Chalk this one up to January-dump-month insanity: despite enjoying its fifth weekend in theatres, last weekend marks The Revenant’s first time atop the box office rankings. Due in large part to Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Darth Vader like force-stranglehold on ticket sales, and Ride Along 2’s huge drop-off in its second week, over the last three weekends, we’ve seen three different movies hit number one.
The Revenant finally broke through to number one, bringing in $16,009,718 (down 49.6% from last weekend). In its sixth week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens climbed up from third place up to the second spot with $14,078,648 (down 46.6%). Last weekend’s number one movie, Ride Along 2, had a huge drop-off, falling to third with $12,456,050 (down 64.7%). Two new theatrical releases made a debut in the top five. Dirty Grandpa ($11,111,875) and The Boy ($10,778,392) finished in fourth and fifth place respectively. Sony’s The Fifth Wave barely missed out on finishing in the top five. With an estimated budget of $38 Million, The Fifth Wave massively underperformed, earning back a paltry $10,326,356.
Here is a look at a few films that open on January 29, 2016.
Fifty Shades of Black (R) 92 mins. — I checked out on Wayans Brothers’ parody movies after Scary Movie 2, fortunately for Marlon Wayans, I am not his target demographic. In case anyone was wondering (and they aren’t), the film is a spoof of last year’s critically panned but financially lucrative erotic drama, Fifty Shades of Grey. While the film oozes with contempt for the overwrought drama it’s based on, it makes sure to riff on other noteworthy franchises (here’s looking at you Magic Mike XXL). Believe it or not, movies featuring Marlon Wayans have a worldwide box office gross of over $1.1 Billion. Now that’s the premise for a Scary Movie, though given the choice between screening this or Fifty Shades of Grey, I’d jump on the Fifty Shades of Black bandwagon faster than the head of the Marlon Wayans fan-club.
The Finest Hours (PG-13) 117 mins. — The Finest Hours is the weekend’s biggest enigma. The film sports a solid cast (Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Eric Bana), large budget $80 Million, and it’s backed by Buena Vista (a subsidiary of Disney), however, something clearly isn’t right: The Finest Hours’ release date was nixed twice before the film got dumped in January. Critics are lukewarm on the picture and advance audiences are even cooler (the film’s tracking to open in the range of a $10 Million weekend). The Finest Hours’ future is still too hazy to figure out, I’ll let this one kick it in theatres a while before deciding whether or not to take a flyer on it.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (PG) 95 mins. — The Kung Fu Panda franchise is the poster child for Hollywood’s growing reliance on movie’s overseas marketability. While Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2’s combined domestic box office take is an enviable $380 Million, that number is almost a billion dollars shy of the franchise’s worldwide box office take of $1,297. Billion). 20th Century Fox is taking full adventure of Kung Fu Panda 3’s international audience, the film was produced in collaboration with Oriental Dreamworks, a Shanghai-based production company, and the film received a limited advance release in China. So far the film is tracking to have an opening weekend on par with the series’ last installment, meaning that we can expect to see a lot more Kung Fu Panda movies, TV series and video games in the near future.
The Bottom Line — January’s last weekend features an intriguing movie line up. I really enjoyed the original Kung Fu Panda, and yet, I missed the sequel when it hit theatres and then skimmed over it countless times as it sat idle in my Netflix queue. Short of a personal invitation from the film’s lead, Kali Hawk, no one is catching me anywhere near a Fifty Shades of Black screening. The Finest Hours remains the weekend’s biggest question mark. Judging by the trailer (and the pretentious title), I would swear The Finest Hours is straight up Oscar-bait material, the type of film studios traditionally push out at the end of the year. Knowing otherwise, I’ll sit back and wait to hear some word-of-mouth reviews before taking a chance on it.