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Controversial yet forgettable film leads box office


Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published January 17, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

Neil Burger’s controversial new film, The Upside, took the No. 1 spot at the U.S. box office last weekend, selling a so-so $19.6 million over its first three days of release.

It’s controversial because Bryan Cranston plays a paraplegic billionaire and Bryan Cranston isn’t paraplegic. But he is an actor, and an actor’s job is to pretend they’re someone else, right? Looks entertaining, if forgettable, to me.

That being said, director Neil Burger (The Illusionist, The Lucky Ones, Limitless) is a talented craftsman and here he’s working with his most talented cast yet, with Nicole Kidman and Kevin Hart joining Cranston.

But here’s the thing: The Upside was a film made to chase awards, and it’s coming out after the cutoff for eligibility, which tells us that the production company was not happy enough with the film that was made to pay for an Oscar campaign.

Between that bit of info, the weak box office results and the so-so reviews, I’d say that The Upside is a film to approach with some degree of caution. (Or maybe just wait until it’s on Netflix.)

Also at the Box

Warner Bros.’ Aquaman continued to chug along, taking the No. 2 spot at the box office with another $17 million in sales, bringing the film’s four-week domestic sales total to $288 million. The flick, which was directed by James Wan, has now crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide.

Family adventure flick A Dog’s Way Home surprised at the box office, taking the No. 3 spot with $11.3 million in sales over its first three days of release while Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sold another $9 million, upping the film’s five-week domestic sales total to $148 million. Add in foreign sales and Spider-Verse has now sold over $300 million worldwide, adding to the movie’s already high odds of winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

And, finally, we have Adam Robitel’s horror flick Escape Room at the No. 5 spot. The flick sold another $8.9 million, bringing the movie’s 10-day U.S. sales total to $32.4 million.

Also of note: Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody sold only $3 million last weekend despite winning the Golden Globe for Best Drama last weekend. Produced for $52 million, Bohemian Rhapsody has now sold $752 million worldwide.

New This Week

Well here it finally is, the third entry in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable series, Glass, starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy. Reviews are overwhelmingly negative and the trailer is really, truly bad.

Unbreakable is, in my book, one of the all-time great comic book films, so here’s hoping Glass doesn’t hurt that legacy too much.

If you plan to go to a movie this week, here’s what I’d suggest, in order: If Beale Street Could Talk, The Favourite, Vice, Destroyer, Stan & Ollie, Cold War, Green Book, and On the Basis of Sex. Pretty solid options!

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