In 2009, Fast and Furious opened to $70 million on April 9th, proving that blockbusters were no longer limited to the summer months and the holiday season. In 2010, Hollywood pushed that window even earlier when Alice in Wonderland opened in March with a $116 million weekend. March has since become a reliable month for tentpoles: Batman vs. Superman opened north of $160 million last year, while Hunger Games and Zootopia have also launched to huge domestic numbers in March.
This weekend, the box office made plenty of room for several new and returning hits, led by Hugh Jackman’s fantastic final appearance as Wolverine in Logan. The Western/Noir/Superhero film is looking at an $85 million opening, which would make it the fourth highest March opening ever and the fifth best opening ever for an R-rated movie. Not bad for a comic book film with a budget in the $100 million range. The $85 million opening is comparable to X2: X-Men United and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but unlike those two films, Logan is proving to be less frontloaded, holding steady over the course of the weekend thanks to solid word of mouth.
Give or take a Deadpool, it’s probably the best superhero film since The Dark Knight and proves, as Deadpool did, that superhero movies are often best when their directors are left alone by the studios to execute their own creative vision. It also shows that end-of-the-world stakes are not necessary to a superhero movie’s success, not when a better character-driven story can be told on a smaller, more intimate scale. Logan will end the weekend not only a huge box-office hit, but a critical hit that proves that Deadpool can be the rule and not the exception when it comes to R-rated superhero movies. Hopefully, we’ll begin to see fresh new takes on the genre, which had otherwise begun to grow stale.
It won’t get the headlines that Logan is getting this weekend, but Jordan Peele’s Get Out is quietly maintaining a hold that is practically unheard of for horror films, which typically drop 50 to 60 percent in their second weeks. Get Out, meanwhile, will only drop 17 to 20 percent in its second weekend (despite competition from Logan) and put up another $26 million to quietly bring its 10-day total to over $80 million. So far, it’s tracking ahead of another of 2017’s sleeper hit, M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, which had $77 million after two weekends. The good news for Jason Blumhouse is that his production company was behind both horror movies and both cost less than $10 million to produce. The success also ensures that Peele can continue to direct issue-based horror movies well into the future, as he plans to do. It also means that the horror genre has found a fresh new voice — in the comedy world, of all places.
The surprise hit status this week goes to The Shack, which looks to land in third place with around $15 million, a strong showing for a faith-based film that has attracted little interest in secular circles. The $15 million puts it slightly ahead of Jennifer Garner’s faith-based Miracles from Heaven ($14.8 million), and the A+ Cinemascore from largely faith-based crowds suggests that The Shack (based on a novel that has reentered the NYTimes bestseller list) will continue to leg it out with church crowds throughout March. Faith-based films are generally hit-and-miss, but The Shack — which stars Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington — illustrates that bigger name stars can help set them apart from some of the more generic, Redbox-y faith-based films like Mom’s Night Out or God’s Not Dead and its sequel.
Fourth and fifth place to go two holdovers, which continue to perform modestly well in their fourth weekends of release. LEGO Batman will add $11 million to bring its domestic total close to $150 million on top of the $93 million is has pulled internationally, so far. Meanwhile, John Wick: Chapter 2 also continues to hang in there, adding $4.8 million to bring is cumulative total to $82 million (plus another $50 million internationally). Wick 2 has now nearly doubled the entire domestic run of the original. The other movie that opened alongside John Wick 2 and LEGO Batman four weeks ago was Fifty Shades Darker, which has now fallen to 9th place, although it does have a tidy overall total of $110 million (plus $224 million internationally).
Before I Fall is the week’s dud, landing at number six with $4.5 million. The movie was purchased by Open Roads for only $5 million, but given the $20 million it cost to market the film, the weekend’s opening take will be widely seen as a disappointment and yet another failure — following the far superior Edge of Seventeen and the bland The Space Between Us. The DUFF, also failed in this regard). Mixed reviews and an overall lack of interest doomed this one.
Meanwhile, in the weekend after the Oscars, it was not Best Picture Winner Moonlight or even the night’s other big winner, La La Land, that got the biggest benefit from the ceremony, but Hidden Figures, which grossed $3.7 million compared to the $3.1 million of La La Land and the $2.2 million of Moonlight (which, to be fair, is already available in the home viewing market).
Finally, Anna Kendrick re-teamed with her Rocket Science director, Jeffrey Blitz for Table 19, which opened in over 800 theaters. It was basically DOA, earning only $1.5 million. Reviews for the film were middling, at best, which is a shame because Rocket Science is legitimately one of my favorite films, a movie I saw twice at Sundance in 2007.
There’s only one new release next weekend, Kong: Skull Island, which will have to compete with Logan for room at the box office. It will also be interesting to see if Get Out extends its impressive run into a third week.