This weekend’s box office results don’t pack many surprises. After all, heavy-hitters like Moana and Fantastic Beasts will continue to dominate, until other highly anticipated blockbusters, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, challenge it. In fact, many of last week’s entries have maintained their placement, with the exception of Doctor Strange and Arrival, which have switched positions (Strange now ranks at #5, while Arrival ranks at #3). However, these rankings don’t always line-up with our MoviePass Member Top 5 list. So, let’s take a look at the five films that were most popular among members, this weekend.
Synopsis: A sweeping, CG-animated adventure about a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to prove herself a master wayfinder and fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui, and together, they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous fiery creatures and impossible odds.
At the top of this week’s MoviePass Member Top 5 is the Disney animated feature, Moana. In an interesting role reversal, the film–which entered last week’s list at #2–claims 10.09% of this weekend’s member check-ins, narrowly defeating last week’s winner, Allied. Domestically, the film continues to dominate the weekend box office with a gross of approximately $28.37 million–representing a -49.9% change from its opening weekend earnings of $56.63 million. To date, the film has collected approximately $119.89 million domestically, with a total worldwide gross of $177.38 million.
According to Forbes Magazine, this decrease in revenue actually reflects a stronger second weekend performance than that of Tangled, Frozen, and Toy Story 2. And with an abundance of critical praise (it currently holds a Metascore of 81), Moana is another Disney hit! In the words of Variety Magazine, “More than ‘Tangled,’ more than ‘Frozen,’ ‘Moana’ keeps with the tradition that made Disney the leader in animated fairy and folk tales.” In fact, we predict that it may even score a couple of Oscar nods. And given Disney’s track record, this prediction is a safe bet. After all, the company received 15 nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, held earlier this year. So, we’ll be keeping our eyes on Moana and we urge you to do the same!
Synopsis: The story of intelligence officer Max Vatan, who in 1942 North Africa encounters French Resistance fighter Marianne Beausejour on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Reunited in London, their relationship is threatened by the extreme pressures of the war.
Entering this week’s list at #2 is the World War II period drama, Allied. Having fallen a slot, the Cotillard-Pitt feature earned 9.91% of this weekend’s member check-ins. Domestically, the film has maintained its #4 ranking with a weekend gross $7.05 million, bringing its total stateside revenue to $28.93 million. Worldwide, the film has earned $53.73 million on an $85 million production budget.
To the film’s merit, its budget can be seen not only in its star-power, but in its remarkable visual aesthetic. Despite relatively mixed reviews, (of the 156 reviews considered on Rotten Tomatoes, 94 are fresh and 62 are rotten), critics favor the film’s lush style. A.O. Scott of The New York Times states, “‘Allied’… is like an expertly tailored suit or a properly cooked classic dish. It’s not so much a work of art as a triumph of craft.” And it’s not hard to see why. Director Robert Zemeckis has often experimented with form, as evidenced by his work in Back to the Future, Beowulf, and The Walk. So, if cinematic craft is something that interests you, then Allied may be the perfect visual feast.
Synopsis: A scientist with the ability to enter the subconscious minds of the possessed must save a young boy from the grips of a demon with powers never seen before, while facing the horrors of his past.
Making its MoviePass Member Top 5 debut is the Blumhouse Productions horror film, Incarnate. Earning 6.78% of this weekend’s member check-ins, the film narrowly defeated Fantastic Beasts. At the domestic box office, it debuted at #9, earning $2.66 million on a $5 million budget. To provide some context, Blumhouse Productions specializes in micro/low budget horror flicks with many of them proving to be financially lucrative. For example, on a $3 million budget, The Purge (2013) earned $89.33 million worldwide. However, even more impressive is the success of Paranormal Activity (2009) which was made on a $15,000 budget, but grossed $193.36 million worldwide! So, in light of these numbers, Incarnate appears to be struggling at the box office.
Overall, the film has been the subject of mostly negative reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 21%. Despite, the critical panning, we would like to focus on the more positive aspects of the feature. In a review for Variety Magazine, film critic, Joe Leydon states, “‘Incarnate’…offers a relatively fresh take on standard-issue exorcism-melodrama tropes, along with a performance by Aaron Eckhart that is more than persuasive enough to encourage the investment of a rooting interest.” And again, when contextualizing the film’s critical reception, it’s worth noting that the first installment of The Purge franchise was also the subject of negative reviews, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 37%. So, if horror films are your thing, don’t be deterred by the reviews nor the financial performance. After all, it’s pretty difficult to compete with Moana and Fantastic Beasts.
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
Making our list for the third week in a row, is the fantasy/adventure film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Accounting for 6.75% of this weekend’s member check-ins, the film was bested by newcomer, Incarnate, by a mere .03%! Domestically, the difference in performance was much more pronounced, as Fantastic Beasts maintains its #2 ranking with a gross of $18.55 million. Since its mid-November release, the feature has earned $183.51 million in the United States, with a worldwide total of $607.91 million! Within J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, Fantastic Beasts currently ranks at #9 when comparing its domestic gross to the eight Harry Potter films. However, the feature definitely has the potential to advance its status, as it has only been in theaters for less than 20 days.
Fortunately for Potter fans, Fantastic Beasts has garnered mostly positive reviews, with a Metascore of 66. Of the 50 critical reviews considered, 33 were positive, 15 were mixed, and 2 were negative. Among the positive reviews is that of The Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan who gives the film 3/4 stars. And it’s a good thing, too: with four sequels in the works, the first film has successfully kicked off the franchise, with the second installment scheduled for a November 16th, 2018 release date. We anticipate that the sequel will be even better than its predecessor, with Johnny Depp as a prominent cast member.
Synopsis: Lee Chandler is a brooding, irritable loner who works as a handyman for a Boston apartment block. One damp winter day he gets a call summoning him to his hometown, north of the city. His brother’s heart has given out suddenly, and he’s been named guardian to his 16-year-old nephew. As if losing his only sibling and doubts about raising a teenager weren’t enough, his return to the past re-opens an unspeakable tragedy.
And rounding out the MoviePass Member Top 5 is the critically lauded, Manchester by the Sea. After its January premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this quiet drama quickly began generating Oscar buzz. With celebrated screenwriter/director, Kenneth Lonergan, at the helm and Matt Damon as the producer, Manchester by the Sea is a skillfully crafted exploration of grief. And with Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges in the lead roles, the film balances pain and humor with delicate grace. Having seen it at this year’s New York Film Festival, we’ve posted a review of it on this blog (we promise that there aren’t any spoilers).
Among members, the film claims 6.40% of this weekend’s check-ins. Domestically, an expansion to an additional 108 theaters (for a total of 156), has helped the film improve its ranking, advancing from #13 to #11, with a weekend gross of $2.36 million. To date, the film has earned $4.42 million, making it the fifth most lucrative release out of Sundance 2016. However, with a nationwide release on December 16th, the film, which currently holds a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes, is sure to improve its box office standing. After all, Manchester by the Sea recently received the award for Best Film from the National Board of Review.
IN THEATERS THIS WEEKEND
So, what are we seeing this weekend? During the most festive of seasons, we’re in the mood for a good laugh. So, we’ll definitely see the star-studded comedy, Office Christmas Party. Then, we’ll follow it up with the political thriller, Miss Sloane. And for those who haven’t seen Nocturnal Animals, we definitely recommend it when it expands to theaters nationwide this weekend.
Synopsis: When the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother’s (T.J. Miller) branch, he and his chief technical officer (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.
Synopsis: Willing to bend the rules for her clients, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) remains one of the most sought-after lobbyists in Washington, D.C. When asked to help oppose a bill that imposes regulations on firearms, she instead joins a scrappy boutique firm that represents the backers of the law. Her defiant stance and determination to win now makes her the target of powerful new enemies who threaten her career and the people she cares about.
Synopsis: A successful Los Angeles art-gallery owner’s idyllic life is marred by the constant traveling of her handsome second husband. While he is away, she is shaken by the arrival of a manuscript written by her first husband, who she has not seen in years. The manuscript tells the story of a teacher who finds a trip with his family turning into a nightmare. As Susan reads the book, it forces her to examine her past and confront some dark truths.