In years past, studios could have made the case of skipping the weekend after Oscar nominations in order to get out of the way of expanding films trying to capitalize on them. And while there are those films, the amount they're going to make this weekend is not the sort of thing you worry about, especially in the day of On Demand. Two films go wide this weekend but they're definite afterthoughts like in the old days of January.
Weekend Forecast January 25-27, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
January 24, 2019
The Kid Who Would Be King at least has some decent talent behind it, with Attack the Block director Joe Cornish returning to kid-centered genre filmmaking. As the title would tip you off to, it's a take on Arthurian legend in a modern setting, with kids fulfilling roles as the knights of legend. Louis Serkis (son of Andy) plays the lead, a bullied pre-teen with a stout heart who uncovers the fabled Excalibur sword and pulls it from its stone scabbard. This, you may recall, makes him the King of Camelot with all that entails, including great quests and battles. Possibly not ideal for a 12-year-old.
With a bit of help from his “knights” and Merlin (played in part by Patrick Stewart, having a great bit of fun) they go off to fight the witch Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) with some PG level fun. Reviews are actually pretty solid, but the heavy British bent to the film's cast and setting will make it a tougher sell on this side of the pond. Clearly the hope is to be something like the Percy Jackson movies, but without a book tie-in (yeah, yeah, you know what I mean), it's going be fighting for an audience that just isn't impressed. I'd expect around $12 million this weekend.
Another British director, Steven Knight, is behind the weekend's other new release, Serenity (which is already one step behind for taking that title. I know it's been over a decade I won't let it go you can't make me). A noir-ish thriller, it stars Matthew McConaughey as a grizzled fishing boat captain at a resort, who in between banging the local rich lady (Diane Lane) and drinking himself into oblivion, finds himself wrapped up in a plot involving his ex (a blonded-up Anne Hathaway going full femme fatale), her abusive husband Jason Clarke and the son he left behind. Add in Djimon Hounsou and a strange, seemingly misplaced salesman (Jeremy Strong) and you have what seems to be all the elements of a Double Indemnity type operation.
McConaughey seems to be playing his True Detective character with a slight bit more sanity, while Hathaway is pulling in every ounce of 1940s-style glam at her disposal. Reviews are terrible for it but hint at a bonkers script that is constantly winking at the audience, and contains an outrageous ending that might validate sitting through some over-baked nonsense. However, for this weekend, I feel that we're absolutely getting something ignorable, and this should open to around $8 million.
Glass wasn't quite the paradigm breaker that M. Night Shyamalan might have been hoping for to wrap up (?) his Unbreakable-verse, opening to $40 million, and essentially the same number as Split. The bold move to turn this into a secret franchise and connect to an 18 year old film didn't move it outside the audience that had already bought in when they didn't know about it. Still, it's basically found money from an old IP and proves that people are willing to give Shyamalan his third (sixth?) chance. Now that the novelty is over, this should take a big hit to around $21 million this weekend.
The Upside was a significant winner in the word of mouth department last weekend, falling to $15 million after its $20 million debut. The Bryan Cranston/Kevin Hart comedy really seems to have struck a chord, beyond all reason. I'd expect another $10 million in its third weekend.
The wind seems to be out of the sails for Aquaman, though it's after it crossed $300 million, so Warner Bros. will assuredly be crying its tears anytime soon about that. It's headed for about $330 million domestic, and about $1.1 billion worldwide, which is just a mind boggling figure to anyone from five years ago. Give it $6 million this frame.
And now we get into the Oscar films. Green Book and The Favourite are making the biggest moves, with the former likely being the front-runner and the latter having the most overall to gain from its field-leading ten nominations. Green Book has earned $40 million so far with its story about melting racism in the south in the 60s (you're welcome, black people!) and may be this year's version of The Help. Jumping to 2,400 venues this weekend, it should vault to about $5 million this weekend. The Favourite adds about 1,000 venues for its British catty palace drama. Having earned about $22 million so far, it should jump to about $4 million. Lesser jumps are possible for Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody, which are adding only a few hundred venues each. The latter film is already at $200 million though, and is mired in a controversy about its (original, non-credited) director, Bryan Singer thanks to credible sexual assault allegations. Welcome to 2019, everyone! Both should come up with about $3 million this weekend.