For all the talks of sequels and expanded universes leading the box office through the pandemic, there is still some positivity to be found in a film starting from scratch, at least cinematically. The name recognition that a video game adaptation brings notwithstanding, fans still showed up to deliver the best opening of the year and one of the best of the last two. The overall numbers over this holiday weekend actually do show some promise that the tide may be shifting towards people coming back to the movies.
(Photo by Clay Enos/©Sony Pictures)
Fans of the video game Uncharted have had to wait through all the fits and starts of bringing it to the big screen; Sony even had a date charted out for it in 2016 before any of it was filmed. While critics are not exactly supporting the good-things-come-to-those-who-wait feeling of it all with a 39% on the Tomatometer, they have certainly been less kind to others in the genre. The studio, meanwhile, can boast that Ruben Fleischer’s film had one of the best game-to-screen openings behind Sonic the Hedgehog ($58 million), Pokemon Detective Pikachu ($54.3 million) and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider ($47.7 million). Uncharted’s $44 million three-day haul also bested Scream’s four-day holiday weekend haul of $33.8 million, and its Fri-to-Sun haul made it just the 12th film to open to at least $40 million since the pandemic began. In 2019 alone there were 22 films that reached that opening.
Last year’s Halloween Kills was just the fourth film since 2010 to open to over $40 million and not gross $100 million. (Paranormal Activity 2, Insidious: Chapter 2, and 2017’s Power Rangers were the others.) So that would already be a good sign that Uncharted is on the right path. With $51 million in four days, it is a certainty. Sonic the Hedgehog remains the highest-grossing domestic video game adaptation with $148.9 million, and it was cut short by the start of the pandemic in 2020. However, thanks to a robust international haul, Warcraft still remains the worldwide champ with over $439 million. Uncharted’s start suggests a first estimate of between $115-125 million, but given the continued exodus of titles between now and the summer, it should remain in the top three at the box office until the end of March and probably will not drop out of the top five until the weekend of April 8 when Sonic the Hedgehog 2 opens.
(Photo by United Artists Releasing)
In another sign that a speck of life is coming back to theaters we have a new member of the pandemic’s non-sequel/universe/reboot/prequel/reimagining club. UA Releasing’s Dog, starring and co-directed by Channing Tatum, just joined Free Guy, Encanto, Old, and House of Gucci in the club of original films that opened to over $12 million. It’s a select, very specific club that the industry would love to see doubled by the end of June, with Tatum having a pretty good shot to make it two in a row with The Lost City at the end of March. $15 million over a weekend normally would be a number dismissed as an average start for a film advertised toward families (even if its subject matter is darker), but in this theatrical economy it is a big deal. Estimated at $18 million through the holiday, even if it drops off sharply and levels out in the mid-40s, it is still a solid number for UAR who are currently the only studio with two films in this exclusive group.
(Photo by Reiner Bajo/©Lionsgate)
Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall lost 1,478 theaters and, in just its third weekend, fell right out of the top 10. It grossed just $1 million through Sunday, falling another 65% from its second week, which itself saw a 70% drop from its first. The $140+ million budgeted film has grossed less than $18 million to date and over $32 million worldwide. That currently makes Moonfall the lowest-grossing film ever with a budget of $140 million or higher.
(Photo by Rob Youngson/©20th Century Studios)
Last week’s #1 film, Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, fell back to 4th place this weekend with $7.1 million estimated over the holiday to bring its 11-day total to just under $26 million. It appears on pace to finish its journey somewhere between $40-45 million, or less than half of Murder on the Orient Express’ total, making for another sub-$50 million film for 20th Century Studios. The previous week’s #1, Jackass Forever, will be headed north of $50 million with a $6.2 million total estimated through Monday. Given it’s on a path similar to last year’s Candyman, the fourth Jackass film may have enough left to get over $60 million. Paramount’s current leader of 2022, the fifth Scream film, made another $2.2 million over the weekend and is going to try to push itself over $80 million. It has already doubled the final gross of Scream 4.
Tom Holland’s other little movie in the top ten, Spider-Man: Ho Way Home, is also not going anyway anytime soon. The film already passed Avatar and its re-releases earlier this week to become the third highest-grossing domestic title ever. Another $8.8 million through the holiday brings its total to nearly $772 million. The holidays’ other big holdover, Sing 2, pulled in another $3.8 million and should pass $150 million by next weekend. Universal’s Valentine’s Day title, Marry Me, with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson, dropped 54% and now has an 11-day total of over $17 million. “The Queen of Romantic Comedies” will see her latest likely not reach $25 million in a period when rom-coms have not really been tested in the marketplace. Finally, LD Entertainment’s release of Sean Ellis’ The Cursed (formerly known as Eight For Silver when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021) made it into the top ten with $1.9 million in 1,687 for a per-theater-average of just over $1,000.
(Photo by United Artists Releasing)
After numerous delays from awards season, Joe Wright’s Cyrano with Peter Dinklage is finally coming out and still in musical form, despite what the commercials are selling. Also opening is the Foo Fighters’ horror film Studio 666 and a 50th Anniversary re-release of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. It may only take a cool million to make it into the top 10 next weekend; can all three of them manage as much?
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]