Despite middling reviews, Disney flick is No. 1
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Joachim Ronning’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie in the title role, took the No. 1 spot at last weekend’s box office with $36 million in domestic sales over its first three days of release. Add in foreign market sales and Mistress of Evil has already sold $153 million.
The film, which currently holds a score of 43/100 on Metacritic, co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Elle Fanning, Juno Temple, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lesley Manville, and Sam Riley.
This one confuses me. I get that it’s a well-produced Disney film and so it’s bound to sell some tickets, but I don’t understand how such a silly movie pulled together such an incredibly talented cast, arguably one of the best ensembles of 2019. Is it all because people want to be in Angelina Jolie films? And, if that is the reason, are we really so sure that Jolie is the classic Hollywood actress she’s often treated as? I like Girl, Interrupted and The Changeling quite a bit, but outside of those two, I’m not convinced Jolie is having a memorable career.
Also at the Box
Todd Phillips’ Joker continued to draw during its third weekend of release, taking the No. 2 spot at the U.S. box office with another $29.2 million in sales, bringing the film’s 17-day domestic sales total to $247 million. Add in foreign sales and Joker has already grossed $737 million, making it, behind Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, the second-highest grossing uber-controversial film to ever be released.
The question now is: Will Joker be an awards season film? Mostly, will Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as The Joker be rewarded at the 2020 Oscar’s show? I’m going to guess that no, it won’t. And that’s a shame.
Zombieland 2: Double Tap opened strong, taking the No. 3 spot at the box with $26.8 million in sales over its first three days of release. Double Tap stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray and currently has a score of just 56/100 on Metacritic. Oof. Looks very fun to me.
The animated The Addams Family continued to roll, taking the No. 4 spot at last weekend’s box office with another $16 million in sales over its second weekend of release, upping the flick’s 10-day sales total to just under $57 million.
And finally at the No. 5 spot we have Ang Lee’s dreaded Gemini Man, starring Will Smith and Animated Will Smith. This one just looks lousy. Gemini Man sold another $8.5 million this past weekend, bringing the $138-million film’s 10-day domestic sales total to just $36 million. Add in foreign market sales and Gemini Man has now made $119 million worldwide.
Also of note
Both Jojo Rabbit and The Lighthouse began testing in New York City and Los Angeles this past weekend and both sold just about every ticket that was put up for sale. That’s good news.
Surprisingly, Jojo Rabbit isn’t getting the greatest reviews while The Lighthouse, a black-and-white chamber piece, is. I’ll be seeing both, no doubt.
New this Week
Three movies open wide this weekend while a handful of smaller films (Frankie, Housefull 4, Jesus Is King, and Western Stars) will all see modest large market releases.
The first wide release is action flick Black and Blue, directed by Deon Taylor and starring Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo, and Tyrese. As much as I love Naomie Harris and would watch her in just about anything, I don’t have a good feeling about Black and Blue. It looks to be about as exciting and original as its title.
Next up is Countdown, a high-concept horror flick that looks both stupid and probably enjoyable. Look for this movie, which doesn’t really feature anyone with any star power, to make some solid profits over the next few weeks. Horror crowds aren’t exactly discerning.
And finally we have The Current War: Director’s Cut, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, and Katherine Waterston. Well here’s an oddity. This star-studded historical drama about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse first screened in 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival before being shelved due to the Harvey Weinstein controversy. The movie, via a new edit, finally arrives via Lantern Entertainment. I’ve heard very mixed things about this one.
Mostly, I’d say keep an eye out for small release Oscar hopefuls expanding onto Fort Wayne screens.