While A Christmas Story is about as bold a holiday choice these years as Die Hard — did you know it takes place during Christmas???! — I’ll always carry a candle for Bob Clark’s story of a family growing up in 1940s America. My own extended family would gather for the holidays each year and practically have A Christmas Story on a loop; it was a good day, then, when TBS saved us the trouble of rewinding the VHS tapes and started playing the film 24/7 on our behalf. Cliche or not, A Christmas Story still sets the stage for the holidays in my household.
In a week devoid of any major releases, we still saw some major changes at the box office, with familiar faces like Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers, and Get Out (RIP) all falling from the Top 10 in favor of new releases or aggressively expanding art films. Of course, not everything was different; if you read these box office reports every weekend, I’ll bet you can name the top three movies (in order) with minimal effort. Here’s the weekend box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
Studio math might be one part proprietary data and one part alchemy, but here’s something I feel pretty confident saying: when your trailer sets the all-time record for most views in a day, you’re about to make some moolah. We all remember that the first teaser trailer for It had 197 million views in its first 24 hours online, shattering the previous (albeit short-lived) record of 139 million set by The Fate of the Furious. Those would be extraordinary numbers for any movie, but for an unapologetic horror film about a demon clown? Not even the most aggressive Warner Bros. projections could have predicted that.
Alright, a gold friggin’ star to the person who thought of this one. With the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 hitting Netflix today, most of the conversation has been dominated by lifelong fans of the show — fans like myself — who are some combination of excited and apprehensive about the return of their favorite television series. But what about the next generation of MST3K fans? How does Netflix introduce them to their service? Why, by riffing on another Netflix property that everyone already knows and loves, of course!
Sometimes a movie and a release date just make sense. While blockbuster Hollywood releases can often feel like a game of musical chairs — where every studio scrambles to find a summer release date that isn’t already occupied by a superhero movie or major franchise — occasionally, a movie hits theaters at just the right to really leverage a holiday. Take Amy Schumer’s Snatched. With the film set for an April 12 release date, it is perfectly situated to take advantage of Mother’s Day weekend. For once, you can take your mom out to a movie that you might both actually enjoy.
F8Gate. The ‘Candy Ass’ Heard ’Round the World. Call it what you will, but last year’s unexpected beef between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel on the set of The Fate of the Furious has resulted in a Hollywood blind item almost as interesting and epic as the movie franchise that spawned it. Forget about turning your back on family; watching Dwayne Johnson lose his legendary cool over one of his costars was like watching a couple you really admired go through a messy divorce. Were things really that out-of-control behind the scenes or was this all an elaborate ruse involving two men who understand the showmanship involved in a proper heel turn?
When word got out that Emily Blunt had been cast as the title character in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, the overwhelming response from most people was, “Well, sure.” Blunt has proven herself to be genre agnostic over the years, as likely to wow audiences in a science-fiction or action film as she is in a light-hearted comedy. That alone would make her an ideal candidate for Mary Poppins — as the rare actress capable of convincing audiences that she’d do justice to an iconic character — but she also bears a physical resemblance to Julie Andrews to boot. You couldn’t ask for better casting.
In a parallel universe where Paramount Pictures doesn’t alienate its fanbase, we might be talking about Ghost in the Shell as the big winner of this weekend and the de facto start of a new wave of Japanese Hollywood adaptations. Instead, DreamWorks Animation and The Boss Baby blew up the box office, no doubt delighting a handful of DreamWorks executives who watched the Ghost in the Shell controversy unfold with glasses of champagne in hand. After all, nobody’s going to boycott a movie about a baby who wears a suit.
After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
Last February, it was announced that Universal Pictures had won a bidding war for an untitled R-rated musical comedy written by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the screenwriter behind 21 Jump Street. While little was known about the film at the time, Variety reported that Godon-Levitt had also enlisted Channing Tatum — noted dancer and Professional Handsome Man — to co-star with him in the film. Since that announcement, things were pretty quiet about the project until just this past week, where suddenly a flurry of updates were released by Universal Pictures.
It might be a tale as old as time, but audiences have proven there’s still a few petals left on that old flower. Despite being projected to open at somewhere between $214–245 million worldwide, Beauty and the Beast knocked the pants off those projections, eclipsing $350 million at the international box office and setting a March record for domestic releases along the way. Let’s take a look at how things shook out this past weekend with some of the expected grosses.
With Hugh Jackman’s Logan opening in theaters this weekend, the top spot of this list was never in doubt. The questions were always whether audiences would respond well to the first major R-rated superhero movie. Was the big opening of Deadpool an abberation or a sign of things to come? If today’s numbers are any indication, the answer is, maybe a little bit of both.
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