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Disney hits the top, but Netflix really shines

Greg W. Locke

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published December 12, 2019

Disney’s latest kiddie flick, Frozen II, took the No. 1 spot at the U.S. box office for the third consecutive weekend, selling another $34.6 million to up the flick’s 17-day domestic sales total to a whopping $337 million. Add in foreign market sales and Frozen II has already brought in $919 million worldwide.

With a Metacritic score of 65/100, Frozen II will probably go down as a classic. That’s weird, because I hear it’s confusing and, well … bad. But it’s a kid movies, so bad on what terms, right? Clearly, with almost a $1 billion in sales in less than a month, the team behind Frozen II are doing something right.

Also at the Box

Rian Johnson’s latest, ensemble whodunit, Knives Out, continued to roll at the domestic box office, taking the No. 2 spot over its second weekend of release with another $14 million in sales, upping the flick’s 10-day U.S. sales total to a respectable $63 million. Add in foreign sales and Knives Out has already made $124 million. Great news for Johnson, who is a filmmaker I expect to be around for a long time, doing interesting work. If you’ve seen only Knives Out and The Last Jedi, I recommend checking out Johnson’s other flicks, Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and especially Looper.

James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari took the No. 3 spot at the box office with $6.6 more in sales, bringing the film’s four-weekend worldwide sales total to a notable $167 million. This is the rare movie that isn’t part of a franchise, critics like, audiences like, and it makes money. Look for Ford v Ferrari to also grab a few Oscar nominations, almost certainly for Christian Bale (and maybe for cinematographer Phedon Papamichael). 

Queen & Slim and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood rounded out last weekend’s Top 5 at the U.S. box office with $6.5 and $5.2 million in sales, respectively. A Beautiful Day has now made just $43 million domestically (and hasn’t yet played in foreign markets) in its first 17 days. Ouch.

Also of note: Todd Haynes’ new film, Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo in an Oscar-worthy performance, sold just over $4 million over the weekend despite receiving very little marketing or press attention. I’ve not yet seen this one but am very much looking forward to it.

Haynes is one of the current American art house masters. If you’re not familiar, I’d recommend checking out I’m Not There, Safe, Velvet Goldmine, and Poison. All four are, in my opinion, modern classics, especially I’m Not There. (Sidenote: Haynes is supposedly working on a Lou Reed / Velvet Underground documentary at the moment. Yes please!)

New this Week

The two release days leading up to Christmas tend to be two of the best release dates of the year for cinephiles, and this year does not disappoint. I could probably write a paragraph about each of these films, but I don’t have space. And so, rather than offer even a synopsis of each new release, I’ll rank them according to how good I’d guess they’ll be:

1. A Hidden Life (dir. Terrence Malick)

2. Uncut Gems (dir. Safdie Brothers)

3. Bombshell (dir. Jay Roach)

4. Richard Jewell (dir. Clint Eastwood)

5. Seberg (dir. Benedict Andrews)

6. What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (dir. Rob Garver)

7. Jumanji: The Next Level (dir. Jake Kasdan)

8. Black Christmas (dir. Sophia Takal)

9. Cunningham (dir. Alla Kovtgan)

Promising, all.


I saw what I believe to be two instant classics this weekend, and I watched both at home on Netflix.

The first new classic, Marriage Story, was written and directed by Noah Baumbach and stars Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Julie Hagerty, and Merritt Weaver. Whoa. I predict this one gets nominated for Best Picture (Netflix), Best Screenplay (Baumbach), Best Director (Baumbach), Best Score (Randy Newman), Best Actor (Driver), Best Actress (Johansson), and Best Supporting Actress (Dern). It’s a doozy, a masterpiece.

Next I saw Martin Scorsese’s epic The Irishman. This one might just go down as the best film of 2019, and will likely get a whole lot of Oscar nominations itself, including Best Picture (Netflix), Best Director (Scrosese), Best Actor (Robert De Niro), Best Supporting Actor (Joe Pesci), Best Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto), Best Screenplay (Steven Zaillian) and Best Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker). That’s a whole lot of legends.

Great job by Netflix on these two releases. Go see ’em on the big screen if you get the opportunity.


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