The Coronavirus has grabbed all the headlines in this last week, but it doesn’t appear that the potential pandemic is doing much — if any — damage to the box office in America yet. Pixar’s Onward opened the weekend with $40 million, and while that is on the lower end for most Pixar films, it’s not terribly out of line for a minor Pixar flick. It opened similarly to The Good Dinosaur ($39 million) and not that far behind the June release Ratatouille ($47 million) or the Thanksgiving release, Coco ($50 million). For a new, original Pixar film, the first weekend is often not a great indicator of how it’s going to do over the long haul, because word-of-mouth can keep it in theaters for a very long time (even longer that most theaters are contractually obligated to screen Disney movies).
Still, the $40 million opening is not a great number (with a similar opening, The Good Dinosaur earned $120 million domestic and $330 million worldwide). However, while the production budget figure is not available, I expect Pixar didn’t spend as much on this one as a Pixar sequel. Reviews are also solid (88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), although the Cinemascore is an A-. That’s a good grade for almost any other film, but Pixar is accustomed to A and A+ grades from Cinemascore, so it’s something of a letdown for the Dan Scanlon flick (even Good Dinosaur earned an A).
Meanwhile, in third place with $8.5 million this weekend was another wide release, Ben Affleck’s The Way Back. The film was seen as something of a comeback for Affleck (who never really went away and has six more films in the works). It’s honestly a terrific film, although it’s more of a personal drama than a sports film. It also achieved an 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as B+ Cinemascore. The $8.5 million figure is fine given the modest budget (around $20 million), but it’s not going to help anyone make the case to studios to continue releasing modest, adult-targeted dramas theatrically outside of awards season. That said, it did perform better than a recent spate of adult dramas.
Pine time participant.
Ben Affleck's THE WAY BACK dribbled up $8.5M in its debut.
Nothing to shout about, but at least the stat sheet is better than WB's other adult dramas BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, THE KITCHEN, RICHARD JEWELL, THE GOOD LIAR, MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN and THE GOLDFINCH.
— Exhibitor Relations Co. 2: Box Office Boogaloo (@ERCboxoffice) March 8, 2020
It’s not new this week, but Emma also expanded from 97 locations to 1,500 screens, and earned a fine $5.1 million (and $5.7 million overall) for Focus Features.
Everything else this weekend was a holdover. Last week’s top film Invisible Man dropped 50 percent in its second weekend (not terrible for a horror film) to earn $14.5 million and brings its 10-day total to $52 million. Remember, it’s a Blumhouse joint, so it only cost $7 million to make. Sonic the Hedgehog is up to $141 million in its fourth week after an $8.2 million weekend, to go along with $154 million overseas. With another $7.2 million, Call of the Wild has now earned $57.6 million, which again would be nice but for the $125 million price tag.
Bad Boys for Life grabbed the seven spot with $3.1 million, and it’s now crossed the $200 million mark ($202 million). With $2.1 million, Birds of Prey is wrapping up its box-office run with less than $100 million ($82.5 million) and around $200 million total worldwide. Impractical Jokers has managed to stick around another week, earning $1.8 million to bring its total to $8.6. Finally, in its 13th week, Jumanji: Next Level returns to the top ten, although it wasn’t so much that it earned more this week than last (it was down another 30 percent) as it was that several other films fell faster.
Next weekend could be an interesting one. Vin Diesel’s sci-fi film Bloodshot opens against the faith-based film I Still Believe, as well as The Hunt, the Damon Lindelof-scripted film that was previously pulled from the schedule over complaints by Fox News and Donald Trump. I am very excited about it, and now that SXSW has been canceled, I can watch it opening night.