We get our first box office upset of 2019 as Aquaman is bumped out of the top spot by The Upside, as it's a sleepy January weekend before we get a blockbuster hopeful next frame.
by Tim Briody
January 13, 2019
The Upside is the number one movie for the weekend, earning an estimated $19.6 million, beating expectations by several million. This is the first #1 movie for STX Entertainment, a company that has mostly put out mid-tier films and actually had a pretty lousy 2018, with notable disappointments Mile 22 and The Happytime Murders. Their highest grossing film is 2016's Bad Moms with $113.2 million (which opened at #3) so that record isn't in jeopardy, but they have to be very happy with this performance. They picked up the film from the wreckage of The Weinstein Company, and it stands to make back its reported $38 million budget after this opening.
Anyway, The Upside is a remake of a French film from 2011 and stars Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman. Why did it open above expectations (which were around $8-11 million), especially since it wasn't a hit with critics (40% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes)? Well, there's the star power of Kevin Hart, whose last effort, Night School, performed well enough, and his presence in this dramedy likely boosted it more than you think. In addition, while critics were lukewarm, audiences ate it up, giving it an A CinemaScore, so there's going to be some positive word-of-mouth, likely from older audiences.
Aquaman slips to second after three weekends at the top (we haven't had a four-peat since Black Panther, which spent five weekends at #1) with $17.2 million, down 44% from last weekend. (Nicole Kidman stays at the top, though!) $287.8 million in four weekends is still solid, and it will pass the $300 million mark next weekend, the sixth film of 2018 to reach that mark. It's crossed $1 billion worldwide with this weekend's international grosses, the first film in the DC Extended Universe to do that (and who saw that coming?) We now look and see if there's enough left in the tank to match the domestic totals of Suicide Squad ($325.1 million) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330.3 million).
New release A Dog's Way Home lands in third, with $11.3 million. Expected to be the top performer among the new releases, A Dog's Way Home found itself surprised by The Upside. January is apparently the time to release a movie about a dog, as two years ago A Dog's Purpose opened in January to $18.2 million and landed with $64.3 million. The move was shrugged at by critics (59% Fresh) but audiences thought it was fine (A- Cinemascore). The performance here isn't bad, it's just that The Upside overperformed. It was cheap to make ($18 million), so Sony should find themselves in the black with it.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse continues to swing along with another $9 million and $147.7 million after five weekends. It's absolutely great that this one is continuing to hang on to audiences after the holidays, and could get all the way to $180 million by the time it's done. Please fast track the sequel, thank you.
2019's #1 movie (for one more weekend), Escape Room takes a fairly predictable 51% drop from its opening to $8.9 million. It's got $32.4 million after two weekends, and Sony should be very happy that since it only cost $9 million to make.
Mary Poppins Returns continues to suffer after the holidays, taking a 55% drop in its fourth weekend to $7.2 million and $150.6 million to date. The musical didn't keep its viewers as readily as last year's The Greatest Showman, as it heads to about $175 million. That's still a good total, but you know Disney was expecting at least $200 million for it, especially with a reported $130 million budget.
Bumblebee crossed $100 million during the week and added $6.7 million on the weekend, giving it $108.4 million in four weekends. Weirdly, that's what the first Michael Bay Transformers movie opened to in 2009. Unfortunately for the spinoff, while considerably leggier, it won't even match the total of 2017's The Last Knight. The international earnings have been pretty decent (though also not to the level of the other Transformers movies), so it's up to Paramount to decide if they want to build on this one or just cut their losses and end the franchise for a while.
Expanding from 112 theaters to 1,923, On The Basis of Sex earns $6.2 million, giving it $10.5 million after three weekends of release. Starring Felicity Jones as a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and focusing on the case that launched her legal career and eventually led her to the Supreme Court, it's the second movie about her in 2018 (after the documentary RBG). The performance is okay for awards bait where the awards never materialized, which tend to not succeed.
Clint Eastwood's The Mule creeps towards $100 million with $5.5 million in its fifth weekend and $90.5 million to date.
Vice, despite a Golden Globe win by Christian Bale, dips 43% to $3.2 million, and just behind it in 11th is Bohemian Rhapsody with $3.2 million, boosted by its Best Picture win at the same awards, and a small re-release of a singalong version. Vice has $35.9 million since Christmas Day, while Bohemian Rhapsody has willed itself into both a Best Picture nomination and $200 million in box office as it stands at $198.4 million.
Keanu Reeves missed badly with Replicas, earning just $2.5 million on the weekend. Perhaps they should have added some number of ronin. At least he's got John Wick 3 coming later on this year.
The top 12 films earned $100.7 million this weekend, well off from last year's $136.7 million when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle led with $28.1 million, The Post expanded to $19.3 million and the top opener was The Commuter with $13.7 million.
Next weekend we get a supposed blockbuster as M. Night Shyamalan's accidental trilogy that began all the way back in 2000 with Unbreakable concludes with the release of Glass.