It’s A Horror Show For ‘Captive State’, ‘Wonder Park’ Bombs, And ‘Captain Marvel’ Becomes 2019’s Biggest Film: Box Office Report
There were no surprises at the top of the U.S. Box Office charts this weekend, as ‘Captain Marvel’ again led the way with $68m, followed by ‘Wonder Park’ and drama ‘Five Feet Apart’. No such luck for ‘Captive State’ though, as the $25m sci-fi thriller bombed with just $3.1m – the 7th worst opening ever for a film released in over 2,500 cinemas.
How did the new releases get on?
Paramount’s latest release, the adventure-animation ‘Wonder Park’, opened to $15.9m to finish just ahead of romantic drama ‘Five Feet Apart’. While this opening may seem standard on the surface, its $100m budget tells a completely different story, one where over-ambitious executives developed a spin-off TV show prior to the film’s release, heavily inflating the film’s costs.
It also tells a story of a tumultuous production, which saw the original director Dylan Brown sacked in early 2018 for inappropriate behaviour around women, leaving no official director listed. The studios also knew that had a bomb on their hands (judging by its 30% RT score) whose budget wasn’t worth spending extra on marketing for, so moved its release date 3 times, finally dumping the film on ‘Captain Marvel’s sophomore weekend.
It isn’t so much a surprise then, that even a film starring the voices of such stars as Matthew Broderick, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Garner, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, and John Oliver, could bomb like this did. The film itself sees young, imaginative girl June Bailey dream up the story of ‘Wonder Park’, a magical theme park run by animals.
When compared to other animal-centric animations of similar receptions like ‘The Nut Job’ ($19.4m opening, $64.3m domestic finish), we’re not expecting ‘Wonder Park’ to even get close to such a total. A $40m maximum gross is likely for the Paramount production, who may now want to dream this never happened at all.
Lionsgate’s ‘Five Feet Apart’, starring Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, came in at a close 3rd with $13.2m. It’s an opening on-track with other similar teenager-y dramas such as ‘Everything, Everything’ ($11.7m) and ‘Paper Towns’ ($12.7m). The focused marketing seemed to have paid off, with 82% of the film’s opening audience being female, and nearly 70% being under 25 years old.
Such skewed demographics aren’t surprising, and simply tell a story of such a genre film; certain audiences have certain tastes, and in this case it’s a romantic drama involving cystic fibrosis. Considering both ‘Everything, Everything’ and ‘Paper Towns’ both finished on a domestic total in the $35m region, these tastes seemingly have an identifiable Box Office ceiling.
Finally, this weekend saw the release of ‘Captive State’, starring John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, and Vera Farmiga, and directed by ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ helmer Rupert Wyatt. There’s no way of avoiding the fact that this is a Box Office bomb, although perhaps its $25m budget masks that fact in the face of ‘Wonder Park’ costing 4x as much.
So what caused this film to have the 7th worst opening of all time (for a film released in over 2,500 cinemas)? Many would blame the heavy competition from ‘Captain Marvel’, and others would see its so-so reception as a critical factor.
If we’re dealing with just the facts however, then a damning statistic is that ‘Captive State’ opened to less than ‘No Manches Frida 2’, a Pantelion Films movie that opened in just 470 cinemas this weekend. It’s looking like a long year for Focus Features then, after previous 2019 release ‘Greta’ also failed to set the world alight. All hopes now rest on their Downton Abbey film adaptation, slated for release in September 2019, to save a year that many fear to be over before it even began.
How did the others do?
This Box Office weekend was all about how well ‘Captain Marvel’ would fair after its 1st 7 days of release. Earning $68m for a $265m running total not only gives it the 2nd biggest domestic weekend of the year so far (ahead of ‘How to Train Your Dragon 3’s $55m), but also means it’s the 13th biggest domestic MCU film of all time.
It’s fairing even better internationally, as the film added an extra $120m this weekend to close in on the $500m marker overseas. This, of course, is mainly aided by $132m from China, and $31m from the U.K., meaning the film’s total worldwide gross of $760.8m lies just $13m away from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s $773.3m – the 10th biggest in the MCU worldwide rankings. It also catapults ‘Captain Marvel’ to 1st place in 2019’s global list as the year’s biggest film, overtaking China’s ‘The Wandering Earth’s $692.6m. With ‘Endgame’ on the way, Disney’s dominance is beginning to again take shape.