The headline here is that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story held onto the number one of the box office top 10 for the third weekend in a row, which was expected. However, the real story is that the past few days made for one of the most impressive weekends of the past year, closing out 2016 (and starting 2017) with a bang.
It has long been a fine American tradition to escape the awkward enclosure of your parents’ house over your holiday vacation and spend a few hours in the local movie theater, where everyone can shut up about politics and stop swapping passive aggressive comments on each other’s lifestyle for a few hours. 2016 was no different, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Sing drawing in the big crowds while La La Land and Fences impressed in limited release. Not so impressive: Passengers, Why Him?, and Assassin’s Creed, each of which underperformed.
Everyone knew that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wasn’t going to match the opening weekend of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That film had hype on its side, drawing off the power of a lengthy dry spell for fans and the presence of the original trilogy’s cast members. It’s unlikely that any Star Wars movie will match it ever again. With all of that said, the opening weekend of Rogue One should still be considered an enormous success, especially since these numbers would be nothing short of indisputably incredible if Star Wars wasn’t in the title.
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.
Like any new Marvel Studios movie, Doctor Strange was destined to take the number one spot at the box office — it was really just a question of how much it would make. Ultimately, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme surpassed expectations, topping the charts with an exceptional $84 million. But this was a strong weekend in general, with Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge performing well in second and third place.
Don’t let that headline mislead you too much. Tom Cruise is fine. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back also did fine in its opening weekend. But there’s something inherently amusing about one the most recognizable movie stars in the world playing second fiddle to Tyler Perry and his ever-popular creation, Madea. The seasonally appropriate Boo! A Madea Halloween edged out Cruise’s latest sequel at the box office this weekend, contributing to a top 10 where moderately budgeted movies reigned supreme.
The trend of more adult-oriented films commanding the box office continued this week with the success of The Accountant, which effortlessly snagged the number one spot. But like The Girl on the Train and The Magnificent Seven before it, Ben Affleck’s latest was strong without being enormous, meaning that word of mouth in the weeks ahead will prove vital to it being a proper hit.
Six months ago, this looked like a very different weekend at the box office. While the strong start for The Girl on the Train isn’t surprising, the weak opening for The Birth of a Nation reflects how the film, once seen as a surefire Oscar-contender, has been affected by a series of real world controversies. There’s an alternate timeline out there where it’s a sizable hit. Instead, the adaptation of a popular mystery novel starring Emily Blunt gets its picture at the top of this article.
Despite dominating the box office last week, The Magnificent Seven took a not-insignificant tumble this weekend, slipping to third place and allowing Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and Deepwater Horizon to claim the top two spots. However, both newcomers opened below expectations, making this an odd capper to a September that was otherwise full of surprise hits.
Despite new challengers of all genres, budgets and backgrounds, Sully remained number one at the box office this week, fending off the likes of Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby, and Snowden. In a month not traditionally known for producing many financial juggernauts, Clint Eastwood’s drama has emerged as something of a surprise smash, surpassing most expectations and showing no signs of slowing down quite yet.
Just when you thought September was going to be a slow month at the box office, Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks show up with Sully and make things interesting all over again. The feature film adaptation of the “Miracle on the Hudson” opened with huge numbers, benefiting from the pedigree of the talent involved and the lack of direct competition in the middle of a not-so-busy month.
As expected, Jason Bourne topped the box office in its opening weekend, but like so many of the sequels released this summer, the initial numbers aren’t quite what everyone was hoping for. This doesn’t mean we should count out Matt Damon’s return to his most popular character just yet, but it does add more fuel to the “audiences are getting a little picky with the sequels they will pay to see” narrative that has been forming over the past few months.
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