A quiet weekend sets the stage for The Batman while all other titles see sweet holds!
Weekend Box Office Top 10 (Feb 25-27) / 3-Day Weekend Gross / Percent Change from Last Week / Weekend # / Distributor), Weekend Estimates:
- Uncharted / $23.25 million / -47% / Weekend 1 / Sony (Columbia)
- Dog / $10.1 million / -32% / Weekend 1 / United Artists (MGM)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home / $5.75 million / -23% / Weekend 10 / Sony (Columbia)
- Death on the Nile / $4.5 million / -31% / Weekend 2 / Disney (20th Century Studios)
- Jackass Forever / $3.17 million / -39% / Weekend 3 / Paramount Pictures
- Sing 2 / $2.1 million / -26% / Weekend 9 / Universal
- Marry Me / $1.85 million / -50% / Weekend 2 / Universal (w/ Peacock)
- Studio 666 / $1.58 million / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Open Road Films
- Cyrano / $1.4 million / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / United Artists Releasing (MGM)
- Scream (aka Scream 5) / $1.96 million / -31% / Weekend 6 / Paramount
12. The Godfather (50th Anniversary Re-release) / $900K / (N/A) / (N/A) / Paramount
15. The Worst Person in the World / $421K / -14% / Weekend 4 / Neon
16. Oscar Shorts / $402K / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / ShortsTV
17. Licorice Pizza / $355K / -45% / Weekend 13 / United Artists (MGM)
20. Drive My Car / $148K / -31% / Weekend 14 / Janus Films
As expected, it was a quiet weekend. Still, it was a fruitful one as both Uncharted and Dog managed to maintain their momentum from last weekend with each title holding beautifully, paving the way for strong holds across the board. Unfortunately, such good business did not extend Cyrano which just became another title to suffer under MGM’s poor release plan. Studio 666 meanwhile, performed practically on par with expectations.
Good news first, and that is that indeed, both Uncharted and Dog continued to pull in strong audiences in their second weekends. Uncharted, unsurprisingly, placed first but, surprisingly, with a much stronger hold than expected. Based on the performances of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Detective Pikachu, I’d been expecting a standard drop of -55% from its great opening weekend. Admittedly, I’d thought there was a chance that Uncharted could hold closer to -45% but I was skeptical, especially given that its reviews were on par with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which is to say “not great”,(well, it had better reviews than that 2001 film, but still…) and which were worse than that of Sonic and Pikachu. If anything was going to help Uncharted pull off a big win this weekend, it was going to be Tom Holland’s appeal as a genuine box office draw and, by golly, it seems that this was the case since the movie held much better with a hold of -47% for a gross fo $23.2 million! Clearly, the critics are not the ones driving the cart when it comes to Uncharted, which currently stands at 40% on Rotten Tomatoes (with a 5.2 average rating, so generally lukewarm reception) while the audience score is a 90%. My own sister saw the movie this past week and seems to have perfectly encapsulated the appeal of the film in a single sentence by saying “it reminds me of fun movies that came out when we were younger, like National Treasure!” Some snobs may clutch their chests in horror upon hearing that comparison as, like Uncharted, National Treasure (which is being adapted into a Disney+ series by the way) doesn’t have the best reviews. Still, it was a damn big hit back in the day, spawning a sequel and being canonized by millennials and Gen-Z as a cornerstone of our movie-going childhoods, so it is not so surprising to think that a movie in a similar vein, combined with the massive appeal of Tom Holland in the lead as he rides the No Way Home hype-train, would be raking in audiences. I do love a well-constructed film, particularly from a business perspective, so I tip my hat with great delight and respect to this audience-favorite adventure flick. I actually will likely be using National Treasure as a comparison for Uncharted in the coming weeks to see just how well it performs. With a current domestic total of about $83.4 million (which is right in line with the gross of National Treasure, $87.2 million, at the same point in its release schedule), I’ll be excited to see if Uncharted can eventually match the Nicolas Cage-starring adventure flick’s $173 million domestic gross by the end of its run. Currently, it stands at, interestingly enough, $171.2 million worldwide.
Meanwhile, Dog will certainly not be reaching those heights, but will likely still bag a fantastic box office total nonetheless. Upending my expectations of about a -45% drop (the catch-all, good/solid drop for a generally well-liked movie), Dog held by -32% for a gross of $10.1 million, taking its domestic total to $30.9 million and its worldwide haul to $32 million. MGM may have definitively bungled the release of Cyrano (along with Licorice Pizza) but Dog is more than making up for it as its, and star Channing Tatum’s, strong female appeal allow it to continue to play as fantastic counterprogramming to Uncharted. This is especially good as we head into next weekend, where The Batman will see its eagerly anticipated release, because, as much as it has been proven over the years that everyone loves comic book superhero movies, DC films generally (I would argue) tend to skew male in their appeal. The Batman looks to be no exception. To be fair, DC has actually been very proactive on the female-character front, even beating Marvel to the punch with a female-led film in Wonder Woman, and subsequently continuing to put female characters like Harley Quinn, Mera, Black Canary, Huntress, and Batgirl front-and-center with films like The Suicide Squad (where both films leaned heavily on Harley in the marketing), Aquaman, Birds of Prey, and the upcoming (currently filming) Batgirl movie for HBO Max. Still, with their darker storylines and aesthetics, DC films have skewed quite male as opposed to more broadly appealing, and with similarly dark, gritty, and heavily atmospheric aesthetics, The Batman will likely be continuing that trend with a story that is reported to be heavily influenced by famed mobster movies like those of Scorcese and Coppola. Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman may boost the female appeal here (and she does look like she’s doing a great job in the trailers) but I’m not inclined to think by much.
With all that in mind, Dog should be able to weather the storm of next weekend, and going forward overall, quite well by continuing to counterprogram; and in any case, this weekend has set it up quite nicely. As to where it will likely finish its domestic run, by taking a look at other dog-centric films of years past, namely A Dog’s Purpose, A Dog’s Journey, and The Art of Racing in the Rain, we find that these kinds of films generally have great legs, regularly topping out domestically with around a x3 multiplier or, as in the case of the least leggy film in that trio, A Dog’s Journey, x2.84. Even that kind of multiplier would have Dog topping out with $42 million domestic, which is great on a budget of $15 million, as is reported for this feature. However, I am inclined to think that it will likely manage to hold on even better than that (especially since it’s currently tracking on par with A Dog’s Purpose, which had a x3.53 multiplier) and will likely end with at least $50 million domestic. Clearly, exhibitors are thinking the same thing as Dog, in an unusual move for a movie like this, actually added 150 theaters this weekend, showing that business is indeed very good! All in all, a fantastic performance for an adult-orient studio programmer, a rare kind of success in this day and age.
On to the holdovers, where there was no change from last weekend in the rest of the top five. No Way Home continued its rampage with just a -23% drop, a $5.75 million gross, and the addition of 46 theaters, taking it to $779.9 million domestic. I doubt $800 million domestic is in the cards here, but No Way Home is going to get awfully close! Its worldwide total stands at $1.839 billion. Death on the Nile also posted a nice hold of -31%, taking in $4.5 million as a result. It stands a $32.7 million domestically ($82.3 million worldwide) and weirdly added 140 theaters this weekend. The movie isn’t performing particularly well ($82 million on a budget of $90 million is not good at all, especially since the film has essentially already run out of runway) so it’s odd to see its theater count go up, particularly in the wake of an upcoming blockbuster like The Batman which is more likely to take those same theater screens away from the Death on the Nile next weekend. There is the potential explanation that no new releases of consequence came out this weekend, so Disney decided to meet the clear demand for theatrical titles (as displayed by Uncharted and Dog‘s opening weekends) by boosting Death on the Nile‘s theater count. Still, there is a small part of me that thinks Disney might suspect some weakness in Batman‘s upcoming performance and might be boosting Death on the Nile‘s theater count to counterprogram the former film’s doom and gloom with a light, fun mystery. Intriguing indeed, we’ll just see. Rounding out the top five was Jackass Forever which maintained its regained momentum from last weekend with a hold of -39% for a gross of $3.1 million. Its domestic total stands at $52 million with a worldwide total of $64 million. It likely will not hit $100 million worldwide, but on a budget of $10 million, it doesn’t need to at all.
Outside the top five, Sing 2 did great business as usual with a drop of -26% and a gross of $2.1 million, taking its domestic total to past the $150 million mark for a gross of $151 million ($336.5 million worldwide). Marry Me, meanwhile, continues to pull in mediocre grosses with a -50% drop (exactly as I predicted) and a gross of $1.85 million. Domestically, it has pulled in $20.2 million while its worldwide total is $39 million. It’s apparently doing very well on Peacock, so I guess that’s a plus (still a shame though, I was rooting for this one).
Eighth place ended being a surprising mixed bag, as the gross was mediocre overall, but the film in question deserves a pat on the back. Sure enough, the Foo Fighters-starring horror-comedy, Studio 666, did just about as well as expected for its opening weekend, but the fact that it managed to place eighth is genuinely surprising! I stated in my predictions that Studio 666 looked like a Fathom Events release and I was surprised to see it being distributed by a legitimate distributor in Open Road Films. Like I said, the gross is nothing special at $1.58 million, but it was never going to be a major theatrical play. Studio 666 is destined for cult status and is likely to see very strong ancillary sales down the line with this theatrical run playing more like a glorified marketing campaign. The fact that it opened this high into the top ten makes for a great headline with which to help sell the film later.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of Cyrano, which “debuted” (it has already been in theaters, just in a very limited run) this weekend with an abysmal $1.4 million in ninth place. I’d admittedly been bullish with my prediction that the film could open to $2 million just 797 theaters and best Studio 666 (which opened in over 2,000), but even my lowest expectations of a $1.5 million debut were outdone, and not in a good way. It’s frustrating because I know there is absolutely a market for this kind of movie. It’s absolutely a harder sell than it was five years or even just two years ago as older adults, whom this film is aimed at, are less likely to go out to theaters even without a pandemic raging. However, that market still exists! And when marketed properly, it can be very profitable! Five years ago, we had Darkest Hour, the Winston Churchill biopic starring Gary Oldman (a great film that I firmly believe should have been nominated for either Best Director or Best Screenplay at the Oscars) and directed by Cyrano‘s director Joe Wright (he also directed Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley, one my favorite movies), which was rolled out in a limited release that patiently expanded week by week to take advantage of its Oscar buzz and managed to pull in $56 million domestically. In a similar vein, Downton Abbey was released two years, another elegant and lively period drama like Cyrano, that was able to level the franchise’s fanbase from television to propel that film to an opening weekend of $35 million. Yes, both of those films were released pre-pandemic, but they show that Cyrano had an audience that could’ve been tapped. However, MGM strategically deprioritized the film to focus on Licorice Pizza (which itself had its release mishandled) and put all their awards-bait clout into that film alone, not even deciding to release Cyrano for an Oscar-qualifying run until early November 2021. It’s tragic to see, in large part because we have evidence, in this very top ten no less, that MGM can do better. Oh well, hopefully, Cyrano can find an audience in the ancillary market.
Finishing off the top ten was Scream, which held well once again with -31% for a gross of $1.3 million. This took its domestic gross to $79.2 million, and it will likely cross the $80 million-mark sometime this week (worldwide it has taken in $136.5 million). That’s great for the horror franchise revival, but I must say I am surprised that it wasn’t overtaken by The Godfather‘s re-release. I had the pleasure of seeing the momentous film return to the big screen (which was a great experience!) and I was impressed with the turnout in the theater; an entire audience full of highly engaged fans of great cinema (I even saw someone in the crowd wearing a The Godfather t-shirt! It was like they were seeing Marvel movie!). Because of this, I kind of expected the release to pull in $1 million this weekend, but to be fair, it did rake in $900K so it was not that far off. To its credit, The Godfather also did manage to pull in the best per-theater-average of the weekend, $5,769 per-theater; even larger than Uncharted. Paramount likely did this release to promote their upcoming making-of-The Godfather-miniseries, The Offer, which premieres this coming March. Whatever the reason, I’m happy I got to spend my Saturday night seeing such a great movie with my dad.
As for the specialty category, as expected, the only new release that really registered this weekend was the Oscar Shorts-collection, taking in $402K in 355 theaters. Outside of that, The Worst Person in the World and Drive My Car each continued to truck along strong with $421K and $148K, respectively. Of note, The Worst Person in the World has officially become the highest-grossing Norwegian film release in the US of all time with $1.8 million. Congratulations to our likely Best Foreign Film Oscar winner this year!