The winner of last weekend's box office wasn't surprising for which film it was, but rather just how strong it was. If one of this weekend's new films were to pull the same trick, it would be a monumental shock. Suffice it to say that we're looking for a cooler set of numbers for this weekend's debuts.
Weekend Forecast for January 24-26, 2020
By Reagen Sulewski
January 23, 2020
While Guy Ritchie certainly hasn't been *gone* from our screens for the last few years - in fact, he's probably had his most successful decade ever, with his biggest ever hit last year - there's a type of film we've come to expect from him due to how he broke into the public's consciousness. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are both two decades old, but still define most people's image of what a "Guy Ritchie film" is - crime caper films with giant casts, interconnected plot lines, profane dialogue, chaotic action and lots and lots of slo-mo. The Gentlemen seems to return to that era this weekend, with a sprawling tale of drugs and casual murder.
Matthew McConaughey takes the lead in the film as the owner of a marijuana empire in Britain, which he built from the ground up when he came over as a student. Now looking to cash out, he attracts the attention of Oklahoma billionaires (led by Jeremy Strong), as well as a Chinese drug lord (Henry Golding). Through a series of twisty-turny violent adventures, everything gets completely screwed up (through details I won't share here) and with violent ends. The movie is told from the perspective of McConaughey's right-hand-man (Charlie Hunnam) after the fact to a slimy investigative reporter/paparazzi (Hugh Grant, in an amusing inside joke bit of casting), working through the convoluted side plots and digressions, which include Colin Farrell as a boxing coach, Michelle Dockery as a Lady MacBeth-like wife for McConaughey, a wayward daughter, and trips into English high society.
Although Ritchie ran in the same fields as Quentin Tarantino's crime epics, his were never quite as popular, struggling to gain full traction thanks to the British casts and settings. Indie-like crime thrillers in general are often a tough sell even when those aren't a part of it, a la Logan Lucky. The occasional one gets made into a major thing by a studio like The Italian Job or Baby Driver, but we're looking at small budget films that have small box office expectations. In this case, we're looking at a modest opening weekend of around $13 million.
The Turning is an adaptation of the 1898 horror novella The Turning of the Screw, a classic Victorian ghost story, updated here for modern times (or at least, the 90s, for some odd reason). Mackenzie Davis plays a young governess, hired on to care for two young children (Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, Brooklynn Prince of The Florida Project) after the death of their parents. The older of the two mopes around the vast, foggy estate they live on, with hints at sinister happenings and possibly some malevolent spirits involved.
The horror is of the "bump in the night" variety, making this a throwback kind of horror film in more than a couple of ways. While Davis has appeared in some solid roles, she's not really a box office draw yet. The idea certainly seems to be to count on Wolfhard's fame from both Stranger Things and It to draw people in. While I'm not here to bring down a teenager, his buzz certainly seems to be dying down a bit, and Stranger Things-mania has passed its prime. Reviews are fairly bad for this film, and ads don't do a great job of distinguishing this from any other generic horror film. A meagre weekend of around $8 million seems in store here.
Bad Boys For Life was a stunning hit at $62 million opening weekend, about 50 percent above the opening of 2003's Bad Boys II. In a stretch where so many belated sequels have flopped or underwhelmed, this was one that managed to meet and exceed expectations. This is even more surprising given Will Smith's recent struggles with opening films outside of the Disney umbrella. Even with that opening weekend performance, though, there should be a big drop for the second frame, as befits all sequels. That should still be a comfortable win on the weekend, with $28 million.
Oscar nominations did very little for the supposed front-runner, 1917, as it dropped a standard 41 percent from its wide expansion release. However, it's still at around $85 million two weeks into that release, and should be able to sustain a decent run. That means around $14 million or so this weekend, with a final total somewhere between $150 and $200 million, which would depend strongly on how it performs at the Oscars.
With a $175 million budget, Dolittle's $22 million start was certainly better than terrible ads and terrible reviews might have allowed for, but it was still a number that in no way satisfies what Sony was hoping for. So Robert Downey Jr counts for something, but this is a weird film to blow his cachet on. Word of mouth was middling at best, though there's often a little relief for family films on this front. I'd still expect this to fall to $13 million this weekend.
Little Women continues to be the film that best benefits from awards season attention, at least in a relative sense, as it lost just 20 percent of its box office last weekend. That puts it in good stead for about $5 million this weekend, with $120 million or so as a target for its final box office.
Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will enjoy their last weekends of high earning, each coming in with about $6 million, though Jumanji does remain a good candidate for $300 million domestic, with Star Wars getting set to cross $500 million itself.