In a little bit of a surprise, none of the new releases this weekend were able to make much commotion at the box office. The cynical side of me thinks that it’s because The Great Wall, Fist Fight, and Gore Verbinski‘s A Cure for Wellness were all originals and if the movie isn’t tied to an existing property, it’s doomed at the box office. And the box office tallies for the three-day total – the four-day total won’t be in until Tuesday – bear this thinking out, as The LEGO Batman Movie went two for two this weekend, topping the box office with a $35 million take.
The Great Wall slid into third place with $18 million, as compared to Fifty Shades Darker landing in the second spot with $20.8 million. That’s all the more depressing when one considers how remarkably bad Fifty Shades Darker ended up being, especially considering At Close Range helmer James Foley directed the film. In comparison, The Great Wall has some breathless and beautiful sequences, thanks to fight choreographers, set designers, production designers, and director Zhang Yimou of Hero and House of Flying Daggers. The plot of The Great Wall is almost impressively idiotic but for sheer visual dazzle, it was about as good a movie as was available in the big theaters this weekend.
John Wick: Chapter 2 continued to do solid business with $16 million, and expectations for a $19 million four-day total, which pushes its full box office take over the total gross of the original John Wick in just two weeks. Now that’s a story about a franchise that doesn’t make you want to gag. Meanwhile, Fist Fight rounded out the top five with an expected $14 million four-day total (three-day total: around $12 million), which makes the R-rated effort about on par with Ice Cube‘s beloved Friday movies. As for A Cure for Wellness, the news is not great, as the movie is now looking at a little over $4 million in its opening frame. But then, you remember that Hidden Figures, one of the best dramas of 2016, only dropped 11% in its umpteenth frame as compared to the 35% LEGO Batman dropped in its second frame. So, things aren’t necessarily hopeless and cravenly…at least at the box office.