Box Office Report: “Bad Boys” Boom, “Gretel & Hansel” Grimm

Bad Boys for Life Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys for LIfe. (Sony)

Bad Boys for Life finds itself atop the box office yet again while Oz Perkins’ horror fairytale fails to crack the top three over the Super Bowl weekend.

February 2020 got underway this weekend and, like all first weekends of February, it was also Super Bowl weekend. Traditionally, this has been a weekend where Hollywood dumps low-grossing titles thanks to everybody being focused on the Big Game. However, some movies have excelled in this frame in the past (chiefly the first Taken and that Hannah Montana 3D Concert Movie). Unfortunately, neither of the two new wide releases managed to hit the box office highs of those top Super Bowl weekend openers this time, allowing Bad Boys for Life to top the box office for the third consecutive weekend.

Bad Boys for Life fell 48% this weekend to add $17.6 million to its domestic haul, which now stands at $148 million. This not only puts it above the lifetime domestic gross of Bad Boys II but also makes Bad Boys for Life the biggest movie ever released in January at the domestic box office, surpassing the $146.3 million domestic haul of Paul Blart: Mall Cop for that honor. These Bad Boys keep on chugging and if they hold well throughout February 2020, they could flirt with $200 million domestically.

In second place behind Bad Boys was 1917, which dropped 39% for a fourth-weekend wide release sum of $9.6 million and a domestic gross of $119.2 million. Soon, it’ll surpass the $125 million lifetime domestic gross of Lone Survivor, another Universal war movie that went into wide release in January. Speaking of Universal movies, Dolittle eased another 37% this weekend, giving it another $7.7 million for a disastrous $55.2 million domestic haul. 

The largest of this weekend’s new wide releases was Gretel & Hansel. This horror feature may have been devoid of Jeremy Renner, but it did have a $6 million opening to its name. Given that this had to be a cheap title to put together, that’s not a terrible bow but given that Orion Pictures opened it in 3,007 locations, they clearly hoped for a larger bow.

Why didn’t Gretel & Hansel go higher? Well, for one thing, just doing a dark retelling of a fairy tale as inherently creepy as Hansel & Gretel isn’t that bold of an idea just on its own, and unfortunately, the marketing leaned too heavily on the shock value of seeing a children’s tale being filtered through a dark aesthetic. Also doesn’t help that this is the fourth horror movie in the last five weeks, audiences are oversaturated with options.

The Gentlemen held alright in its second weekend of domestic play, dropping 43% (on par with the second-weekend hold of Den of Thieves) while grossing another $6.01 million for a domestic haul of $20.4 million. Gentleman could be aiming for a final domestic gross just under or over $35 million, which would be a slight improvement on the $30.3 million domestic gross of Snatch. Right behind those Gentleman was Jumanji: The Next Level, which grossed another $6 million (a tiny 22% dip from last weekend, for a $291.2 million domestic gross. It’s official, this newest Jumanji title is crossing $300 million domestically, a remarkable achievement.

Speaking of December 2019 holdovers, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker dropped 42% this weekend, giving it a seventh-weekend gross of $3.1 million for a $507 million domestic gross. The Turning actually didn’t have a bad second-weekend hold for a title that received an F CinemaScore, but its 56% drop this frame still wasn’t anything to write home about. Grossing an additional $3 million, Turning has now grossed $11.7 million after ten days of domestic play. Little Women eased just 34% this weekend, giving those March sisters another $3 million for a domestic haul of $98.7 million.

Rounding out the top ten was the only other new wide release of the weekend, The Rhythm Section. This action/thriller set box office records in all the wrong ways with its $2.8 million bow. For starters, it’s by far the worst wide-release opening weekend ever for Blake Lively, a stunning turnaround after her last few movies like The Shallows and A Simple Favor turned out to be box office overperformers. Even worse was that Rhythm Section scored the worst opening weekend ever for a movie released in over 3,000 locations, dethroning 2006 family movie Hoot for that honor. Never in history has a movie released in over 3,000 theaters had a per-theater average below $1,000. The Rhythm Section accomplished just that.

Knives Out fell outside of the top ten for the first time in its domestic box office run but it still held well but dipping just 22%. Sleuthing up another $2.7 million, this star-studded sleeper hit has grossed $155.7 million. Just Mercy dropped 41% in its fourth weekend of wide release play, allowing this courtroom drama to gross another $2.3 million for a $30.9 million domestic gross. November 2019 box office titan Frozen II conjured up a $1.7 million flurry this weekend (a 35% drop from last weekend) to bring its domestic gross up to $472.3 million. Recent WGA award winner Parasite eased just 17% this frame for a seventeenth-weekend haul of $1.6 million and an impressive domestic gross of $33.3 million. 

Jojo Rabbit also continued to hold well this weekend as it dipped a measly 3% to gross another $1.3 million for a $27.9 million domestic gross. Fellow Disney/Fox holdover Spies in Disguise managed a 33% drop this weekend to gross another $1.16 million, flocking its way to a $63.5 million domestic cume in the process. Each year, the Oscar-nominated short films are compiled into a feature film presentation and this year’s iteration of this tradition, The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2020, opened to $1.1 million, a noticeable improvement over the $938,455 opening of The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2019. This annual tradition keeps getting bigger and bigger each year, showing that there is a public appetite for short film cinema in the process. 

Ford v. Ferrari zoomed its way into 924 locations this weekend, grossing $683,000 for a per-theater average of $739. This racecar drama has now grossed $115.3 million domestically. Uncut Gems is getting closer and closer to dethroning Lady Bird as the biggest A24 title at the domestic box office as it grossed another $473,056 (a 32% drop from last weekend) for a $48.4 million. Only $400,000 to go until it surpasses the domestic haul of Lady Bird

The biggest of this weekend’s new limited releases was The Assistant, which opened to $84,702 from 4 locations for a per-theater average of $21,175. That’s not a bad opening at all, though the real challenge for The Assistant will be navigating the struggles its distributor (Bleecker Street) has with properly expanding titles. The Traitor opened to $25,530 from 3 locations for a per-theater average of $8,510 while Incitement debuted to $21,750 from 2 locations for a per-theater average of $10,875.

The top ten movies this weekend grossed a total of $65.1 million, a 25% increase from this same weekend last year when Glass reigned atop the domestic box office for a third weekend. It’s also on par with the $65.7 million of this same weekend in 2018. Now that January 2020 is fully finished, it’s worth noting that this month ended up grossing $896.9 million, the seventh-biggest January gross ever. It’s also a 10.5% increase from the $812.8 million monthly gross of January 2019.

As of February 2, 2020, 2020’s yearly gross is running 12.5% ahead of 2019’s yearly gross at the same point but noticeably behind the yearly-gross-to-date of the four years preceding 2019. Let’s see if February 2020 newcomers like Birds of Prey and Sonic the Hedgehog can help narrow that gap.

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