Yes, I believe that the Ice Cube/Charlie Day comedy Fist Fight is going to outgross Matt Damon’s action The Great Wall. Interestingly, The Great Wall has already made 224M overseas (170M of that being from China alone). That doesn’t mean a lot for American audiences, who are seeing the trailer that I’m seeing, which can’t be a good thing. I’ve hated every trailer for this film. I think this film is being set up to bomb, and that’s without touching on the small outrage people had over the “white savior” angle. Apparently, that’s just how the film is marketed, but the film has several lead asian characters it just doesn’t market to Americans because it thinks we wouldn’t care.
Some other shitty looking films have managed to open in the high teens in February, notably Jupiter Ascending (18M), I Am Number Four (19M), and most recently Gods Of Egypt (14M). None of those had Matt Damon, however. Damon’s last February release was Monuments Men, which opened to 22M in 2014. His lowest wide release opener in recent memory was We Bought A Zoo at 9.3M, with his last three films (if you include Interstellar) all opening above 40M. So, I can understand why they’re “leaning in” to the Damon aspect. If this film sells this weekend, it’ll be almost entirely because of him.
But then we have Fist Fight, which is Ice Cube teaming up with the lesser known Charlie Day. It’s hard to say that Fist Fight has an advantage with critics, simply because it hasn’t been screened. That just means we have no idea where it will land, as opposed to The Great Wall’s sad 45%. With Fist Fight, they’re trying to replicate the success Ice has found with the Ride Along series (41M/35M openings respectively), where he has found himself successful in the buddy cop genre. This isn’t a cop film, but it still has that dual play involved. Charlie Day isn’t much of a box office draw, but audiences who don’t know him from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, will remember him from Horrible Bosses. Fist Fight’s biggest competition is The LEGO Batman Movie, which could pull some comedy votes, but for the most part it has an untapped audience. In fact, if you’re an adult looking for comedy outside of animation, your last opportunity was Why Him in December. So, Fist Fight has a much more untapped audience than either The Great Wall or A Cure For Wellness, since we have seen a slew of action/horror films so far this year.
Speaking of A Cure For Wellness, this is the kind of horror film that really needed the critics to rally behind it. It’s a bizarre looking film that doesn’t follow the traditional structure of horror. No haunted house, no serial killer, no ghosts. It’s a risk taking film that’s trying to do something different, and is doing so without a bankable star (sorry Dane DeHaan). So, where does that leave it? With a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes, I think most people will just save their money for the well-reviewed Get Out which opens the following week, and has a ton more hype around it.
Last weekend, three new films hit, and all performed well. Fifty Shades Darker is definitely the film that’s going to drop the most. The original fell 73% in week two. Granted, the sequel has a higher cinemascore, but I’m not sure that B+ is going to make too big of a difference. A 65% fall would still be really large. The LEGO Movie, however, only dropped 27% in week two, and John Wick dropped 44% in week two. Their sequels will likely be really close to all those drops.
Our two strong Oscar holdovers, Hidden Figures and La La Land have two more weekends before their results are revealed. Based on most industry projections, La La Land is set to win a bunch of awards. If it does, it could see yet another resurgence at the box office for those who were holding off. Next weekend, Get Out opens, as do Collide and Rock Dog, but no one cares about those two.
1) The LEGO Batman Movie- 32M Weekend, 98M Total
2) Fist Fight- 20M Weekend, 20M Total
3) Fifty Shades Darker- 19M Weekend, 88M Total
4) The Great Wall- 18M Weekend, 18M Total
5) John Wick 2- 17M Weekend, 60M Total
6) A Cure For Wellness- 7M Weekend, 7M Total
7) Split- 6M Weekend, 122M Total
8) Hidden Figures- 6M Weekend, 140M Total
9) A Dog’s Purpose- 4.5M Weekend, 49M Total
10) La La Land- 4M Weekend, 132M Total