The boys are back! After several delays due to the pandemic, Johnny Knoxville and most of the Jackass crew returned to theaters to bring the world together after 20 years and four movies, all of which reached #1 at the box office for a collective worldwide haul of over $335 million. Jackass Forever will likely get the franchise over $400 million by the time it reportedly hits DVD in April. But even if the guys and Paramount were generous enough to donate that cash over to everyone who invested in Moonfall, Roland Emmerich’s new sci-fi disaster film might still come up short of turning a theatrical profit.
(Photo by Jennifer McCarthy/©Paramount)
When Jackass Forever opened to $9.6 million on Friday (including $1.6 million in Thursday previews), Paramount lowballed expectations for the weekend. They were already pretty low, as many pundits figured this was headed somewhere in the teens, which would have been lower than any of the previous films. In 2002, Jackass: The Movie opened to $22.7 million after a $9.7 million Friday (or 42.6% of the total weekend). 2006 saw Jackass: Number Two begin with $29 million after an $11.8 million Friday (40.6%), and then Jackass 3-D blew the doors off in 2010 with a $50.3 million weekend after a $22 million Friday (43.7%). Paramount figured a $20.8 million weekend was reasonable after Forever’s Friday start, which made up 46.1% of its weekend haul. That would have put it in league with just four films (out of 19) from 2021 (Black Widow, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Halloween Kills, and The Suicide Squad) whose Friday haul of $9+ million represented more than 46% of its opening weekend. In other words the studio was figuring the film to be frontloaded. But overperformance makes headlines, and with $23.5 million, the studio will get those.
If there is one thing Paramount should believe in right now, it is the power of the name brand. Free Guy is still the only wholly original title to open to more than $20 million during the pandemic. They may have moved all their Mission: Impossible films back, but Scream continues to chug along with the 16th or 17th best 24-day total for a January release (depending on how the final numbers look on Monday) and is headed for somewhere between $75-80 million, with a sixth film already greenlit. Paramount has Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Top Gun: Maverick lined up for April and May and a 2023 that is all sequels and IP, save for the animated The Tiger’s Apprentice at the moment. The industry would certainly love to see their upcoming The Lost City do well at the start of Spring. Jackass Forever isn’t even in the Top 50 of February openers, but it does keep the pandemic trend moving along, and theaters are going to continue to welcome these sequels as much as the fans currently are.
(Photo by Reiner Bajo/©Lionsgate)
There is just about nothing positive to say about Moonfall this weekend. Roland Emmerich’s $146 million-budgeted sci-fi disaster film certainly lived up to one part of that description as it grossed just $10 million this weekend. That is Emmerich’s worst wide opening, going all the way back to 1992’s Universal Soldier, which also just cleared $10 million. The filmmaker has not turned a profit for all his backers since 2012 – the movie, not the year. And if you don’t believe that, just ask White House Down, Independence Day: Resurgence, and 2019’s Midway. But all of those films are going to feel like mild disappointments compared to Moonfall, which is going to need to find around $200 million overseas for it not to be a $100 million loser.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing/©Marvel Entertainment)
Spider-Man: No Way Home is just a week away from overtaking Avatar’s domestic gross. That includes the $10 million the Special Edition re-release made. It is mere days away from passing its original theatrical gross. Another $8.8 million this weekend brings its total to over $748 million and based on the schedule ahead, it probably will not leave the Top 10 until early April, sometime around the release of Morbius. Other holiday leftovers continuing to hang include Sing 2 which will be over $140 million this week. 20th Century Studios’ The King’s Man may only have nearly $36 million to show for it, but the prequel has shown remarkable consistency and may even pass Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. Also Lionsgate can look past Moonfall on the list and see American Underdog still humming along with nearly $26 million and a DVD release in less than three weeks.
(Photo by Rob Youngson/©20th Century Studios)
In what may be the biggest opening week (in terms of the number of wide releases) so far this year, next weekend has the long-delayed Kenneth Branagh follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express with Death on the Nile. Express made over $100 million; can Nile be the rare adult-targeted film to get to $50 million? It does have some IP cred, after all. Also opening is Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in Marry Me from upcoming She-Hulk director, Kat Coiro. Can a romantic comedy breakthrough in these times? Finally, Liam Neeson is back chasing down a government conspiracy in Blacklight, which should trail the pack of newcomers.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]