January B.O. +13% Over 2019 Thanks To ‘Bad Boys For Life’ & ‘1917’; ‘The Turning’ Slammed With Second ‘F’ Of 2020

Anthony D'Alessandro

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4TH UPDATE, Sunday AM Writethru following Friday updates: Who says January stinks at the box office?

With Sony’s Bad Boys for Life and Universal-Amblin-New Republic’s 1917 crossing the $100M mark this past weekend, repping 2020’s first two century-grossing titles stateside, January ticket sales per Comscore are now at $847.4M for the Jan. 1-26 frame, +13% over last year which ended with $961.6M. While we’re bound to be ahead of that with Jan. 31 falling on Friday, we’re still under the $1.067 billion banner January back in 2010 when Avatar was in play. The second best January was 2016 when December carryover Force Awakens drove all titles to $1.04B.

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Overall ticket sales for this past weekend counted $123.6M, +19% vs the same weekend a year ago.

Bad Boys for Life came in well ahead of industry estimates of $28M with $34M in weekend 2,  -46%, for an estimated running total by EOD of $120.6M. Soon enough, the threequel will pass Bad Boys II‘s domestic final of $138.6M in 2003.

1917 jumped back up to 2nd place, after filing behind Dolittle in 3rd last weekend, now with $15.8M, -28% for a $103.9M domestic total, and $200M+ WW. That’s the good news for Amblin this weekend after its low-teens priced The Turning horror pic bombed with $7.3M, and an F CinemaScore, the second one so far this year after Sony’s The Grudge. 

While there was the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence renaissance going on, the boom of Sam Mendes’ Oscar contender, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker finally passing a half billion, and no awful winter storm to speak of like Jonas four years ago (which closed down theaters in the Northeast), the weekend’s wide entries didn’t really melt a lot of snow, the other being STX/Miramax’s The Gentlemen which did an OK $11M, slightly ahead of its $10M tracking.

On the downside, the holiday box office stretch from Christmas to MLK is officially over with most kids back in school today per Comscore (3% K-12 off and 7% colleges on break). Things don’t get better until Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend, when 90% K-12 and 32% colleges will be on break.

‘1917’ Review: Sam Mendes’ Stunning WWI Epic Is A Towering Achievement In Every Way

At $11M, STX is content with the results of Miramax’s The Gentlemen which they acquired U.S. rights on for $7M and spent around $25M in P&A. Rival sources mostly agree that STX will be fine profit-wise as the pic is your run-of-the-mill meat-and-potatoes low budget action film for dudes in January and those movies do well in the ancillary market. Despite being casted up, The Gentlemen‘s weekend is coming in below STX’s caper Den of Thieves from two Januarys ago ($15.2M) and that only had one star, Gerard Butler. Also the reviews for Thieves was lower at 41% Rotten despite Gentlemen‘s 71% fresh.

The Gentlemen played best in the West and the South-West where its grosses were well above the norms. The movie will final around $30M, which is where Ritchie’s previous grit Brit action pic Snatch ended its stateside run, not accounting for inflation ($30.3M).

Updated audience exits on Friday night from Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak were average at 3 1/2 stars and a 48% definite recommend. Guys over 25 were first at 48% of the audience, followed by females over 25 at 33%, with men under 25 at 12%, and females under 25 at 7%. Guys love it more than females, 82% to 72%. CinemaScore for The Gentlemen was better at B+, which is higher than Guy Richie’s Snatch (B).

Some keep comparing Gentlemen‘s numbers to A24’s wide break of Uncut Gems ($9.5M), probably because both films pulled in guys overall (Uncut Gems with 65% vs. Gentlemen‘s 64%). However, both movies are really apples and oranges in regards to their box office trajectory. Even though Uncut Gems didn’t make it into the Oscar conversation, it was able to juice its B.O. off some great pre-awards gas propelled by excellent reviews for a role we haven’t seen Adam Sandler in before (91% certified fresh), and a great platform (the 2nd best opening weekend average of 2019 with $107,4K) that further capitalized on the post Christmas period. With close to $47M, Uncut Gems is A24’s second-highest grossing movie with close to $47M behind Lady Bird (just under $49M). The Gentlemen isn’t benefiting from any holiday play period.

RelishMix was impressed by the social media universe accrued here by The Gentlemen with 104M followers (broken down that’s 5.6M Facebook fans, 39.5M Facebook video views, 3.4M Twitter followers, 51M YouTube views and 4.5M Instagram followers), ahead of the typical action/comedy which counts 82.8M by opening week.

Reports RelishMix: “For January releases, studios offer a quick and simple campaign – and STX’s Gentlemen is no exception. The first trailer dropped in early October, and with very few materials released in between then and mid-December, the bulk of the campaign was only a month long.  To that end, the film is succeeding on average daily YouTube views of 23.4K for top clips (just ahead of the benchmark 22.1K).  While some of these views are indeed driven by paid STX buys, the consensus seems to be that fans are liking Ritchie’s return to the gangster genre that made him an internationally renown director.”

On the downside RelishMix notices the online chatter, “There are some who don’t like these types of movies to begin with. These folks don’t like violence, but they can’t understand the characters’ dialogue – which is a real two-edged sword for fans who adore these elements of Ritchie’s films. Speaking of two-edged swords, there are fans who say they’ll avoid it because of Hugh Grant and other individual cast members who they feel just don’t belong in this kind of action/comedy romp.”

‘Dolittle’ Review: Robert Downey Jr. Talks To Animals But Doesn’t Have Much To Say

Old fashioned whodunits like Knives Out work at the box office, which is just under $152M; 2019’s 2nd highest grossing original movie (not based on IP), behind Universal’s Us. But old fashioned horror movies like Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak and this past weekend’s The Turning repel moviegoers. In addition to CinemaScore audiences, PostTrak exits flunked the DreamWorks film with a 1/2 star. I hear the feature has been kicking around for a while, and was just a bad movie, and if you think about it, it’s outside Amblin’s wheelhouse which is known for sophisticated adult fare (like 1917, The Girl on the Train and The Paper) and fantasy PG-13 family movies like The House with a Clock in its Walls. I’m hearing the movie was the yield of a former development administration at Amblin. Two years ago, The Turning was dated for Feb. 24 of this year, then it became unset for a while, before being scheduled on this weekend.

This is the second horror movie after Black Christmas ($4.2M opening, $10.4M final) to die on Uni’s watch. Critics turned their backs on Turning with an 18% RT score. Friday night PostTrak logged a 26% definite recommend, and an overall 41% total positive (which isn’t positive at all). Those who braved this pic were 29% females under 25, 25% males under 25, 24% males over 25, and 22% females over 25. Best markets for Turning were the coasts and South-West but we’re talking pennies.

Says RelishMix, “The campaign for this thriller with horror elements was very straight forward and rather brief” (probably because the studio knew it was so bad). The first and only trailer from debuted in early October. The film has Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard, who was only activated in the last several days – and the non-social Mackenzie Davis.

Add the social media analytics corp about Turning‘s death, “The mixed discussion for this drama/thriller bordering on horror genre is most certainly leaning negative.  While the volume of discussion is light no doubt related to the few materials shared, the consensus is one of disbelief.  Sure there is a target audience that kind of likes watching ‘creepy kids’ in a spooky house.  But, this contingent is in the minority as most feel the casting feels off and the scares are unbelievable.”

Updated studio-reported Sunday figures:

Weekend B.O. For Jan. 24-26

thumb rank pic dis scrs(cg) fri sat sun 3-day tl wk
1 Bad Boys for Life Sony 3,775 $8.9M $15.3M $9.7M $34M (-46%) $120.6M 2
2 1917 Uni/Amb/NR 3,937 (+325) $4M $7.2M $4.5M $15.8M (-28%) $103.9M 5
3 Dolittle Uni 4,155 $2.75M $5.8M $3.9M $12.5M (-43%) $44.6M 2
4 The Gentlemen STX 2,165 $3.75M $4.2M  $3M $11M $11M 1
5 Jumanji: Next Level Sony 3,121 (-202) $1.7M $3.7M $2.5M $7.9M (-19%) $283.4M 7
6 The Turning Uni/DW 2,571 $2.5M $2.9M  $1.8M $7.3M $7.3M 1
7 SW: Rise of Skywalker Dis 2,800 (-258) $1.2M $2.6M $1.3M $5.1M (-38%) $501.5M 6
8 Little Women Sony 2,528 (+25) $1.2M $2M $1.4M $4.7M  (-26%) $93.7M 5
9 Just Mercy WB 2,408 (-49) $1.1M $1.8M $1.1M $4.1M (-30%) $27M 5
10 Knives Out LG/MRC 1,667 $932K $1.7M $1M $3.65M (-15%) $151.9M 9

Industry estimates of Friday:

Box Office For Jan. 24-26

thumb rank film dis. screens (chg) friday(vs. pv fri) 3-day tl wk
1 Bad Boys For Life Sony 3,775 $8.9M (-62%) $33M (-47%) $119.6M 2
2 1917 Uni/Amb/NR 3,937 (+325) $4M (-35%) $15M (-55%) $103.1M 5
3 Dolittle Uni 4,155 $2.7M (-55%) $11.3M (-48%) $43.5M 2
4 The Gentlemen STX/Miramax 2,165 $3.7M $10M $10M 1
5 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony 3,121 (-202) $1.7M (-21%) $7M (-28%)  $282.5M 7
6 The Turning Uni/DW 2,571 $2.5M $6.6M $6.6M 1
7 SW: Rise of Skywalker Dis 2,800 (-258) $1.3M (-34%) $5.1M (-38%) $501.6M 6
8 Little Women Sony 2,528 (+25) $1.25M (-24%) $4.65M (-27%) $93.7M 5
9 Just Mercy WB 2,408 (-49) $1.1M (-33%) $3.9M (-32%) $27M 5
10 Knives Out LG/MRC 1667 $920K (-19%) $3.6M (-15%) $151.9M 9

FIRST UPDATE, 7:41AM: Despite older guys indulging greatly in Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s reteam in Bad Boy for Life last weekend, STX and Miramax are hoping that there’s a little bit of spillover from that into Guy Ritchie’s R-rated all-star ensemble The Gentlemen. 

STX took U.S. rights from Miramax for $7M, and the hope is that the pic can clear $10M-$12M. STX opened the Gerard Butler caper Den of Thieves to $15.2M two Januarys ago, and it finaled at just under $45M (which the distrib always has said was a success). No question, Sony’s Bad Boys for Life will dominate its second frame with around $28M, -55%. Of course, the threequel was the big guy at the B.O. Thursday with $3.5M, -4% from Wednesday, ending its week with an estimated $86.6M.

Last night, The Gentlemenwhich is a throwback to Ritchie’s gritty Brit shoot-’em-ups, made $725K at 1,885 theaters, in line with other guy-centric action pics like Warner Bros.’ Russell Crowe-Ryan Gosling ’70s romp The Nice Guys, which posted $700K on its preview night in 2016 and opened to $11.2M. Gentlemen is booked at 2,165 sites. The pic stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding and others in a story about a British drug lord who tries to sell his empire off to Oklahoma billionaires.

‘The Gentlemen’ Trailer: Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam & Colin Farrell Are Caught Up In The Wild Sale Of A Drug Empire

Other comparative titles to Gentlemen include STX’s Jackie Chan movie The Foreigner, which did $775k during its Thursday previews ahead of a $13.1M opening in 2017; Lionsgate’s Liam Neeson movie Cold Pursuit, which generated $540k on Thursday last year before a $11M debut; and STX’s Peppermint, which took in $800K before opening to $13.4M in 2018.

Universal has the PG-13 DreamWorks horror pic The Turning in the mix, which also is hoping to do around $10M at 2,571 theaters. The pic posted $425K at 2,200 locations Thursday night from showtimes that began at 7 PM. The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi, follows a young governess who is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after their parents’ deaths. The Turning is billed as a modern take on Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw.

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