I must admit, out of all the post-Hunger Games YA speculative genre adaptations we got over the past five or so years, I never would have predicted that The Maze Runner would be the one to hold on this long. Sure, the books were popular, but so were the Divergent novels, and those films crashed and burned before they could even finish the series. After an extended hiatus due to the injury of their leading man, Dylan O’Brien, The Maze Runner: The Death Cure opened at number 1 with around $23.5m. That’s about $7m behind its predecessor, and this is a film with the largest budget of the series (around $62m). Still, given the unavoidable delay and how quickly the rest of this series stumbled at the final hurdles, there’s reason to celebrate. It may be a while before we get this kind of mid-to-big budget YA adaptation though. The current focus is on contemporary teen fiction with social slants, like the upcoming adaptation of The Hate U Give.
Showing no signs of slowing down is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which holds on at number two with an extra $16.4m added to its growing gross. Shockingly, it’s now surpassed Spider-Man: Homecoming to become Sony’s 3rd highest grossing domestic release ever. See, don’t doubt The Rock.
I must admit, I didn’t foresee Christian Bale’s uber-serious Western Hostiles doing this well on its wide release. Playing to over 2800 theatres, it jumped from 23 to 3 in its expansion and grossed $10.2m. Given how it didn’t make a dent in the awards conversation despite strong reviews (and the presence of a certain Mr. Chalamet), I’m surprised that this is the indie drama that did so well the week following the Oscar nominations. Whether or not it can hold onto those numbers are a different matter.
The Greatest Showman is hanging in there. It can’t be stopped. It won’t be stopped. Hugh Jackman won’t let it be stopped. Word of mouth has greatly helped this movie, which sits at number 4 with $9.5m this week. Domestically, it’s made about $126m, which will make Jackman’s team very happy. It’s hard to headline a movie these days that isn’t a big property, much less an original musical. P.T. Barnum would be proud.
After its massive victory at the Oscar nominations — landing 13 nods, more than any other film — Fox Searchlight made the smart move to capitalize on that success with The Shape of Water. They opened it to over 1000 more theatres and its $5.7m gross helped it break into the top 10. For a film that only cost $20m, having a $37m domestic gross in its favour will certainly please its distributors. It’ll also give them leverage in the Disney take-over. Many have been concerned that the indie distributor, who have a stellar track record, could be shut down or maligned under the rule of the mouse.
A fascinating new addition to the top 10 this time around is Padmaavat, which took in $4.7m in its opening week. The Indian movie — one of the country’s most expensive productions ever — has been mired in controversy for many months now. Based on the epic poem Padmavat, the film had its initial release delayed in its homeland due to numerous issues. The cast and crew received death threats, the movie was protested and prominent politicians called for it to be banned outright over its content. If you want more information on that, check out this. From a box office point of view, it’s fascinating to see an Indian film break the top 10 in America. It highlights a mighty film going demographic whose tastes are oft-ignored or sneered at.
With the Oscar nominations out in force, you can see which films benefitted most from the awards bump. The Shape of Water did the best, but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri added an extra 500 theatres to its run, which brought in $3.6m. That’s an 87% jump from the previous week. I, Tonya had a smaller but respectable bump with $2.9m, while Lady Bird saw a 61% increase in its gross as its release added another 500 theatres to the run. Greta Gerwig’s debut — which made her the 5th woman to be nominated for the Best Director Oscar — has already made over $41m domestically.
One film that didn’t do great from this was Call Me By Your Name. I talked last week about how I thought Sony Classics fucked up the release of their critical darling but delaying its wide release for too long. They didn’t seem to learn any lesson from that. Despite landing a slew of nominations, including Best Picture, they added no more theatres to their run, and so they only grossed $1.345m. That’s down from the previous week. There’s really no excuse for that.
This week’s new releases include Winchester, a Helen Mirren starring horror film, and A Fantastic Woman, the Chilean contender for Best Foreign Language Film. It’s a quiet week. Look, enjoy it because next week we have to deal with Fifty Shades Freed and James Corden making it rain lettuce in Peter Rabbit.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.
What films did you watch last week? Have you been taken in by The Greatest Showman? Which YA adaptation is your favourite? What’s your favourite uber-serious Christian Bale movie? Did the Oscar nominations influence your viewing choices? Answers in the comments.