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Monday
Aug122019

A scattershot weekend at the box office. What did you see?

Since we haven't done a massive box office chart of everything in wide release (800+ screens) and the corresponding specialty titles in a month or so, let's do that shall we? What did you see on this scattershot weekend that had literally 9 new releases premiering and nothing truly dominant? After the jump the full chart and some context about The Farewell's major financial success (and Oscar dreams)...

Weekend Box Office
August 9th-11th (Actuals)
🔺 = new or expanding / ★ = recommended
W I D E
PLATFORM / LIMITED
1 Hobbs & Shaw $25.2 (cum. $108.3) REVIEW  â˜…
1 🔺 The Farewell $2 on 704 screens (cum. $10.2) PERSONAL TAKEINTERVIEW  â˜…
2 🔺  Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark $20.9 *new*
2 🔺  Maiden $258k on 173 screens (cum. $1.9)  REVIEW â˜…
3 The Lion King  $20.2 (cum. $473.3) REVIEW
3 🔺   The Peanut Butter Falcon $204k on 17 screens *new* REVIEW â˜…
4 🔺 Dora and the City of Gold $17.4  *new* REVIEW 
4 🔺   Luce $134k on 24 screens (cum. $307k) ★ 
5 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood $11.6 (cum. $100.3) REVIEWPODCAST â˜…
5 🔺The Bravest $110k on 150 screens *new* 
6 🔺  The Art of Racing in the Rain $8.1 *new* 
6 🔺 Them That Follow $85k on 195 screens (cum. $101k)  
7 🔺 The Kitchen  $5.5  *new*
7 🔺  David Crosby Remember My Name [DOC] $82k on 47 screens (cum. $295k)
8 Spider-Man Far From Home $5.2 (cum. $370.9) TOM HOLLANDREVIEW  
8 🔺 Exit $82k on 19 screens (cum. $134k) 
9 🔺 Toy Story 4 $4.5 (cum. $419.7) PODCASTREVIEW
9 🔺 The Nightingale  $71k on 27 screens (cum. $119k) 
10 🔺 Brian Banks $2.1 *new* 
10 🔺 Tel Aviv on Fire $70k on 28 screens (cum. $138k) OPHIR NOMINEE 
11 Yesterday $1.1 (cum. $70.4) 
11 Echo in the Canyon  [DOC] $68k on 60 screens (cum. $3.1)


numbers on that chart are pulled from boxofficemojo.

WIDE
Hobbs & Shaw and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood both past the key $100 million mark this weekend.. but the new titles mostly struggled to make a splash with the exception of an overperforming Scary Stories...

LIMITED
The weekend's best per screen averages went to the new indies The Peanut Butter Falcon and two movies on 5 screens or less (which aren't on the chart above) the American remake of After the Wedding (reviewed) with Julianne Moore, and the Oscar-hopeful documentary One Child Nation (reviewed) which is only on 2 screens but likely to catch on if festival buzz and reviews are any indication. But the story of specialty titles continues to be The Farewell which keeps expanding superbly. It took its first percentage hit this weekend (off only 8%, though) as expanded to arguably wide release (some people consider 600+ wide but we think 800+ is a more accurate description in this day and age since 600 was considered wide when we were kids and 3000 screens for one picture (now such a norm) was impossible to imagine. But The Farewell still has a solid per screen average and amazing word of mouth. At $10 million (and still growing) it's already the highest grossing foreign language film of the year (yes, it's an American movie but most of it is in Chinese).

It's looking very strong for a Best Picture nomination at year's end considering the ecstatic reviews are paired with these kind of numbers. Ten million is a lot of money for a specialty title and it's not even done earning yet. Consider that Moonlight only had $15 million in the bank before its Oscar nominations and The Hurt Locker won with a domestic gross of just $17 million. Other contemporary Best Picture nominees in the same monetary ballpark include Whiplash $11 million, Letters from Iwo Jima $13 million, Room $14 million and Call Me By Your Name $17 million. Films that gross under $10 million almost never wind up as Best Picture nominees, the exceptions are rare foreign language titles like Amour or Roma but The Farewell has already outgrossed both of those.

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Reader Comments (21)

Once … Hollywood – Although heavily hyped, the Tarantino film was a mixed bag for me. It has some great parts (like Leo and the young actress working on the western), but overall: too long, too many scenes with dirty girl feet (!), and it’s misogynistic and ugly at the end (spoiler: with gory and violent murders of two women by men that the audience I saw it with cheered and clapped, much to my horror; by contrast, a lone male is attacked by a dog without a lot of thought or attention put into how that is depicted). After a flat two hours, the movie also suddenly uses narration for the last 30-45 minutes, for events that occur “six months later,” which I found to be very lazy and distracting. I do think Leo and Brad give good performances, and Margot is sunny in a small doppelgänger role as Sharon Tate. But the movie was too bloated and meandering IMHO.

Euphoria – This is like a more expensive version of 13 Reasons Why? I do appreciate the serious work of the young actors, including Zendaya, Jacob Elordi and Hunter Schafer (who is amazing and expressive).

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

i'm so happy about the success of The Farewell! but i'm very skeptical about any big oscar nominations for it. almost everyone i've talked to has come away with feedback like "it's a sweet little movie!"...and i tend to agree. but who knows...it's true there's often the indie that makes good, and maybe this is the one. but it doesn't seem to have an overwhelming, moving pull?

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEricB

Saw THE KITCHEN and was disappointed. I liked all the acting and the plot had some interesting turns but... it was all played so damn straight. There was absolutely no style.

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Spider-Man: Far from Home. Not as good as the previous film but a lot of fun as well as being a fascinating study of growing pains as well as featuring great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Samuel L. Jackson. A great ending to the Infinity Saga and a great way to start the next series.

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Ummm... that is not a picture of “Them That Follows”. Lol. Olivia Colman is not amused Nathaniel!

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterME

I saw Scary Stories. It made me want to go back and reread the source material. The characters were game for what was thrown at them. I also appreciated the attention to detail that the film provided in recreating the late 60’s. But I found the dialogue wooden and the film overly long.

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterReed

@Tom Ford: Yes, the gleeful violence at the climax of Once Upon a Time felt really unsavory to me. Though I was very young in the late 60s/early 70s, I share his nostalgic love of that era's pop culture. He has a feel for it like no one else. But his fetishization of brutality, even when directed towards truly evil characters, is an old workhorse of his that's getting very tired. I guess I'll always be conflicted about him and his work.

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

ME -- lol. oops. will fix

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It's unfortunately true. Leo and Brad each gruesomely kill a woman for laughs at the end. It's also a running joke that Brad killed his ex-wife on a boat and got away with it. Quentin is a sicko.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterUma

Weird trend: there are four films with 7-word titles in the Top 10 (Top 6, actually):

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
The Art of Racing in the Rain

Has that ever happened before? Other 7-word titles this year include The Last Black Man in San Francisco and The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.

No great point to make here, other than to say I prefer the longer descriptive titles over something short and vague, like The Upside or Long Shot.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrevity

Brevity -- fun trivia! I would respect the long titles more if theere werent so many of them that were basically series with colons, you know? JAMES BOND is now the only franchise that doesn't number or repeat the brand title before each title. Which is sadly so brave. I mean SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE irked me so much last year. Trust me that if you just called it INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and had spider-man's face in all your advertising people would have understood. *smh*

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"Scary Stories" is fun but not exactly great. It also has a confused but very intriguing relationship with history - they settled on the idea that Halloween 1968 was right before Nixon was re-elected, and used the backdrop of kids dying in Vietnam to tie into the overall sense of dread/institutions and authorities can't always protect you, etc. It doesn't totally come together, but even in that it engages way more thoughtfully with historical context than Tarantino's latest does.

Colletti is subtly good as the lead, too - it takes a moment to click but she helps the movie through some tricky moments and tough exposition.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

I would be more optimistic about The Farewell if any of last year's deserving summer A24 releases, Hereditary, First Reformed, or Eighth Grade, did better with the Academy. They've mainly had success with fall releases so far, and it seems as though their main push will be The Lighthouse. I would love to see The Farewell get a bunch of nods, though.

I rewatched Witness for the Prosecution for the Smackdown this weekend. I knew I thought it was a great movie the first time I saw it, but I was kind of befuddled as to why... until I got to the ending. What a classic rug pull (or double rug pull).

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Interiors: Vapid, unremarkable, self-absorbed, upper-middle-class white people with no real problems hell-bent on being miserable for no discernible reason. The two saving graces: the character of "Pearl" and the 1:30 runtime.

Howards End: Lighter in tone than I thought it would be. Thompson is resplendent, but Bonham Carter is the one who completely won me over with her performance. I find it odd that Redgrave got the supporting Oscar nod for that wisp of a character with Bonham Carter right there -- though I suppose one could make a case for her as second lead.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

The 2 women and the Dog man who are brutally murder are, in real life, about to brutally murder 6 completely innocent strangers, so their deaths are cathartic to those who know what actually happened. It's very appropriate.

I saw "The Art of Racing in the Rain" with my future Celebrity Husband Kevin Costner doing voice over as a Golden Retriiever. Havent' read the book, but it's a nice pleasant movie about a young couple from the Dog's POV. If you like Animal movies....

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

@forever1967 I totally get what you mean, I was so happy that the movie had a revisionist happy ending for the real-life victims (I was dreading the thought of seeing Tate and company savaged), it's just that Tarantino can be so fetishistic and wildly gleeful in depicting the savagery of murder - it can be downright uncomfortable. But that's the nature of art and artists must follow their own lights, come what may. I'd rather feel uncomfortable than nothing at all.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I personally find it hard to care about the violence directed those 2 Manson girls, I mean they brutally murdered innocent people including an unborn child.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter-

Sigh. In real life, none of those events happened. It may be Quentin's revenge fantasy, but killing the women so brutally at the end for laughs was … a choice. I regret I even watched it.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Nathaniel: If we ignore the sequels and anything with colons, this is still a pretty good year to give a movie a long name. As I mentioned above, three movies with 7-word titles debuted last weekend, which is insane:

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
The Art of Racing in the Rain

Here are other such films this year with at least 5 words in the (English) title:

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The Art of Self-Defense
The Curse of La Llorona
The Kid Who Would Be King
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
The Sun Is Also a Star

It may be meaningless, but I hope it continues.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrevity

The kick ass ending of "Once Upon A Time in... Hollywood" was worth the build up - and yes I cheered when those evil hippies got exactly what they deserved. I re-watched Kubrick's hypnotic " The Shining" which has aged very well - and those colors are amazing

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Troy -- i love Redgrave in the movie but it was VERY disappointing that Helena wasn't nominated. 1992 was a strong supporting actress year but Helena still deserved to be one of the five.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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