by Callum Petch (Screened: @jackanderson, Twitter: @CallumPetch)
Films came out last weekend. Lots of films came out last weekend. Therefore, someone was going to get crushed, someone was going to underwhelm, and someone was going to do the crushing. As a result, Americans decided to spend their Martin Luther King holiday watching Ice Cube fling Kevin Hart at various objects, as Ride Along destroyed the competition with $41 million in ticket sales and a per-screen average of $15,000. Will this, as comedian Phil LaMarr hopes, lead to a future in which one can see a film with two black leads that’s not about slavery? Who knows, I just wanted to link that tweet and see if anybody gets an aneurysm as a result of the 12 Years A Slave dig (which I did see this weekend and thought was fantastic).
What I do know is that Ride Along’s per-screen average is over three times that of Paramount’s heavily-pushed Jack Ryan: Let’s Stick Two Vaguely Espionage and Origin Story Related Words on as a Sub-Title and Break for Lunch, which opened in fourth with just $15 million. The only reason I can deduce for this failure is that audiences don’t like Chris Pine. I mean, that’s probably not the exact reason, but it’s the one I’m choosing to believe, anyhow. I mean, it’s a more valid reason that “it looks cack” because $19 million worth of people turned up for The Nut Job. That means $19 million worth of people wanted to hear endless dreadful nut gags and were desperate to see Psy of “Gangam Style” fame immortalised as a cartoon animal. That means $19 million worth of people need shooting with a bazooka. Filled with angry tigers. That are on fire. I feel strongly about this.
In other news, the Academy Awards nominations for 2014 were released on Thursday and with those came the expected weekend bump for all of the major nominees that haven’t already been in wide release for a few weeks. So whilst The Wolf of Wall Street, Her andSaving Mr. Banks slid down in varying levels of sharpness (although Her actually managed to successfully break into the Top 10, this week), August: Osage County went wide and made the most of that, American Hustle rode that undeserved Golden Globe victory to a few more million and Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, 12 Years A Slave and Captain Phillips either expanded or re-opened and made various levels of money. Nobody went and saw Nebraska or Philomena, though. In the case of Philomena, good.
This full list had better check itself before it wriggidy-wrecks itself.
Box Office Results: Friday 17th January 2014 – Sunday 19th January 2014
|1. Ride Along|
$41,600,000 / NEW
This actually looks pretty funny. Gonna be honest, I did not see that coming. This is not a knock against either of the leads, Ice Cube was hilarious in 21 Jump Street and we Brits have been completely kept in the dark in regards to Kevin Hart so far, but “comedy film released in January” cannot help but raise alarm bells for me. Could I do without the Kevin Hart character being a videogame loving manchild? Yeah, in all honesty, but I appreciate a good piece of physical comedy and this trailer had that in spades. Guess I’ll give it a shot when it hits the UK.
|2. Lone Survivor|
$22,059,000 / $72,868,000
Anybody else cottoned onto the fact that this film’s marketing has totally, if inadvertently, ruined the outcome of the film? I’m not just talking about the title, I’m also talking about the fact that Mark Wahlberg is the only named cast member on all of the posters and trailers. Unless they’re playing the long con and he’s actually the first to bite it, I’ve just been saved £6! Thanks, movie!
|3. The Nut Job|
$19,405,000 / NEW
This cost $42 million. It looks like something a student at CalArts made for his first graded piece of work. Not in terms of content, I mean in terms of pure visuals. This is, by far, the cheapest and ugliest looking animated film I have seen since Food Fight, which I guess deserves some kind of anti-gold medal?
|4. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit|
$15,580,000 / NEW
I have seen a trailer for this before every single film I’ve gone to see for the last month. Every. Single. Godsdamn. Film. I could probably perform the entire final trailer for you, from memory, right now if you requested. Funnily enough, indoctrination does not make me want to see this movie any more than I already did, and I didn’t. Mazz has a review of it for those of you who are interested, though.
$11,858,000 / $332,490,000
Frozen will now be a Broadway musical. A] Called it. B] Get ready to watch 100s of Idina Menzel wannabes belting out “Let It Go” to standing ovations from you whilst you, simultaneously, in the back of your mind think “Yeah, that was nowhere near as good as Idina Menzel” because, really, who else is as good as Idina Menzel? C] I imagine that Julie Taymor’s highly elaborate, highly dangerous and very expense pitch is currently in the post and that she’s ready to hear back any day now...
|6. American Hustle|
$9,850,000 / $115,681,000
Over the weekend, I set myself the goal of seeing four of the Best Picture nominees, this, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave and Nebraska, in four days because, thanks to UK release window disparity, a lot of those films have only just made it to our shores. Of that collection, American Hustle is the one that I liked the least, by a good margin. It’s not bad, it’s just not particularly great and it runs FOREVER AND A HALF. It’s barely 3 star quality; so, obviously, it’s the one that has the most likely shot of stealing the prize from the most deserving winner (12 Years A Slave, which I had issues with but cannot deny the immense power that film has and how it absolutely needs to win Best Picture).
|7. Devil's Due|
$8,380,000 / NEW
Huh? What’s this? I’ve never heard of it before... (does a quick wiki search) I thought we already had January’s crappy horror movie dumping with That Paranormal Activity With The Latino Gangbangers? In any case, can the fact that both this and The Marked Ones failed to make 5 times their production budgets opening weekend, like found-footage horror movies are supposed to do, please be enough advice to Hollywood about packing this sh*t in now? Found-footage horror is done. It had its vogue, and now it’s over! Find something else to milk for the next five years!
|8. August: Osage County|
$7,365,000 / $17,954,000
This comes to town at the weekend, and so my month of practically camping out in the cinema shall continue. I was really impressed with Killer Joe, the other Tracy Letts play adaptation of the last two years, so I’m hoping that this one’s good, too. Haven’t seen any trailers or ads for it, though, so I’m going in blind.
|9. The Wolf of Wall Street|
$7,054,000 / $89,831,000
Of all the films that I saw this past weekend, this was my favourite. I’m amazed that a three hour long film only managed to feel its length for about 10 of those minutes, I have no idea why this thing is not up for Best Editing, DiCaprio delivers career-best work, it’s hilarious and I loved how everyone else in the cinema was completely unprepared for the final half hour, when it switches from “dark comedy” to just plain “dark” (the synchronised collective sharp intake of breath from everyone else at one particular action is now one of my favourite movie-going moments).
I’m going to be honest, folks, I thought Scorcese had lost it after The Departed (was not a fan of Shutter Island, although it looked gorgeous, and Hugo did nothing for me, though I think it needs a re-watch). I am so, so glad to have been proven wrong. Here’s to hopefully many more years and films from the man!
$4,020,000 / $14,981,000
That now just leaves this, Dallas Buyers Club and Philomena still to see on my quest to see all of the year’s Best Picture nominees. My excuse with Her and Dallas Buyers Club is that they’re not out here yet (Feb 7th for Dallasand Valentine’s Day for Her). My excuse for Philomena was that it looked dreadful when it came out three months’ back and I genuinely didn’t think that it was going to be nominated for anything by anyone. Disappointed to be proven wrong on that account.