Friday Box Office Analysis
By David Mumpower
January 26, 2019
Do you remember how great Interstellar was? The Christopher Nolan sci-fi classic paired Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as almost literally star-crossed lovers whose reunion seemed impossible without the magic of gravity well time aberrations.
Why am I mentioning Interstellar? The same acting duo teamed up again this weekend. Their joint endeavor did so well that it -almost- beat a film starring the son of Andy Serkis. Almost. Yes, it’s a deadly dull box office weekend, so much so that you may want to stop reading and turn on Interstellar.
Yes, two new films entered theaters this weekend, and the stronger of them MAY break $5 million this weekend. Well, they both will since studios lie about box office. In reality, both of them are photo finishes, though.
The “winner,” if you can call it that, of the Friday box office openers war is The Kid Who Would Be King. This Fox release stars Louis Serkis, the son of Gollum, and Patrick Stewart, the latter of whom must have an expensive mortgage. Nobody over the age of 15 knew or cared about this film to the point that it will make a terrific trivia question someday.
Still, The Kid Who Would Be King managed a modest $1.7 million on Friday and hints at box office of, let’s say, $5.4 million for the weekend. While I’ve been dismissive about it, the movie did manage an impressive 86% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its Cinemascore of B+ is less laudable. For a $59 million production, this is a disastrous outcome but hey! At least Gollum managed to breed, right?
The more intriguing film released yesterday was Serenity. Ten years ago, BOP named it -- plug alert! -- the Best Picture at The Calvins, which will return in about three weeks. This Serenity isn’t that Serenity, which is lamentable. The McConaughey/Hathaway one is a debacle. It grossed a paltry $1.62 million and is headed to weekend box office of $4.8 million, although fledgling distributor Aviron Pictures will probably claim it beats whatever number The Kid Who Would Be King claims.
Let’s be clear that Serenity is terrible. Its Rotten Tomatoes score of 22% drops to 16% when we limit it to top critics. That’s not even the story, though. The Cinemascore of D+ is one of the lowest of calendar 2018/2019. People haaaaaaated this movie...and really should have watched Interstellar instead.
The top three this weekend will match the top three from last frame. Glass took a steep drop from last Friday’s $15.9 million to yesterday’s $5 million. We’re looking at a $15.8 million second weekend, which is pretty terrible.
Conversely, The Upside is somehow creeping into “success” territory. Another $3.1 million yesterday puts it on pace for $9.5 million this weekend. That would bring its running tally up to $60.4 million against a $37.5 million. Dear Hollywood: buddy movies with likable leads are still safe bets.
Finally, the horrendous but somehow well-reviewed DC movie, Aquaman, is about to become the comic book creator’s most popular project ever. Its $1.7 million Friday drops the gap to The Dark Knight down to $15 million. With international sales robust -- have some pride, citizens of Earth! -- it’ll surpass the much (much MUCH) better film by Sunday’s weekend wrap. Have fun explaining that one, Tim!
PS to BOP readers: I love you, and I’ve missed you, and I’ll try to do better about writing box office articles in 2019. Until then, if you want more of my writing, you can always read my books!