Thanks to a huge March, it would have been a crowded weekend at the box office had there been no new releases this week. However, there were three new wide releases trying to take on the competition. While two of those films fizzled, one new entry managed to hold its own.
None of the week’s new releases, however, could compete with last week’s number one film, Beauty and the Beast, which managed somehow to put up an even more impressive second weekend. Last week, the Disney live-action remake became not only the biggest March opening of all time, but it put up the sixth-best opening weekend ever with $174 million. In its second weekend, however, Beauty and the Beast managed to jump up two places to the fourth biggest opening weekend of all time. With around $91 million in its second weekend, it’s behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($149m), Jurassic World ($105m) and The Avengers ($103m) for best second weekend. It’s expected to approach $320 million after ten days, and around $600 million worldwide, which suggests that its $160 million price tag was money well spent.
The newcomers didn’t stand a chance against Beauty and the Beast, which may hang on to the top spot for at least another week. However, Power Rangers nevertheless managed to hold its own against stiff competition. The diverse cast appealed to an equally diverse audience, which — according to Deadlne — was made up of 35 percent Caucasian, 25 percent Hispanic, 24 percent African American, and 11 percent Asian moviegers among the younger set, who loved the film despite middling reviews (it scored a 47 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but audience members under 18 gave it an A+ Cinemascore).
The film should end the weekend with about $40-$42 million, which is a solid but not outstanding start. However, it should eventually recoup its production budget ($100 million) stateside and turn a profit based on foreign totals, where it is still awaiting release. The good Cinemascore should also give it decent legs and perhaps enough momentum to merit a sequel, although plans for a seven-installment franchise still feels like a stretch. It’s good, silly fun, however, and exactly the kind of movie that appeals to 10-13 year olds (in the event of a sequel, hopefully, they find a way to bring back Rita Repulsa because Elizabeth Banks’ scenery chewing is the best thing about Power Rangers).
The third slot went to another holdover, Kong: Skull Island, which has managed to hang in there this month sandwiched between to even bigger blockbusters, Beauty and the Beast and Logan. Kong added another $14 million this weekend to bring its total to around $132 million. However, it’s performing even more strongly overseas, where it’s expected to break $60 million in China this weekend to add to its already impressive $200 million foreign gross. Kong should approach the $529 million put up by Godzilla worldwide, making 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong a fairly safe bet.
Fourth place went to another newcomer, Life, which probably hoped for much more than the weak $12.2 million it managed in its opening weekend. Neither Jake Gyllenhaal nor Ryan Reynolds (or Rebecca Ferguson) could draw a crowd to see what was essentially an unimpressive Alien clone. It had its moments, but it’s the kind of film where it’s make or break with the ending, and while I thought it was the best part of the film, Cinemascore audiences — who gave it a miserable C+ — clearly do not agree (the ending is really the only thing that sets it apart from Alien). Neither Reynolds nor Gyllenhaal have been particularly safe box-office bets outside of franchises like Deadpool, but $12 million has got to sting for a movie with a $58 million budget that put a lot of muscle into marketing (it featured two Super Bowl spots, and Gyllenhaal and Reynolds have spent the week heavily promoting it on the talk-show and junket circuit). Honestly, the best thing to come out of Life may actually be the friendship between Gyllenhaal and Reynolds, which has at least provided us with some unexpected entertainment. Sadly, Life is going nowhere fast and will need a solid showing overseas to earn back its budget.
Fifth and sixth place go to two other March standouts, Logan and Get Out, which earned $10 and $9 million respectively, giving them cumulative totals of $201 and $147 million. That is a particularly impressive number for Get Out because it was made for less than $10 million (it also surpassed M. Night Shyamalan’s Split to become not only the sleeper hit of the year, but the highest grossing movie ever for Blumhouse Pictures). Get Out is also now the third highest grossing R-rated horror film ever, behind only Hannibal and The Exorcist.
This week’s flop is CHIPs, a $25 million film that could only muster $7.3 million at the box office. I was rooting for CHIPs because I like Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell and they put everything they possibly could into marketing the film, which was also written and directed by Shepard. Unfortunately, it was a bad film, (it was received a generous 21 percent from Rotten Tomatoes) and not even those who paid to see it could get behind (it received a B- Cinemascore). Dax Shepard laid an egg here after directing 2012’s Hit & Run, which made $13 million on only a $2 million budget. Unfortunately, an extensive list of familiar actors couldn’t save CHIPs mostly, again, because it was just a bad movie, a misfire from top to bottom. Hopefully, Shepard fares better directing the animated Scooby Doo feature, due out in 2018. (Sidenote: When Brett Ratner was bad-mouthing Rotten Tomatoes for destroying the movie business, CHIPs (which his company financed) may have been in the back of his mind).
Finally, the top ten is rounded out by hangers-on The Shack ($4 million, $49.1 million total); The Belko Experiment ($1.8 million; $7.8 million total); and The LEGO Batman movie, which is ending its domestic run with about $170 million.
It’s also worth nothing that a slam-dunk competition movie called Slamma Jamma starring Michael Irvin and Jose Conseco apparently opened this weekend in 500 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo. Either there is no box-office information yet available on the film, or it didn’t make enough money to even merit mention.
Next weekend, March will try to continue its hot streak with two more wide releases trying to take down Beauty and the Beast: The Boss Baby and Ghost in the Shell.