Last week, the studios behind any film that underperformed blamed the snow storm, and this weekend’s numbers largely proved them right. None of the old releases in the top 10 dropped more than 34% this weekend (an extremely good hold, these days), and overall business was up 46% over the same weekend last year. Leading the way was Kung Fu Panda 3, which earned $41 million, down from KFP 2’s $47.6 million, but more than double the previous best January opening for an animated film. (The Nut Job, $19.4 million in 2014.) And good enough for second or third-best January opening of any kind, depending on final numbers. (1. Ride Along, $41.6 million, 2. Cloverfield, $40.1 million.) A panda who does kung fu — I would’ve never though there was enough meat on that bone for three movies, but here we are. It cost $145 million to produce.
While holdovers flourished — The Revenant, Star Wars, Ride Along 2 — the new releases, aside from Kung Fu Panda 3, delivered lackluster performances at best. The Finest Hours, starring Ben Affleck’s little brother, earned $10.3 million, allegedly in line with expectations, though not great for a movie that reportedly cost $70 million to make. Personally, I’m not that into movies about the weather, but to each their own.
All the way down at number nine was Marlon Wayans’ Fifty Shades Of Black, which looked like all the jokes were written in the 15 minutes they spent setting up the lights, which earned $6.186 million. This was on “the very low side” of expectations. Speaking of expectations, it earned an abysmal C Cinemascore, which is incredible, considering that’s a poll of people who deliberately went to see it. Supposedly it only cost around $5 million to make, which is why he gets to keep making these, I guess. Nonetheless, I firmly believe I could chuck a cat turd in any direction and hit someone who could make a better spoof than the Scary Movie sequel people.
Even below that was Jane Got a Gun, starring Natalie Portman, which began as a Black List script, lost a director, hemorrhaged money and talent, and finally snuck into theaters this past weekend without screening for critics and with almost no advertising. A little more on how that happened:
The producers had sunk too much time and resources into Jane to let it die, but the Weinsteins also couldn’t afford to spend any more money on a film that seemed doomed to fail. As one final gambit, the producers opted into what’s called a “service deal,” an arrangement where they would actually pay the distributors a flat fee and small percentage of the box-office returns just to get it into theaters, at no additional expense to the Weinstein Company. It’s a bare-bones deal, wherein the distributors have no obligation to pony up any of their own money for publicity and advertising.
Not surprisingly, it did poorly. Somewhat surprisingly, it didn’t even crack seven figures.
With an estimated $803,000 from 1,210 theaters, the film scored a mere $664 per theater average. This is, by far, the worst wide release opening in Portman’s career and the worst opening on a per theater average with 2011’s Hesher, which opened in 42 theaters with $126,046 ($3,001 PTA), a distant second. [BoxOfficeMojo]
I hate that comparison, because Hesher was amazing. Anyway, Jane Got a Gun‘s struggle is over now, having gained the sweet respite only death can provide. We should all be so lucky.
Next week brings us the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, which looks incredible, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which looks [redacted], and Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice, which at the very least should make for an entertaining segment of Plot Recreated With Reviews. Nicholas Sparks movies are my favorite to recreate with reviews, easily. I haven’t seen it, but I’m guessing the love interest turns down her offer to move to the big city to stay with the man she loves in a quaint southern town somewhere. Time will tell.
NEW MOVIES, CINEMASCORE AND CRITIC SCORES
Kung Fu Panda 3: 80% Recommended, A Cinemascore
Fifty Shades Of Black: 13%, C
The Finest Hours: 59%, A-
|1||Kung Fu Panda 3||$41,000,000||$10,367||$41,000,000|
|2||The Revenant||$12,400,000 (-22.5)||$3,724||$138,171,346|
|3||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||$10,782,000 (-23.4)||$4,218||$895,426,162|
|4||The Finest Hours||$10,327,000||$3,286||$10,327,000|
|5||Ride Along 2||$8,345,520 (-33.0)
|6||The Boy||$7,894,000 (-26.8)||$2,955||$21,527,916|
|7||Dirty Grandpa||$7,575,000 (-31.8)||$2,601||$22,821,010|
|8||The 5th Wave||$7,000,000 (-32.2)||$2,407||$20,188,149|
|9||Fifty Shades of Black||$6,186,648||$2,982||$6,186,648|
|10||13 Hours||$6,000,000 (-33.6)||$2,141||$42,573,845|
17 Jane Got a Gun. $803,000. 1,210 theaters. $664 per screen.
Chart via ScreenCrush.