Hooray, everyone! 2019 has been saved by dragons! And now, back to the wall.
Weekend Forecast for March 1-3, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
February 28, 2019
Tyler Perry simply cannot be stopped. Not by declining box office, the passage of time, a lack of new ideas, not even by the active indifference of audiences. Averaging about two new films per year as a director, Perry's moralistic tales of southern black families with his centerpiece character, Madea, have carved out their healthy little niche in the last decade. And now, here comes another one (I'm presuming this was a rejected tagline).
A Madea Family Funeral does what it says on the tin, as we follow her and her extended family into backwoods Georgia for a funeral, with all the wacky hijinks that you can imagine in that situation. Yes, while some of the Madea movies are somewhat serious, this is one of the "funny" ones, which have traditionally done a little better. It's kind of marginal on this front, but they are easier sells to his audience. Reviews, as usual, are not available, as there's little to be gained from sending this one out to critics - they're not going to like it, and his fan base doesn't really care. This is actually the first non-holiday themed Madea movie in seven years, so there's a bit of a gap in data for what a non-themed outing has the potential for.
One big sign of trouble is the huge drop off between the two Halloween editions - Madea fans, at long last, seem to be aware when they're being sold the same thing twice. Is this new enough of an idea to revitalize the franchise? I mean, maybe? It's a pretty relatable premise at least at the core of it, even if the details are a bit out there as always with these films. I'd look for an opening weekend of around $18 million.
This week's other new film takes on the greatest fear of a young 20-something... interacting with a person over 40. I kid, a little. Greta stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a young woman who befriends a piano teacher and widow (Isabelle Huppert) who seems to be a very welcome mother figure as she finds her way on her own in New York. All is not what it seems, of course, or else there'd be no movie, and things take a sinister turn. Lets just say that surrogate mothers don't let go easy.
Directed by Irish helmer Neil Jordan, most famous for The Crying Game, it's his first wide release in over a decade, since Jodie Foster's revenge fantasy The Brave One. The audience for this one is a bit of a puzzler, as it's got an art house sensibility, but with genre trappings, and leads that don't command much in the way of star power. It's a low budget film getting a wide release based on some perceived notion of thrillers about women being popular, and maybe they're right, but probably not in this case and around $5 million is a good expectation here.
With How To Train Your Dragon 3's $57 million start, a couple of early-year talking points died a quick death - with both the ideas of "momentum at the box office" and "sequelitis" failing to rear their heads. The answer, as always, is to make a movie that people want to see. Studio hacks gonna studio hack, certainly, but quality generally wins out. It's significant in this case, since it's a big leap beyond either of the previous two films in the series, in a reverse of what's been seen in other franchises where interest has waned for the last entry. Combined with increased international interest over the years, this should be a bit of a monster earner, and should easily take this weekend with $38 million.
Alita: Battle Angel took a significant hit in its second weekend as expected, with the future-steampunk aesthetic not being quite enough to carry it past a disappointing start. Look for around $6 million this weekend.
The LEGO Movie 2 continued its disappointing run, having still not reached the $100 million mark in its third weekend. In fact, $125 million may be a struggle for it to reach. Fourth weekend should give it around $5 million.
Fighting With My Family is an interesting story as a family comedy about wrestling that may be able to transcend that fanbase. With strong word of mouth and decent reviews, it's a candidate to be a leggy film that plays for at least a few weeks longer than normal. A small problem is that it started at just $7 million and doesn't have much room to give. It is expanding a little, and may hold at $5 million.