This weekend was full of surprises and disappointments, but by this time next week, things could get pretty interesting. But I’ll get into that shortly.
First of all, for the one major release of the weekend, a big question was how a much-hyped film that stars Tom Hanks, Emily Watson and John Boyega could lose? But lose the SFX high-tech paranoia thriller “The Circle”, did; a film that was not screened for the media before its release.
Any film, even with those names attached, not screened in advance typically means that the distribution company releasing it doesn’t have high hopes for it, or just isn’t cure what they have and don’t want to risk the potential for early bad reviews that hurt ticket sales. And whatever few reviews that were published before the film’s opening mostly agreed that it was pretty much a misbegotten project that in no way matched the intelligence and complexity of Dave Eggers’ book on which the film was based. It’s no surprise then that the film came in 4th place with just $9.3 million, and will no doubt drop-off sharply in the weeks to follow.
“The Circle” failed to even top two other “where-did-they-come-from?” films with unfamiliar stars that weren’t marketed widely – which once again proves that a good film made completely outside the Hollywood system, targeting a specific audience not regularly served by mainstream Hollywood films, can do very good box office; something independent black filmmakers should take to heart and increasingly put into practice.
For example, the No.2 film this weekend was the comedy “How to be a Latin Lover” starring the Mexican comic actor and director Eugenio Derbez, mainly unknown to American filmgoers, but is a very popular movie and TV star across Latin America. The film hit box office pay-dirt this weekend, making some $12 million, with the second highest per screen average in the country.
But doing even better was the three-hour long Bollywood epic “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” which came in a very impressive third place with $10.1 million, and with far and away the highest per screen average of over $23,000 – higher than any film of the top 50 movies on the box office charts. And it’s only playing on 425 screens. As I have mentioned in past box office reports, Bollywood films always do well in the U.S., marketed exclusively to their target audiences. But with an opening of $10 million, “Baahubali 2” is not only the highest box office opening for any Bollywood film in the U.S., it’s also the highest grossing Bollywood film in the U.S. to date (Check out the impressive trailer below and tell me you don’t want to check it out).
Of course “The Fate of the Furious” was no. 1 again this weekend, for the third straight in a row, with $192.7 million total domestically, and it has now crossed over the billion dollar mark worldwide making it the second film to hit that mark after Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”.
But next week marks the start of the most anticipated time of the year for the industry, known as “The Beginning of the Summer Film Season.” Continuing until around the end of August, analysts are already making predictions on what movie will be the summer box office champ. So far, most agree that it will be Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” which opens next weekend, and is projected to launch with a possible $175 million domestic gross to start, just edging out “Beauty and the Beast” as the highest opening domestically this year. “Guardians” has already grossed an amazing $101.2 million overseas which means it could very well be the third billion dollar grosser this year. Amazing for some film about some surly talking raccoon. I’ve got raccoons in my backyard. I don’t need to pay money to see one talking.
This weekend’s top 12 earners below:
1 The Fate of the Furious Uni. $19,389,780 Total: $192,721,355
2) How to be a Latin Lover PNT $12,018,500
3) Baahubali 2: The Conclusion GrtIndia $10,138,189
4) The Circle STX $9,320,000
5) The Boss Baby Fox $9,050,000 Total: $148,465,584 –
6) Beauty and the Beast BV $6,400,000 -Total: $480,100,233
7) Going in Style WB (NL) $3,580,000 Total: $37,319,770
8) Smurfs: The Lost Village Sony $3,315,000 Total: $37,734,501
9) Gifted FoxS $3,300,000 Total: $15,830,025
10) Unforgettable WB $2,345,000 Total: $8,883,819
11) Born in China BV $2,243,000 Total: $8,677,031
12) The Lost City of Z BST $1,732,559 Total: $4,833,385