Box Office Wrap Up: Upside Up, Replicas Down.
STX studios got their first #1 debut ever as The Upside upset Aquaman.
It was a tale of two wide releases this week: STX’s The Upside blew past expectations to deliver a big win, while Entertainment Studios’ Sci-Fi flick Replicas fell well short of projections. We are still awaiting a meaningful bump from the awards season, as critical favorites like Green Book and A Star is Born still remain outside the top ten. With the Oscars set to announce nominees next week, it may be until February before the award show chickens come home to roost. The box office could use the boost, as January has yet to deliver a big hit.
This Week in Box Office History.
The box office cooled further this week, shedding 17% of sales from last week. Last year we had a long holiday weekend, but excluding the extra day we’re still looking at a decline of 28%. The overall month is down 11% or just about 50 million dollars compared to this time last year. Aquaman’s continuing success has helped, but there has been a lack of big movies to keep the momentum up. Last year early buzz was driving hopefuls like The Post up the revenue list.
Top Film Last Year: Jumanji.
Top Film Last Decade: Gran Torino.
It was all upside for STX as The Upside took first place with just shy of 20 million dollars. This is the first first place finish for the studio, which has had success with films such as Bad Moms and I Feel Pretty, but hadn’t found a way into the top spot. It is the second best opening, money-wise, for the studio, and director Neil Burger’s second best opening as well. Studio estimates had been cagey on this one, with everyone holding their breath to see how much box office backlash star Kevin Hart would face after homophobic tweets from his past surfaced and scuttled his Oscar hosting chances.
Aquaman lost his first place throne, but won the crown for being the only DCEU movie to have surpassed 1 billion dollars in global sales. Now that it rules those waters, it is looking to climb higher up the all time list. Currently sitting at 36, it has a real chance to crack the top twenty all time global ticket sales leaders.
Third Place went to another new release, A Dog’s Way Home. This heartstrings tugger took in 11 million, which was roughly in line with estimates. I’m sure Sony was hoping for the bigger bite A Dog’s Purpose took down during January 2017 (18 million) but should be happy to secure a third place finish. As we’ll see, it could have been a lot worse…
On the Basis of Sex expanded nationally and took in a solid six million dollars. It ruled in favor of an eighth place finish, and has taken in 10 million dollars for Focus Features in its three weeks of release.
The aforementioned recipient of the “it could be worse” comparison was Replicas, which failed to place in the top ten in its first week. The Keanu Reeves led Sci-Fi flick got pummeled by critics and was largely ignored by audiences. It took in just 2.5 million dollars on its way to 12th place. Recent years have seen several big name Sci-Fi films fail, like Ellen Page’s Flatliners (6 million debut), Ryan Reynolds’ Self/Less (5 million) and Johnny Depp’s Transcendence (10 million). 2.5 is definitely well below those numbers, which bodes ill for any chance of covering the 30 million dollar budget.