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“Ford v Ferrari” Charges, “Charlie’s Angels” Stalls in Race for Top Spot

Disney has not had a lot of luck with it’s 20th Century Fox merger in 2019 with almost every movie released under the banner becoming a flop. While Disney itself has not had a bad year, far from it, the much-publicized purchase of their former rival had yet to provide any return on the deal and going into this past weekend their latest offering, “Ford v Ferrari”, proved to be a significant question mark. Some early projections over a month ago had “Ford v Ferrari” as yet another flop in Disney’s Fox lineup and with competition from a new “Charlie’s Angels” movie, which even I predicted would take the top spot, it certainly had its work cut out for it. Now that the tickets have been tallied let’s see if Sony was able to earn a win with its latest adaptation of “Charlie’s Angels” or if Disney and Fox finally got that hit they were looking for in this week’s Box Office Breakdown.

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At the end of the weekend it was, in fact, 20th Century Fox who finally broke through with a major opening weekend hit. “Ford v Ferrari” surpassed even the most liberal of estimates in its first weekend on the big screen. The cinematic interpretation of the real life on-track war between Ford and Ferrari that culminated at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans was already receiving some award season buzz (because it’s that time of the year). Add in tremendous critical support and viewer reviews and it’s easy to see why the movie scored a $31 million debut leaving its competition in the dust. In fact is was the only film to make more than $9 million at the box office over the weekend. With an additional $21.4 million internationally the film scored a $52 million global debut with a production budget of a little under $98 million. The Fox and Disney partnership may very well have their first true hit on their hands and if you want to know my take you can read my review of “Ford v. Ferrari” here.

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“Ford v Ferrari” displaced last week’s number one, “Midway”, which dropped over fifty percent to second with a $8.75 million weekend. As of Monday morning “Midway” was engaged in a tight battle for second through fourth but was projected to maintain the runner-up spot while the weekend’s other big newcomer, “Charlie’s Angels”, failed to shine. The third film in the cinematic adaptions of the classic television show, the latest flick lacked the same star power as the 2000s movies and found itself relatively ignored with a mere $8.6 million for its domestic debut. This is well below the $12-13 million conservative estimates of even its own studio. The film did earn $19.3 million overseas but that means “Charlie’s Angels” couldn’t even muster up enough worldwide to match “Ford v. Ferrari’s” domestic debut. You can read my review of “Charlie’s Angels” here. Following “Angels” very closely was “Playing with Fire” which earned an estimated $8.55 million domestically in its second weekend. Universal’s “Last Christmas” rounded out the top five.

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Outside the top five we find “Doctor Sleep” which continues to receive a lackluster response dropping to sixth after debuting in second last weekend. In fact Warner Bros. has three films just outside the top five. After “Doctor Sleep” was the debut of “The Good Liar” in seventh. Sporting the star power of Ian McKellen and Helen Mirran the film earned a $5.6 million domestically eventually scoring a $9.4 million global debut. In eighth is the third Warner Bros. release, “Joker”, which continues to be one of 2019’s biggest cinematic releases becoming the first R-rated movie ever to top $1 billion at the global box office. Closing out the top ten were “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” and finally “Harriet”.

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This coming weekend is going to be fun. Several highly anticipated films will shake things up with Disney’s long-awaited sequel “Frozen II” set to dominate the weekend in a big way. But it won’t be the only sure-fire crowd pleaser. After being the subject of a popular documentary in 2018 Mr. Rogers will be the main focus of a new film, this time portrayed by Tom Hanks, in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” while action fans will have a new movie produced by the Russo Brothers, the directors of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame”, called “21 Bridges” to tide them over. There’s a little something for everyone on the way so we’ll see how they all do this time next week.

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