Has anyone else had an absolute ball reading the spoiler-laden reviews for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and reveling in the shark-jumping frenzy? I called it when I said J.K. Rowling had gone full George Lucas. If I were still invested in this franchise, I’d be disappointed. Thanks, my searing hatred of Eddie Redmayne, you stopped me from caring! Oh, and also fuck Johnny Depp and Warner Bros. and Rowling’s continued shielding of him.
The thing about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is that it was always going to have a big weekend. Even with these domestic numbers — around $62m this opening weekend, around $3m short of predictions and $13m shy of its predecessor — those international grosses keep it lifted up. It’s made $253m worldwide already, well past its reported $200m budget. What I am interested in is the second-week drop. Potter fans can be zealous — ask any critic who’s said anything remotely negative about the films or Depp’s involvement how they’ve dealt with Twitter harassment — but there’s also a growing sense of fatigue hitting the populace. The Potter ensemble had 7 books worth of investment. This series is stretching out a short book written for charity to a five movie saga that’s f—king with its own continuity, further screwing with a messy political metaphor, and has nothing to keep fans hanging on beyond dangling pseudo-promises that hey, you may find out details that you previously had no interest in knowing more about. And you thought Lucas went too far with the midichlorians.
In second place is Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch — yes, that’s its official title — with $38.1m. The Illumination movie has made over $126m in less than a fortnight because that studio knows how to make money. They’ve made the same amount of money in less than as Bohemian Rhapsody, which sits at number 3 with $15.7m. Fox will be happy with those numbers and I will continue to wait for the Esquire piece on Bryan Singer.
Opening at number 4 is Mark Wahlberg’s Instant Family, with $14.7m. Audiences seemed to love it — it has an A on CinemaScore — but it still fell a tad below Paramount’s expectations. Alas, the bigger slump came from Fox’s Widows, which fellow below its mid-teen opening predictions to take around $12.3m. I’m baffled by this one. The film is brilliant and has real mass appeal, not to mention the stellar critical responses. I’ve been told by American friends that it wasn’t very well marketed, which may explain the low numbers. It’s a real shame and this one seriously deserves better so go see it if you can!
Focus Features expanded its release of Boy Erased, bringing its theatre total to 409 and seeing its gross go up close to 69 percent from last weekend. They have a solid trio of films to push this awards season between this and the upcoming duo or Mary Queen of Scots and On the Basis of Sex. The trick is in seeing how these indies with limited releases hold out in the long term. Can Focus do what Amazon seem to be struggling with?
I’ve always had an issue with Amazon Studios being positioned as the scrappy underdog of the indie scene, as if Jeff Bezos worked his way up from the bottom of the Hollywood junk pile to become king of the industry. But the benefit of having the richest man in the world on your side is that you probably don’t have to worry too much about a dry year for releases. The problem is that Amazon has released many amazing and critically acclaimed films this year but the grosses just haven’t been there. Some of these movies have been hard sells but there’s no reason they can’t still pull off a smartly organized release. Take Suspiria, which opened so strongly. Only 4 weeks into its domestic release and its gross for this weekend fell an eye-watering 74.4 percent from last week. It’s only taken in $2.2m domestically, which is pretty bad given its reasonably modest budget of around $20m. Their other major awards player for the year, Beautiful Boy, has done solid indie business — $6.4m in 6 weeks — but if your film is supposed to be an Oscar hot-shot as has been speculated for many months, surely you don’t start pulling it from theatres after less than two months? This one’s theatre count is down to 558. One gets the feeling they’re just waiting to dump all their exclusives on Prime.
And then there’s Green Book. Oh, Green Book. This one is probably going to be huge. It grossed $312k from 25 theatres: A per average of $12,480. The critical conversation around this one is going to be… interesting. Wonder if Viggo Mortensen can stop himself from spewing the N word again.
This coming week sees the release of Creed 2, The Favourite, the wonderful Japanese film Shoplifters, the Disney sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet, and a new Robin Hood movie. You know, one we definitely asked for.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.
What films did you watch this weekend? Let us know in the comments.
Header Image Source: Warner Bros.