After last week’s stellar opening, it was clear that The Jungle Book was going to hold on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend. However, it wasn’t clear that it would spell complete and total doom for the weekend’s other new release, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which debuted with very disappointing numbers in second place.
The Jungle Book was destined to take the number one spot at the box office this weekend. However, the early estimates were off by, oh, $20 million or so. Jon Favreau’s reimagining of this beloved story exceeded all financial expectations. Buoyed by strong reviews and positive word of mouth, the film had the second biggest April opening of all time, topped only by last year’s Furious 7.
In most of these Weekend Box Office Reports, it’s clear who the victor will be. Even when the early estimates are a little off and the numbers shift between now and Monday, the basic layout of the top 10 is generally pretty accurate. But this week is a real race and the top two films are neck and neck, and we won’t know who will actually win this thing until tomorrow. But right now, early estimates have Melissa McCarthy’s new comedy The Boss barely edging out Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by less than $50,000. That’s crazy and, whether it actually claims the top spot tomorrow or not, very bad for Batman v Superman.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice held on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend, but it sure wasn’t pretty. Zack Snyder’s superhero showdown took a jaw-dropping tumble and if any other studio had decided to release a major film this weekend, it probably would have sunk to second place. This film is already proving to be a fascinating case study in marketing versus word of mouth: one earns you an opening weekend while the other gives you legs.
In news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone with a child in their life, Zootopia held on to the number one spot at the box office this weekend and made it look effortless. And yet, 10 Cloverfield Lane’s second place opening is nothing to scoff at, especially for a modestly budged, small-scale thriller (although the “Cloverfield” in the title certainly helped).
Deadpool ruled the box office for the second weekend in a row, following up its record-breaking opening with with a strong sophomore weekend that proved its initial success was no fluke. In fact, the three newcomers didn’t even stand a chance against this red-suited menace, as Risen, The Witch, and Race all found themselves punted further down the top 10.
20th Century Fox sat on Deadpool for six years before finally giving it a green light with a modest $58 million budget. After a lengthy and impressive marketing campaign that ensured everyone in the world knew the name Wade Wilson, box office tracking was looking strong with $55 million. And then the film actually opened, more than doubling that prediction, shattering a handful of records and blowing the doors off the comic book movie genre. This feels like a big deal. Oh, and Zoolander 2 also opened.
The victory of of Kung Fu Panda 3 at the box office this weekend conjures one of the most common questions you have to ask yourself when keeping a constant eye on the charts: when is a hit not a hit? Sure, the third film in DreamWorks Animation’s series did open at number one and its numbers are very good, but they’re lower than you’d think. In any case, it still fared significantly better than the rest of the competition this week — all of the other new releases simply flopped.
Eventually, another movie will top Star Wars: The Force Awakens and end the incredible run that has transformed it into the highest grossing movie in the history of the American box office. That movie was almost The Revenant. This is no failure, though. The combined powers of Leonardo DiCaprio, stories of a harrowing shoot, and a strong marketing campaign actually gave this movie a fighting chance against a genuine cultural sensation. It may have only hit number two on the top 10, but this is a huge victory for a difficult movie.
With some of the year’s biggest movies only a month or two away, the box office seems to have entered a holding pattern. Some of the new releases are minor hits. Others crash and burn. Right now, Hollywood just seems to be crossing their fingers and hoping for the sweet, sweet summer movie season to come along and save them (or at least the April release of Furious 7). In other words, every new release underperformed this weekend.
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