Who would you rather fight, a million spider-sized ape or one ape-sized spider? It’s a question that’s been haunting my mind since, oh, about an hour ago when I started to look up the box office numbers for this past weekend. And while I might not be any closer to solving my riddle, I can at least say this: when it comes to week-old spiders versus brand new primates, the primates are destined to win. Here’s the box office numbers as of Sunday afternoon:
Did any new releases come out this weekend? I honestly can’t remember. Someone mentioned that there was a new Marvel movie in theaters - one featuring some sort of Spider-Person - but that can’t be right. I feel like I would’ve seen that, perhaps promoted on an unprecedented level for any superhero movie? Hmm. Well, anyways, here’s the weekend box office estimates as of Sunday afternoon:
If you only look at the surface numbers, this was a pretty predictable week at the box office. Wonder Woman did well, The Mummy did not, and everything else shook out accordingly. That being said, there’s some pretty interesting narratives emerging in the how and why of this weekend’s box office report. Let’s take a look at the rankings as of Sunday afternoon and dive into some of the specifics:
While the giant ape in Kong: Skull Island may not climb any New York skyscrapers this time around, he certainly did climb the box office charts. The latest Warner Bros. monster movie shot all the way to the top spot in its opening weekend, with Logan and the surprising hit Get Out both shifting one spot down to accommodate him.
As a teenager in the ’90s, no actor better represented blockbuster movies than Bill Paxton. Although Paxton wasn’t typically a leading man in those movies — he would often play the brother, the second-in-command, or the comic relief — he served as a kind of talisman of quality. If you saw Paxton’s name in the opening credits of a movie, you knew that the film was going to be better for it.
With everyone’s feeds full of horrible news stories these days, you’ve probably already forgotten about the video of alleged animal abuse on the set of A Dog’s Purpose. Back in January, TMZ shared leaked footage of animal handlers aggressively dragging their canine star into a tank of water. The clear signs of the dog’s panic caused an internet firestorm, with star Josh Gad distancing himself from the project and PETA calling for an immediate boycott of the film. A Dog’s Purpose still performed well enough in its opening weekend, but the scandal no doubt cost it ticket sales at the box office.
Every year, when the bottom drops out of the summer movie season and audiences decide to stay home and watch television instead, some well-meaning critic will publish an article asking if cinema is dead. And every year, I pose the same question in response: “Is Tom Cruise still an action star?” As long as Tom Cruise is running across multiplex screens — fighting rogue nations, government consiparcies, and even the occasional mummy — there is still hope for cinema. Then, when Cruise’s career is done and Hollywood is in ashes, then, cinema, you have my permission to die.
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