This weekend’s box office was essentially the hangover from last week’s big holiday: the numbers are a little smaller, very little in the top 10 actually moved around, and the only new release didn’t even come close to threatening the dominion of Moana and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The box office success of Moana feels like destiny: an old school Disney formula plus 21st century polish plus great songs plus the mere presence of Dwayne Johnsonand near-universal critical notices is a surefire recipe for success...
It looks like the general public reacted to one of the most stressful weeks in living memory by flocking to the movies for a few hours of escape. Both Doctor Strange and Trolls, which debuted to solid numbers last week, held on strong. Arrival, the biggest newcomer of the bunch, also opened well, proving that it’s entirely possible to open in third place and still be a winner at the box office.
September is traditionally the month of box office quiet after the summer movie season concludes, a chance for studios to unload movies that wouldn’t find their audience elsewhere in the year and an opportunity for everyone to recharge their batteries before the big movies return in October. But nobody told Sully, which is a bigger hit than most of the summer fare released in 2016. And now, nobody told The Magnificent Seven, which leapt into the number one spot with a very strong debut.
Although the holiday weekend brought out a slew of new releases to compete for the top spot at the box office, this week’s top 10 was, once again, dominated by Finding Dory. The Legend of Tarzan, The Purge: Election Year and The BFG ultimately couldn’t quite match up to Pixar’s forgetful fish, but the final results were all over the place. This chart is very much a roller coaster of expectations being met and missed.
Despite the arrival of two major films, this Memorial Day weekend was ultimately a disappointing affair, as X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass both underperformed. The former should ultimately emerge untarnished in the long run, likely making enough money to keep the X-Men franchise breathing. However, the second Alice adventure only confirms what everyone outside of Disney already knew. People don’t like the first Alice in Wonderland and they had no interest in a sequel.
For the third weekend in a row, The Jungle Book dominated the box office, taking the top spot and making it look easy. It’s been a fairly astonishing run for a movie that felt like a big question mark a few months ago, but this is what the combination of spectacle, strong reviews, and strong word-of-mouth brings you. While this weekend was ultimately all about Jon Favreau’s big-budget take on Rudyard Kipling’s beloved stories, there were a few other new releases. But as you could have guessed, Keanu, Mother’s Day, and Ratchet and Clank didn’t do solid enough business to warrant mention in the headline.
That sound you hear is the folks over at Disney popping a couple dozen bottles of champagne — Zootopia didn’t just open at number one at the box office, it had the biggest opening of any film in the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios, beating out 2014’s Frozen. Unfortunately, the rest of the newcomers didn’t fare quite as well, with London Has Fallen and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot limping into second and fourth place, respectively.
Kung Fu Panda 3 once again led the box office this weekend, but like its lower-than-expected opening weekend, it’s not as impressive as anyone was hoping or expecting. DreamWorks Animation’s sequel managed to fend off a trio of newcomers, but each of those films disappointed in their own ways, leading to a shrug-worthy top 10 that feels like Hollywood just accepting that everyone is going to be watching the Super Bowl instead of going to the movies.
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.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t going to reign atop the box office forever. Something was going to take it down sooner or later and we’ll just be honest — we expected it would take a little longer than this. At the same time, anyone who thought that Ride Along 2 wouldn’t perform well has a short-term or poor memory, as the first film was a gigantic hit this time last year. An Ice Cube and Kevin Hart buddy cop comedy dethroned the biggest movie in the history of the U.S. box office from the top of the charts and it’s not that surprising.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was always going to make enough money to make most blockbusters tremble in fear. That was inevitable. It’s a Star Wars movie. The big question lingering over this opening weekend concerned whether or not it’s surely enormous opening weekend would break the records set by Jurassic World earlier this year. And now, with the early estimates in, we can answer that question: yes and no.
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