The latest adaptation of a classic novel gets the CGI treatment, and we've got the closest box office race of the year.
By Tim Briody
February 23, 2020
Call of the Wild is the only major opener this week and the only threat to Sonic the Hedgehog's second weekend. After a relative dearth of kid/family options, now that's the top two films out there, all trying to get in before Pixar arrives with their latest in two weekends.
It's closer than they would have liked, but Sonic does hang on for a second weekend at the top of the box office, with $26.3 million, a drop of 55%. It's got $106.6 million in two weekends and is a much needed hit for Paramount. You can attribute the drop to last weekend being slightly inflated thanks to President's Day. Still, even with a budget anywhere from $81-95 million, it's more than doubled that worldwide, which is impressive since China's box office this year has been decimated by the coronavirus scare. Sonic is headed to at least $150 million, as Onward is expected to take most of its steam.
Call of the Wild lands in second, making it close with $24.8 million after coming in ahead of Sonic on Friday. Starring Harrison Ford and a CGI dog, this is a better than expected start for the first film released under the 20th Century Studios banner, aka what used to be Fox before they were bought by Disney. This one's squarely aimed at kids (I definitely remember reading it in seventh grade), and it showed, as most of the reviews cited the almost cartoon-y reactions of the CGI'd Buck. Now for the bad news, Call of the Wild has a reported production budget of $125 to $150 million. Yikes. While exactly the type of film that will have decent legs, it's not going to make that back in theaters. It's nothing to Disney, though.
Birds of Prey continues its slide, down another 59% to $7 million and $72.5 million after three weekends. Despite a $33 million start, this isn't getting to $100 million and is a miss for the DC Extended Universe, as there's now a lot more riding on the summer's Wonder Woman sequel.
Oh right, there was another opener this weekend (I did say "major" earlier on). Brahms: The Boy II earned $5.9 million as the latest disposable horror entry (and not a biopic about the composer) released in 2020. The Boy opened to $10.7 million in 2016 and earned $35.7 million total on a $10 million budget, so someone decided four years later was a good time for a sequel. This one also cost $10 million and opened to a bit less. It's looking at half of what the first one made, which is still ahead of budget, but probably not the free money STX was looking for in their investment on this one.
Bad Boys for Life gets closer to $200 million with a sixth weekend of $5.8 million and $191.1 million to date. Every day extends the record for a January new release, and they had better not wait 17 years for the next one.
1917 earns $4.4 million (down 46%) in its seventh weekend of wide release and has $151.9 million to date. Without the big prize at the Oscars, it's rapidly losing relevancy (this is its biggest week-to-week decline) and screens, but that a war movie with no (American) stars made it to $150 million is still an impressive feat.
Fantasy Island collapses 66% to $4.1 million and $20.1 million in two weekends. It has not been a good year for the cheap horror genre, but this one is still profitable as it was a Blumhouse production, costing only $7 million.
Best Picture winner Parasite can't hang onto its momentum from last weekend as it drops 45% from its bump last weekend to $3.1 million and $48.9 million after 20(!) weekends in theaters, but only second in wide release. Maybe viewers just didn't understand it, or realized they can watch it on YouTube or Amazon Prime.
Jumanji: The Next Level is kicking around for at least one more weekend, as it earned $3 million this weekend and is now at $319.9 million after 11 weekends. Hard to believe that this is one of the biggest franchises going, something nobody saw coming even a month or two before Welcome to the Jungle's release.
Just edging out Impractical Jokers: The Movie (with an estimated $2.5 million), The Photograph places tenth with $2.8 million and an astounding 77% drop from opening weekend. Okay, it was a holiday and Valentine's Day, but yikes. It's got $17.6 million in two weekends, roughly matching its budget.
This weekend's top films grossed $91.7 million. Last year's films earned $114.5 million, led by How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World's $55 million.
Next weekend is yet another horror movie, but this one's got a bit of a pedigree as Universal brings us The Invisible Man.