Eventually, some movie will unseat Rogue One: A Star Wars Story from its spot at the top of the box office charts. That movie will not be Hidden Figures, but man, it sure came close. Unless the final numbers shift ever-so-slightly, the drama about the African American women behind the math that helped launch NASA's first space missions came this close to unseating the massively successful blockbuster, taking the runner-up position by less than $1 million.
This weekend’s box office was essentially the hangover from last week’s big holiday: the numbers are a little smaller, very little in the top 10 actually moved around, and the only new release didn’t even come close to threatening the dominion of Moana and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The box office success of Moana feels like destiny: an old school Disney formula plus 21st century polish plus great songs plus the mere presence of Dwayne Johnsonand near-universal critical notices is a surefire recipe for success...
Six months ago, this looked like a very different weekend at the box office. While the strong start for The Girl on the Train isn’t surprising, the weak opening for The Birth of a Nation reflects how the film, once seen as a surefire Oscar-contender, has been affected by a series of real world controversies. There’s an alternate timeline out there where it’s a sizable hit. Instead, the adaptation of a popular mystery novel starring Emily Blunt gets its picture at the top of this article.
September is traditionally the month of box office quiet after the summer movie season concludes, a chance for studios to unload movies that wouldn’t find their audience elsewhere in the year and an opportunity for everyone to recharge their batteries before the big movies return in October. But nobody told Sully, which is a bigger hit than most of the summer fare released in 2016. And now, nobody told The Magnificent Seven, which leapt into the number one spot with a very strong debut.
Despite new challengers of all genres, budgets and backgrounds, Sully remained number one at the box office this week, fending off the likes of Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby, and Snowden. In a month not traditionally known for producing many financial juggernauts, Clint Eastwood’s drama has emerged as something of a surprise smash, surpassing most expectations and showing no signs of slowing down quite yet.
September has arrived and this notoriously slow month at the movies often spells instant death for new releases. It certainly meant on a dead-on-arrival start for The Light Between Oceans and it spelled total disaster for Morgan, which debuted at number 17 on the box office charts despite being released into more than 2,000 theaters. But this week isn’t all doom and gloom! This slow week gave some much-needed breathing room to a few August releases while allowing Don’t Breathe to have a strong second weekend at the box office.
In a summer filled with misfires and box office disappointments, the horror genre has kept its head above the water. The Conjuring 2 crossed the $100 million mark. Lights Out was a gigantic sleeper hit. And now, Don’t Breathe has closed out August with a surprising bang, dethroning Suicide Squad with a very strong opening weekend.
And thus the 2016 summer movie season ended in a manner that reflected these past few months as a whole : with a whimper. Despite three new releases, the rapidly tumbling Suicide Squad clung to the top spot, with last week’s runner-up, the raunchy animated film Sausage Party, once again coming in second place. It was a tough weekend for War Dogs, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Ben-Hur, each of which limped into the top 10 with unspectacular numbers.
As expected, Jason Bourne topped the box office in its opening weekend, but like so many of the sequels released this summer, the initial numbers aren’t quite what everyone was hoping for. This doesn’t mean we should count out Matt Damon’s return to his most popular character just yet, but it does add more fuel to the “audiences are getting a little picky with the sequels they will pay to see” narrative that has been forming over the past few months.
This has been one of the strangest summers in recent memory when it comes to box office analysis, not because so many high profile movies have disappointed (although that has certainly been interesting), but because so many new releases are hanging out in the grey zone between hit and misfire. In an era where the success of so many movies is determined purely by opening weekend numbers, we’ve spent the past few months watching as movies has defied expectations after a weak opening or rode a solid opening into oblivion. The cut-and-dried successes can be counted on one hand.
How much does the new Ghostbusters need to make if it wants to be a bonafide, genuine hit? The opening weekend for director Paul Feig’s reboot of the beloved franchise raises more questions than answers and the second and third weekend will ultimately prove more telling. However, here’s what we can say right now: it opened with solid numbers in second place behind last week’s massive champion, The Secret Life of Pets.
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