Weekend Box Office: Did Audiences Hate ‘Hail, Caesar!’?

Senior Editor
02.08.16 45 Comments

Super Bowl weekend was a slow one at the box office, not surprisingly, with Kung Fu Panda 3 repeating at number one, topping a few weak debuts. Meanwhile Star Wars: The Force Awakens passed $900 million in the domestic box office. That’s almost $140 million more than the next-closest movie, Avatar, at $760.5 million. The Force Awakens also became the third movie ever to reach the two-billion mark worldwide and the first non-James Cameron film to do so, the other two being Titanic and Avatar. (Does that guy have a nice yacht? I hope he has a nice yacht.)

Of the three new movies in wide release this weekend (Hail, Caesar!, The Choice, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Hail, Caesar! (my review) did the best, earning $11 million. That’s an opening that’s being called everything from “a bit low,” “on the low end of average,” to a “fumble” (because the Super Bowl, get it?). BoxOfficeMojo notes that this is the Coens’ lowest opening for a release opening in more than 1,500 theaters, which is true, with the two big caveats being that most of their movies don’t open Super Bowl weekend, nor do they normally open in more than 1500 theaters. Forbes points out that Coen brothers pictures tend to do about three times their wide opening debut, which would put the $22-million budgeted Hail, Caesar! at $33 million. Inside Llewyn Davis, for comparison, had a limited release in December ($405,000 from four theaters), expanded wide in January ($1.88 million from 729 theaters), and eventually earned $32 million.

The biggest shock related to Hail, Caesar! comes from the C- Cinemascore. That’s one of the worst I’ve seen, and for a movie that I honestly don’t know how a person would dislike. Maybe Jake T. Dipshit didn’t know enough about old movies to find it funny? Here I thought Channing Tatum singing into a sailor’s butt was pretty self-explanatory, but I guess you don’t know what you don’t know.

Well below that was The Choice, ol’ Nicholas Sparks’ latest North Carolina tourism video, with $6 million. That makes it the lowest-opening Sparks adaption and the first one not to crack $10 million (though there’s still that Super Bowl asterisk attached to it). I guess you get into diminishing returns territory when you write the same story over and over. That one still managed a B+ Cinemascore, just to tell you how bad that C- for Hail, Caesar! is. The Choice is currently tracking 7 percent on RottenTomatoes, by the way.

Finally there was the “DOAPride and Prejudice and Zombies — anyone remember when David O. Russell was supposed to direct this turd? — which grossed just $5.1 million this weekend, and probably won’t make back its $28 million budget. That received a B- Cinemascore. The idea of watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies kind of feels like having to wear around a novelty T-shirt you bought in 2009 for a whole week.

Wait, did I say finally? Okay, just one more: Poor Jane Got A Gun followed up its historically-bad, sub-$1 million opening last weekend with an equally historic plummet this weekend. Its 84.8 percent drop was the “second-largest second-weekend drop of all time and the largest second-weekend drop for a film playing in over 1,000 theaters.” If I know that Natalie Portman, she’ll bounce right back, though.

Next week brings us Zoolander 2 (which I knew without looking up, because I get at least 12 emails a day about it), Deadpool, and How to Be Single — opening on Valentine’s Day, get it?

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Kung Fu Panda 3 $21,000,000 (-49.1) $5,267 $69,050,957
2 Hail, Caesar! $11,440,000 $5,125 $11,440,000
3 The Revenant $7,100,000 (-44.4) $2,353 $149,703,162
4 Star Wars: The Force Awakens $6,890,000 (-38.0) $3,046 $905,961,469
5 The Choice $6,085,000
$2,313 $6,085,000
6 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies $5,200,000 $1,774 $5,200,000
7 The Finest Hours $4,715,000 (-54.2) $1,500 $18,380,660
8 Ride Along 2 $4,520,000 (-46.4) $2,081 $77,206,830
9 The Boy $4,098,000 (-45.7) $1,851 $26,895,684
10  Dirty Grandpa $4,050,000 (-46.6) $1,578 $29,389,753

(Chart via ScreenCrush)

Now Watch: ‘Hail, Caesar!’ And 8 Other Great Movies About Making Movies

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