Fast fans fan flames of weekend’s box office
Our Screen Time columnist recommends seeking out smaller films such as Zola, starring, from left, Riley Keough and Taylour Paige.
July 7, 2021
How about that? We saw another halfway decent weekend at the movies.
Over the last two weekends we’ve seen domestic receipts near the $100 million mark. That’s nowhere near where the domestic box office was prior to COVID-19, but it’s over four times what the average has been for the rest of 2021.
Who do we have to thank? Vin-Freaking-Diesel, the star of the new Fast and Furious film, F9: The Fast Saga. The film brought in another $33.7 million over the holiday weekend, which raised the flick’s 10-day sales total to $126 million. This is not your normal Fast dollars, but it’s still very good. When you add in foreign sales, the movie has already topped the $500 million mark. Don’t be surprised if this one stays on the screen for a while and eventually hits the $1 billion mark.
I only wish it weren’t F9 that was “saving the movies.” The bummer of it all is this success pushes the studio heads even closer to thinking that only sure-thing franchise flicks are worthy of getting mass distribution. Here’s hoping there is a sort of Pulp Fiction-type film about to come out that will change the ugly trajectory we’ve been seeing over the last decade.
Also at the Box
We are now at the part of this week’s column in which I talk about a film called The Boss Baby: Family Business, the weekend’s No. 2 film. I get it, kids need movies, too. I also get that babies are cute and when they have adult voices it’s funny.
Truthfully, the cast of voice talents, which includes Alec Baldwin, James Marsden, Amy Sedaris, Jeff Goldblum, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and Eva Longoria, is pretty remarkable. Family Business sold $23 million over its first weekend of release. Not bad, babies.
The Forever Purge had a weak opening, taking the No. 3 spot at the box office with just $15.9 million in sales. This is not a bad outcome, but it’s also not your normal Purge numbers. I’m guessing this is another film that will stay on screens longer than usual and chip away at a decent box office.
John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II continued to roll, taking the No. 4 spot at last weekend’s box office. It made another $5.6 million in sales, upping the flick’s six-week sales totals to $145 million in the U.S. and $257 million worldwide. This film is proof of concept: Make a franchise flick with a theme that’s either horror, superhero, or for kids, and then leave it on screen forever and it’ll make it’s money back. Then release it on streaming services and get rich.
Rounding out last weekend’s Top 5 at the box office was the flop The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. The film brought in just $3.9 million over its third weekend of release, despite being both a franchise flick and having the massive movie star Ryan Reynolds. The film has now made just $32 million in the U.S. and $47 million worldwide. Yikes, Deadpool.
Also of note: A24’s new film, Zola, made $2.5 million over its first weekend of wide release.
Last week, before the film came out, I wrote that Simon Rex was the star of the film. That was incorrect. Rex is in the movie, but the excellent Taylour Paige is the lead, and she is excellent.
Coming This Week
After a year or more of discussion and delays, we finally get the release of the new Marvel film, Cate Shortland’s Black Widow. It stars Scarlett Johansson as the titular character and co-stars David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, William Hurt, Shaina West, Michelle Lee, and my guy Ray Winstone. That is one heck of a cast, as well as a director. If only I thought it wasn’t a sin against cinema to support Marvel films, I’d probably go.
I have no real judgement against the Marvel Crowd — y’all love big action set pieces and adults running around in tights. My only hope is that the Marvel fans start going to smaller movies again because we need a variety of voices telling stories, not just big corporate machines.
Lebron James’ long discussed Space Jam movie comes out next week. It’s actually a real thing that exists. I didn’t think it would happen, but it’s happening.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Space Jam: A New Legacy also stars Don Cheadle, Cedric Joe, Wood Harris, Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson. The real star of the film, from what I’ve seen so far, is the animation, which looks gorgeous. Don’t be surprised if this one does extremely well and the trajectory of Lebron James’ career changes.
In the meantime, get out there and watch Zola!