Box Office Wrap Up: January 2019 Falls on its Sword.
Oh look. Another King Arthur movie flopped. Shocking.
How could anyone have predicted this very, very predictable turn of events? A King Arthur movie tanked, while a poorly advertised thriller nobody could understand exploded on the runway. It’s almost like that’s exactly what I said would happen last week. Perhaps the Oscar nominations driving people into the arms of previously released films is to blame for the lackluster premiers; we can seen evidence that the only gains made this week were from the front runners for the Academy Awards. Perhaps Hollywood expected a bit more of a dominant showing from Glass, as Split had a big run in late January two years ago. Either way, looking at the numbers and the history of late January movie releases, I think we can safely chalk up the latter half of January as a bust.
This Week in Box Office History.
The final week of January has been a dog for several years now. 2016 is the last year in which it wasn’t the lowest grossing week of the month, and that appears to be a blip as the rest of the 2010’s see a definite fall off after the Oscars are nominated. Looking at the quality of the offerings, it seems to be a reluctance on Hollywood’s part to put anything big out between the nominations and the Awards as opposed to audiences staying home. The Top 10 vs. All Films earnings rate shows that tickets are moving, just not to a traditionally big film. In fact, many years saw growth in the All Films share of the box office, even while the Top Ten contracted. This year the box office was down around 25% against last week, and slightly higher (26-31%) against last year’s totals.
Top Film Last Year: Maze Runner 3.
Top Film Last Decade: Paul Blart Mall Cop.
Top Three Films.
Glass remained on top of the pile this week, though it did drop a significant 52%. By comparison, Split didn’t drop anywhere near 50% in ticket sales until its 13th weekend in release. Glass took in 19 million dollars domestically, bringing its total take to 73 million domestically and 162 million worldwide.
Second Place saw The Upside continue to age gracefully, dropping just 18% in its third weekend. The film starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart has taken in 63 million dollars at home, with a negligible 6 million from foreign markets. Against a 38 million dollar budget, that’s a pretty nice haul just three weeks in. Kevin Hart comedies have had a famously long shelf life, so The Upside is sitting pretty right now.
Aquaman reigned in third place, adding seven million dollars to its domestic cume. The total of 316 million at home is quite a way from catching Wonder Woman‘s first place lead of 412 million, but Aquaman has now taken hold of the all time, world-wide lead among DC comic movies. At 1.09 billion dollars, it passed The Dark Knight Rises as the biggest DC film of all time across all markets.
The two new releases landed outside the top three. The Kid Who Would Be King had to settle for fourth place. For a kid’s action fantasy based on an ailing property, that’s not terrible, but the numbers tell another story. This Arthurian misadventure spent nearly 60 million dollars on its budget, and returned just 7 million of it at launch. The film is not playing any better abroad, where it might have hoped for help. It has yet to open in the UK, which may be a ray of light for the production.
Serenity, starring Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, beached itself at eighth place with just shy of five million dollars. The film continued to confound audiences right up till release, and critical reception was mixed to negative. The good news for this film is that the budget of 25 million dollars is going to be a little easier to recoup. I’d hope there was a negligible amount of additional money spent on marketing, as the marketing for his film was not worth any price the studio paid!