Here’s how bad it was this weekend for new releases: Five new movies opened in 1,000 theaters or more, a sixth expanded into 600 theaters, and based on early estimates, Zach Braff’s Going in Style beat all six in its third weekend of release, placing fourth with around $5 million. We have to go back to Labor Day 2016 and the release of Morgan and The Light Between Oceans for a weekend this bad for new entries.
Before we get to the bombs, however, let’s take a quick look at the top of the box office, which was dominated by holdovers. The Fate of the Furious unsurprisingly held the top spot for the second week in a row, adding roughly $38 million to its total, a 63 percent drop from its opening weekend, representing the biggest second weekend drop for the franchise. It barely matters, however, because where it matters most is in the worldwide box office, and after besting Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the biggest opening weekend of all time globally, it’s now poised to cross $900 million after 10 days and shoot past the $1 billion mark before next weekend. It’s may only be the fifth biggest movie in the United States so far in 2017 with $163 million, but worldwide, it’s at number two with a bullet.
Number one for the year both domestically and worldwide remains Beauty and the Beast, which held tight at number three this weekend with $9 million, behind Boss Baby which added $12 million to its total. Those two movies have $470 million and $112 million respectively stateside, although Beauty and the Beast has already crossed the $1 billion mark globally.
After fourth place Going in Style, it’s jumbled mess of broken toys and box-office driftwood. Disney’s nature documentary Born in China, is running ahead of the other new entries, tied with Going in Style with about $5 million, which comes as something of a surprise for me after seeing it in a packed Saturday matinee. It’s a fine movie for what it is, and John Krasinski offers excellent narration, but a note to parents: Born in China is suitable for all ages, but for my 5-year-old twins, it proved to be an expensive nap.
Tentatively, Katherine Heigl’s psycho-stalker bitch from hell movie Unforgettable leads all the other newcomers with around $4.7 million out of the gate. That’s a huge disappointment for Heigl, whose career has been trending downwards since 2009’s The Ugly Truth. It is something of a shame here because Heigl seems to have found her calling in playing icy villains. Unforgettable is a deeply trashy movie, but Heigl is entertaining as hell in it. With only a $12 million budget, it won’t be a huge write down for Warner Brothers, but it still smarts for Denise Di Novi, who took her first stab at directing with Unforgettable after producing a steady string of films dating all the way back to 1989’s Heathers.
Chris Evans and Jenny Slate’s romantic drama Gifted (from (500) Days of Summer turned The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb) finished even with Unforgettable after adding 1000 screens this weekend. After three weeks, it’s approaching $11 million and set itself up for a successful home video run, which should eventually put the $7 million film in the black.
Meanwhile, in its third week, Smurfs: The Lost Village should finish with around $4.7 million, as well, and a cumulative total of around $33 million. The third in the Smurfs franchise has fared better overseas (with around $70 million), but I expect that, if there is a fourth, it will go straight to streaming.
Despite the star power of Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, The Promise — a $90 million film about the Armenian genocide — couldn’t muster up much interest, as it looks to open in ninth place with around $4.1 million. It probably won’t be remembered when we all put our yearly box-office bombs lists together in December, but The Promise may end up as one of the biggest failures of the year, which is a shame considering that it was made to educate the public on a topic about which few of us know and that all the proceeds from the film were meant to go to charity. Alas, it looks as though there will be no proceeds of which to speak.
We’re not done with the week’s duds. The Lost City of Z, starring Robert Pattinson and Charlie Hunnam, expanded from 4 to 614 theaters this weekend and barely made a dent, racking up only $2.2 million. It means that all of Charlie Hunnam’s nightmare experiences on set were for naught.
Two more new releases his weekend finished outside the top ten. Another found footage micro-budget horror film, Phoenix Forgotten, finished the weekend with only $1.7 million, but on a $3 million, it’s not a major loss for Scott Free productions. It was one of those horror films that audiences ended up hating even more than critics (57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes compared to a dismal C- from Cinemascore). There was less than no buzz on this film. In fact, despite being released in 1600 theaters, there were only 2 reviews from Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes (Variety and The AV Club, both of which panned the film).
Finally, Ben Wheatley’s 90-minute Mexican stand-off, Free Fire, starring Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, and Sharlto Copley eked out only $1 million for A24 pictures. Reaction to the film has been decidedly mixed, with as many bored by 90 minutes of shooting as were entertained by it. It’s an unfortunate misfire for A24, coming off the critical successes of Moonlight and 20th Century Women.
Next week’s box office is not shaping up to be much better. Tom Hanks and Emma Watson’s Circle, Ken Marino’s How to Be a Latin Lover with Kristen Bell and Rob Lowe, and the sci-fi actioner Sleight will be competing for what will probably be fourth place.