Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Sonic Barely Suppresses The Call of the Wild

Both live-action/animation hybrid family films were neck and neck until the blue speedster took the lead on the weekend of February 21-23.

by | February 23, 2020 | Comments

It was a flip-floppy kind of weekend for the top spot at the box office, as estimates from Friday-to-Saturday teetered between two films at #1. Ultimately, Sega’s blue alien rodent maintained its lead for a second straight week as it gets a little closer to becoming Paramount’s first success story since last summer’s Dora the Explorer movie. The new CGI animal film nearly rallied to win the weekend in what might seem like a victory for the newly-rebrandished 20th Century Studios, except it has a long journey ahead before the word “success” can be attributed to it.

King of the Crop: Sonic Leads the Pack Again

Sonic the Hedgehog led the box office for a second straight week with $26.3 million. That puts its total at $107 million in its first ten days, the sixth best ever for a film opening in February and just the seventh film to reach $100 million in that period. It has also passed $200 million worldwide. Now, if it can gross another $52 million across the globe it will indeed reach profit for Paramount if the lowball estimates of an $85 million budget (with all that FX retouching) is to be believed. At this rate, it will have no problem passing Pokemon: Detective Pikachu to become the highest-grossing video game adaptation ever. Pikachu had a $25.1 million second weekend and was only up to $94.2 million in two days.

Rotten Returns: Brahms Continues Trend of Dismal Horror in 2020

The bad streak for horror continues, as nobody came out for Brahms: The Boy II. STX withheld the movie from critics and got themselves $375,000 in Thursday night previews, which was a bit more than the $350,000 that The Lazarus Effect made back in 2015. Only, that film went on to gross $10.2 million that weekend and Brahms’ $5.9 million is much closer to Pride & Prejudice and Zombies ($5.32 million) which had $300,000 in previews. When reviews started to trickle in on Friday, The Boy II was resting at 0% for much of the day, before it managed to get out of the single digits and currently sits at 11%. That is still in the territory of films like Rings (8%), Slender Man (7%), and the 2017 Flatliners remake (4%). Even the film’s light $10 million budget isn’t going to be recouped.

The Top 10 And Beyond: The Call of the Wild Isn’t Looking Good

The Call of the Wild may actually be looking at more rotten returns than Brahms, but let’s at least start with a few positives. The new adaptation of Jack London’s classic novel with Harrison Ford opened to $24.8 million, higher than the $17-20 million projected for it. Among CGI dog movies, the number is not exactly Scooby-Doo ($54.15 million) or Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed ($29.43 million), but it is still a higher opening than Eight Below ($20.18 million), which went on to gross over $81 million when it opened in February of 2006. (Those numbers with inflation would be about $25.83 and $104.43 million today.) The problem is that The Call of the Wild’s budget has been reported as anywhere from $125-150 million. That is not far away from Dolittle, which began with $21.84 million and is up to $74 million domestically and $204 million worldwide. Even if we split the difference on those budget numbers, The Call of the Wild is going to need to go north of $400 million to break even, and it’s only made 10% of that worldwide in its opening weekend. This may not be Dark Phoenix bad, but it could still end up as one of the biggest losers in the long history of Fox — not a great way to launch 20th Century Studios.

Birds of Prey dropped another 59% this weekend to $7 million, bringing its total up to $72.5 million. Last year’s Alita had less than Birds with $70.2 million but had a higher third weekend with $7.22 million. It finished with $85.7 million. That suggests Birds will finish somewhere between $86-92 million domestically. As of this weekend, after just another $13 million overseas, it has grossed $173 million worldwide. It will need over $250 million just to break even.

Sony’s Bad Boys for Life earned another $5.8 million, bringing its total up to $191.1 million after 38 days of release. That places it right in the middle of a group of films that includes World War Z, SPECTRE, The Mummy Returns, and Superman Returns, among others. What do they all have in common? Each got over the $200 million mark; Bad Boys’ global total is over $390 million. Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level also continues to go strong, bringing its domestic total to $311 million and worldwide total to $787 million, while Fantasy Island — under the Blumhouse banner — dropped 66% and is up over $20 million.

The films that were battling it out for Best Picture remain in the Top Ten, with Parasite drawing in another $3.2 million and bringing its total to nearly $49 million, officially the fifth-highest grossing film not in the English language. It is less than $5 million away from passing Hero for fourth place. Sam Mendes’ 1917 is also rising up a very specific chart, ranking up there with the highest-grossing films about war. Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper remains the chart-topper, while the next three films on the list are about the same war – Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor and Dunkirk. Now in fifth place with almost $152 million, 1917 can boast it is the highest-grossing film ever about WWI. That’s good news for Universal, still staring down the losses of Cats and Dolittle, and they can add The Photograph to that list, as it dropped a whopping 77% in its second weekend down to $2.8 million. With a total under $18 million, that is not going to be near enough to recoup its $16 million budget.

Focus’ new remake of Jane Austen’s Emma. (87%) did not exactly break any records this week, but it can brag about having the current best per-theater-average of the young year. In five theaters this weekend, the film starring Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role grossed $230,000 for a $46,000 PTA. Amazon’s Seberg (38%), which was pushed back from its original December release, grossed $60,487 in three theaters, giving it the second best PTA of the year. In 357 theaters, Impractical Jokers: The Movie (57%) just missed the top ten, grossing $2.60 million, a PTA just behind Oscilloscope’s CatVideoFest2020, which grossed $220,150 in 30 theaters. Magnolia’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (77%) had the third best PTA of the week with $41,500 in four theaters. Neon’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (98%) expanded to 130 theaters and grossed $715,000. Its total stands at $1.45 million.

This Time Last Year: The How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy Comes to an End

The conclusion of the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy led the box office when The Hidden World opened to $55 million, making up 49.72% of the Top Ten grosses. The wrestling comedy Fighting with My Family went into wide release but only finished fourth with $7.81 million. The rest of the top five were made up by Alita: Battle Angel ($12.34 million), The Lego Movie 2 ($9.68 million), and Isn’t It Romantic ($7.12 million). Roadside’s faith-based brotherly football film, Run the Race, opened in 853 theaters and finished tenth with $2.16 million. The Top Ten films grossed a total of $110.66 million and averaged 66.3% on the Tomatometer. This year’s Top Ten grossed an estimated $87.39 Million and averaged 63.6% with critics.

On the Vine: Elisabeth Moss is Tormented by The Invisible Man

The Dark Universe may have disbanded, but the Universal horror films are still getting their reboots. This time, it will be Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man, with Elisabeth Moss taking a more stalker-ish Hollow Man approach to reminding audiences to believe women. It is the primary wide release for the week and should have an easy path to the top spot at the box office, giving this year’s flailing horror numbers a shot in the arm. For more films opening in limited release, check out the list HERE.

The Full Top 10: February 21-23

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) 63% – $26.3 million ($106.6 million total)
  2. The Call of the Wild (2020) 61% – $24.82 million ($24.82 million total)
  3. Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) 78% – $7 million ($72.53 million total)
  4. Brahms: The Boy II (2020) 9% – $5.9 million ($5.9 million total)
  5. Bad Boys for Life (2020) 77% – $5.86 million ($191.18 million total)
  6. 1917 (2020) 89% – $5.4 million ($151.99 million total)
  7. Fantasy Island (2020) 7% – $4.19 million ($20.18 million total)
  8. Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) 99% – $3.12 million ($48.94 million total)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) 72% – $3 million ($310.96 million total)
  10. The Photograph (2020) 74% – $2.8 million ($17.65 million total)

Thumbnail image by Paramount Pictures

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

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