Weekend Wrap-Up

By Tim Briody

December 15, 2019

Here we go again!

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It's exceedingly weird to be able to report good news at the box office and Marvel and/or Disney have nothing to do with it.

After getting through The Void last weekend, there really should be nothing but positive news for the remainder of the year as we're exceedingly close to the 12 Days of Box Office and while the Christmas Day releases are slight, this weekend's big release--not to mention next week's-- should be more than enough to carry the holiday season.

Lighting up the box office nicely this weekend is Jumanji: The Next Level, earning an outstanding $60.1 million for the weekend. The sequel to 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and really hoping to duplicate that movie's success. It's certainly off to a strong start.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle had a five day opening weekend (and six if you count Christmas, which fell on a Monday that year), where it earned an okay $36.1 million for the weekend and $52.7 million in five days. The reboot was barely on the radar even a month or two earlier and was going up against Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But Welcome to the Jungle was a textbook example of the point this site has been hammering home for nearly 20 years now: the last week of the year is a magical time at the box office. Combining its rave reviews, strong word of mouth and solid cast (The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan) with the holiday box office money train, Jumanji was off to the races, turning that opening weekend into $404 million, knocking The Last Jedi out of the top spot and spending four weekends at the top and a total of 12 weekends in the top ten. It was one of the leggiest films of the modern era, when movies just don't have legs anymore.

The sequel brings back the main players, but with the game within a film gimmick, switches up their personalities a tad, with the addition of senior citizens Danny DeVito and Danny Glover as accidental players. With marginally positive reviews (66% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), the sense was it was "hey, here's some more of that thing you liked." Which is good enough for some, but not everybody.

The stakes (and budget of course) are a bit higher this time around, but that's a very strong start and while The Next Level is guaranteed to not show the same legs (for funsies, if it had the same final multiplier, it would earn $672.1 million), this opening weekend bump shows there's more than enough goodwill from the last one to establish Jumanji as a major player as we head into the best two weeks of box office for the year.

Frozen II slides 45% from last weekend to $19.1 million. and has $366.5 million after four weekends. The post-Void drop is a little higher than expected, though it should start to stabilize here as we get closer to Christmas. Disney's not worried, it will have surpassed Frozen's total by Christmas and it also crossed a billion worldwide. Oh yeah, and they have Star Wars next weekend, too.




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Knives Out holds well, down 35% to $9.2 million, and it's got a total of $78.9 million in three weekends. Word of mouth is absolutely carrying the Rian Johnson film. If it can survive past next weekend mostly intact, it'll be a decent player for the remainder of the year. $100 million is a lock, how much beyond that will be clearer after next weekend.

The second new release this weekend, Richard Jewell is, um, a bomb. Coming in with just $5 million, the drama from Clint Eastwood. While it had a modicum of Oscar buzz for some of the performances, mainly Paul Walter Hauser in the title role (though Kathy Bates did get a Golden Globes nomination for Supporting Actress), over the last couple of weeks this film has emerged as...problematic.

Mostly criticism directed at Eastwood for taking liberties with the true story, such has having Olivia Wilde play a reporter shown exchanging sex for information, when Wilde plays an actual person who died in 2001. Kim Hollis laid out the issues yesterday, but yeah, not good. Eastwood had a hit last year with The Mule, which earned $100 million. Richard Jewell will earn...less than that. The incoming high tide rises all boats, but this is just not a good enough start and this one will quickly be swept away, not coming close to its reported $45 million budget. Might be time to pack it in, Clint.

Also disappointing, but to a considerably smaller extent is the third opener of the weekend, Black Christmas. A horror entry from Blumhouse, it's a remake of a remake from 2006 that I had absolutely no recollection of, and that was because it spent one day in the top ten (Christmas Day, when it opened, and was 13th for the weekend, earning a total of $16 million). Anyway, this iteration of Black Christmas earned $4.4 million, which isn't great, but since it's produced by Jason Blum, only cost $5 million to make, a figure it will double by the time it's done, with the slight possibility for a little bit more. So not great, but not a loss for Universal here.

Ford v. Ferrari earns $4.1 million in its fifth weekend and is almost there with $98.2 million to date. Its only Golden Globe nomination was for Christian Bale and it remains a marginal Best Picture nominee (they probably have to go with nine or ten nominees for it to get in) and is a prime candidate to give up the bulk of its screens in the next couple weekends,

Queen & Slim slides 46% to $3.6 million and has $33.1 million in three weekends. Tom Hanks did get his Supporting Actor nomination for the Golden Globes for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, adding $3.3 million for the weekend and $49.3 million in four weekends. Dark Waters drops 50% from its wide expansion to $2 million and $8.8 million after four weeks of release, and 21 Bridges wraps it up with $1.1 million and $26.3 million after four weekends, still short of its $33 million budget.

The top films this weekend earned $113.7 million, topping last year's $106.8 million when Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse led the post-Void weekend with $35.3 million. Something tells me that 2019 will also top next week's comparison because we've got Episode IX, as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters to wrap up the third trilogy. Oh, and the nightmare fuel that is Cats, as well.


Top Ten for Weekend of December 13-15, 2019
Rank
Film
Distributor
Estimated
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony 60.1 New 60.1
2 Frozen II Walt Disney 19.1 -45% 366.5
3 Knives Out Lionsgate 9.2 -35% 78.9
4 Richard Jewell Warner Bros. 5.0 New 5.0
5 Black Christmas Universal 4.4 New 4.4
6 Ford v. Ferrari 20th Century Fox 4.1 -38% 98.2
7 Queen & Slim Universal 3.6 -46% 33.1
8 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony Pictures 3.3 -35% 49.3
9 Dark Waters Focus Features 2.0 -50% 8.8
10 21 Bridges STX Entertainment 1.1 -58% 26.3
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations

     


 
 

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