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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Weekend Estimates by The Klady Circle of It

Wknd Estimates 2017-09-24 at 10.24.28 AM

Kingsman: The Golden Circle comes up with the lower end of expectations, still scoring the fifth best September opening of all time as this month stands to break most every September record. It continues to hold well, given the big numbers, as it positions Itself to pass $300 million domestic next weekend. Lego Ninjago fights to just over $20 million, which is a small genre franchise kind of number, not the machine WB was counting on. Friend Request, conservatively marketed by Entertainment Studios, won’t make back that small marketing number, much less acquisition costs. And Stronger gets a fighter’s chance with some audience sampling, but the future for the film is blurry at best.

Not only is this September going to be the highest-grossing September of all time by 15% or more (we’ll see how next weekend goes), but it is already the highest-grossing September-for-September releases by 6%, the first time September releases have ever generated $400 million during the month.

And mind you, this will be the biggest September ever in spite of the worst holdover numbers from the summer in more than a decade (I stopped checking with 2006). In those previous 11 years, there was no holdover from the summer of less than $230 million in September. We’re at $186 million as of this weekend. Holdovers added between $10m and $13m this weekend.

Will September make up for August? No.

But if, hypothetically, It had opened in August and done similar business, that single title would have made 2017 the third-best August ever. And September, depending on next weekend’s openers, would, in theory, have been down, but not dramatically. This doesn’t make 2017 a barn-burner at the box office. But it might offer perspective.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle didn’t get the hoped-for bump from two years of post-theatrical excitement around the original, but the sequel did open better than the original. I enjoyed the sequel, but not as much as the original. The reviews deserve their own place in memory, reading like a parade of reviewers exhausted by overpraising It and defending mother!, looking for something to unload on. Negative is one thing. But reading through those reviews is like being at a divorce proceeding. Machinegun briefcases, men in meat grinders, characters brought back from the dead… that needs a whuppin’! Lots of whining about too many star actors… but the surprise to me was the key role given to Pedro Pascal, who was great in “Narcos” and “Game of Thrones,” but felt out of his star range here.

Most film criticism is straight. Good, bad or indifferent, opinions seem direct and to the point. I write this two or three times a year. And a couple times a year, a couple movies get too much love and blowback on some film is as inevitable as the sun rising. I don’t think it is a conspiracy or that anyone talks about the reflex. It just happens… like the seasons.

The next instance will be in the heat of award season.

Regardless, Kingsman 2 will land amongst the Top 10 September grossers ever.

The Lego Ninjago Movie, not so much. A $21 million opening for a major studio animated family movie is weak. The titles considered “misses” in animation recently all opened to more. As the father of a 7-year-old, I know that Ninjago is a niche in the Lego universe. My son wants to see the movie, but he’s not rabid. And a lot of his friends, especially girls, have no interest. Since Ninjago has zero footprint with anyone who was a Lego fan five years or more ago and no footprint as anything else besides as a Lego brand, I’m not sure why they made the movie. As a direct-to-streaming title or for Cartoon Network, okay. But this title was never going to do anything good for the Lego movie brand… unless it was as special as Lord & Miller’s The Lego Movie. Making the Ninjago movie was kinda like making the next Justice League spin-off about Cyborg.

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, getting a rep around town for being persnickety, tried another low-budget assault on the majors with Friend Request and missed badly. $840 per screen for any opening leaves people sleepless. Back to the drawing board.

Lionsgate took Stronger to an odd number of screens (574) and got an odd number per screen ($2.990). Neither fish nor fowl, the distributor will look hard at every metric to decide how much farther they want to chase this film.

Searchlight took Battle of the Sexes out on a more traditional 21 screens, looking to build an audience. $25k per is a strong open. The relevant comps from last year are Hidden Figures and Hell or High Water. And that is the question that will be bouncing around for the next couple of weekends at Searchlight. It was the question coming out of the festivals. Which is it?

The other awards season launch this weekend was Focus’ Victoria & Abdul. Four screens. $38k per. Lion or Loving? Judi Dench is getting a Best Actress nod. The film has a serious shot at Best Picture nods and more.

24 Responses to “Weekend Estimates by The Klady Circle of It”

  1. Sideshow Bill says:

    I fucking loved mother! Amazeballs, bat-shit and thoroughly absorbing. It’s easily in my top 10 if not, as of right now, at the top. Didn’t see any walk-outs because the theater was mostly empty but I can’t imagine walking out of something like that. I HAD to see how it ended.

    Saw trailers for The Darkest Hour and All The Money In The World. Wasn’t really interested before but I am now. Wahlberg looks like he’s actually going to act in ATMITW.

  2. Movieman says:

    Yes, Pedro Pascal was the only redeeming thing about “Kingsman 2.”
    I totally get Dave’s gripe against crix who routinely use Movie B as a whipping boy to restore their cred after overpraising Movie A.
    But I still found it a colossal disappointment, maybe because I was such a fan of the original.
    WB did a lot of things right this year (“Wonder Woman,” “It,” “Skull Island”), but opening two LEGO movies in seven months wasn’t among them.
    Sad that both “Stronger” and “Brad’s Status” will both disappear into the ether.

  3. Night Owl says:

    I don’t blame Pascal for it but that character was awkwardly shoehorned in and largely superfluous. He had two half-decent fight scenes that don’t come close to Firth’s from the first movie. It’s painfully obvious he was a last minute rewrite/fill in for Tatum (confirmed by the HollywoodReporter). The Statesmen plot as a whole was a huge misfire. Everything good in the movie is Edgerton, Strong, and Firth.

  4. LBB says:

    Sideshow, I don’t want to start a fight- especially since there’s much I liked about mother!-
    SPOILERS
    Didn’t the first minute of the movie tell you how it would end? I couldn’t get around that for the entirety of the film. And once the allegory became obvious (almost right away but certainly once the sons appear) it prevented me from getting invested in the characters and distracted by drawing connections. Personally, without the very start of the film and without the allegory you have the potential for a great horror movie there. As isits a movie that can’t get out of its own way.

  5. JS Partisan says:

    Night Owl, Vaughn cut over an hour from Golden Circle. An hour. Pedro’s character, had to have some point in the longer cut, because cutting an hour from a movie changes so damn much.

  6. Night Owl says:

    That would also explain it JS, but that shows terrible judgment on Vaughn’s part if he couldn’t see what a mess he was making and where cuts should have been made. The character connects with nothing and no one so in the end the other characters don’t really care about him or anything he does and neither do we. And again I don’t blame Pascal for that, I’m not a huge fan but he’s a fine actor (much better on his TV stuff). Berry, Bridges, Tatum are all glorified cameos and no one connects or makes anything approaching an impact. It’s baffling for a high budget sequel to be this wasteful.

    For all the silliness, the relationship between Eggsy and Harry is actually quite lovely; and Merlin makes an impact. That’s where the focus should have stayed. The rest is an absolute waste of time and NOT the way you build a long lasting franchise. If they make another one (watch for a lower budget) and FFS drop all the Statemen stuff. All of it; it sucked.

  7. Hallick says:

    The Lego Ninjago Movie is actually a nutty blast most of the time, and it was more satisfying overall than The Lego Batman Movie. Even Jackie Chan killed it in the little live action opener just by doing “world weary” so well.

    It would have been a worthy successor to The Lego Movie if the filmmakers only had the balls to take that tired, paint-by-numbers father/son estrangement arc and tweak it beyond recognition.

    But still, damn. That was fun.

  8. Sideshow Bill says:

    No fight LBB. I see your point. The opening shot did forecast the end and I knew it when I saw it. The allegorical stuff still isn’t crystal clear to me but I have my own ideas. In the sense of it being a biblical allegory I plead some ignorance because I don’t know the Bible at all. I avoided spoilers for the movie and think pieces but intend to take some in now and further parse my feelings

    But my initial reaction after today was that I had a visceral, surprising and absorbing experience the likes of which I haven’t since The Witch. I’m not blowing Aronofskybor anything. I’m a fan but not a super fan. Didn’t like Noah at all. But it got to me today and I had a grin on my face when it was over

  9. Stella's Boy says:

    I really enjoyed the first hour of Mother. It’s bizarrely funny and I like the cast. I was with it and interested in where it was going. The second hour loses me. It becomes increasingly heavy handed and duller even as it grows much more violent and chaotic. I was pretty bored by the end. I’m glad I saw it, but it’s OK at best.

  10. JS Partisan says:

    Hold on. Jackie Chan, is in Ninjago. Well shit. It will make some money in China, so Warners did fine! WOOOOOO :D!

  11. cadavra says:

    When is there a martial arts-oriented animated feature that doesn’t have Jackie Chan as a voice? :-)

  12. Fofs says:

    Also Jackie issn’t a huge moneymaker there anymore.

  13. brack says:

    Kung Fu Yoga was a pretty big moneymaker out just this year,
    .
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kung_Fu_Yoga

  14. LBB says:

    Good to hear, Sideshow Bill. I’m also a fan but not super fan (though I’m good friends with someone Aronofsky went out of his way to try to screw over, though I try to not let that affect my opinions on his work). I liked half of NOAH, all of WRESTLER and REQUIEM, and large parts of everything else (still haven’t seen FOUNTAIN).

    I’m super familiar with the Biblical stuff given my upbringing (a whole other kind of horror movie itself) so that stuff probably played more screamingly obvious to me than others. As it was I just couldn’t get invested in any character because everyone was a representation of an idea or figure and the plot became a matter of how he’d represent this or that. Which in the end took all the tension out of it. And I knew we were headed toward that opening/ending so….

    Yeah, I’m conflicted. Too well done to write off but really a movie that didn’t work the magic on me as much as I hoped and as much as it seemed it wanted to.

  15. spassky says:

    @Fofs

    He makes $100 million per movie consistently in PRC.

    Interested to hear why you say he isn’t a draw anymore…?

  16. Sideshow Bill says:

    I always forget Aronofsky did The Wrestler. That’s a great, great film top to bottom.

    Stella’s Boy, I can see how the escalation of events could git someone as heavy-handed. For me the escalation had me in stitches. I found it a very, very funny movie.

  17. Stella's Boy says:

    Kung Fu Yoga, which I had never heard of, made $254 million in China. So it stands to reason that Chan is still a draw there.

  18. Bob Burns says:

    You blurb on the death of the actor Jan Triska is silly. The Charles Bridge is an iconic masterpiece of world architecture. It is as if you wrote that someone jumped off a skyscraper in New York, or a tower in Paris, when referring to the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower. Here a man, Mr Triska, makes an artistic statement with his suicide and this web site, which is about art, is it not, does not have the culture, or maybe the presence of mind, to even notice.

  19. JS Partisan says:

    Okay… here’s a suggestion: how about every Wednesday, from here on out, just put up a BYOB? It may get people talking more, because they tend to just shut down on these box office blogs. Again, just a suggestion, and how about our president? Oy.

  20. Sideshow Bill says:

    ^^^ Yup. I agree. I wanna talk about Harry Knowles and how I’ve known he’s a sleaze for more than a decade. And I want to talk more about mother! and our stupid, stupid, stupid president.

    Seriously, this may uncouth to say, but the fall of Faraci and Knowles pleases me to no end. They have been awful, unpleasant presences for over 15 years. Good riddance to them/

  21. Stella's Boy says:

    Great point JS. We agree on that.

    Same here Bill. I wanted to post something about Fantastic Fest and the Alamo and Tim League but didn’t because it’s not related to the box office and I didn’t want to annoy people more than usual. I second your cheering. Sad it took so long and sad that so many people who fancy themselves progressive looked away.

  22. Chucky says:

    AICN became persona non grata to this moviegoer after Film Threat outed Harry Knowles as whoring for Hollywood. Now he’s been exposed as a first-class perv. Sweet!

  23. LBB says:

    The falls of Faraci and Knowles have been inadequate recompense for all the other shit this year is dumping on us, but they are not unappreciated. Both of them are sacks of garbage that have only helped to degrade an industry that needs no help in that department. I’m sorry to see League was an aid-and-abetter since Alamo was one of my favorite places to go. But I can’t give them any business in good conscience now.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    Considering how many stories stress the fact that everyone and their grandmother has long known that Faraci and Knowles are degenerates, it must mean that Tim League is also a degenerate as there’s no way in hell he didn’t know the truth long ago. Which is sad. I’ve never been to Austin, but my bucket list included Fantastic Fest and the Alamo Drafthouse. Not anymore.

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