It was a slow weekend at the box office, but nevertheless an interesting one for what rose to the top: A comedy starring an actor recognized mostly within the Spanish-speaking population of America beat out a Tom Hanks film, which is also barely holding its lead over a Bollywood film that opened in only 1/8th of the theaters the Tom Hanks film opened in. See Hollywood? Diversity is important.
Before we get there, however, we should note that The Fate and the Furious held on to the top spot again this weekend with $18.5 million, down over 50 percent from last week, as the pic steers itself toward $200 million domestic. More importantly, it will pass the $1 billion mark globally, becoming only the 30th film ever to do so. Despite its record-setting performance overseas, however, it’s going to fall well short of the $353 million put up domestically by Furious 7 in 2015.
The number two film of the week may come as a surprise to many outside of the Spanish-speaking market. How to Be a Latin Lover is going to take the spot with close to $12 million. The film is directed by Ken Marino — yes, that Ken Marino, best known for Wet Hot American Summer, Veronica Mars, Marry Me and a number of roles as a comedic character actor in movies and television. Ken Marino is not why How to Be a Latin Lover is doing so well, however. Nor are two of the other film’s stars, Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell. Latin Lover is succeeding because of one man: Eugenio Derbez.
Derbez is one of the most recognized actors among the Spanish-speaking population in the US. In 2013, he directed Instructions Not Included, which made more than $100 million and became the biggest Spanish-language film in worldwide box-office history. Co-star Salma Hayek — who did most of the promoting stateside — also helped get the word out on the film, which received mixed reviews from critics but an A Cinemascore from the mostly Hispanic audiences to turned out to see the movie.
It also makes Derbez a bigger star at the box office than Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, for one weekend at least. Hanks’ The Circle stunk up the box office with only an estimated $9.1 million. Based on the Dave Eggers’ book of the same name, The Circle did not connect with critics (16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) or audiences, which gave it a D Cinemascore. I have to imagine it is the lowest Cinemascore in Tom Hanks’ career (Note to studios: Don’t make Hanks a villain). The presence of Emma Watson and Patton Oswalt couldn’t save The Circle, either, and premiering it at Tribeca two days before its release didn’t help matters because reviews coming out of NYC were not kind. Tom Hanks may still be the most likable actor in Hollywood, but he’s no longer the most bankable.
While The Circle opened in 3200 theaters, the film that came in at number four opened in only 405, and while early estimates suggest an $8.6 million opening, final numbers could put it ahead of The Circle. The movie is called Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and most can be forgiven if they have never heard of it. Its stars — Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, and Anushka Shetty — didn’t exactly show up on The Tonight Show to promote it, and it’s unlikely that a lot of marketing was done in America for the film. It’s a Bollywood film — a sequel to 2015’s Baahubali: The Beginning. It’s basically the Lord of the Rings franchise of India.
Things are considerably less interesting in the rest of the top ten. The Boss Baby continues to chug along, coming in at number 5 with $8 million, pushing its way ever closer to $150 million. Beauty and the Beast comes in at number six with $6 million, pushing its cumulative gross to $480 million. It’s likely to tap out stateside with $500 million, and it will be hard to beat as 2017’s biggest film (at the very least, it’s likely to hold the spot until Star Wars: Episode VII arrives in December). Zach Braff’s Going in Style comes in at number 7 with $3.1 million, and the film — targeted at moviegoers over the age of 50 — has quietly closed in on the $40 million mark.
Smurfs: The Lost Village and Born in China rounded out the top 10, while Katherine Heigl’s Unforgettable belly flops into number 11 in only its second week with a meager $2.2 million. That is actually better than Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire which made only $1 million in its opening weekend and fell to a slight $250,000 in its second. Yikes.