Elizabeth Banks’ and Kristen Stewart’s attempt to revive the Charlie’s Angels franchise struck out in a big way for Sony Pictures this weekend, as the third Charlie’s Angels film — and the first since 2003’s Full Throttle — tanked at the box office, scoring only $8.6 million, well below even the modest $12-$14 million expectations. The good news is that it was made for a relatively modest $48 million. The bad news is that it’s also faring poorly overseas.
It’s hard to say exactly what went wrong with Charlie’s Angels. Reviews were decent (59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), with Kristen Stewart’s comedic turn being singled out by most critics, and the B+ Cinemascore was OK, as well. Maybe there just wasn’t much interest in the old IP? Twenty years ago, when Drew Barrymore’s Charlie’s Angels scored a $40 million opening, the IP was only two decades removed from the TV series. Younger audiences now, however, have almost no frame of reference (in fact, there’s a Michael Keaton joke in the 2019 film to this effect). Or maybe there wasn’t enough star power surrounding Stewart? The 2000 film had Drew Barrymore, but also Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, and Cameron Diaz at the peak of their respective careers, while Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska are not exactly household names. In either respect, it’s a major disappointment for Sony and for Elizabeth Banks, who directed the film and had a starring role.
There was much better news for the weekend’s top film, Ford v. Ferrari, the Christian Bale and Matt Damon film based on a true story, which raced to a tidy $31 million opening. That is impressive, but may not sound that impressive considering the $100 million price tag. However, with great reviews (92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a perfect A+ Cinemascore, it’s the kind of crowd-pleasing movie with a specific target audience — Dads! — likely to continue raking in solid business through the Thanksgiving holiday and well into awards season.
Fox's FORD V FERRARI is taking a victory lap as it easily earned the checkered flag with $31M in its first box office race.
Adult audiences can stand proud today. Or sit. Especially in one of those comfy kick-back theater chairs.
— Exhibitor Relations Co. (@ERCboxoffice) November 17, 2019
This is particularly good news for the marketplace as a whole, because it illustrates that non-Disney films targeted at adults can still perform well at the box office, although it often seems that this has to be proven over and over again, because movies like Ford often feel like the exception to the rule. To wit: Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan’s The Good Liar also opened this weekend, but looks like it will only bank around $5.6 million. Considering the $10 million price tag and its prospects overseas, that may not be a terrible figure, even if it only gives the film an eighth place finish at this weekend’s box office.
The rest of the weekend’s entries were all holdovers. Midway actually took the two-spot, edging out Charlie’s Angels by earning $8.75 million and $35 million to date. The family film Playing with Fire dropped to $8.5 million and $25 million overall. Last Christmas is not having a good run up to the holidays, falling 42 percent to $6.6 million and $22 million overall. Doctor Sleep, however, was the most precipitous fall this weekend, dropping 59 percent to $6.1 and $25 million overall, the same overall gross as Playing with Fire.
At the bottom of this weekend’s top ten list is Joker with $5.6 million and $322 million overall. Worldwide, the film also surpassed the $1 billion mark. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil took the nine spot with $4.8 million and $105 million overall, and with $4.5 million, Harriet has now earned $31.7 million. Notably absent from the top ten in just its third week? Terminator: Dark Fate, which earned just $4.3 million and is already being shuffled out of theaters with only $56 million to date.
Next weekend will see the release of Frozen II, which will likely wipe everything else off the map with a $100 million opening, or more. Also making a play for Thanksgiving receipts the following weekend will be Tom Hanks’ crowdpleaser, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Chadwick Boseman’s 21 Bridges.