Well, I think we can finally say that the box office is back.
Even with the success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” there was still hesitancy among box-office prognosticators to make the claim that the box office had returned. “No Way Home” was an event movie, not your typical, run-of-the-mill weekend movie release. Though the film has had an incredible run, perhaps it because millions of viewers eager to get out the house for this one film.
That claim was proven wrong this weekend. “Uncharted,” which is coincidentally a Tom Holland-led picture, exceeded expectations by grossing $44.1 million this weekend. Though the final data will not be out by this article’s release, the film will likely be able to gross over $50 million for the 4-day Presidents’ Day weekend. This was beyond Sony’s expectations and the predictions of people like myself. I severely underestimated the opening last week, thinking the film would only gross around $20 million. The film was not well received by critics, but audiences seem to be enjoying the flick with Deadline reporting it received a B+ CinemaScore from audiences. With a $50+ million opening weekend, barring any disastrous drops in the next few weeks (which is not out of the question with “The Batman” release looming at the start of March), the film should eclipse $100 million domestically and likely end around $120-130 million depending on its legs.
In second place was another surprise, the film “Dog” co-directed by and starring Channing Tatum. This film exceeded expectations this week with a gross of $15.1 million, far greater than my estimation of $5 million last week. The film was fairly well-received by critics and audiences, with what sources say was a strong marketing campaign pushing the film to exceed expectations. With a reported budget of $15 million (not including marketing expenses) “Dog” has put itself in great position to profit. Its drop in consequent weekends will determine the film’s overall profit, but I think “Dog” will end up grossing around $45 million domestically.
In third place this weekend was “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which brought home another $7.2 million this weekend. This sub-5% drop is incredible for the film which is now in its 10th weekend of release. To put this in perspective, this film released during the week of finals and now is still in the domestic box office top three, even five weeks into spring semester. This week, the film officially passed the domestic total of “Avatar” to become the third-highest grossing film domestically. Clearly, the film is not done just yet having another great weekend, moving to over $770 million domestically. Now, I think the film has a strong chance to surpass $800 million domestically, becoming the third movie to do so behind “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
In fourth and fifth place are the last two week’s No. 1 films, “Death on the Nile” and “Jackass Forever” with $6.25 million and $5.2 million, respectively. The film “Death on the Nile” had a 51.5% drop, which is average though likely disappointing considering the film’s relatively low opening last weekend. It is hard to see a future where the $90 million budgeted film will profit. “Jackass Forever” had a fantastic third-weekend drop of 35.3%, pushing the film to $46.7 million domestically. If “Jackass” can put together a few more solid holds, a $65 million domestic total is a likely possibility.
Next weekend brings the wide release of one new picture, the Peter Dinklage-led “Cyrano.” This film has gotten good reviews, but its box office success is largely going to be determined by its Oscar-status, for which it received zero nominations. It would be surprising if this film grosses more than $10 million.
Though “No Way Home” was a historic success, before we could officially declare the box office was back, we needed to see a medium-budget, non-superhero, non-sequel film showcase some sort of success at the box office. Though it’s the superheroes and sequels that drive the box office revenue, it’s those smaller, original pictures that keep the gears turning at the worst times. Both “Uncharted” and “Dog” exceeded expectations this weekend, which we have not seen in a long time at the pandemic domestic box office.
Barring greater large-scale COVID-19 issues, I think the domestic box-office is officially back.