This was a pretty good week for the box office. January tends to be dire for the big releases and is widely considered the dumping ground for stuff the studios don’t want to bother investing in. Yet the top three of the week are all well exceeding expectations. Jumanji hangs in tight at number 1 for the 3rd week in a row, with an extra $20m in the kitty. That takes its domestic gross to over $315m and its international numbers to $767.8m. How good is that? Well, it just surpassed Skyfall as the 5th highest grossing film Sony’s ever released.
In second place is 12 Strong, with $16.5m. It did well with audiences, particularly dudes, and that number gives its star Chris Hemsworth a nice non-Marvel hit in his arsenal (that’s been a not great area for him so far). Coming in behind that at number 3 is Den of Thieves. Yay, Gerard Butler did not too bad at something. I understand I’m setting that bar pretty low, and our own review was hardly glowing, but it’s nice to see the world throwing him a bone. Box Office Mojo notes that the audience for the film’s opening day was 30% African American.
The Post slipped to number 4 in its 5th week, but after 2 weeks of wide release, it’s managed to pull in over $45m domestically, and that’s from a $50m budget. It’s just getting released internationally now so we expect that number to climb, especially if Oscar nomination morning on Tuesday is kind to Spielberg and company.
The Commuter saw its gross drop by over 50% in its second week, while Proud Mary sadly fell even further, right out of the top 10 with only $4.7m. In some surprising news, The Greatest Showman has now made over $113m domestically, which in and of itself feels like the kind of scam P.T. Barnum would have been proud of. Rounding out the top 10 is Forever My Girl with $4.7m, which isn’t bad for a film I literally had never heard of until we reviewed it.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, still hanging in at number 6, became the 6th film in history to pass the $600m domestic mark. Internationally, it also passed Frozen to become the 9th biggest worldwide release ever. Boy, what a flop, amirite?!
Across the indie world, as Oscar nomination morning arrives in less than 24 hours, there are mixed results for the big favourites. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread took in $3.37m from only 896 theatres, while I, Tonya grossed an extra $3m as it expanded to 799 screens, and The Shape of Water made $2.2m.
One of the biggest surprises from indie expansion season has been the stumbling of critical darling Call Me By Your Name. In its 9th week of release, it finally went wide with 815 theatres, but only pulled in $1.5m. That’s half the business of I, Tonya, even with comparable theatre numbers. Sony Classics really dropped the ball on this release. Here’s a film that’s been hugely hyped since last year’s Sundance, and managed to hold onto that buzz well into the Autumn festival season, but the distributor kept its release painfully limited. I can understand the strategy - increasing the theatre count every week in drips and drabs is an indie model favourite - but by now, the market is way more crowded and it’s not been pulling in the awards sweeps many had hoped would propel it to bigger financial success. Don’t worry, it’s in no way a financial flop, thanks to international numbers, but this film should be doing way better than $9m domestically after over two months. The Shape of Water has been out for 8 weeks and it’s made $30m.
Another massively underperforming awards favourite has been All The Money in the World. Only four weeks into it release and it’s fallen to number 28 on the charts, with only $385k. It’s hemorrhaging theatres too, dropping over 1000 of them.
Next week sees the release of Maze Runner: The Death Cure - hey, remember that franchise? - and the wide expansion of Christian Bale’s Hostiles.
You can check out the rest of the weekend’s box office here.
What films did you watch this week? No seriously, was Jumanji a nostalgic thing for some people? How strong is 12 Strong? How many genuinely good movies do you think Gerard Butler has been in? Have you seen Paddington 2 yet and if not, why? Tonya Harding’s semi-redemption - for or against? Answers in the comments.