Weekend Box Office: A Surprise Smash, An Afterthought, And A Disaster

Oscar weekend is not typically a big weekend at the box office (last year saw Gods of Egypt and Triple 9 bomb), and this weekend wasn’t expected to provide a lot of fireworks. However, incredibly positive reviews for Jordan Peele’s Get Out provided a big word-of-mouth boost for the film, and going into the weekend, Universal expected it could earn as much as $17-$19 million.

Get Out ended up making $30 million, more than anyone might have anticipated.

Credit goes to the film itself, a movie that combines horror, comedy, and social commentary better than any film in recent memory. It’s receiving unanimous praise from critics (it’s at 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, a rarity for any film, much less a horror film), and audiences have been keenly receptive. In fact, it’s the rare horror movie that actually improves on its box office over the course of the weekend. Most horror movies peak on Thursday and Friday nights but Get Out actually improved by 18 percent on Saturday thanks to strong word of mouth. It’s a hell of a film and the perfect horror movie for the Trump era.

I suspect the movie — which cost only $5 million to make — will continue to thrive based on word of mouth, much like another Blumhouse film has in 2017, M. Night Shyamalan’s Split. The film also bodes well for the directing future of Jordan Peele, one-half of the “Key & Peele” comedy duo. It really is a must-see film for fans of Peele, or horror movies, or great social commentary (or for stellar Bradley Whitford performances).

Get Out, however, would provide the only fireworks at the weekend box office, as the other two new wide releases bombed. In fact, holdovers occupied slots two through nine at this weekend’s box office. LEGO Batman led the way, adding another $18 million to bring its cumulative total to around $130 million (it’s also earned another $72 million worldwide, and it hasn’t even opened in China yet). John Wick: Chapter 2, meanwhile, is holding better than the movie it opened against two weeks ago, Fifty Shades Darker. Wick comes in third this weekend with another $8.5 million or so, bringing its total to nearly $75 million, while Darker comes in at number five, with around $7.5 million (it now crosses $100 million cumulative). Squeezed in between the two is last week’s bomb, The Great Wall. The Matt Damon action film fell 60 percent, adding another $8 million to bring its total to a measly $33 million, although it will be saved by its $245 million foreign gross (so far).

Heading into the Oscars, Hidden Figures is running head-to-head with Charlie Day and Ice Cube’s disappointing Fist Fight with around $5.5 million, while La La Land added another $4.5 million to bring its total to $141 million (around $10 million less than Hidden Figures, which leads all Best Picture nominees at the box office).

The weekend’s afterthought, as expected, is Rock Dog, a Chinese-American computer-animated comedy film starring Luke Wilson, if you were wondering where Luke Wilson has been lately. The film has received mixed to negative reviews and only mustered around $3.5 million stateside. The film, which cost $60 million to make, didn’t fare much better in China, where it was released last summer and made only $5.7 million for its entire run. On the bright side, it did give Jorge Garcia (HURLEY!) some voice work and a paycheck. The appetite for guitar-playing dogs simply wasn’t there, I guess.

Finally, the other weekend’s wide opener, Collide, didn’t even break the top ten. Opening on over 2,000 screens, the film — starring Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones — only managed around $1.5 million for the weekend. For movies opening in 2000 theaters or more, that figure should put it among the ten worst openers ever, in the same category as Jem and the Holograms and Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends. The heist film was originally scheduled to be released in October of 2015, but it has since been pushed back five times. Dismal reviews (19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) didn’t help its case, either, and foreign totals ($2.5 million) aren’t going to improve the situation. This one is just a straight-up disaster for Open Road Films, although the studio had nothing to lose. It bought it for next-to-nothing from Relativity after it went bankrupt in 2015.

Next weekend should be a big one at the box-office with the release of Hugh Jackman’s final Wolverine film, Logan, and two other films fighting for the leftovers: Before I Fall based on a Lauren Oliver novel, and the faith-based drama, The Shack, starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer.