The Upside is a remake of the French film The Intouchables, which was a massive hit in its home country. An English language version seemed inevitable, and when it was announced that the distributor would be The Weinstein Company, the awards chatter began for a new cycle. Then… Well, you know what happened. So The Upside, with Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, seemed doomed to a life on the shelf or a quick no-frills release that nobody expected to make money. That’s what I thought would happen. So imagine my surprise when it took the top spot this weekend with $19.59m. That’s more than Aquaman in its 4th week of release. Granted, January is a dry month and competition wasn’t exactly tight but I’m sure this will be chalked up to a victory for both Cranston and Hart. Ugh, I’m already dreading the think-pieces on how this is a sign of the nation’s rejection of the Oscars and their PC gone mad distaste for his homophobia. Let’s not, okay?
But this is a great week for Nicole Kidman, who holds the top two spots in the box office as well as strong enough numbers for her indie drama Destroyer. Every couple of years or so, I seem to see the same stories proclaiming that we’re in a Kidman renaissance but she’s never really gone away. She’s always made fascinating choices as an actor, she’s always won or been nominated for lots of awards and she’s always been in the headlines. I think the difference now is that she’s back on bona fide mainstream success. Not too shabby, of course. Watch her be even bigger in 2019 with the second season of Big Little Lies.
At number 3 is A Dog’s Way Home, with around $11.3m. Huh. People like doggies. Go figure.
The biggest bump up this week came with the wide release of Mimi Leder’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex, which saw its weekend gross rise 286.9% from the previous week thanks to its expansion into just under 2000 theatres. The film sits at number 8 with $6.2m and is one of only a handful of 2018 films directed by women to get a wide release. Let’s do better in 2019, okay?
The other new release this week at number 12 is Replicas, a Keanu Reeves sci-fi that didn’t inspire much enthusiasm and only took in $2.5m from 2329 theatres.
Those Golden Globes boosts are evident in this weekend’s box office: Bohemian Rhapsody - boo - brought in $3.2m in its 11th week of release; If Beale Street Could Talk expanded to over 1000 theatres and grossed $2.38m; Green Book added an extra $2.09m to its domestic gross, and A Star is Born passed $203m domestically! The film to benefit the most from this was The Wife. Following Glenn Close’s surprise Best Actress in a Drama win, Sony Pictures Classics smartly put the film back in 146 theatres and made a nice $115k. Sony’s indie wing tend to be really smart with awards runs, much in the same way Fox Searchlight have made their name. The Wife is probably their big player this year, and even then it’s only in Best Actress, but Glenn Close will not be ignored!
This coming week sees the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass. Like I said, January’s a dry month.
You can check out the rest of the weekend box office here.