Sunday, March 24, 2019

Former Gremlins 2 Creative Consultant Jordan Peele Scores Another Box Office Hit With Massive Opening Weekend For Us

Just two years after Get Out became one of the most beloved horror films of the decade, writer/director Jordan Peele returned with his follow-up feature Us, which managed to build upon the already strong box office performance of Get Out by grossing $70 million on opening weekend. That's the third-biggest opening weekend ever for a horror film, the sixth-biggest opening weekend for a feature film not based on a pre-existing property (only The Secret Life of Pets, Inside Out, Avatar, The Incredibles and Finding Nemo fared better) and it's also the eleventh-biggest opening weekend ever for a movie opening in March. Us was made for only $20 million, so clearly Universal/Blumhouse/Monkeypaw are all already in the clear profit-wise.

Given how popular Get Out was, a new film by Jordan Peele was always going to attract attention but Universal's marketing for Us made sure that the film could stand out on its own too with a marketing campaign that kicked off with a high-profile Christmas Day launch that constantly emphasized the concept of evil doppelgangers, something that hasn't been explored much, if at all, in modern horror movies, thus allowing Us to stand out in the realm of modern horror movies. Well-cut trailers, memorable posters and a tsunami of advanced positive buzz from its SXSW premiere further ensured that Us went its release in tip-top shape.  Us also held well throughout the weekend, which bodes well for its holds in the weeks to come. 

Captain Marvel relinquished the top spot at the box office this weekend, but it still managed to generate another $35 million this weekend, a 48% drop from last weekend. Having now grossed $321.4 million over 17 days of domestic release, Captain Marvel is now the tenth biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe title ever and is on track for a fantastic final domestic gross in the neighborhood of $400-415 million. Wonder Park, meanwhile, grossed $9 million, a 43% drop from last frame, a slightly larger than usual second-weekend drop for an animated family movie. Wonder Park has grossed only $29.4 million after ten days of release and with heavy-duty family movie competition on the way in the form of Dumbo and Shazam!, it's doubtful Wonder Park gets past $50 million domestically. Most YA-novel film adaptations have sharp second-weekend declines so it was a surprise to see Five Feet Apart drop only 33% this weekend. That impressive hold means it grossed another $8.7 million for a $26.4 million domestic total.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World had by far the smallest weekend-to-weekend decline in the top twelve this weekend as it dipped only 29% to gross another $6.5 million for a $145.7 million domestic total. Right behind Toothless the dragon was A Madea Family Funeral, which is holding extremely well for a Madea movie as it dropped just 42% in its fourth-weekend of release. Grossing another $4.5 million, this final Madea movie has taken in a great $65.8 million in its domestic box office run. Gloria Bell expanded into wide release this weekend and grossed a so-so $1.8 million from 654 theaters for a per-theater average of $2,756 and a domestic total of $2.4 million. In its second weekend of release, No Manches Frida 2 fell 53% to gross another $1.7 million for a domestic gross of $6.6 million while The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part dropped 47% to gross $1.1 million for a $103.3 million domestic gross. Rounding out the top ten was Alita: Battle Angel, which had a 46% drop this frame for a sixth-weekend gross of $1.01 million for a domestic haul of $83.7 million.

Right outside the top ten was Captive State, which fell a whopping 70% this weekend to gross another $918,000 for a meager 10-day domestic total of $5.2 million. Apollo 11 dipped 31% this weekend to add $800,000 to a domestic gross that now stands at $6.8 million. Glass seems to have been attached as a double-feature at enough drive-in showings of fellow Universal/Blumhouse title Us to get a massive weekend-to-weekend boost this frame as it went up 190% from last weekend to add $600,000 to a domestic gross that now stands at $110.8 million. The Mustang expanded into 38 locations and grossed $228,000 for a per-theater average of $6,000 and a domestic gross of $321,989 while The Aftermath expanded into 26 locations and grossed $123,000 for a per-theater average of $4,731 and a domestic gross of $203,254.

Hotel Mumbai opened its doors and grossed $86,000 from 4 locations for a per-theater average of $21,500, a weaker start than past Springtime Bleecker Street limited release fare like Eye in the Sky and The Lost City of Z. The Hummingbird Project had a weak expansion into more locations this weekend as it grossed $78,834 from 41 theaters for a second-weekend per-theater average of only $1,923, giving it a domestic gross of only $123,949. Climax fell 74% from its major theatrical expansion last weekend for a fourth-weekend haul of $49,200 and a domestic gross of $735,789. Out of Blue debuted in 35 locations this weekend and grossed only $17,682 for a per-theater average of $505 while fellow new release Sunset grossed $15,006 at 3 locations for a per-theater average of $5,002.

The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $141.4 million, the third-biggest weekend in this timeframe ever and up 23% from this same weekend last year when Pacific Rim: Uprising topped the box office. March 2019 has so far grossed about $765 million and while it looks like this month as a whole will likely miss $1 billion, it does look like March 2019 will be able to surpass the $948.7 million haul of March 2016 to become the second-biggest March in history.

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