‘Richard Jewell’ is the 2nd-worst nationwide opening of Clint Eastwood’s directing career and the worst in nearly 40 years
Sony’s year-end event pic Jumanji: The Next Level is off to a great start at the pre-holiday box office, opening ahead of expectations with an estimated $60.1-M.
The Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart sequel had no trouble topping the North American chart, despite a crowded marquee that included new offerings Richard Jewell, from director Clint Eastwood, and the slasher remake Black Christmas, both of which opened to flat numbers.
Overseas, Jumanji 2 earned another $85.7-M to unseat Frozen 2 and finish Sunday with a foreign tally of $152.2-M and $212.8-M globally.
The film, which earned an A- CinemaScore, was able to avoid the sequel virus that has infected a number of franchise installments this year, while a 20% uptick from Friday to Saturday pointed to a strong turnout among families.
Richard Jewell only took in $5-M despite an A CinemaScore, making it the 2nd-worst nationwide opening ever for a pic directed by Mr. Eastwood behind 1980’s Bronco Billy, which posted a 1st weekend gross of $3.7-M according to Comscore.
Richard Jewell recounts the real-life story of the titular security guard who was initially celebrated as a hero for saving lives after a bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics, then vilified when he became an FBI target and was reported as a suspect by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Mr. Eastwood’s biographical drama has been engulfed in controversy after the newspaper objected strenuously to the pic’s portrayal of the late journalist Kathy Scruggs, who in the film seduces an FBI agent and is implied to have sex with him in order to get information.
In a statement last week, Warner Bros. said, “It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast. Richard Jewell focuses on the real victim, seeks to tell his story, confirm his innocence and restore his name. The AJC’s claims are baseless, and we will vigorously defend against them.“
Black Christmas opened to an estimated $4.4-M after failing to win over younger moviegoers in full force and flunking with a D+ CinemaScore. The good news: The Universal and Blumhouse micro budgeted pic cost a reported $5-M to make before marketing.
Richard Jewell and Black Christmas came in #’s. 4 and 5, respectively, behind Jumanji 2 and holdovers Frozen 2 and Knives Out.
Frozen 2 placed 2nd with $19.2-M domestically as it topped the $1-B mark globally.
Knives Out landed in 3rd with a pleasing $9.3-M domestically after securing a Golden Globe nomination for best picture for a musical or comedy. The whodunit grossed $13.6-M offshore for a global take of $162.2-M for Lionsgate and MRC.
Ford v Ferrari cruised to # 6 with $4.1-M as it neared the $100-M mark domestically, finishing Sunday with a domestic take of $98.2-M and $184-M worldwide.
Awards season is in full swing
At the weekend 2-high profile contenders launched in select theaters at the specialty box office
- Fox News sexual harassment saga Bombshell, produced by and starring Charlize Theron alongside Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie
2. Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler.
Uncut Gems, opened in 5 cinemas in NYC and LA, for a super location average of $105,100, a record for distributor for A24 and 1 of the best averages YTD.
Bombshell, from Lionsgate, followed with an impressive average of $78,025 from 4 theaters.
Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life also bowed in NYC and LA at the weekend to a location average of 10,400 from 5 locations.
Have some fun, see a movie this week.