fourth horror of the month, SPREAD YOUR SHIT OUT GUYS – and perhaps but hopefully not an omen for the year at large.  Please let Birds of Prey be great, at least!

Elsewhere, we’ve got a couple of mildly-developed stories to check in on.  Following its big boost on the Awards Season circuit, Bong Joon-ho’s outstanding (FINALLY SAW IT) Parasite has seen a minor renaissance as it closes out its fourth month in US cinemas, growing 17% from last weekend, banking another $2 million and, having cracked $30 mil domestic, becoming distributor Neon’s biggest film ever as well as the biggest South Korean movie in America to date.  Sticking with Neon, their great but crushingly bleak death penalty drama Clemency was bumped up to Moderate Release in 127 screens and summarily executed by a less than favourable jury of audiences; $86,500, for a PTA of $681.  Meanwhile, after getting off to an excellent start last weekend, Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering with You plummeted over 60% in its sophomore frame as yet another reminder that I clearly do not know what the fuck I am talking about when it comes to these things; $693,231 from 458 screens.  The one major new Moder-Limited release of the weekend, acclaimed Nicholas Cage-starring Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space, similarly got off to a qualifiable start with $217,800 from 81 screens (a PTA of $2,689) although Color did perhaps burn through a bunch of its initial demand on Wednesday through a special preview screening which brought in an additional $140,000.  Movies!  They’re always happening!

the gentlemen cover

Come ‘ave a butchers at the two and eight Barclays Bank of this Full List to see who made the bees and honey whilst I head off to the Gary Glitter for a bird.

US Box Office Results: Friday 24th January 2020 – Sunday 26th January 2020

1] Bad Boys for Life

$34,000,000 / $120,644,165

So, objectively, this is the best entry in the franchise, in the sense that it has conventionally legible action and isn’t slavishly devoted to slinging nihilistic frat-bro hatefulness around everywhere.  But also, like, it’s been a week since I saw it and I’m still not quite sure what the point of making a self-serious Bad Boys movie is?  It’d be like making a Crank movie that asks you to grapple with the emotional turmoil powering Chev Chelios as he has public sex with his girlfriend on the Jumbotron at a World Series finale.  You can tell Joe Carnahan’s fingerprints were all over this at one point.

2] 1917

$15,800,000 / $103,883,309

BAFTA preview piece will be up over at my place later in the week, but I think this is a lock for Best Film by now.  Not sure about Best Picture at the Oscars, a part of me thinks Tarantino may be about to get the Scorsese Departed treatment there, but BAFTAs are likely locked on 1917 unless they want to prove that vaulting over the one-inch barrier when Roma won last year wasn’t a one-time occurrence by correctly giving it to Parasite.

3] Dolittle

$12,500,000 / $44,684,730

Previews for this are running here in the UK at the weekend so I’ll hopefully be able to make an informed comment on the film when we next speak.  There’s a good chance my “informed comment” will be little more than some variation on “what in the fuck happened here?!” but at least I’ll be able to say it with conviction this time!

4] The Gentlemen

$11,030,000 / NEW

Dave Bond and I both saw this on New Year’s Day when it was released in the UK – separately, cos we live in entirely different parts of the country.  We’re in basic agreement that it’s good fun if wholly forgettable, which is what Greatest Hits movies usually end up like so you can’t really complain too much.  I would’ve given it an entire extra star, and rescinded every single criticism past and future of the former of this pair, if Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant had fucked at the climax, though.

5] Jumanji: The Next Level

$7,700,000 / $283,245,800

Speaking of videogames, I’ve finally been playing Hitman 2 – not the Hitman 2 from 2002 that I have already struggled through several times over the years, the one on current-gen from 2018 – and part of the reason why this week’s post is so late is due to my putting it off to try my first ever Elusive Target before that contract expired!  …no, I did not get away with the kill so, yes, that was a waste of time on my end.  Let’s not focus on the details, be happy for me.

6] The Turning

$7,300,000 / NEW

We’re in the home stretch of our infrequent Best of the 2010s series of articles here at Set the Tape!  Before unveiling our collective Top 25 Films of the Decade at the week’s end, though, why not check out Jenn Reid’s op-ed detailing the evolution of the horror genre over the past 10 years?

7] Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker

$5,173,000 / $501,583,140

Yes, I have glanced through Colin Trevorrow’s rejected Star Wars screenplay.  Yes, it does on paper sound immeasurably better than the film that J.J. Abrams dragged across the finish line to deafening whimpers.  However, much like how the mythical Justice League Snyder Cut has one tiny little major flaw impeding it – namely, it’s a goddamned unfinished and definitely unreleasable workprint that’s missing key scenes Snyder himself hadn’t shot yet – Trevorrow’s Duel of the Fates would still have had to contend with the fact that Trevorrow as a director… how can I put this delicately… sucks.

8] Little Women

$4,600,000 / $93,627,401

Life advice for anybody who likes to spend full days at a cinema ticking off viewings all at once: do not schedule a viewing of The Personal History of David Copperfield straight after Little Women.  Whilst still being a really enjoyable and extremely well-made fun time at the movies, Iannucci’s film is not done any favours when following Gerwig’s masterpiece, particularly in the similarities both end up sharing.

9] Just Mercy

$4,030,000 / $27,053,382

On the one hand, this proposed Universal-Warner Bros. home media joint venture at least firms up a continuing presence from both in the physical media (and especially Blu-ray) markets for a little while longer, which pleases me as someone whose Blu-ray collection is about to fill up every last very wide shelf in their wardrobe and has an intense scepticism of streaming services at every juncture.  On the other hand, groundwork for potential corporate monolithic monopolies is hella unethical and mad stomach-ache-inducing, yo.

10] Knives Out

$3,650,000 / $151,865,922

You’d better believe that we had staff members engaged in mortal kombat over the review rights to the first episode of Star Trek: Picard.  Lee Thacker ended up winning out and you can read his thoughts on the pilot here.

Dropped out: Like a Boss, Frozen II

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