Weekend Box Office April 7-9: 'Get Out' Subject Matter Not Registering Well Overseas? + 'Ghost in the Shell' Wreckage

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April 20th 2017

UNIVERSAL UNIVERSAL

Who knew that a new "Smurfs" movie came out this weekend? Perhaps more importantly, who cares about a new "Smurfs" movie? Well, one did open this weekend - "Smurfs: The Lost Village"; but this time around, unlike the two previous "Smurfs" films, "The Lost Village" is all animation, while those that came before it were live action combined with animated characters.

Perhaps it made sense to go the full animation route this time since the films have been decreasing in value for the studio. The first "Smurfs" film in 2011 made some $563 million worldwide, but the 2013 sequel did less than that, earning around $347 million worldwide. Not bad, but considerably less than the first one. Regardless, believing that there was still some money to be made from the franchise, Sony decided to go cheaper with a third all-animated film which cost about half of what the previous movies were each made for.

A good idea in theory, but what possessed Sony to release an animated film right after tough family movie competition in "The Boss Baby" and "Beauty and the Beast"? Both films were once again No.1 and No. 2 for the weekend. As a result, "The Lost Village" came in third with $14 million, which isn't so spectacular, considering what it was going up against. But it perhaps would have done better if Sony had found a different opening weekend, away from any similar films.

As for "Ghost in the Shell", the film took over "Get Out's" position as the subject of the most "think pieces" published online in the last week. And to no surprise, it dropped sharply by about 60% from last week's numbers, coming in 5th place, earning $31 million so far domestically. It is doing better internationally, with another $93 million, but Paramount publicly stated that it expects to lose around $60-70 million on the film. And that's being optimistic. With production costs now reported to be much higher at about $180 million, the film needs to earn over $400 million before the studio breaks even; and at its current rate of ticket sales, it's going to fall far short.

Another studio executive publicly admitted in an interview that the controversy over the "whitewashing" of the lead character was one of the major factors for the film's dismal box office performance. And to those who say that Scarlett Johansson was cast because of her box office prowess, I say "Where?"

Last year she was named the biggest female box office movie star in the world; but that's only because of her appearances in those Marvel movies, a part that anyone could have played. And those films would have made the same amount of money without her in them. To date the only film Johansson has starred in, as the lead, that actually made some money, was 2014's sci-fi/actioner "Lucy". She just basically lucked out being in those Marvel films.

But as previously mentioned, once again Fox's "The Boss Baby" was No.1 this weekend, although it dropped some 47%. But it was good enough to hold on to the No.1 slot with just under $90 million to date, and another $110 million overseas.

"Beauty and the Beast" was again No. 2 with a stunning $432 million so far, and no signs of slowing down, with over $977 million worldwide to date; meaning that by next weekend it will have grossed at least $1 billion worldwide - the 15th movie from Disney to hit that mark.

As for the other major new film releases, there was the slapstick remake of the 1979 comedy "Going in Style", about a trio of old codgers who decide to pull off some bank robberies. The film grossed $12.5 million, which isn't bad when taking into account that it cost under $25 million to make, and will easily gross twice the number overseas alone.

However, it maybe looks that "Get Out" might have some short box office legs overseas. Though the film has done incredibly well in the UK with over $8 million to date, it has yet to catch fire in other markets beyond the USA and the UK, with just $13 million to date.

Now to be fair "Get Out" has yet to open in some major foreign countries such as France, Germany and Spain, but after the UK the next highest grossing region for the film is the United Arab Emirates with $442,000, followed by Greece with just $348,000.

Perhaps the film's international fortunes will improve once it breaks out wider, opening in more foreign countries; or maybe its subject matter simply doesn't translate as well in other countries in which matters of race aren't as prominent as they are in the USA, the UK and other nations with a similar racial makeup. What do you say?

This weekend's top 12 grossers follow below:

1) The Boss Baby Fox $26,300,000 Total: $89,373,31
2) Beauty and the Beast BV $25,022,000 Total $432,316,034
3) Smurfs: The Lost Village Sony $14,015,000
4) Going in Style WB (NL) $12,500,000 Total $12,500,000
5) Ghost in the Shell Par. $7,350,000 Total $31,573,450
6) Power Rangers LGF $6,215,200 Total $75,111,442
7) Kong: Skull Island WB $5,825,000 Total $156,554,724
8) Logan Fox $4,050,000 Total $218,057,408
9) Get Out Uni. $4,020,485 Total $162,853,135
10) The Case for Christ PFR $3,900,000
11) The Zookeeper's Wife Focus $2,888,440 Total $7,602,965
12) Life Sony $2,435,000 Total $27,004,487

by Sergio Mims on April 20th 2017
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