In a week devoid of any major releases, we still saw some major changes at the box office, with familiar faces like Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers, and Get Out (RIP) all falling from the Top 10 in favor of new releases or aggressively expanding art films. Of course, not everything was different; if you read these box office reports every weekend, I’ll bet you can name the top three movies (in order) with minimal effort. Here’s the weekend box office projections as of Sunday afternoon:
Despite being supported by a blindingly charismatic cast and some of the best action directors in the business, Paramount’s Star Trek franchise has somewhat been an exercise in diminishing returns after 2009’s big screen reboot. Last year’s Star Trek Beyond may have captured some of the fun of a standalone episode of the series, but it was a surprising disappointment with audiences: the film’s $158 million gross was nearly $100 million less than the first entry in the series and failed to break even on the studios $185 million investment. Those are the kind of numbers that make a studio think long and hard about investing in a sequel.
While fans have mostly been enthusiastic about the expanded role of Jason Statham in The Fate of the Furious, there is one thing that has stuck in their collective craw. While Statham’s character has the movie’s best moments, he never stops to address the elephant in the room: Shaw did kill Sung Kang’s Han, perhaps the most beloved character in the franchise and (we assumed) an unforgivable offense for a movie built on family. Will the filmmakers address this in a future installment of the Fast and the Furious films? Or, perhaps more intriguing, could Sung Kang find his way back into the franchise?
It’s been nearly eight years since James Cameron’s Avatar took the global box office by storm, and while it’s become très chic for some corners of the internet to endlessly bash Avatar, I still maintain my stubborn affection for Cameron’s movie. Very few filmmakers can create action-driven science-fiction that operates at Cameron’s level; just look at how many times people have messed up Cameron’s Terminator franchise, a near-flawless formula for blockbuster movies that studios have nevertheless run directly into the ground. We may laugh at Cameron’s planned sequels, but they are both original (technically!) and creator-driven movies. Isn’t that what we claim to want from Hollywood?
Audiences don’t turn their back on family. That’s the lesson to be learned from this past weekend, anyways, when The Fate of the Furious proved that this is one franchise showing no signs of slowing down. It was never a question of whether The Fate of the Furious would take the top spot this weekend, but even the most optimistic of projections couldn’t have expected the global domination that this movie undertook. Here’s the box office estimates as of Sunday afternoon:
It may seem strange to describe the eighth film in a blockbuster franchise as a transitional moment in the series, but then again, few franchises have had to deal with the death of an actor as essential as Paul Walker. The Fate of the Furious was always going to be a bittersweet affair for those involved; while the movie promised to push new characters and new relationships to the forefront, fans wondered how exactly they would choose to address the loss of Walker’s beloved Brian. The solution screenwriter Chris Morgan came up with should leave diehards and newcomers alike very pleased.
One of the most debated plots points of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been the lineage of Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Could she be the daughter of Luke Skywalker? The daughter of Obi-One Kenobi? The daughter of… actually, come to think of it, those are the only two human Force-users we’ve met since the original Star Wars movie, so it’s either a very familiar face or someone totally out of the blue. Regardless, fans have now spent two years not knowing something about their favorite character, and that’s a long, long time for knowledge to be withheld in 2017. They’re ready for answers.
While fans from around the world have gathered to share their love of Star Wars at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, there has been one sobering element to the festivities. The loss of Carrie Fisher has been felt at every level of the convention, from Thursday’s bittersweet memorial video put together by Lucasfilm to the sadness felt while Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson shared his behind-the-scenes footage from the set. And since this is a convention of all things Star Wars, fans have also speculated about the role the actress might play in the next film. Is there a place for Fisher in Star Wars: Episode 9?
In a parallel universe where Paramount Pictures doesn’t alienate its fanbase, we might be talking about Ghost in the Shell as the big winner of this weekend and the de facto start of a new wave of Japanese Hollywood adaptations. Instead, DreamWorks Animation and The Boss Baby blew up the box office, no doubt delighting a handful of DreamWorks executives who watched the Ghost in the Shell controversy unfold with glasses of champagne in hand. After all, nobody’s going to boycott a movie about a baby who wears a suit.
Are all Australian filmmakers and actors friends? On an episode of the WTF with Marc Maron back in 2013, Maron shared a theory with guest Nick Cave that everyone who comes from Australian and has achieved “a certain level of celebrity” must know each other. Cave almost immediately proved his point correct, confirming his friendship with Russell Crowe before discussing his script idea for a Gladiator sequel. Maron’s theory has stuck with me in the intervening years; doesn’t it seem like everyone in Hollywood from Australia seems to be personal friends with each other? It can’t be that small a country, right?
After several weeks of limited movement, a handful of new releases prompted a pretty thorough shakeup of the Box Office Top 10. While Beauty and the Beast continued its unstoppable assault on the domestic box office, we also said hello this weekend to three new movies and goodbye to a handful of old favorites from the first few months of the year. Let’s start with the estimated numbers as of Sunday afternoon.
The smartest thing that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise ever did was introduce a revolving door of ghost pirate enemies. I don’t really care why Javier Bardem’s character hates Jack Sparrow, nor do I think for a moment that this is the film that will permanently kill Johnny Depp’s character off for good, but those plots points are secondary, the franchise’s equivalent of a ghost McGuffin (a McGhostin?). All I really care about is seeing charismatic actors like Bardem play campy villains.
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