Film Discussion

US Box Office Report: 03/03/23 – 05/03/23

Creed remains undefeated, Demon slain, Operation MisFortune, and Other Box Office News.

Welp, if anybody was wondering whether or not people would care about Creed once Rocky Balboa officially exited, you now have your definitive answer: they very much do.  The Rocky legacyquel that miraculously came genuinely good is now on entry #3 and continues to go from strength to strength financially.  It’s obviously your new United States Box Office Champion of the World, since Ant-Man is in the midst of a real catastrophic freefall, but what’s most noteworthy is how Creed III has managed to log the best opening weekend of any Rocky movie ever; an astonishing $58.6 million, topping even Creed II’s Thanksgiving five-day opening of $56 million.

And, yes, that statistic holds even if you adjust for inflation since Rocky IV’s $19.9 million in 1985 translates to $55.5 million in 2023 money.  What can I say?  People love Rocky movies, they love the prospect of BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT, and it looks like they love star Jonathan Majors who has just pulled off the unicorn-rare feat of having back-to-back #1 movies in consecutive weeks.  Knew that my buying up all the available Majors stock after The Harder They Fall’s premiere would pay dividends!

READ MORE: Drift – Partners in Crime – TV Review

It’s a lot less rosy out there for the other new releases this weekend.  Going in, more than a few box office prognosticators weren’t prepared to be sneak-attacked by the almighty Demon Slayer franchise a second time after Mugen Train became a ginormous crossover smash in the bleakest of pandemics, predicting big things for *deep breath* Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village Arc.  Sure, it wasn’t opening on many premium format screens like Mugen Train did, since Creed hogged most of those, but fool me once and all that!

In actuality, everybody ended up being fooled twice after all since, surprise, Swordsmith wasn’t actually a movie – just the final two episodes of season two and the premiere of season three awkwardly stapled together, bumpers and intros and lengthy multi-minute credit scrolls still intact – and word about such a blatant cash-grab got out fast.  Still, money is money, no matter how it is gained, and the $10.1 million banked was both good enough for fourth place and a decent size better than other recent Crunchyroll releases.

READ MORE: Creed III – Film Review

And then we come to the dispiriting tale of Guy Ritchie’s ever-beleaguered Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Originally due for release in January 2022 by STX Entertainment with marketing already in full swing, a COVID resurgence made the studio pump the brakes for a couple of months whilst we waited to see how badly it would affect cinemagoing (answer: not much).  Then, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine caused everybody to hastily pull Fortune from the calendar with mere weeks to go out of a perceived fear of a movie with Ukrainian henchmen being offensive.

Oh, also, STX basically ceased to exist for a good chunk of 2022 yet refused to sell off Fortune as a bargaining chip for future investment.  Except, in late-February and after the film had already done some international rollout (with no rhyme or reason), they did end up selling US release rights to Lionsgate who proceeded to dump it into American cinemas barely two weeks later with almost no major promotion.  The end result: Ritchie’s worst wide-release opening ever of $3.1 million cos what on earth did anybody expect to happen here?

One step, one punch, one Full List at a time.

US Box Office Results: Friday 3rd March 2023 – Sunday 5th March 2023

1] Creed III

$58,658,008 / NEW

Well, I would like to say that Creed III was great and move on, but I had to suffer through the worst cinema crowd I’ve experienced in years which meant I couldn’t lose myself in the film at all.  Nearly full house but EVERYBODY was talking, checking their off-silent full-brightness phones, calls ANSWERED, blatant screen-recording.  Majorly fucked off by this; had been looking forward to Creed for months and am normally a firm “watching blockbusters in cinema with other people is like nothing else” believer, but all the twats were out in force on Saturday.  Will go for a second screening in a few weeks once things quiet down, but, God, I hate that this got ruined for me.  Dave Bond got to watch the film, at least, and he has a review ready for you.

2] Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

$12,471,000 / $186,799,000

It’s time for another thrilling instalment of Nuclear Takes with Callie Petch!

This one’s being over-hated.  Sure, it’s just-barely passable, but in the same way that every non-Wakanda Forever (for good) and Love and Thunder (for ill) Marvel film post-Endgame has been.  Whatever they were paying Kathryn Newton and Michelle Pfeiffer for holding this thing together until Jonathan Majors turned up, it wasn’t enough.  Majors obviously also wasn’t getting paid enough but that’s more cos I believe he deserves Scrooge McDuck money-pit-sized cheques for anything he does; man has got IT.

This has been another thrilling instalment of Nuclear Takes with Callie Petch!

3] Cocaine Bear

$11,020,000 / $41,288,320

Better hold than expected (52.6%)!  Really hope 2023 is the year where audiences and studios both rediscover the joy and vitality of mid-budget studio pictures again.  The industry just cannot be Giant Expensive Blockbusters, Prestige/A24 Drama, and the No-Budgets; that’s not healthy.  Thank God for Universal out here repping those films, a move that’s currently paying out big bucks.

4] Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village

$10,117,806 / NEW

A miserable cinema experience by design.  Not kidding about that mention up-top of how little effort went into translating these year-old episodes (plus an early preview of the new season) to a continuous theatrical viewing; a good dozen people walked out of my screening after the second episode because the minutes-long season-ending credits reel was kept in.  And, of course, it ends on a low-key season premiere of television that’s not a satisfying way to boot audiences back out into the world after 100 minutes cos it’s a low-key season premiere of television.  If this were my first exposure to Demon Slayer, rather than Mugen Train which is at least partly penetrable to neophytes and walks like a proper movie, I’d be completely bewildered as to why this is the biggest anime/manga on the planet.  Fortunately, it wasn’t my first Demon Slayer exposure and, YES, I WILL WATCH THE SHOW AT SOME POINT, GET OFF MY CASE.

5] Jesus Revolution

$8,650,000 / $30,541,391

OK, let’s stop pissing and moaning for a sec.  Last Friday, the back catalogue of seminal cult rap trio De La Soul was, after a decade of efforts due to label chicanery and sample clearance issues, finally made available on streaming services.  A bittersweet milestone due to the sudden passing of Trugoy the Dove (Plug Two) a few weeks before, but still one worthy of celebration nonetheless.  An entire generation of rap fans who’ve never been able to easily hear De La are about to get their minds blown by one of rap’s best four-album runs, and that’s real exciting.  Four years ago, on its thirtieth anniversary, Joel Thornton lionised debut 3 Feet High and Rising for this very website; it’s worth going back to after listening to the album.

6] Avatar: The Way of Water

$3,578,000 / $670,632,000

Over at Little White Lies, I went in hard about why Jackass Forever deserves an actual Academy Award.  No, not for Ehren McGhehey – I was too cowardly to send that pitch – but for the film’s editing.  No, for real, this isn’t a bit.  Editors will know what I’m talking about.

7] Operation Fortune: Rose de Guerre

$3,160,000 / NEW

Going straight-to-Prime Video here in the UK, just like Ritchie and Statham’s last collab together, Wrath of Man.  At least I only have to wait a month for this one rather than what felt like at least half-a-year for Wrath, so that’s progress.  Not expecting anything miraculous or worth the year-long delay, but hopefully it’s still a fun time; Ritchie’s best film of the last decade was The Man from U.N.C.L.E., after all.

8] Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

$2,720,000 / $177,127,795

OK, I was all set to do a “can I copy your homework, Spider-Verse?” gag for the TMNT: Mutant Mayhem trailer, but not only does the film look quite fun, I think the lowered frame-rate complements the grungy aesthetic of the art-style really well.  Also, it’s being directed by Jeff Rowe who was a major creative force on Gravity Falls and co-directed The Mitchells vs. The Machines.  In other words, I’m ready for this to become one of my surprise favourites of 2023.

9] Magic Mike’s Last Dance

$1,180,000 / $25,363,000

A movie with some actual fucking heat turned 10 last week, that movie being Park Chan-wook’s sorely-underrated English language debut Stoker.  Said heat is often deeply uncomfortable by deliberate design, but I really am going to take what scraps I can get at this point.  Leslie Byron Pitt sang Stoker’s praises.

10] 80 for Brady

$845,000 / $38,318,383

Wow, I cannot believe we let a typo like this get past our editorial eyeballs.  This Tomb Raider article by Amy Walker is trying to tell me that the reboot game is now 10 years old.  Obviously, this must be a mistake because no way has it been 10 years since that Tomb Raider was released.  It was only yesterday that I went down to my local Blockbuster and rented it on PS3 to blast through in a we…

Oh god.

Dropped out: Knock at the Cabin, Missing, A Man Called Otto

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