First let’s get to the obvious. “The Fate of the Furious” was of course No. 1 again this weekend. Though it dropped by just over 60% from last week’s opening, it did well enough with $38 million, adding up to $163 million domestically and $908.4 million worldwide. That means that “Fate” will hit the one billion box office mark worldwide by next weekend, making it the second billion dollar grosser this year after Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” All of this, as I wrote about last week, further solidifies director F. Gary Gray’s status as the most financially successful black director to date, with his films grossing a total so far of $1.62 billion worldwide, since 1995.
However, despite the success of the “Furious” movies, there lies a dilemma for Universal. What to do next? How much father can they go with the whole franchise? What started out as a one-off film back in 2001 which the studio hoped would be successful enough to spawn at least one sequel, has become a massive money making tentpole for the studio. But when is enough, enough? How outlandish can they go? Into outer space, perhaps? When will the audiences say they’ve had their fill? Sure, they can go ahead and make more of them, but will audiences continue to come, or are they starting to get burned out?
One answer the studio has come up with is to spin-off characters from the franchise, as evident when they announced this week that they are seriously considering a spin-off “Furious” series to star Dwayne Johnson, so they could at least keep the spirit of the “Furious” films alive, while moving into another direction entirely. But Universal knows that they can’t keep making these films forever and that audiences will soon tire of them. And if so, where will their next franchise tentpole come from to take “Furious'” place? Yes they have the “Jurassic” universe of films (the next installment is being shot right now), but one tentpole franchise is apparently not enough these days. Money is money.
Fox’s animated film “The Boss Baby” continues perform well – much better than anyone had anticipated. Despite word of mouth that the movie isn’t particularly funny or clever, audiences, as I have mentioned before, seem to be taken with it since it plays to adult minds as a sort of satire about the current resident of the White House, depicting him as a baby. The film came in second place again this weekend, adding up to a total of $136 million in the U.S. and $319 million worldwide.
In the meantime, there where two big b.o. busts this weekend. First was the Lifetime-movie-released-on-the-big-screen “Unforgettable” which completely tanked, not even able to muster a lousy $5 million this weekend, and will quickly disappear. It’s also a perfect example of the logic behind studios greenlighting films – in that there is none. The thriller – at one time Amma Asante (“Belle”) was attached to direct and Kerry Washington to lead – stars Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl, who, it’s safe to say, is one of the least loved actresses both professionally in the industry and with the public. In fact, when she once started a Kickstarter campaign to help finance an independent film she wanted to star and produce in, no one contributed any money. And when she finally returned to TV this season with new series, “Doubt” on CBS, the program got cancelled after only two episodes. If no one wants to see her in anything, why give her the co-starring lead in a movie? Its opening box office speaks for itself.
The other big loser was “The Promise” with Christian Bale and Oscar Issac, an independently financed film reportedly costing $90-100 million to make, and picked up for domestic distribution by Open Road. A period love story set during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, it was going to be a tough sell, and not just today, but even during the “Golden age of Hollywood” during the 1930’s and 40’s; even if you had Clark Gable and Greta Garbo starring in it, it would’ve been a hard sell.
Open Road probably knew that it wasn’t going to be huge money maker. But with an opening weekend gross of just over $4 million, that has to be well below expectations.
Finally “Get Out”, with $189 million worldwide so far inches closer to a $200 million worldwide gross, is still a huge box office draw in the UK and around the world, opening even as far away as Vietnam as well. However it’s now just breaking into Scandinavia in Denmark and Norway, where it’s pulling some respectable numbers It still has yet to open in some major European countries such as France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain which will no doubt lift the film’s overseas numbers.
This week’s top 12 grossing films follows below:
1) The Fate of the Furious Uni. $38,682,095 Total: $163,578,315
2) The Boss Baby Fox $12,750,000 $136,991,870
3) Beauty and the Beast (2017) BV $9,973,000 $471,097,384
4) Born in China BV $5,147,000
5) Going in Style WB (NL) $5,005,000 Total: $31,765,843
6) Smurfs: The Lost Village Sony $4,850,000 Total: $33,387,985
7) Unforgettable WB $4,805,000
8) Gifted FoxS $4,500,000 Total: $10,714,792
9) The Promise ORF $4,064,860
10) The Lost City of Z BST $2,147,379Total: $2,296,792
11) Phoenix Forgotten CLF $2,000,006
12) Get Out Uni. $1,692,710 Total: $170,330,855