The hysterical season has begun



As awards season kicks off so does the studio dumping ground schedule.

There is no lack of excitement and hype this time of year. Theaters are filled with either lingering holiday blockbusters or flashy boutique titles positioning for awards show glory. During this stampede of quality studios traditionally also release low-grade titles to run between the legs of the giants, purging their vaults of cheap horror titles and misbegotten misfires. While they celebrate excellence fans of bad movies (ahem) savor this time of year as well.

The weekend was looked at nervously by studios. Severe winter storms threatened to diminish turnout, as did the specter of the NFL playoffs, however the returns were fairly strong and the promotional push of nominated films and performances is in full swing ahead of tonight’s Golden Globes. Hollywood is in a giddy mood. That makes me itchy. Here are the returns from the first weekend of 2017…uh 2018.


1.  JUMANJI – $35.8 Million
Showing serious legs and benefitting perfectly from the kids out of school this comedy action reboot has found its audience; probably those who have already seen the serious space opera. Taking a soft dip of -28% in week #3 it is already approaching $250million domestic, and is a legitimate smash overseas. The film is ranked #1 in 50 territories and it outgrossed “The Last Jedi” globally this weekend.


2.   INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY – $29.26m
The discount studio Blumhouse (*low budgets, no stars) hits once again with this franchise. Despite delivering the lowest audience grade — viewers gave it a B- CinemaScore — but this large return places it in the top-5 all time of January horror releases.


While narrowly edged out of second place the franchise titan has made bank. $572million domestic, and over $1billion internationally. It ranks as the second highest return in the Star Wars franchise.


While not burning down theaters the Fox musical is slowly smoldering and should see an extended run as it gets at least some notice from the Globes. If not a three ring blockbuster this is at least a decent success in the making.


5.  PITCH PERFECT 3 – $10.22m
Another musical that has managed to be a quiet success. Finding its audience amid all the noise and furor of the holiday frame it will end up seeing Universal singing all the way to the bank.


6.  FERDINAND – $7.73m
Meanwhile this animated tale of a bull seems to have been trampled by the larger titles. The fortunes of the Fox relationship with Blue Sky studios are in question with the Disney takeover, and this misfire will not help.


7.  MOLLY’S GAME – $7.0m
Another awards play this one sees it spread into wide release, adding 1,300 screens just as it begins to collect a share of nominations. Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba star in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut about an Olympic skier plunged into intrigue when she was caught hosting high stakes poker games.


8.  DARKEST HOUR – $6.35m
Seeing decent success it will likely receive a growing response if Gary Oldman starts to collect Best Actor trophies for his portrayal of Winston Churchill.


9.  COCO – $5.53m
Finally ceding its hold on the box office for months it is gradually shedding theaters as it approached the $200 million mark.


A wild ride of a release, as the movie was reshot when Kevin Spacey had his sex scandal break open. Director Ridley Scott hastily shot new scenes with Christopher Plummer completely replacing Spacey. Plummer became nominated for a Golden Globe as supporting actor.