Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 02/12/22 – 04/12/22

Spoiler Alert: the post-Thanksgiving theatrical landscape is pretty dire, though Violent Night makes a minor killing, and Other Box Office News.

I mean, it shouldn’t exactly be a shock that this weekend was a crater given that, historically, the post-Thanksgiving zone has always been a wasteland and Thanksgiving this year was whatever the opposite of a roaring success is.  Yeah, it’s still somewhat notable that, since we don’t count the Major Pandemic Years as canon, this was the worst such since 1997, but that’s like determining the worst AJR single.  At a certain point, you’re arguing over millimetres, y’know?  What’s much more surprising is that we have actual NEWS in one of these for me to write up, rather than vamping for time!  That is a genuine novelty!

Let’s start with the bad news first.  Or, more accurately, the news relating to various trends of differing longstanding being brought to an ignominious end.  Perhaps the longest-serving trend, that of Disney animated features at the very least making their budgets back at the cinema, saw the writing on the wall last weekend when Strange World debuted to a genuinely catastrophic $12.1 million and, this weekend, we can now nail that coffin firmly shut.  $4.9 million across the three-day, a terminal 60% drop, and a worldwide total barely cresting over $40 million at time of writing.  It should tell you a lot about our current chart that such a performance was still easily the third-best of the weekend.

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Elsewhere, Crunchyroll has been making pretty penny over the last few years by putting on Wide release screenings of smash-hit anime movies, to such an extent that they’ve been a very reliable earner for the streaming service and desperate Box Office writers needing content week-in-week-out.  That run ends today as The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie – basically How I Met Your Mother but if all the mother possibilities were twins and that premise actually sounds way less charming and way more skeevy now that I’m typing it out – could merely romance $502,000 from 910 screens, a PTA of $551.

Still, that’s much better than Paramount’s latest dip back into the Top Gun: Maverick well.  Presumably under the deluded belief that the movie and Tom Cruise are golden gods incapable of ever turning into a goldfish mid-cliff fall and splatting on the jagged rocks below, this seven-month old mega-successful movie which has already had one major cinema re-release, is currently on home video, and will hit Paramount’s own streaming service in just over three weeks got a nearly 2,000 screen re-release this past weekend.  Swiftly and firmly bringing an end to the re-release goldmine trend of recent months, Maverick flamed out with just $700,000.  Was still good for 11th, though, cos that’s the kinda chart we deal with post-Thanksgiving.

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Alright, that’s the bad news out of the way.  We do have two bright spots to discuss!  The first was the sole proper new Wide release for the weekend – Quintuplets and the actually-successful I Heard the Bells were both niche event releases playing just under full nationwide status – Violent Night.  Whilst maybe having its meme-momentum cut out from under it due to the release of the Cocaine Bear trailer days earlier, Die Hard but with Literal Santa nonetheless racked up a quietly impressive showing that took it to Wakanda Forever far more than anyone really expected.

It was also the only other film to open above $5 million this weekend, a very comfortable second with $13.3 million.  Our other success story was in Limited Release.  No, not Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter; that A24 release clanging to the tune of $33,657 from 29 screens (a PTA of $1,160).  Rather, Spoiler Alert, the dramatization of TV critic Michael Ausiello’s memoir about the year in which his partner Kit Cowan contracted terminal cancer.  Fun.  $85,000 worth of people from six screens seemed to think so, at least; a PTA of $14,166.

He sees you when you’re Full Listing, he knows when you’re awake.

US Box Office Results: Friday 2nd December 2022 – Sunday 4th December 2022

1] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

$17,593,000 / $393,724,077

DOWN TO ONE CRUTCH, BABY!  NO HOUSE CAN CONTAIN ME ANYMORE!  Which means, yes, I finally saw both Wakanda Forever and Glass Onion.  Loved them both!  Ryan Coogler is a goddamn miracle worker, there is no reason why Wakanda should hang together as near-completely as it does.  Not quite on the level of the original, mainly due to the MCU Franchise Maintenance tendrils creeping in round the edges and taking focus away from this super-nuanced and emotionally complex exploration of grief, the lingering trauma of colonialism, and the spectres of White western superpowers deliberately destabilising what should be allies with common interests and shared trauma for their own benefit.  But, as you can probably tell, that other stuff I just listed off is fantastic.  The Angela Bassett Best Supporting Actress campaign starts here!

2] Violent Night

$13,300,000 / NEW

Was meant to see this on Sunday but got held up going all goo-goo gaga at my best friend’s new baby.  On the one hand, how dare my friends start getting married and birthing kids when we’re barely cresting 30 to remind me of the inexorable passage of time and gradual death of youth.  On the other hand, she’s literally just discovered what her tongue is and OH MY GOD IT’S SO ADORABLE, IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO HER I’LL KILL EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM AND THEN MYSELF.

3] Strange World

$4,921,000 / $25,519,736

Was also meant to see this on Sunday, but it ran up a little too close to my friend’s early afternoon birthday party so has to go on the backburner for a tad longer.  Hello, it’s me, I’m the problem.

4] The Menu

$3,556,000 / $24,724,732

Speaking of blackly-comic horrors, and also the inexorable passage of time, Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers is 10 bloody years old now!  Who gave it permission to do that?  Certainly not Leslie Byron Pitt, who’s shocked that the movie remains so fresh and surprising even today!

5] Devotion

$2,799,993 / $13,800,000

Also on the “I’M NOT OLD, I’M NOT OLD as I shrink into a corncob” side of things, Far Cry 3 turned 10 on Sunday.  Join Amy Walker on a fun ride back to a time where The Ubisoft Game was a refreshing breath of chaotically innovative air and not Almost Literally Every Single Fucking AAA Game Which Gets Released Nowadays.

6] I Heard the Bells

$1,817,446 / $2,584,458 / NEW

Despite what I alluded to up top, this may not actually be a faith movie.  The IMDB synopsis says that it’s a drama about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet behind the poem “Christmas Bells,” with nary a mention of religion in sight.  But I’ve also seen enough Fathom Events releases on the chart by this point to take a pretty confident guess that this has some Jesus-y element at least somewhere.  Not judging, mind.  More power to them, so long as they stop shoving out anti-abortion dramas by Kirk Cameron.

7] Black Adam

$1,665,000 / $165,172,000

Sure, I’m finally going to see THE HEIRARCHY OF POWER IN THE DC UNIVERSE CHANGE this week, but who cares.  It’s all about that Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 trailer in this household, baby!  Stamp all over my heart, James Gunn, you beautiful sonuvabitch!

8] The Fabelmans

$1,299,554 / $5,565,000

I would like it on record that I fully support Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s call for more autobiographical coming-of-age movies by Jewish directors where the kid switches schools in the middle and gets advice from an old relative and both their parents are played by non-Jews and the mom was in Brokeback Mountain.  Specifically, so long as the mom is played by Linda Cardellini.  Make it happen, Hollywood!

9] Bones and All

$1,191,266 / $6,041,000

Maybe it’s for the best that Bones and All ain’t here for the long haul.  There are only so many ways I can go “may I take a moment to read to you from the good book Preacher’s Daughter by our lord and saviour Ethel Cain” before somebody on this staff sics Jehovah’s on me.

10] Ticket to Paradise

$849,825 / $66,524,000

Our head honcho messaged me on the editor chats at the weekend to inform me she wasn’t cutting a word of Paul Regan’s giant anti-Tory rant in the middle of his The Chimes review.  It’s gestures like that which makes me proud to contribute here.

Dropped out: Glass Onion, The Chosen Season 3: Episode 1 & 2

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