Last weekend saw studios step back and show restraint in theaters as they permitted audience migration due to the Super Bowl being played. With that cultural behemoth out of the way this week so an onrush of new titles as they welcomed ticket buyers back with open turnstiles.

A mixture of offerings covering just about every marketing sector and demographic was made available, yet that variety failed to pull in audiences. The weekend was over -30% lower than last year. Another reason for the overly crowded marketplace is that next weekend sees the arrival of another Marvel comic book superhero. Based on advance ticket sales “Black Panther” is already a guaranteed to be a blockbuster smash, so studios are getting their titles out now to grab whatever money they can before that film Hoovers up all the cash.

Here is how this weekend’s traffic jam fared in theaters.

 

1.  FIFTY SHADES FREED – $38.8 Million
The third installment in this Mommy-porn book franchise comes in under the debut of the first two titles, but that did not dampen the affection from the audience. Overseas it drew better, nearly $100 million, and that pushes this entire franchise over $11 billion globally. Critics unsurprisingly scorched this one (one of my favorites was from J.R. Jones: “All we want is a little coitus, but all we get is interruptus.”) So this one scores a little cash here, which will surely dissipate by next week, and we can all breathe a sigh — not from a satisfying climax, but from knowing the fumbling attempt at titillation is over.

 

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2. PETER RABBIT – 25.0m
Children’s fare base on the literary classic that was given a more rebellious and contemporary spin. It is a rather blatant attempt to make this more hip for modern audiences. A rather distancing aspect is the lead character being voiced by James Cordry, who delivered his hyper-caffeinated patter previously in “The Emoji Movie”.

 

3. THE 15:17 TO PARIS – $12.6m
That clunky title refers to the scheduled train arrival of this real-life telling of the American citizens who stopped an attempted terrorist plot onboard a French rail line. Clint Eastwood directed this and took a wild leaap in letting the three primaries play themselves on screen. This was critically drubbed, and even audiences gave this a middling “B-” cinemascore, which combine to explain this coming in slightly lower than projections.

 

4. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE – $9.82m
Finally relinquishing the top slot Sony continues to pocket profits off of this family action adventure.

 

5. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – $6.42m
Seriously, by now I cannot even explain this one any longer. This musical basically refuses to relinquish its position in the top-5, and after two months in theaters it is still showing on over 2,300 screens. By next weekend it should cross over the $150million plateau.

 

6. MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE – $6.0m
As expected this adolescent dystopian franchise coda has not impressed. In its third week it has dropped over 800 screens. It still has yet to reach $50 million, but the foreign money is much better for Fox, and they should benefit in the end.

 

7. WINCHESTER – $4.7m
The supposed real life haunted house effort dipped an average -50%, which is against last weekend’s very soft opening. It has only managed to scared up just over $16m to this point.

 

8. THE POST – $3.5m
Considering Hollywood’s love of these kind of journalism hero tales – and the industry basically taking a collective stance against President Trump – the lack of awards love this one has received is beyond surprising. Everything about the film has been regarded as muted acceptance, and little more.

 

9. THE SHAPE OF WATER – $3.0m
Showing all the earmarks of a true awards season hero this was given a gradual roll out in the hopes of finding an audience, and it has done that. After eleven weeks it is still showing up on the chart.

 

10. DEN OF THIEVES – $2.87m
Look, I have to admit my surprise here. If you had told me a Gerard Butler/Curtis 50 Cent Jackson action lark would still be around after a month I would have put strong money against that happening.