I admit that this is an odd way to start off this weekend's box office report, but first I want to jump ahead into the future, seven months from now, and consider the box office possibilities of Marvel's Studios' "Black Panther" (BP). Now why would I do that? The film is still in post-production as we speak, and the only thing we have to go on so far is the teaser trailer which, as I have said before, made every black man, woman and child lose their natural minds.
But the reason why I want to look ahead is because of some interesting recent developments and their potential outcomes. Earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that, in just the first 24 hours after the BP trailer premiered, it was watched by some 89 million people. That put it in the top three most watched trailers ever, with Marvel's upcoming "Thor: Ragnarok" being in first place with 136 million views. BP beat out heavy hitters like "Captain America: Civil War" (61 million), "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" (55 million) and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (52 million).
On top of that, the BP trailer got the second highest number of mentions on Twitter, only beaten by the Twitter mentions for the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" teaser. As a result of all this excitement, box office analysts are already predicting what "Black Panther" could open with when it finally debuts in Feb. 2018 - that the film could have the highest box office opening ever for any film premiering in February.
Currently, the record holder is Fox/Marvel's "Deadpool" which opened in Feb. 2016 with a $132 million weekend, going on to gross $363 million domestically and $783 million worldwide. So could BP earn at least $132 million during its opening weekend?
It's very possible; I look at it this way. I had never heard of "Deadpool" or knew who he was before the film was released, and yet it went on to make a ton of money. Evidently, there was this massive "Deadpool" cult out there that I was not aware of. "Black Panther" on the other hand I have heard of, and have been familiar with for a long time. Even people I know who, like me, don't follow comic books or even "Black Panther" are totally geeked for the film, and have been talking about it on Facebook and other social media. The film already has broader appeal thsn most superhero movies. So how can it not have a record breaking opening?
This leads to another point: Why can't Marvel Studios start selling tickets for the film now? As someone recently pointed out if you can buy tickets for a concert a year in advance why can't you buy a ticket for a film months or a year in advance as well? Could you imagine the type of ticket sales that would happen if Marvel started offering tickets for "Black Panther" now? It would revolutionize film going. Judging from the kind of interest the film is drawing, I would not be surprised if Marvel actually does start selling tickets for BP and for other Marvel films set to open in the next year.
As for this weekend's box office, I think it's fairly safe to say that no one expected the maybe-not-so-much-anticipated Tupac Shakur biopic, "All Eyez on Me" (directed by Benny Boom) to be great let alone even just watchable. The trailer was roundly derided when it premiered, and in some places advance screenings were help up until the Thursday night before the film opened, which is never a good sign.
In addition, their were problems during the making of film which took years to finally get off the ground (catch up here). Also the reviews have been, to put it kindly, brutal, getting only a 24% positive reaction on Rotten Tomatoes. And to add insult to injury, Tupac's close friend Jada Pinkett-Smith publicly denounced the film last week. While praising the actors, she tweeted that she was "deeply hurt" by the distortions and inaccuracies in the film about the true nature of their relationship.
But despite all of that going against the film, surprisingly "Eyez" actually performed a lot better than anyone predicted, grossing $27 million this weekend.
Obviously die hard Tupac groupies were going to see the film regardless, and I suspect it also drew the sheer curiosity or of others. However expect a likely major drop-off next weekend once the already horrible world of mouth continues to get around more.
As for other new films this weekend, Pixar's "Cars 3" may have been 3 cars films too many. While the first "Cars" film opened in 2006 with $60 million ($72.8 million in today's dollars), and its 2011 sequel opened with $66 million, "Cars 3" fell short opening with $55 million; however the overseas market will help the film a lot.
"Jurassic World" director Collin Trevorrow's long in development and cherished dream project "The Book of Henry" (which he finally got to make after the success of "World") opened to dreadful reviews which is not surprising when one considers the preposterous plot about a dead kid's dairy that instructs his surviving mother on how to become a lethal sniper in order to kill the abusive father of a next door neighborhood girlfriend (see I told you).
However one critic who defended "Henry" claimed that other critics were out to get Trevorrow because of "white male privilege". In other words, they had a vendetta against him because, only after making one low budget indie film he was hired to direct "Jurassic World" (which is currently still the fourth highest grossing film worldwide ever), instead of a more seasoned director of color or a woman.
But maybe it's just that critics hated the film because it was badly made with a stupid plot. Nevertheless, the film still tanked this weekend, grossing just $1.4 million on a limited release of 579 screens.
In the meantime the R-rated raunchy female comedy "Rough Night" with Scarlett Johannson flopped big time, making just over $8 million, proving yet again like she did with "Ghost in the Shell" that, despite claims of the opposite, Johansson is not a box office draw. Now watch my prediction come true when the similar themed R-rated raunchy black female comedy "Girls Trip" comes out later this summer, and easily out grosses "Rough Night".
"Wonder Woman" dropped down to second place after "Cars 3" with almost $40.8 million adding up to a domestic total of $276.6 million, and $572 million worldwide. But it continues to perform, with predictions that it will out-gross Warner/DC's "Suicide Squad" worldwide, a film that no one liked.
This weekend's top 13 grossers follow below:
1) Cars 3 BV $53,547,000
2) Wonder Woman WB $40,775,000 Total: $274,601,730
3) All Eyez on Me LG/S $27,050,000
4) The Mummy Uni. $13,916,010 Total: $56,526,710
5) 47 Meters Down ENTMP $11,500,000
6) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales BV $8,458,000 Total: $150,066,114
7) Rough Night Sony $8,040,000
8) Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Fox $7,350,000 Total: $57,963,660
9) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 BV $4,982,000 Total: $374,853,015
10) It Comes At Night A24 $2,616,600 Total: $11,139,764
11) Megan Leavey BST $2,300,828 Total: $8,147,594
12) Baywatch Par. $1,575,000 Total: $55,122,500
13) The Book of Henry Focus $1,407,405