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Scary movies are sure bets for theaters

Greg W. Locke

Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published June 23, 2021

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard opened somewhat strong, all plagues considered. It sold $11.6 million over its first three days of release while playing on 3,331 screens.

It doesn’t sound like much when you consider per-screen averages, but until people are fully out and about again, these are the numbers we should expect.

But is the movie good? From what I’ve been hearing and reading, no. Metacritic currently gives the film a score of 32/100, and The Boston Globe’s Mark Feeney reviewed it saying, “The humor is crass when it isn’t forced. The violence, which barely pauses for reloading, feels even more mechanical than it does mindless, and it’s very mindless.”

Way to be brutal, Mark. My guess is this is a dumb, fun action film that you watch once and never think about again. What’s so bad about that?

Also at the Box

John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II continued filling seats at theaters around the country, taking the No. 2 spot at the box office and bringing in another $9.4 million. So far, the flick has made $126 million in the U.S. and $222 million globally. This one will probably end up topping the $350 million mark, which would translate to over $600 million under non-COVID-19 circumstances.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway took the No. 3 spot at the box office, selling a wimpy $6.1 milion over its second weekend of release. So far, the children’s flick has made just $20 million. Look for this one to do much better once it hits Netflix, Amazon Prime, or whatever.

Taking the No. 4 spot was horror flick The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga and directed by Michael Chaves. The movie brought in a lousy $5.1 million, upping its total to $89 million in the U.S. and $143 million worldwide.

Here’s what “the industry” has learned over the last few weeks: make horror films — lots of them. They still fill seats because people like to be communally scared. Be prepared for a lot of probably not-so-great horror flicks over the next year or so.

Rounding out the weekend’s Top 5 was Cruella, a film I am oddly excited to see. The Emma Stone vehicle brought in $5 million over its fourth weekend, upping its domestic total to $64 million so far. With $159 million in worldwide sales in just four weeks, and during the tail end of a pandemic, I have to think this one will be marked down as a minor success story. Also, like Peter Rabbit, I think Cruella is one that will do extremely well via streaming services. Emma wins again.

New This Week

A huge movie comes out this weekend. A big, huge, dumb, fun, silly movie that will probably be the release that really lets us know the status of the movie theater industry. That movie is Justin Lin’s F9: The Fast Saga, starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Helen Mirren, Lucas Black, Anna Sawai, Kurt Russell, Shad “Lil’ Bow Wow” Moss (playing a character named Twinkie, oof), and my guy Shea Whigham. Talk about star power.

The trailers and commercials for this film are so over-the-top they’re already getting mocked pretty hard. That being said, I think this is going to be the first truly huge release since COVID-19 started. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one tops the $100 million mark over its first three days of release.

I know what you’re thinking: Is Greg sad that such a silly movie is going to be the one getting people back to the theater? Yes, but that’s where culture is at right now. In 2021, stupid is king. Franchise IP is the way.

All that being said, Justin Lin is a great action director who has a major knack for putting together extremely fun set pieces. This movie will be fun and hopefully remind people how much more exciting it is to see a film in a theater as opposed to at home.

Screen Rant

Time for a quick Cannes Film Festival update. This year, which is presided over by two Screen Time heroes, Spike Lee and Andrea Arnold, is going to be a doozy. There was no festival last year, and a lot of prestige directors held off on releasing their films until they could premiere at Cannes.

Rather than list all the films competing this year, I’m just going to list the directors I’m most excited about and let you do the footwork from there: Leos Carax, Paul Verhoeven, Francois Ozon, Sean Penn, Bruno Dumont, Wes Anderson (who I think might win the Palme d’Or, which is very exciting for American cinema), Asghar Farhadi, Jacques Audiard, Sean Baker, and Joachim Trier.

Wouldn’t it be wild if Sean Baker won the Palme? Baker is a truly special filmmaker, so don’t be surprised if you’re reading about his new film, Red Rocket, quite a bit this year. It stars Simon Rex and is about a washed up porn star returning to his hometown. Sold. Why didn’t I think of that plot?

Here are some of the other directors premiering films out of competition this year: Oliver Stone, Ye Ye, Gaspar Noe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Arnaud Desplechin, Andrea Arnold, Todd Haynes, Tom McCarthy, Emmanuelle Bercot, and a lot of up-and-coming voices. What I wouldn’t give to be at Cannes this year.

Send your Cannes predictions and thoughts my way at There’s little I like discussing more than that festival.


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