In its first weekend of wide release, Sam Mendes’ 1917 capitalized on its Golden Globe wins for Best Director and Best Drama and opened with a remarkable $36.5 million, despite a lack of marquee names (all the known stars of the film — Andrew Scott, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Richard Madden — only have glorified cameo roles). Most critics loved the film (90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and were impressed that Sam Mendes managed to make a war film in one continuous take (the ten percent of critics who didn’t like 1917 mostly regarded the continuous shot as a gimmick that otherwise obscured the film’s lack of substance). Audiences loved it, however, giving it an A- Cinemascore, and it’s no wonder: It’s an exhilarating gimmick! Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon from Game of Thrones) and George MacKay are also outstanding, but the real star of the show is Roger Deakins, who has 13 Oscar nominations for cinematography and only one win. This should be number two.
The movies in second and third place are familiar, as Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and Jumanji: Next Level continue to add to their already massive takes. They generated $15.3 million and $13.3 million, respectively, to bring their totals to $478 million and $256 million.
Two new entries take spots four and five. Despite a cast that includes Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish, Like a Boss could only produce $10 million in its opening weekend, amid negative reviews (21 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and only an OK ‘B’ Cinemascore. Audiences, however, loved the number five film, Just Mercy, which received an A+ Cinemascore. It also opened with $10 million wide opening, but with a lower budget and better word-of-mouth prospects. Just Mercy is probably also hoping for Oscar noms for Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan on Monday to boost its box office into next weekend and throughout awards season.
Both of those new entries did better than the more expensive Underwater, the $50 million sci-fi flick starring Kristen Stewart. It only mustered $6.9 million over its opening weekend despite mixed reviews and a lackluster ‘C’ Cinemascore. For Kristen Stewart, it’s her second dud in a row following Charlie’s Angels, although she should rebound later this year with Happiest Season, a lesbian romantic comedy pairing Stewart with Mackenzie Davis.
The rest of the weeks’ top ten were all holdovers, beginning with sixth place Little Women, which added $7.4 million to bring its total to $73 million as it eyes Oscar noms on Monday. With $5.72 million, Knives Out came in eighth place, as its domestic total now stands at $139.6 million after an impressive 7 weeks in the top ten (and $256 million worldwide). Frozen 2 has eight weeks in the top ten, earning $5.6 million to bring its total to $459.2 million. Spies In Disguise grabbed the ten spot, earning $4.6 million to bring its total to $54 million.
Note, too, that The Grudge, fell to number eleven in its second weekend of release, earning $3.5 million to bring its total to $17 million after whopping 69 percent drop.
Next weekend sees the release of two expensive films with big stars, and at least one of them will almost certainly bomb. One is the $90 million Bad Boys for Life starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and the other is Doctor Dolittle, the $175 million film starring Robert Downey, Jr. It could be an ugly weekend for one of those A-list stars.