Friday offered a slightly surprising and heartening reminder that the box office is a global affair, not pulled simply by what’s popular domestically. Indeed, the triumph of Indian smash hit Baahubali: The Conclusion and How to Be a Latin Lover, which stars Eugenio Derbez, over The Circle, an adaptation of a celebrated David Eggers novel from celebrated director James Ponsoldt and starring America’s favorite actor, says quite a bit about the power of targeted, selective demos. Or, to take the cynical side, it all says quite a bit about how poorly the marketing campaign for The Circle was rolled out.
Of course, they all ended up bowing to The Fate of the Furious, which looks primed to take its third weekend in a row; it’s also creeping toward its billion-dollar marker at the worldwide box office. The eighth Fast & Furious film grabbed a little over $5 million on Friday and is up to $972 million globally, and while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is already tearing up the box office in Australia and other international territories, there’s still one more week for F. Gary Gray‘s loud fiasco to hold the reins domestically. Baahubali: The Conclusion arrived in second with an impressive $4.7 million on Friday, while How to Be a Latin Lover beat out The Circle for third place with $3.9 million.
The Circle‘s $3.2 million take, which secured the film’s fourth-place standing, is more reflective of the subject matter’s calcified urgency than of the star wattage of Hanks, Emma Watson, or Ponsoldt, who has done some sublime work on Master of None lately. The whole internet paranoia subject is problematic on a variety of levels but its most crippling in its nostalgia. Nearly every movie like this essentially argues that whatever the innumerable positive effects the internet and computers have given us over the years, the dangers are too high and we should just “disconnect.” To its credit, The Circle handles this better than most but its message is nevertheless one of potent future fear rather than of hesitation or regulation. The fact that the new release is slotted right above The Boss Baby, a thinly disguised, wildly insipid polemic centered on the fear that not every single millennial will have children, which made $2 million at the opening of its fourth frame, is telling.