Weekend Box Office February 10-12 (‘A United Kingdom’ Opens Strong + ‘Hidden Figures’ Best Picture Oscar Winner?)

"A United Kingdom"

“A United Kingdom”

This weekend caught a bad case of sequelitis with the three major releases that are sequels, and each of them aimed at specific certain audiences – men, women and children. But which one would come out on top?

No surprise that it was the animated family film that won the weekend with Warner Bros.’ “The LEGO Batman Movie” taking the No. 1 slot with $55 million, which is less than the $69 million that 2014’s “The Lego Movie” opened with (it grossed over $257 million in the U.S. alone). But “Lego Batman” is sure to do very well. A third LEGO movie is coming out this fall – “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” proving yet again that you can always count on Hollywood to milk a successful formula to death.

In second place, with just under $46.8 million, is “Fifty Shades Darker”, the terrible sequel to the terrible “Fifty Shades of Grey”, which was the 2015 film version of the equally terrible, inexplicably popular book millions read. But “Grey” opened in 2015 with an astonishing $85 million; however, it saw one of the biggest second week box office drop-offs in recent memory, meaning that audiences rushed out to see it, saw how awful it was, and told all their friends to stay away. Despite that, “Grey” went on to gross over $571 million worldwide. Therefore a sequel was inevitable (and a third installment is being planned already).

Not surprisingly, “Darker” has gotten terrible reviews, with some critics wondering why this Grey character, who is supposed to be so sophisticated, dangerous and worldly, has a “Chronicles of Riddick” poster in his apartment.

But for the guys seeking entertainment at movie houses this weekend, there was “John Wick: Chapter 2” – the sequel to the 2014 Keanu Reeves action thriller. Although the first film was a very modest hit, grossing $43 million domestically and $87 million worldwide, for a $20 million film, “Wick” did something that very few films try to, but rarely achieve. It became a genuine cult classic.

While it was dismissed at first as just another been-there-seen-that action film, it was discovered later by millions on cable and DVD that “Wick” was something even more. It was a crazy, kinetic, very stylish action thriller that was clearly heavily influenced by 90’s Hong Kong action movies, in which the action sequences are shot in long takes, in long or medium shots, with the over 50-year-old Reeves doing his own stunts; essentially the way action films were made previously, before the whole “shaky cam” thing and the over editing/ADD technique that makes it difficult to tell what the hell is going on in action films like the “Bourne” or “Taken” movies. In some cases, this was likely because the lead actor in the fight sequences weren’t convincing enough as real fighters, and so all sorts of shooting and editing tricks had to be employed to cover that fact, and make the actor look better.

As a result, “Wick” fans practically demanded a sequel and got their wish with “Chapter 2”, which is longer, more violent and more dazzlingly insane than the first one, with Reeves pulling off even more impressive stunts and martial arts action.

The film came in third place this weekend, with $30 million, which is twice what the first “Wick” film earned on its opening weekend; it’s also made another $10 million overseas to date. And with that, as you might expect, talk of a third “Wick” film is in the air.

As for limited release titles, Amma Asnate’s “An United Kingdom”, which opened on just 4 screens in N.Y. and L.A., had the 2nd highest per screen average of any film in theaters this weekend, with $17,000 per screen. Although I must admit that I would love to see the demographic breakdown for who went to see the film. I ask that because that scene in which David Oyelowo breaks down crying when he expresses his love for his wife – who is white, played by Rosamund Pike – practically guarantees that black women will not be rushing to see the film. And you know I’m right; although it is based on a true story.

Meanwhile, Raoul Peck’s James Baldwin documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” continues to perform well, expanding to 72 more screens this weekend, for a total of 115 screens and moving up from 24th place to 15th place, with $830,000 for the weekend, and a total so far of just under $1.9 million. Also “Moonlight” has now crossed the $20 million mark, with a total to date of $20,426,600.

And “Hidden Figures” not only continues to go strong at the box office, with $131 million and another $9 million overseas so far (with big numbers in Spain, New Zealand, Taiwan and Germany), there now seems to be a more support for the film when it come to the Best Picture Oscar race. Though “La La Land” is still considered the favorite to win, it’s not so certain anymore. The backlash against the film has been growing over the past few weeks (many calling it overrated, overhyped and more). And “Figures” is now the highest grossing Oscar nominated film this year; it’s also a film that everyone loves and feels passionate about, which makes it a growing serious contender for Best Picture. Also, what better statement could Oscar voters make in response to the current occupant of the White House about the diversity and richness of America, and the major contributions that black people have made and are still making to this country, by giving the Best Picture trophy to a film that tells the mostly ignored untold story of the black women who made significant contributions to science, serving as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit – a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence and turned around the Space Race.

What do you say?

This weekend’s top 12 box office earners follow below:

1) The LEGO Batman Movie WB $55,635,000
2) Fifty Shades Darker Uni. $46,797,825
3) John Wick: Chapter Two LG/S $30,015,000
4) Split Uni. $9,321,110 Total: $112,293,380
5) Hidden Figures Fox $8,000,000 Total: $131,452,250
6) A Dog’s Purpose Uni. $7,365,335 Total: $42,595,010
7) Rings Par. $5,820,000 Total: $21,492,286
8) La La Land LG/S $5,000,000 Total: $126,010,345
9) Lion Wein. $4,083,000 Total: $30,368,722
10) The Space Between Total: $6,595,158
12) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story BV $1,516,000 Total: $527,182,968

11 Comments

  1. Sergio asked “What do you say?”. I say, enough already, you’re starting to sound like Fox 2000 Picture’s Sean Spicer. You know, the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who was lampooned in a SNL by Melissa McCarthy. That’s who you’re starting to sound like with your insistence in declaring Hidden Figures as something which will make America great again.

    Geez, enough already. Isn’t it enough that a 25 million dollar mediocre film has eclipsed 100 million in box office returns? Now you’re raising your pom-poms for the Oscar. Anyway, if you’re ever in need of a new gig, I am sure Fox 2000 Pictures would consider you for the job of HNIC of pitching black films. But watch out, don’t cry foul when you’re lampooned by SNL’s token black man, Kenan Thompson. I can see that episode now. Its titled “Sergio Eats Crow While He Takes His Foot Out of His Mouth”. Hey, with your pom-poms and pitchman skills that’s smells like an Emmy, doesn’t it?

    But on the new movie front I am a little behind. I’ve only seen 4 in the top 10. But this post compelled me to take another look at the first John Wick. I believe I’ve seen it but genuine cult classic… hmmmmm, I must have missed something?

    And “Fifty Shades” won’t get 50 pennies or 50 seconds of my time. No never ever, I’d rather die than say yes to that… whatever it is. And LEGO Batman… what is that?

    But I did see Lion and I’m trying to figure out why Nicole Kidman got an Oscar Nom? Well, this years female actors basket is rather slim pickings. What, you don’t agree? Okay, check out the following and then you make the call. Personally there are 3 on the list who I would choose ahead of the pale one. They would be Lupita Nyong’o (Queen Of Katwe), Judy Davis – “The Dressmaker” and Laura Linney – “Nocturnal Animals“. Btw, I’ve seen all except “Hollars”, “Rules”, Magies Plan and I saw The Light. You guys will have to tell me if I’ve missed anything worth seeing. Now here we go… but first, Lupita should have gotten a nod but we know why that didn’t happen. However, in keeping in the spirit of my comment, next year they should hire Sergio as their HNIC Spokesperson. Now, without further ado, the female also-rans that could have, should have beens.

    Greta Gerwig – “Jackie“
    Greta Gerwig – “20th Century Women“
    Janelle Monae – “Hidden Figures“ BIG CHECK MARK by all the black women out there.
    Lily Gladstone – “Certain Women“
    Hayley Squires – “I, Daniel Blake“
    Helen Mirren – “Eye in the Sky“… Can’t go wrong with Helen Mirren…. Check that… everybody in Will Smith’s “Collateral Beauty” should get a Razzie Award.
    Margo Martindale – “The Hollars“
    Margaret Bowman – “Hell or High Water“
    Lupita Nyong’o – “Queen of Katwe“ CHECK MARK… my 1st runner-up.
    Gugu Mbatha Raw – “Miss Sloane“
    Felicity Jones – “A Monster Calls“
    Rachel Weisz – “The Light Between Oceans“…Anytime a mother loses a child (in the movie) it pulls at our sympathy strings. But sympathy does not equal an Oscar, this time.
    Elle Fanning – “20th Century Women“ Forget about it.
    Elle Fanning – “Live By Night“… Forget about it too. She didn’t do anything special, imo.
    Julianne Moore – “Maggie’s Plan“
    Judy Davis – “The Dressmaker” CHECK MARK… only 49 people saw the movie
    Aja Naomi King – “The Birth of a Nation“ Not even an Image Award?
    Kristen Stewart – “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk“… don’t even think about it. Chris Tucker’s no acting behind had a major role in this “sleeper”.
    Chloë Sevingly – “Love & Friendship”.. only If you love period pieces. I do.
    Teresa Palmer – “Hacksaw Ridge“.. I don’t even know which character she played but I really enjoyed the movie.
    Laura Linney – “Nocturnal Animals“ BIG CHECK-MARK for a confusing movie
    Laura Dern – “The Founder”
    Sienna Miller – “Live By Night“… The movie was better than I thought it would be but Sienna Miller does not stand out in my mind.
    Lizzy Caplan – “Allied“.. I’ll have to re-view this one to re-view her performance. But It was an engaging love story.
    Rooney Mara – “Lion“ Pleeeeeese?
    Annette Bening – “Rules Don’t Apply”… So some says
    Laura Dern – “Certain Women“ … But not this woman.
    Michelle Monaghan – “Patriots Day“… People are cried out.
    Sarah Gadon – “Indignation“
    Elizabeth Olsen – “I Saw the Light“… and I didn’t see the movie.
    Shailene Woodley – “Snowden“…. slow motion baby.
    Keira Knightley – “Collateral Beauty”. OMG… JUST NO to everything about that film.

    That’s all folks. And the winners are….

  2. I said the same thing last week, Hidden Figures is coming from the rear and may win. Sergio, I disagree with your assessment about La La Land having a bland storyline with bland characters after the big dance numbers, I thought the film was really well done. Next to Moonlight, my favorite Oscar film of the year (although I haven’t seen Fences or Manchester by the Sea yet).
    Hidden Figures is such a safe film to win because its well liked.

  3. 3 Hours Later…. OMG! Our eyes have seen the glory of John Wick! My lady and I have just experienced the movie John Wick (2014). It was such a thrill ride that I now understand its cult classic status. Listen, as Sergio noted, the hand-to-hand combat scenes were top notch and highly believable even when he’s killing 100 bad guys. Okay, I jest a wee bit but I’m tellin’ you, the over 50-year-old Reeves was kickin’ much ass. Now listen, as far as action fight scenes go, I’d put his scenes up against any in the business. That’s right, they were that good. On top of that the movie was much more than shot’em up kill’em off sh*t. There was loads of suspense and plenty of surprises.

    Look, my lady, who loves her some Tyler Perry, was even all up in this one. While we were watching the flick she pulled out her pad to see (google) who might make it to the end of the movie (if they’re in the next one). I was yelling “don’t tell me the movie, damn”. She did that because Clarke Peters was in the movie but he only lasted about 1 minute before the white chick tricked his behind and shoot his head off. I’m not going to tell you about the other black actor in the flick, Lance Reddick. See, he is sort of like a hotel manager named Charon. He’s a cool dude who could make it to the ending credits.

    Anyway, thanks Sergio. Your post opened my eyes to a bad mfer. I don’t know who I’d pick if he ever tangled with The Equalizer? Lets see, old ass The Equalizer vs old ass John Wick? Wait a minute, they’re both good guys, duh.

    @ Buggin Out, who are you talking to? We all pee the same… wt???

  4. As much as there are “people” saying La La Land is overrated and all that, it’s a movie starring white folks, is the only musical nominated, has throwback appeal, and one of the up and coming actresses of our time. I enjoyed Hidden Figures, even with the audience I got, but when I saw it nominated for anything, I was honestly surprised. I feel like its nomination is more so to avoid the whole #OscarsSoWhite trend than because it deserves its spot. Hell, I think Octavia was only nominated since the role she had was similar to the one she got an Oscar for. Just now she didn’t have a white woman eat her poo.

    As for John Wick, I wish they kept the talking to the amount that would fit in a tweet like part one. Between the two spanish gangsters and Laurence Fishburne being over the top, it was like they forgot what made the first movie so good and decided to adapt to the crap which fills action movies in modern times.

    • Amari, say it ain’t so. first Beyonce loses Grammy to Adele, 119 said she was very disappointed. at “I am Not Your Negro”. She found the film to be scattered, meandering, and disengaging. WOW!

      And now you’re kicking John Wick “Chapter 2” to the curb.. Really, between the two spanish gangsters and Laurence Fishburne being over the top, it was like they forgot what made the first movie so good and decided to adapt to the crap which fills action movies in modern times?

      Oh my goodness, what’s this world coming to when all my movie dreams are dashed right before my eyes. 🙁 And Beyonce can’t lose to Adele, can she?

      Somebody, anybody, say it ain’t so. I am Not Your Negro, ain’t all that?

  5. “Opens strong …” ? 4 theaters in New York and LA x $17,000 = $68,000. I don’t think so my friend. I am hopeful it will do better on another platform or two. I doubt it will be in theatrical release much longer, despite it’s obvious appeal.

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