You can sneak Matt Damon onto the Great Wall of China, but you can't sneak The Great Wall into America. That's the lesson from this weekend's box office, when Damon's flirtation with Chinese cinema bombed into third place behind both Lego Batman and Fifty Shades Darker. Elsewhere, John Wick continued to slay, literally, while Oscar favorites refuse to slow down. Let's break it down.
Spending a second week at first place at the US box office this weekend is #LegoBatman. Over the four-day holiday, the kids' movie which also seems to be going down great with adults craving a good Batman movie brought home $45m. That's a tiny drop from last week, meaning the movie's good for a stateside total of $110m now. Expect this one to keep firing away handsomely.
In second place is #FiftyShadesDarker, with $24.1m over four days. The general consensus that Darker is a huge improvement on Grey, talk of deleted sex scenes and hilariously awkward banter on-set, and the competition all being heavily male-skewed has come together to give this sequel strong legs. It's now made $93m in the US.
Internationally, though, it's a different story — Darker is dominating Lego Batman, suggesting there's either a shortage of children in Europe, or that audiences there are even more uncontrollably horny. Personally, I'd go for the latter. James Foley's erotic noir has now made a huge $277m globally, including $21m in Germany (apparently Angela Merkel loved it), $21m in the UK and $15m in France. By contrast, Lego Batman is on $182m around the world.
OK, so Merkel hasn't actually commented on Fifty Shades Darker, but I feel it's a safe assumption.
The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and several other people collecting a paycheck, was essentially made for the Chinese market, where Warcraft did enormous enough numbers to offset the fact that it was a bomb in the US. In China, Damon's man vs. monster action flick has made a strong $171m so far, but its four-day US debut of $21m is a massive disappointment. With a big ass budget of $150m, but just $263m global box office so far, chalk this one up as a failed experiment.
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Another undeniable failure: A Cure For Wellness, the surreal Gore Verbinski horror flick which got a huge Superbowl push but totally failed to connect, making just $4.8m in its first weekend. That's gotta hurt.
It was a good week for Oscar favorites La La Land, Hidden Figures and Lion ahead of next weekend's ceremony. #LaLaLand made another $5m in the US for a global $340m, #HiddenFigures added $8.5m (global $165m), and Dev Patel's story of an Australian using Google Maps to find his real parents back in India took another $5m. Globally, it's now at $76m, and all three movies should get major boosts during #Oscars weekend.
And finally, #JohnWick2 continued making strong bank in the US (where it was fourth with $19.5m in its second weekend) with another $15.6m in various European markets for a building total of $77.3m worldwide. That's impressive for an R-rated action flick, and it should stretch out to mid-triple figures in time.
Next weekend, darkly satirical horror movie Get Out will be bringing the fight to Lego Batman in a big way. Spoilers — there'll only be one winner, so let's do it all again next Monday.
Which movie will you be seeing at the theater next?