The Box Office Good, Bad and Ugly Over Oscar Weekend
By John Hamann
February 26, 2017
Sometimes, when you write a piece like this for as long as I have (15+ years), the odd mea culpa has to come out. There were a number of years where I dumped on Jason Blum in this column, mostly during the later Paranormal Activity films, that felt more like a cash grab than moviemaking (the first PA made Blum, as it earned almost $200 worldwide versus a budget of $15,000), as the quality dipped as the films went on. Now, having produced films like Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash (yes, that Whiplash), Stephen Daldry’s The Reader, Creep with Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed), The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, the little seen Hush (see it if you haven’t), and now Split and Get Out, Blum has put a resume of films together that are made with low budgets, but are obviously projects where the creative teams are left in control.
Hopefully, moviegoers will continue to support good films instead of expensive retreads of the same thing over and over. The trend is changing, and word-of-mouth should be as strong for Get Out as it is for Split, as it earned a never-seen-with-horror Cinemascore of A-, with younger audiences giving it an A+. Get out there and support a film like this one - please!
Finishing a much more distant second than expected is The LEGO Batman Movie, now in its third weekend. This animated feature has to deal with coming off the long weekend in the last frame, which leads to a hangover frame, as kids aren’t as free. The well-reviewed (91% fresh) animated flick earned another $19 million and was off 42% compared to last weekend. The first LEGO Movie was in a much better position at this point in its run, with $183 million in the domestic bank after three weekends, but the $133 million LEGO Batman has earned to date is respectable enough. The LEGO Batman Movie also crossed the $200 million worldwide mark this weekend, so the $80 million investment is going to be fine (I believe films need to make three times their budget to be profitable), but I have to wonder if putting Batman in the title is turning off girls. More on that next week.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (aka John Wick 2) pulled ahead of Fifty Shades Darker for the first time this weekend, and is our third consecutive well-made film (90% fresh) in the top ten. John Wick 2 earned another $9 million and fell 45% in weekend three. Made for $40 million and distributed by Lionsgate, this is going to be a huge win for the studio, as it crossed the $100 million worldwide mark this weekend and will go much further than that.
The Great Wall drops to fourth, as North American audiences seem uninterested in this Chinese release. After opening to $18.5 million las weekend, the Matt Damon starrer declined 53%, and the film earned $8.7 million in its second frame. This one cost $150 million to make and has earned $245 million overseas ($170 million in China), but the domestic gross lags with only $34.4 million.