(Henry A. Barrios/The Bakersfield Californian via AP)
A soft opening cannot be blamed on outside forces.
Hollywood, in general, loves to look elsewhere when movies underperform. Most any time a film has a poor performance, any manner of market influence will be trotted out as being the blame. Years ago studios attempted to lay the fault of a bad weekend on a volcano erupting in Greenland. Yes, seriously.
This week, the Wuhan Virus has ramped up in import in the news and it is affecting various economic markets, so it stands to reason that Hollywood business would likewise be affected, correct? To a degree, that is accurate, but not entirely. It cannot be swept away as the entire blame. You need to look into the metrics and see exactly where there is an issue. That is, a diagnosis is needed. Imagine this!
1. ONWARD – $40.4 Million
This is considered a relatively soft opening — especially so, as it is a Disney/Pixar release. There was weak competition, and plenty of advance time for the studio to ramp up the promotion. To suggest that things were unfairly impacted by fears of the Wuhan Virus does not hold up to scrutiny. No theaters have been closed in North America. The movie actually saw an increase of 35% on Saturday, and the entire field of releases also saw an uptick, so people were willing to go out. The overall box office actually saw an increase over last week by a few percentage points, so there is no valid claim to a drop off of filmgoers due to fears. This means that the product itself just did not connect with a broader audience.
2. THE INVISIBLE MAN – $15.15m
After a strong debut last week, this is holding up well with a decent second-week drop of -46%. It has already reached $50 million domestic and is right on the cusp of $100 million global.
3. THE WAY BACK -$8.5m
Warner Brothers had made a marketing decision with this Ben Affleck basketball drama, about a man who wants to recover his life by going back to his hometown to become a coach. The studio hoped that the impending March Madness would be a good fit and drive some ticket sales, but it turns out this came in below projections. Seems the college basketball fans are more preoccupied with filling out their brackets.
4. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG – $8.02m
It has been a huge sigh of relief for Paramount that this has gone on to become a very solid hit, after the time and money spent to rework the completed film. It has taken on $140 million so far, and is about to race past the worldwide mark of $300 million.
5. THE CALL OF THE WILD – $7.0m
While showing some signs of being a moderate hit this Harrison Ford version of the classic outdoor fable was a touch expensive and still in need of long term health to see its way to profitability.
6. EMMA – $5.01M
Focus Features expanded this into wider release this weekend with some relative returns. It plays on just over 1,500 screens, but the screen average would have been enough to land it in the third-place position.
7. BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – $3.05m
After two full months, it only now is starting to drop a significant amount of screens. To date, it has drawn over $200 million, and doubling that figure with foreign sales. A genuine hit for Sony.
8. HARLEY QUINN: BIRDS OF PREY – $2.16m
A sign of how weak the overall field has been is this mostly overlooked comic book entry lingering, as a number of films released after have already dropped off the list.
9. IMPRACTICAL JOKERS THE MOVIE – $1.84m
Translating its hit TV show to the screens see TruTV’s first feature making the top-10 for the second week in a row.
10. MY HERO ACADEMIA – $1.52m
A sign of how select this release was for a niche anime audience was it tumbling a massive -75% from its slot as the number four movie last week.