Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 31/01/20 – 02/02/20

Films that weren’t Birds of Prey dropped to complete indifference, and Other Box Office News.

January, a month which has gained the not-unearned reputation of being a dumping ground for no-hopers and total stinkers, always saves its biggest dumps for first and last.  That first being the very first weekend of the year when everyone is too hungover from Christmas and New Year, and subsequently too disorientated by having to reacclimate to the standard week structure rather than existing holiday date to holiday date, to get to the cinema.  That last, meanwhile, being Super Bowl Weekend where the entire Sunday of the three-day weekend period ends up being a total wash because of the FOOOOTBAAAAAAAAAAALLLL!!!!  And since this was the first Super Bowl since 2016 to not feature the Patriots in some capacity – a fact I definitely knew off the top of my head and certainly did not have to look up because I am extremely knowledgeable about and a massive fan of The Sports – you can bet your arse that nothing was released and little of interest happened.  Real short one, today, folks.

Anyways, since this also doubles as the pre-Birds of Prey death slot, our only pair of major new releases comprised DOA pictures which had been shunted repeatedly around the schedule for the past year in a fruitless effort to potentially salvage them.  “Best” performing, as in “it didn’t end up setting any dubious records,” was Oz Perkins’ Gretel & Hansel, the fourth horror movie to come out in the last five weeks because everybody was too terrified of IT Chapter Two to bother putting any horror movies out in October last year.

Perhaps completely unsurprisingly given that prior fact, plus the additional facts of it having received zero marketing and the reviews being decidedly mixed, it barely cracked $6 million for fourth place across 3,000 screens, just slightly ahead of The Gentlemen and the eighth week of Jumanji (themselves only separated by $10,000).  Still, could’ve been way worse.  Also opening on over 3,000 screens was Reed Morano’s dreary snore of a gritty revenge thriller, The Rhythm Section, which cracked the Top 10 by the skin of its teeth with the absolute worst opening for a film on this scale of all-time – $2.8 million, a per-screen average of $918.  The previous record holder?  Hoot, a 2006 family comedy about precocious children trying to save an owl habitat from evil property developers, starring future Academy Award winner Brie Larson!  …yeah, I don’t know, either, although that’s definitely something the garbage-enthusiast in me needs to hunt down sharpish.

the rhythm section cover

Yeah, we’re on the Full List already.  Like I said, Super Bowl Weekend.  Relatedly, this is a day late cos I inadvertently stayed up in a depressive funk watching the game.  That’s how The Sports get you!

US Box Office Results: Friday 31st January 2020 – Sunday 2nd February 2020

1] Bad Boys for Life

$17,675,000 / $148,051,531

Actually, I’m looking down this list of the all-time worst opening weekends by movies on 3,000+ screens and there’s a fascinating selection of garbage and unfairly overlooked cult classics on there.  Fun Size, Burnt, Missing Link, Hardcore Henry, Quest for Camelot, Shorts.  I think you could get a good weekly series of examining articles out of this list if you tried.  So, there’s a free idea to anyone out there with the drive and financial security to go in on it all, cos I don’t have either of those things right now.

2] 1917

$9,660,000 / $119,246,389

Got a clean sweep bar-one when it came to my BAFTA predictions this year – was pleasantly tripped up by the Original Screenplay trophy going to Parasite rather than Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – which pleases the betting side of me but largely displeases the side of me who gives a shit about the awards themselves.  On that note, are BAFTA hoping that the public self-flagellation on display by both hosts and several winners (most obviously Joaquin Phoenix) with regards to the continued failure to get on with recognising diverse voices is going to be an acceptable enough penitence for when they inevitably make no forward strides next year?  You know, the straight White male non-apology where they don’t actually improve afterwards and their tone is extremely insincere to demonstrate they’re only doing this out of being forced to?  Cos, if so, the Me of 12 months from now has some very bad news for them.

3] Dolittle

$7,700,000 / $55,218,820

Good thing that fan movement to get Robert Downey, Jr. an Oscar for Endgame never went anywhere, cos otherwise he would’ve just Norbit-ed himself.  Review coming soon on Soundsphere, hopefully.

4] Gretel & Hansel

$6,050,830 / NEW

Oh, there was one Limited Release of note, actually.  Sundance darling The Assistant, a drama about a day in the life of an assistant to Not Harvey Weinstein, decided to take advantage of the buzz it’s already worked up over the last week in Park City by hitting cinemas now instead of, say, eight months from now.  Perhaps it’s just because the last two weekends have been so utterly dismal that this only looks good comparatively, but I do think $84,702 from 4 screens (a PTA of $21,176) is a quality start for a supposedly unconventional and very confrontational drama.  We’ll see how it does in later weeks.

5] The Gentlemen

$6,010,000 / $20,441,089

After rewatching RockNRolla, I have come to this very reasonable request: Guy Ritchie needs to write and direct a gay rom-com.  Would he probably turn out to be ill-suited to the genre, just like all the non-U.N.C.L.E. non-gangster movies he’s made?  Most likely.  Would it be horribly offensive?  Almost definitely.  Should he do it anyway?  Hell fucking yes!  It’s the logical endpoint of his career arc!  Why the hell would he still be making movies if it wasn’t to lead up to an actual gay rom-com?

6] Jumanji: The Next Level

$6,000,000 / $291,217,153

At the end of last week, we here at Set the Tape unveiled the two-part countdown of our collective Best Films of the 2010s.  It was a joy to work with everyone on-staff putting this together and I think the list has largely turned out pretty darn well, all things considered.  Please go and check the two parts out, if you’re yet to!

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

$3,193,000 / $507,056,021

Because Star Wars unfortunately never stops, Ian’s given a check-in to the latest issue of the Star Wars Adventures comic series.

8] The Turning

$3,050,000 / $11,705,440

So, this particular long-gestating passion project film adaptation of a legendary pre-1900s novel didn’t turn out very good, but did Terry Gilliam’s finally-released take on The Man Who Killed Don Quixote manage to beat the odds and be worth the wait?  Lee Thacker says, “A flawed masterpiece? To the former, yes; to the latter, sadly not.”  Shit.

9] Little Women

$3,015,000 / $98,770,632

You bet your arse that I wanna see Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan make their equivalent of The Irishman when they’re both old enough!  Much rather have director-star pairings like those two than the shite Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg keep dishing out.

10] The Rhythm Section

$2,800,000 / NEW

Since you’re probably curious, cos I know I was heading in: it’s called The Rhythm Section because Jude Law’s prickly mentor character, whilst giving advice to Blake Lively’s Nikita-knockoff in how to shoot guns, tells her to treat controlling her breathing and pulse like they’re an orchestra, the breathing being “the rhythm section” and the heartbeat being “the bass.”  Because you’re still curious: yes, this movie does ask you to take it extremely seriously despite shit like that and, no, this exchange is not relevant at all to the movie after the one scene.  Dave Bond was similarly not impressed.

Dropped out: Just Mercy, Knives Out

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