So you know how I've been banging the drum about how 2020's box office is going to be really disappointing compared to 2019 despite Bad Boys setting a January record? Yeah, this is why.
By Tim Briody
February 9, 2020
After a bumpy start, the DC Extended Universe has had a few successes, most notably Joker (for which Joaquin Phoenix is probably about to win an Oscar), but the main thing to come out of 2016's Suicide Squad (which made $325 million) was the breakout of Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, both the performance and the outfit that launched a million cosplays. A spinoff was inevitable, but for some reason DC decided to hedge their bet and tie it into one of their C-list players, and so we have Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).
And well, despite positive reviews (80% Fresh), something went wrong. Birds of Prey earned $33.2 million for the weekend. Coincidentally, that's a full $100 million less than Suicide Squad took in back in August of 2016. We'll have a few weeks to figure out exactly what happened here, whether it was the R-rating or some other factor that prevented Birds of Prey from being bigger. The reported price tag is $85 million, a figure that it should get back domestically, but I am pretty sure Warner Bros. thought this would be a tentpole for them. But this is 2020, and the rules are different now.
After three weekends at the top, Bad Boys for Life slides to second with $12 million and $166.3 million in four weekends. The biggest January release of all time is going to make a run at $200 million, though there probably isn't enough gas left in the tank. Still, $190 million for a franchise long since thought dead is going to be the most impressive thing about 2020's box office year.
Probable Best Picture winner 1917 adds $9 million, down just 5% somehow to give it $132.5 million after five weekends in wide release. Factoring in that today typically sees more depressed box office than a normal Sunday because of The Oscars, it's an impressive hold. It got a decent Saturday boost as the only contender of note still in wide release, and will likely maintain a solid hold next weekend should it take home the big prize as anticipated.
Dolittle is another 2020 disappointment, earning $6.6 million in its fourth weekend and $63.9 million to date. The $175 million budget for this is laughable and it still hasn't made that back yet even when you factor in the overseas earnings.
Jumanji: the Next Level is still kicking, earning $5.5 million in its ninth weekend and has $298.4 million to date. It seemed unlikely early on, but much like its predecessor did to the $400 million mark, this one's getting to $300 million with some otherworldly January legs for the modern box office era.
Guy Ritchie's The Gentleman drops just 25% to $4.1 million and $26.8 million in three weekends. Domestic earnings were essentially gravy here, as it played well in the UK and has $60 million worldwide on a $22 million budget, and Ritchie's return to form will go down a winner.
Gretel & Hansel drops 43% from opening weekend to $3.5 million and $11.5 million to date. Considering the really strong holds among almost everything else this weekend, that's not good, but it's hard to complain when it only cost $5 million to make.
Knives Out reenters the top ten with a scant 9% decline to $2.3 million and $158.9 million since its Thanksgiving(!) release. It's got a small chance as its only Oscar in the Best Original Screenplay category, but the big news for it this week was the announcement of an eventual sequel, also to be written and directed by Rian Johnson.
Little Women becomes the 30th (and final) 2019 film to cross the $100 million mark as it earns $2.3 million for the weekend and has $102.6 million since Christmas Day. It's likely to be shut out at the Oscars, but this is still a fantastic performance, and the rare film directed by a woman to reach $100 million.
Taking us home this week is the end of the Skywalker Saga as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker earns $2.2 million in its eighth weekend and has $510.5 million to date. And such, lands with a thud as the third biggest film of 2019, behind Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King, after The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and even Rogue One were the biggest movies of their respective box office years.
With the big letdown of Birds of Prey, your top 12 films this weekend earned $84 million. Last year saw a weekend of $98.7 million, led by The LEGO Movie 2's $34.1 million. This is the kind of comparison weekend there's going to be a lot more of as the year continues.
Next weekend brings some excitement, including the long awaited adaptation of video game Sonic The Hedgehog (in which we find out if the internet's meddling was a positive thing), African-American targeted romance entry The Photograph, and horror entry with Blumhouse adapting Fantasy Island, but this time it's scary!