It didn’t take long for 2019 to dole out a few surprises at the box office, and given the busy weekend we just had I guess it should be expected. Numerous new releases were put forward to challenge the reigning champion “Aquaman” and while initial projections, and my own prediction, estimated that the DCEU film would spend a fourth week at the top we were all wrong. So which new film rose to the occasion and stole “Aquaman’s” thunder? Let’s look at that and much more in this week’s Box Office Breakdown, Jan. 11-13, 2018.
While “Aquaman” did have a strong performance over the weekend it was STXFilm’s “The Upside” that pulled a surprising upset given that it was not only expected to debut below the number one slot, but it wasn’t even expected to be the most profitable new movie on the market. A remake of the French phenomenon “The Intouchables”, “The Upside” defied poor reviews to become the highest grossing film of the weekend domestically with over $19.5 million becoming the first ever No. 1 debut for the studio. Earning more respect from viewers than critics, “The Upside” endured a rocky production process when the Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy and STXFilms picked up the project eventually working with the filmmakers to alter the original product from an R rating to a PG-13 feature to broaden its appeal. You can read my review of “The Upside” here.
Despite losing the top spot at the box office after a three-week run there was an “upside” to “Aquaman’s” weekend as well. The superhero flick continued to rake in the money earning another $17-18 million domestically over the weekend and another $28 million globally bringing the worldwide total gross for the film to over a billion dollars. With a Japan premiere still on the horizon “Aquaman” remains poised to at least challenge for the most successful DC comic adaptation in worldwide numbers. That title currently belongs to “The Dark Knight” which earned $1.0849 billion during its run. While it’s hard to see “Aquaman” topping that number at this point the potential is there and even if it has to settle for second place everything the film earns from this point forward will only further secure its legacy among DC’s growing collection of cinematic products.
Rounding out the top five are all Sony films, including another new release. Initially “A Dog’s Way Home” was slated to be the biggest new film of the weekend until “The Upside” surprised. While it had to settle for third “A Dog’s Way Home” still had a great premiere earning $11.3 million, above studio expectations, but well below the $18 million debut of another W. Bruce Cameron adaption, “A Dog’s Purpose”, from 2017. You can read my review of “A Dog’s Way Home” here. Sony’s Golden Globe winning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” benefited from awards buzz taking in $9 million in its fifth week of release bringing it’s domestic numbers for over $147 million and is poised to overpower “Hotel Transylvania” as Sony Animation Studio’s highest grossing film in the coming weeks. Finally, Sony’s recent horror thriller “Escape Room”, last week’s surprise success, rounds out the top five with an $8.9 million take bringing it’s total to over $32 million in its second weekend.
Looking outside the top five the only other new entry into the top ten was “On the Basis of Sex”. The Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic expanded to wide release over the weekend and had a solid start with $6.2 million. “On the Basis of Sex” earned enough support to land in eighth over the weekend. You can read my review of the movie here. Rounding out the top ten in sixth and seventh were “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” and in ninth and tenth were “The Mule” and “Vice”. Entertainment Studios’ “Replicas” was the only other brand new wide release of the weekend and it failed to crack the top ten finishing twelfth after being destroyed by critics.
This coming weekend’s only major new release is going to be “Glass”. The M. Night Shyamalan led film is the third movie in the “Unbreakable” trilogy which began with one of the director’s most respected films “Unbreakable” in 2000 and continued with “Split” in 2017 as was revealed in the latter’s concluding twist. Depending on how people look at “Glass” it could be a huge hit or a massive miss, but I’m going to say it’ll be a big success. Even if viewers aren’t familiar with “Unbreakable” they are familiar with “Split” and fans loved that film as it continued what has been something of a renaissance for Shyamalan as a filmmaker trying to resurrect his career. Look for “Glass” to rise to the occasion next week and become our third different No. 1 movie of 2019.