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Weekend Wrap-Up

Beauty Dominates Power Rangers - LIfe and CHiPs Barely show up

By John Hamann

March 26, 2017

He seems like a fire hazard.

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Over the weekend, the rebooted Power Rangers, complete with a token LBQT character, pulled in $40.5 million from 3,693 venues. That amount was about what the two earlier failed reboots earned during their entire domestic runs (the first managed $38.2 million, while the second, Turbo, earned a give-this-franchise-a-funeral domestic total of $8.3 million). That's a decent opening weekend for a reboot of a TV series (just ask the makers of CHiPS), but I can't see this one having much legs, as I would imagine (and could be wrong) that the demo for this is probably pretty small - maybe some families where the parent remembers the TV series and kids who were taken by the trailer. Reviews were better than I expected at 46% fresh, but the really good news is in the Cinemascore, which came in at an A (but I have my own theories about Cinemascores for fan-fueled reboots – they all show up the first day, and what are they going to say? I think the same thing happens with faith-based films).

Anyway, Power Rangers opens decently, but I am sure if we look back on those '90s Power Ranger films, we will see sad legs and disposable movies. Well, hold the phone – the 1995 reboot – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers opened to $13.1 million and finished at $38.2 million=, giving it an open to total multiplier of 2.9. Reviews for that one were also terrible, but it still managed an opening-to-total multiplier of 2.9. If this version manages the same, Power Rangers finishes at the domestic box office with over $100 million, something I did not believe possible prior to its debut. I thought Power Rangers would go the way of the Josh Trank version of Fantastic Four, the 2015 release that opened to $25.7 million, and then fell off a cliff, earning only $56.1 million, giving it an opening-to-total multiplier of 2.18 (before going to earn over $110 million overseas). In this case, Lionsgate did the usual, selling off foreign rights to reduce risk on the budget, and they should end up doing quite well with this release. Some have talked about a six-film arc for Power Rangers, so I guess for me, suicide is an option.

Third is Kong: Skull Island, which is in its third weekend. When Skull Island opened, it looked like it was off to a shaky start, then surprised me with a strong weekend multiplier, opening to $61 million. Then, I thought it would fall of in its second frame, but it fell a solid 54% to $27.8 million. This weekend it holds strongly again, despite a whole bunch of new product - arguably, Kong's biggest competition at the box office was the Power Rangers. The Warner Bros. release still held well – it earned $14.4 million, and fell a not bad 48%. It has a domestic total now of $133.5 million, and it could see $165-$175 million at the stateside box office. Made for $185 million, normally we would think it would be in trouble, because it didn't look it would match its production budget at home.

However, overseas audiences have really supported Kong: Skull Island, with it clearing $250 million on foreign shores this weekend. You see, Kong earned $22 million in China on opening day alone (previews included, of course), heading for a much better debut that Godzilla, which opened to $32 million there. It also opened in Japan this weekend, and those two countries alone will likely contribute $200 million to Kong's coffers. Warner Bros. And Legendary will see a return on investment, and maybe we will see a Kong/Godzilla mashup in the future.




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Sony's Life died in fourth this weekend, as plot familiarity, bad reviews and poor audience reaction are going to send it to its grave. This letdown got started with a slow $4.4 million on Friday, which led to a disappointing $12.6 million from a quite wide 3,146 theaters. Given this stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Deadpool himself, I thought the opening would be better (and I thought the film would be better). RottenTomatoes has it at 66% fresh, but "top critics" at the site were only 48% fresh. Cinemascores were worse at a C+, which likely this means is going to disappear pretty quickly. Life cost $58 million to make, so Sony will likely struggle to find a return. However, the star power here may help, including the Swedish-born Rebecca Ferguson, along with Reynolds and Gyllenhaal. LIfe is a disappointment for me, as writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese did two of my favorite screenplays, Deadpool and Zombieland.

Logan is fifth, and for the first time see a drop that is not higher than 50%. In its fifth weekend, the Hugh Jackman fade out earned another $10.1 million, dropping a better 43% after losing 53% and 57% in previous weekends. The domestic total for the $97 million Fox hit has reached $201.4 million, crossing the $200 million mark today, its 24th day of release. That's one day slower than X-Men: Days of Future Past, which finished right where Logan should, at $233.9 million.

Sixth is Get Out, which has become a phenomenon. This weekend, Get Out earned another $8.7 million, dropping a mere 35%. The Universal/Blumhouse release has now seen drops between 15% and 35% over its run, simply unheard of for modern horror. The small $4.5 million film has now earned an insane $147.5 million, more than the original Blair Witch Project, which finished with $140.5 million.

Seventh is our last opener, the unfortunate CHiPs, which crashed and burned a bit this weekend. The comedy, written and directed by former flavor of the week Dax Shepherd, could only manage $7.6 million from 2,464 venues. That venue count leaves me to think that Warner Bros. Didn't have a lot of faith in this one, and critics didn't either, leaving it with a 20% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes. The B- Cinemascore says it didn't work with audiences, either, but with a negative cost of $25 million, the pain shouldn't be too bad if they can get some revenue out of international audiences. Dukes of Hazzard this is not, as the Duke boys opened that one to $30 million for WB and finished with a domestic take of $80 million. CHiPs won't be as lucky, and it will quickly be a memory.

The rest of the top ten are the sad sack holdovers. Eighth is The Shack, which has its best hold at 37% as it earns $3.8 million. The $20 million film has now pulled in an impressive $49.1 million. Ninth went to The LEGO Batman Movie, which dropped about 1,100 theaters as Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers took over. The result is a gross of only $2 million and a drop of 57%. Totals now for the Warner Bros. release have hit $170.8 million stateside and another $121 million and counting overseas. The original LEGO Movie grossed $470 million worldwide, leaving the sequel well back. The Belko Experiment is tenth, as it earned $1.8 million and fell 56%. This one cost only $5 million to make to make, so no one will get really hurt by it.

Aptly timed basketball movie Slamma Jamma finishes 11th. The documentary, a first-time release by a company called River Rain, earned $1.7 million from 562 theaters. It averaged only $3,361, but an almost top ten finish may create some awareness. Too bad they couldn't help Kansas on Saturday night, as yours truly WAS in the 99th percentile of the ESPN bracket challenge.

Overall, the top 12 films earned a solid $192.3 million, but well back of last weekend's $253 million. Last year was Easter weekend, the frame that Batman v Superman opened in. That weekend earned $245.3 million, so if we compare that number to last weekend, the box office stays ahead, and if we slot in last year's pre-BvS weekend against Beauty, this year holds up well there, and this weekend handily beat last weekend's comparison, which came in at $118 million. Whatever weekend we compare it to, Beauty and the Beast is putting all others to shame.
Next weekend we have two more big films opening, as Alec Baldwin and the liberal entertainers club open the animated Boss Baby for Fox, while Scarlett Johansson's Ghost in the Shell is prepared to dominate the start of the April schedule.


Top Ten for Weekend of March 24-26, 2017
Rank
Film
Distributor
Estimated Gross (millions)
Weekly Change
Running Total (millions)
1 Beauty and the Beast Walt Disney Company 88.3 -49% 317.0
2 Power Rangers Lionsgate 40.5 New 40.5
3 Kong: Skull Island Warner Bros. 14.4 -48% 133.5
4 Life Sony 12.6 New 12.6
5 Logan 20th Century Fox 10.1 -43% 201.5
6 Get Out Universal 8.7 -35% 147.5
7 CHiPs Warner Bros. 7.6 New 7.6
8 The Shack Lionsgate 3.8 -37% 49.1
9 The LEGO Batman Movie Warner Bros. 2.0 -57% 170.8
10 The Belko Experiment BH Tilt 1.8 -56% 7.6
11 Slamma Jamma River Rain 1.7 New 1.7
12 Hidden Figures 20th Century Fox .8 -47% 167.0

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