Weekend Box Office: ‘Escape Room’ Cannot Contain ‘Aquaman’

Columbia Pictures

D.C.’s Aquaman easily maintained the number one spot over the first weekend of 2019, building upon its first two huge weekends by adding another $30.7 million to bring its three-week total to $259 million. That puts the James Wan film within striking distance of besting Man of Steel ($291 million) with an outside shot of overtaking Suicide Squad ($325 million) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330 million). The domestic take of Wonder Woman ($412 million) is out of reach, but Aquaman can still boast the highest worldwide totals of all the DCEU films now, surpassing $900 million. It even has a shot of scoring $1 billion and surpassing The Dark Knight ($1.003 billion) and The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion) globally. If Aquaman manages to hold the spot for another week — and that seems likely — it’ll be the first Warner Brothers’ film to hold the spot for four weeks since The Dark Knight back in 2008. No one is happier than shirtless Jason Momoa.

Meanwhile, the first major entry of 2019, Escape Room, will claim the number two spot in its opening weekend of release. As is unofficial tradition, studios often kick off the new year with a low-budget horror movie, although it’s something of a stretch to call Escape Room a “horror” movie. It’s fun and often intense, but it’s not exactly scary and there’s practically no blood or violence to speak of. All the same, it scored $17.7 million, which is a good result for a film made for $9 million. However, it’s short of the opening weekend for a number of other horror films released during the first weekend of the year, including 2018’s Insidious: The Last Key, from the same director, Adam Robitel, which earned $29 million in its opening weekend. Escape Room was buoyed by OK reviews (52 percent) and a B Cinemascore, which is pretty good for a horror flick.

Mary Poppins Returns, which held the number two position the last two weeks fell to number three this weekend, as kids returned to schools and families returned to their normal weekend activities (plus, the NFL playoffs). With $16 million, it’s now put up $139 million, which is good but not the spectacular number for which Disney was hoping. It may approach the $100 million mark overseas this weekend, too, and while $230 million worldwide, so far, is nothing to sneeze at, for a movie that cost $130 million to produce, better numbers were expected. I suspect that Mary Poppins is unlikely to return again for another generation or two.

The rest of the top ten were all holiday season holdovers. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse continues to hold its own. With $13.5 million, its now earned $134 million domestic on top of another $110 million worldwide, which gives it about the same box-office globally as Mary Poppins Returns but it cost $40 million less to produce. Meanwhile, with $13 million, Bumblebee is inching close to the $100 million mark ($97.3 million) plus more than $100 million overseas. The real test, however, is in China, where Bumblebee opens this weekend. Whether the Transformers franchise will merit additional entires will depend a lot on how it fares there.

Elsewhere, Clint Eastwood keeps Eastwooding, and with $9.3 million, The Mule crosses the $83 million mark as it heads toward a possible $100 million. While it might best Eastwood’s Unforgiven ($101 million) and Million Dollar Baby ($100 million), it has little shot of surpassing Sully ($125 million) or Gran Torino ($148 million) and no shot of besting his American Sniper ($350 million).

Annapurna Pictures

Adam McKay’s Vice, meanwhile, is doing OK. It earned $5.8 million and has nearly earned $29 million now. It was a great hold for the film (dropping only 25 percent), biut with a production budget of $60 million and little potential for earnings overseas, it’s going to need a big week at the Golden Globes and with the Oscar nominations to have any shot at profitability.

Jennifer Lopez’s Second Act continues apace, earning $5 million to bring its total to $33 million, a great number on a $16 million budget, especially as it has a couple more weeks in theaters to go and has already earned $42.8 million globally. With The Grinch gone, Ralph Breaks the Internet is now the longest-running entry in the top 10, earning $4.8 million in its 7th week to bring its total to $187 million. Finally, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s Watson & Holmes closes out the top ten with $3.4 million to bring its total to $28 million. It’s not going to earn its $42 million budget back here in the states, and the $4 million its earned overseas, so far, isn’t helping much.

There are four wide releases next weekend, but none are expected to endanger Aquaman’s position at the top of the box office. Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart star in The Upside, Keanu Reeves and Alice Eve open the sci-fi feature Replicas, Felicity Jones’ On the Basis of Sex goes wide, and the family film A Dog’s Way Home starring Ashley Judd also goes wide. The Upside might surprise, if Kevin Hart’s audience is willing to show up to see him in a more dramatic role, but the other three films are likely to make very small dents in the box office.

Source: Box Office Mojo, Deadline