Weekend BO Results: ‘The Grinch’s $68m Continues A Record Box Office Year

Written by Dapo Olowu

This weekend, according to Comscore, saw the domestic Box Office for 2018 reach the $10bn mark quicker than any other year in history. Fitting then, that we’d have ‘The Grinch’ steal a massive $67.6m to hit the top spot and continue the trend.

It not only continues a strong year, but a great record for studio Illumination; just one of their nine releases failed to open at number one – 2016s ‘Sing’ peaked at number 2, and ironically stands as the biggest ever film to never reach the top spot (grossing $270.4m domestically).

The Grinch’ is only Illumination’s 6th biggest opening, earning a little under 2012s ‘The Lorax’ ($70.2m). A similar performance would leave ‘The Grinch’ on a respectable domestic total of $206m, although I’m forecasting a bigger gross once the festive period really kicks in. It won’t match the heights of 2000s ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ starring Jim Carrey however, which made a whopping $260m 18 years ago.

The year’s ‘Grinch’ stars the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character, who plans to steal Christmas away from the residents of Whoville, which include Rashida Jones and Cameron Seely. It may have landed well in the states, but its international release was more muted, earning around $12.7m from 23 markets.

The international sphere was dominated by ‘Venom’, whose $111m opening in China means it’s the country’s second biggest superhero opening of all time, behind ‘Infinity War’ ($191m). ‘Venom’ now sits on a remarkable $676.2m worldwide, and its $4.9m weekend gives it a domestic total thus far of $206.3m.

This wasn’t the only big news of the weekend. Fox’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ fell by just 40% to earn $31.2m in its second weekend – pushing the domestic total to $100m in just two weekends. Now just $14m away from $300m worldwide, it seems as if the years of development hell were worth it in the end for Rami Malek-fronted Queen biopic.

While new release ‘Overlord’s $10.2m opening was nothing special (we did warn about that $38m budget), ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’s $7.8m start was dreadful. Costing $5m more than Paramount’s war-horror ‘Overlord’, ‘Spider’s Web’ will most likely be pulled out of cinemas by the month’s end.

Overlord’ didn’t fair much better, but can take solace in a stronger critical reception, and a likely finish around the $30m mark. Finally, Amazon’s Oscar bait drama ‘Beautiful Boy’, starring Steve Carrell, Timothee Chalamet, and Amy Ryan (and produced by Brad Pitt) earned $1.5m from 840 cinemas as expected.

After its big opening, how will ‘The Grinch’ do against child-friendly competition in the form of ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ next weekend? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

 

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Weekend BO Report: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Delivers A Regal $50m+ In Mixed Weekend

Not since 9th February have we seen all three new wide releases finish on the podium in a Box Office weekend. That weekend, ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, ‘Peter Rabbit’, and ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ took home the medals for Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros. This time around, the other half of Hollywood’s big six studios delivered the goods, as Fox’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker’, and Paramount’s ‘Nobody Fool’ earned $51.1m, $20.4m, and $13.7m alike to top the charts.

We kick things off with Rami Malek’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which beat our optimistic $45m forecast by grossing just $1m less than its entire budget. Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s already broken-even, but considering the $73m earned from overseas 64 markets this weekend (and the $12.5m already brought in from the U.K.’s early release) giving the Queen biopic a royal worldwide total of $143m, it’s surely close.

Bohemian Rhapsody’ follows Freddie Mercury (Malek) and the rise of rock band Queen from 1970 up until the famous Live-Aid concert of 1985. Understandably, its opening weekend audience reflected the time period, with 78% being over the age of 25. Gender wasn’t nearly as skewed however, with women slightly edging the split with 51%.

The hope now is for a strong Box Office run in the face of little upcoming competition. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Fox’s 2nd biggest opening of the year (behind ‘Deadpool 2), will now look towards recent music-centric movies like ‘Mamma Mia 2’ and ‘A Star is Born’, which have gone down like a treat with cinemagoers, earning $120.8m and $165.5m each. A performance like ‘Mamma Mia 2’s would see the film finishing a little over $170m; a real possibility considering its ‘A’ on Cinemascore, and surely a welcome one for a studio whose only hits this year come from the aforementioned ‘Deadpool 2’, and ‘Maze Runner 3’.

While ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ over-delivered this weekend, ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ neutralised any possible Box Office-forecast gains, bringing in a paltry $20.4m. It didn’t fare much better internationally, earning $38.5m for a $58.5m worldwide start. The story here lies in an over-inflated budget of $130m, partly caused by a production that saw over a month’s worth of reshoots, resulting in the film having two directors, with Joe Johnston receiving a credit alongside Lasse Hallström.

It wasn’t just this that doomed the film – a $20.4m start would barely suffice for a film costing half that amount. Its poor release date (too early for Christmas, too soon after a series of PG competitors) is compounded by the fact that two more Disney releases in ‘Wreck it Ralph 2’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ open by the end of the year, as well as ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ hitting cinemas in the next week, which should all stop any possibilities of ‘Nutcracker’ becoming a sleeper hit.

To make matters worse, its 34% on Rotten Tomatoes was backed up by an average ‘B+’ on Cinemascore. At best, it can hope for legs like another Disney bomb ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, whose 3x multiplier would give ‘Nutcracker’ a domestic total of just $61m.

It continues what’s been a strange year for Disney. On one hand, they’ve released record-breakers in ‘Infinity War’, ‘Black Panther’, and ‘Incredibles 2’, but also some of the biggest flops in recent history in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Solo’. ‘The Nutcracker’ is surely added to the latter pile, which Disney hopes to keep at just 3 films for the rest of the year.

We’ve had a hit, we’ve had a flop, now for somewhere in the middle. In third place this Box Office weekend was Tyler Perry’s latest foray, ‘Nobody’s Fool’. Made on a $19m budget and earning $14m in its 3-day debut, ‘Nobody’s Fool’ met its estimates and but never really exceeded its expectations. Perhaps it was the lack of ‘Tyler Perry’ (or ‘Madea’) in the title, or the adverse effects of having Tiffany Haddish lead yet another comedy (‘Night School’ is still out in 1,300 cinemas), but could this have grossed more?

Probably not. Let’s not forget, this is a solid start for the R-rated comedy, whose gross is just a little under that of this year’s ‘Tag’ ($14.9m), but comfortably above ‘The Happytime Murders’ ($9.5m). Paramount will hope the film is less like previous release ‘Action Point’ ($2.4m opening, $5.1m domestic total) and more towards ‘Book Club’ ($13.6m opening, $68.6m domestic total), although its poor critical reception threatens any real chance of such a leggy run.

Three new films slot into the top three slots. How far can ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ go? How badly will ‘The Nutcracker’ do? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: Disneys Bites The Dust As ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Opens at $45m

Written by Dapo Olowu

Well, they did say they would rock us.

As U.S. cinemagoers gear up for the release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, it’s easy to forget the other 2 new films in ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Nobody’s Fool’ wanting to ‘break free’ from the musical biopic’s shadow. Still, ‘the show must go on’, and ‘BR’ is destined to be the ‘killer queen’ out of a bunch of ‘under pressure’ releases.

‘Don’t stop me now’ readers, the puns are out in full force, as are Rami Malek and co. in 20th Century Fox’s latest offering. Such is the anticipation that its rotten 58% on the Tomatometer will merely dent its opening gross – a gross that has steadily risen over the past month.

A recent Fandango report claims that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s presales outstrip that of ‘Mamma Mia 2’ and ‘A Star is Born’, two high-earning musicals released this year. Considering ‘MM2’, the sequel to one of the biggest musicals of all time, opened to $35m, and ‘A Star is Born’ earned $43m in its first 3 days, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s gross could be truly massive.

To be specific, we’re predicting $45m, which could even rise as the weekend draws close. This isn’t surprising considering the film’s production has been on industry lips since 2010. Back then, it was ‘Borat’ star Sacha Baron Cohen cast as Freddie Mercury, although creative differences led to his departure. After Ben Whishaw (don’t ask) replaced him and then too quickly left, the film was batted around for a while until Fox fast-tracked it last year, with Malek as the lead.

On-set troubles with director Bryan Singer, including an ‘unexpected unavailability’, led to his firing the replacement, Dexter Fletcher, to complete the last few weeks of production. Still, it’s been rather smooth sailing in the aftermath, as negative PR’s been kept to a minimum (Singer’s even still got the directing credit). With a budget of $52m, the film, also starring Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers, should have 0 problems proclaiming ‘We Are The Champions’ by Sunday night.

If ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’s a success, then ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ is a Disney disaster. It won’t be for the first time this year either, what with ‘Solo’ and ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (maybe even add ‘Christopher Robin’ in there too). What makes ‘The Nutcracker’ so interesting, however, is the fact its release directly follows those in a similar mould. In the last month alone we’ve seen ‘Goosebumps 2’ and ‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ two (albeit horror) PG fantasy films which have opened around the $20m mark.

Throw in the aforementioned ‘AWiT’, alongside ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ and ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ from recent memory all grossing similar amounts in their first 3 days, and a $21m opening was almost destined for Disney’s latest release. On a medium-sized budget, this wouldn’t be the worst situation to be in, but Disney spent an eye-watering $130m+ producing this bomb, which will struggle to remain in the top ten in a few weeks.

The critical reception doesn’t help its case either; its 35% on Rotten Tomatoes makes this Disney’s worst-rated film since last summer’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’. Like the Pirates franchise, ‘The Nutcracker’ stars Kiera Knightley, as well as MacKenzie Foy, Morgan Freeman, Jack Whitehall, and Miranda Hart. It follows the story of ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ from 1816 about a young girl who finds a magical Nutcracker doll. Oh how Disney could do with some magic in the Box Office right about now.

The final release of the weekend is Tyler Perry’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’. Released by Paramount, this $19m-budgeted comedy stars Tika Sumpter, Tiffany Haddish, and Whoopi Goldberg, and follows Tanya (Haddish) potentially being catfished in an online relationship.

If its premise doesn’t drastically differentiate itself from the rest of this weekend’s releases, its R-rating surely does, and by having the smallest of the 3 films’ cinema counts with just 2,400, its doomed to be the lowest earner of the newbies this weekend.

However, a flop it is not. Being the first Tyler Perry movie in nearly forever not to have his name in the title doesn’t change the fact that since 2007, just one of his 16 films (yes, 16) has opened under $15m. Love him or loathe him, he’s got an audience, as does Haddish, so we see this one starting solidly with $14m.

Three new films but only one is the victor. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ looks to top the charts with some ease, but will it really beat ‘A Star is Born’s $42.9m opening? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Report: Double Trouble For ‘Halloween’ In A Record October

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s official: October 2018 is the biggest October on record, but that’s no real surprise considering the B.O. feast we’ve had this month. After both ‘Venom’ and ‘Halloween’ became the two biggest film openings in the month’s history with $80.3m and $76.2m alike, it was only a matter of time until 2014s record of $757.1m would be smashed. As we speak, October 2018 has grossed around $780m, and should reach $800m by the month’s end.

As mentioned above, a large chunk of that came from the Blumhouse horror phenomenon ‘Halloween’. This weekend, the slasher, directed by David Gordon Green (of ‘Pineapple Express’ fame), scared away any competition for a second consecutive number one finish, earning $31.4m in the process.

Being the biggest slasher film in U.S. history (beating ‘Scream’s $103m from 1996) with $126.1m hasn’t stopped ‘Halloween’s appetite for a large body-count, as it aims to become one of the biggest R-rated horrors ever stateside. Currently 6th in the all-time U.S. list, it has its sights realistically on ‘Get Out’ whose $176m leaves it 3rd, and, barring a freak collapse, ‘Halloween’ should fly past this in the next month. On the international front, its near-$50m gross puts the film just $30m short of a $200m total.

Of course, it wasn’t just ‘Halloween’ that contributed to the record month. Both ‘A Star is Born’, with $148.6m, and ‘Venom’ with $187.1m hold nearly 50% of this October’s gross alone, and their latest weekends of $14m and $10.7m delivered a welcome second and third place finish, mirroring last weekend’s efforts. What’s truly astounding are their global grosses: while ‘ASIB’ has smashed through the $250m mark, ‘Venom’ has just reached $500m, with its Chinese release coming next weekend.

From the impressive to the dismal, as Gerard Butler’s newest release ‘Hunter Killer’ sank to just $6.7m in its first 3 days. The $40m-budgeted action-thriller brought in half of the JUMPCUT forecast to join the list of other 2018 B.O. bombs. It’s Butler’s lowest opening since 2012s ‘Playing For Keeps’, and although it’s A- on Cinemascore may provide some legs, a domestic finish of $20m won’t save this from being lost at sea.

It’s a gross that continues a relatively tough year for Lionsgate, who long for the days of ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Twilight’. This year, their biggest domestic earner was last month’s ‘A Simple Favor’, which has seen just $53.2m so far. Disappointments like ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ ($40m budget, $72m worldwide gross) have been offset by cheaper, enjoyable comedies like ‘ASF’ and ‘Overboard’ ($12m budget, $91.2m worldwide gross), but this still leaves the studio relying on November’s ‘Robin Hood’, to really bring in the cash.

As expected, A24’s ‘Mid90s’ earned $3m from 1,200 cinemas to grab 10th spot, above newbies ‘Indivisible’ and ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’, who grossed $1.5m and $1.6m each. ‘Mid90s’, written and directed by Jonah Hill, opened wide just below that of last year’s ‘Lady Bird’ ($4.1m), but similar to A24s ‘Eighth Grade’ ($2.9m) from July. A similar performance would leave the critically-acclaimed indie film with a total domestic gross of $14m, a solid (if unspectacular) B.O. gross.

A record October, and strong weekends for ‘Halloween’, ‘ASIB’, and ‘Venom’. What does November, with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘The Grinch’, and ‘Robin Hood’ to come, have in store? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE

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Weekend BO Report: ‘Halloween’ Kills It With The Third Biggest Horror Opening Ever At $76m

Written by Dapo Olowu

This weekend saw the newest film in the ‘Halloween‘ franchise (named – get this – ‘Halloween’) come within $4m of breaking ‘Venom‘s recent October opening record, leaving it just a ‘Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero‘ away from Box Office history. This, of course, shouldn’t take away from the remarkable achievement of it grossing $76.2m, which makes it the 3rd biggest horror opening of all time behind ‘It’ and ‘I Am Legend

How did this happen? Was it the ‘It‘-like nostalgia factor? Another masterstroke in production from Blumhouse? A combination of these factors plus more? Its success after just 3 days trumps what most horrors make in their lifetimes, and its $10m budget ensures profitability and a brighter future for a franchise with nearly a dozen iterations (now outside the official story) before its latest release.

The film saw Jamie Lee Curtis return as Laurie Strode, squaring off against recent prison-escapee and mass-murderer Michael Myers. Forty years after his Halloween killing spree of 1978, Myers (played by Nick Castle) is back to finish off Strode, who managed to escape his clutches. Released in just 23 countries abroad so far in its staggered international release, the film grossed around $14m, including $3.6m from the U.K. and Ireland.

Keeping its October record, but moving down to third in the Box Office charts this weekend was ‘Venom’, earning $18m against ‘A Star is Born’s $19.1m. ‘Venom’ is now just $40m off of reaching $500m worldwide, and has earned $171.1m stateside. The critically-acclaimed ‘A Star is Born’, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring Lady Gaga, has reached a $200m global gross, with $126.1m coming from the U.S.

It’s less happy reading for Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle, as ‘First Man’ continues to disappoint. Their second film together after ‘La La Land’, which made an outstanding $446.1m worldwide, brought in just $8.3m this weekend for a domestic total of $29.8m. A finish around $50m is likely for the film which cost $59m – the first wide-release commercial flop of Chazelle’s directing career.    

Opening wide this weekend was 20th Century Fox’s ‘The Hate U Give’, starring Amanda Stenberg and directed by George Tillman Jr. It earned a solid $7.6m from 2,300 cinemas, opening up from 250 last week. The YA crime drama has received rave reviews from critics, and became only the 6th film of the year to get the highest score possible (A+) on Cinemascore.

Made on a $23m budget, ‘The Hate U Give’ is an adaptation of a 2017 best-selling book and offers a socially-relevant critique into race relations in the U.S. Although this may harm it’s international appeal (at the time of this article’s publication, the film has only been released domestically), producers at Fox will hope that a strong word of mouth will aid its stateside growth.

Rounding off the top ten is the surprise package ‘The Old Man & The Gun’, Robert Redford’s last film as an actor before retirement. In a career that’s spanned close to 60 years, the Oscar-winning director (and nominated actor)’s last hurrah grossed $2.1m from only 800 cinemas, for a 4th weekend total of $4.2m.

So close, yet so far for ‘Halloween’. With its opening, who will end on the most domestically between that and ‘Venom’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘Halloween’ To Frighten The Box Office With A $70m+ Weekend

You wait 5 years for an October Box Office opening record, and then they start coming like buses. A mere fortnight after ‘Venom’ made $80m in its first 3 days, ‘Halloween’, the direct sequel to the 1978 classic, looks to reach similar levels in its opening weekend, ensuring this October remains on track to be the biggest the B.O. has ever seen.

The 12th film in the franchise (but only the second to be rated ‘Fresh’ on RT with 81%) completely disregards all other sequels and iterations, meaning this latest foray returns 40 years after the first film ended. It sees Jamie Lee Curtis return as the iconic Laurie Strode, who prepares to face mass-murderer Michael Myers, who has recently escaped prison.

Directed and written by the versatile David Gordon Green (‘Stronger’, ‘Pineapple Express’) alongside frequent collaborator Danny McBride, this Blumhouse production was made on just a cut-price budget of $10m.

Such a low cost almost guarantees a quick profit, especially when you consider the size of the franchise, and the timing of release; the Halloween period is ripe for the picking. While ‘The Nun’ made over $50m a month back off of a stronger franchise, ‘Halloween’ has the nostalgic remake factor that allowed ‘It’ to flourish last September.

While there’s fear that the constant ‘Halloween’ sequels over the years have dampened any excitement, the latest Fandango reports that state the film is pre-selling at a higher level than ‘The Nun’ have us predicting an opening around $70m, enough for ‘Halloween’ to have the third biggest horror opening of all time, an amazing feat considering its R rating.

Last weekend’s winner ‘Venom’ will fight a closer battle for second place with ‘A Star is Born’, with both films aiming to earn $20m. ‘Venom’ remains the biggest film of the month, grossing $150.9m stateside, while ‘A Star is Born’ remains behind with a respectable gross of $104.4m.

Nothing has changed in its sophomore weekend, as ‘First Man’, Damien Chazelle’s latest release still looks resigned to flop at the Box Office. Any hopes of a leggy run will be dashed as it aims to gross just over $8m will get the film to a total of $30m domestically, a poor return from a near-$60m budget.

Next is Fox’s ‘The Hate U Give’, starring Amandla Stenberg alongside Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Common. Entering over 2,300 cinemas after being in limited release for the past 2 weekends, it boasts an impressive 96% on the Tomatometer and 82 on Metacritic. The drama follows Starr Carter (Stenberg), who witnesses her best friend Khalil’s (Algee Smith) death at the hands of the police.

Director George Tillman Jr. of ‘Notorious’ fame will be hoping its positive word of mouth and social relevance will push it over the $6m gross we’re predicting, although heavy competition may drown this one out.

The final new release of the weekend is again, rated Fresh (90%), and again coming off of a limited release. Robert Redford’s ‘The Old Man and The Gun’ marks his last film before retirement, and is based off of the true story of Forrest Trucker, who escaped from prison at the age of 70. The crime-comedy should earn around $1m this weekend, not enough for a place in the top ten.

It’s on track to be a record October, but will it be a record opening for ‘Halloween’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Results: ‘First Man’ Fails To Launch With Just $16m

Written by Dapo Olowu

While ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star is Born’ both improved their strongholds atop the Box Office charts, earning $35m and $28.4m respectively, the real story lies in the disappointing opening gross of Ryan Gosling’s ‘First Man’.

The Neil Armstrong biopic earned just $16m domestically, and $24.6m worldwide, in its first 3 days. This was, of course, way under even the most pessimistic of expectations, causing concern for studio heads over at Universal, who greenlit the $59m project.

Helmed by ‘La La Land’ and ‘Whiplash’ director Damien Chazelle, the film also stars Claire Foy, and was written by ‘Spotlight’ and ‘The Post’ writer Josh Singer. It follows Neil Armstrong (Gosling) in the lead-up to the moon landing of 1969, and has been lauded by the critics, boasting a strong 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Audiences, however, aren’t as keen, leading to doubts that the film will be able to gain any momentum in coming weeks. An audience score of just 61% on RT, as well as an okay B+ on Cinemascore may seriously harm its legs. With award season approaching, the worst possible outcome would be for the Oscar hopeful ‘First Man’ to not emulate ‘Argo’s run ($19.5m opening, $136m domestic total) and not be front-of-mind come December.

We’re reminded of last October’s ‘Blade Runner 2049’, another Gosling-fronted critical darling whose low opening condemned it in the Box Office. Its $32.8m opening stands as Gosling’s biggest ever (‘First Man’ is infact his 4th), perhaps an indication of him not being a Box Office draw (although, outside of The Rock, it’s hard to see who really is). Or maybe the audiences, who were 56% male, just aren’t too keen on biographical dramas marketed as action-thrillers. Regardless, ‘First Man’s opening was still enough to nab 3rd place, just ahead of Sony’s ‘Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween’s $15.8m.

As expected, the sequel to 2015s ‘Goosebumps’ couldn’t live up to its predecessor’s $23.6m start in the face of heavy PG competition, like ‘Smallfoot’ and the worryingly-similar ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’. The latter even starred the same actor in Jack Black, and has the superior critical reception on the Tomatometer (67% vs. ‘G2’s 39%). A domestic finish around $50m is expected for ‘Goosebumps 2’, who won’t face any major competition until Disney’s ‘The Nutcracker’ opens in early November.

To the top of the table now, where ‘Venom’ continued, in its sophomore weekend, to surprise commercially, baffle critically, but please cinemagoers everywhere. Now sitting on $377m worldwide (including $142.1m in the States) after 2 weekends, it already marks Tom Hardy’s 6th biggest ever film both in the U.S. and in the world.

Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star is Born’, again in second place, is starting to really stretch its Box Office legs, now boasting a 2.2x opening weekend multiplier after 10 days of release – leaving it just $6m short of reaching $100m domestically. The Warner Bros. release has also grossed $42m internationally, including $12.3m from the U.K.

The top ten’s final new wide release went to ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’, the unfortunate flop of the weekend. Grossing just $7.1m (a full $10m under our forecast, oops) off of a $32m budget, we can’t see much of a future for this 20th Century Fox thriller. A B- on Cinemascore and 71% on the RT won’t nearly be enough to save it from being another Fox 2018 disappointment, after ‘The Darkest Minds’ and ‘The Predator’.

In a poor weekend for the new releases, it was good news for ‘Venom’ and ‘A Star is Born’. How far can they go, and is there any hope left for ‘First Man’? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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LFF 2018: The Hate U Give

Year: 2018
Directed by: George Tillman Jr.
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Algee Smith
Screening at LFF: 20th & 21st
UK release: 22nd October

Written by Sarah Buddery

If Spike Lees’ BlacKkKlansman was the powerful, resonating and necessary film for adults in 2018, then The Hate U Give is the same in terms of potency but packaged in a way that is accessible to young adults and teens. Beyond that, however, this film has messages and relevancy across the board, and alongside the aforementioned Spike Lee joint, you’d be hard-pushed to find two films more relevant to our times.

Amandla Stenberg (who fans will recognise as Rue from The Hunger Games) absolutely astounds, and a lot is placed on her young shoulders in this film. We spend almost the entirety of the film’s runtime with her, and the nuances in the way she shows the development of her character are mesmerising. She portrays the duality of a girl torn between her “white” school and friends, and her “black” neighbourhood, family, and peers expertly. From the offset, there is the sense of a character caught between worlds, not really feeling sure of what one she belongs in, and this theme of identity is beautifully played throughout. Anchored by Stenberg’s performances, this idea of belonging and identity is something which resonates beyond race, and ensures this film is accessible to a wider audience, particularly it’s teen target audience.

The film takes a little while to settle into its groove, and indeed initially plays out like any other teen movie. Whilst the “slang” and very obvious steer towards a teen audience grated initially, in hindsight it was completely necessary, the earth-shattering events Stenberg’s Starr witnesses are a jarring gut punch into her teen normalcy, and the tone of the film from here on out, is very different.

The Hate U Give is a film which feels consistently, and perhaps horrifyingly relevant, it’s quiet broiling tension and anger eventually exploding in a way that is simultaneously cathartic and a call to action. This is a film which demands a response, and one which perhaps more than anything, encourages young people to use their voice. Throughout, it emphasises that it is having the courage to speak out that is seen to be greater than any act of violence, and the voice is the most powerful weapon you could have.

The final act is absolutely stunning with Stenberg’s performance being at its absolute peak, with emotion and talent beyond her years. It’s an act which is simple, defiant, earned, and incredibly powerful, and it is here that the film truly shines.

The initially uneven tone of the film perhaps lets this down slightly, but this is a film with something to say and it is important that audiences give it the time to listen to it.

SARAH’S RATING:

4

Reel Women: October UK Releases

Written by Elena Morgan

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. October is London Film Festival month and 38% of the films on show there are directed by women, so if you get the chance to attend the festival, try and see the hidden gems on offer. But if you’re not at the festival, there’s still films being released in cinemas and on Netflix this month that are made by women. This month we’ve got Netflix originals, documentaries, book adaptations and an anti-hero superhero movie.

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3 October

Venom

Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Written by Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinker, Kelly Marcel and Will Beall

When reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) acquires the powers of an alien symbiote, he finds he’s not alone in his own mind and body anymore.

Kelly Marcel is a screenwriter, producer and actress. Her previous screenwriting credits include Fifty Shades of Grey and Saving Mr. Banks.

 

 

5 October

A Thousand Girls Like Me

Directed by Sahara Mani
Written by Giles Gardner and Sahra Mani

Documentary about Kjatera, a 23-year-old Afghan woman, tells the story of how she was sexually abused by her father on national TV. She’s seeking punishment for her perpetrator and to shed light onto the faulty Afghan judicial system.

A Thousand Girls Like Me is Sahara Mani’s first film, as well as writing and directing it she also produced it.

 

Jalouse

Written and Directed by David Foenkinos and Stéphane Foenkinos

A divorced teacher suddenly becomes jealous of everyone, including her daughter, friends and neighbours.

Stéphane Foenkinos is an actor, writer, director and casting director. Jalouse is her second feature film, her first film Delicacy was nominated for Best First Film at the 2012 César Awards.

 

Kusama: Infinity

Directed by Heather Lenz
Written by Heather Lenz and Keita Ideno

Documentary about artist Yayoi Kusama who, along with experts, discuss her life and work.

This is Heather Lenz’s first feature-length documentary, as well as writing and directing it, she also edited and produced it. Kusama: Infinity was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

 

Private Life

Written and Directed by Tamara Jenkins

Author Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and her husband Richard (Paul Giamatti) are going through multiple fertility treatments and it’s putting pressure on their relationship.

New to Netflix, Private Life is Jenkins’ third feature film. She was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for her previous film The Savages (2007).

 

 

12 October

Smallfoot

Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick and Jason Reisig
Written by Karey Kirkpatrick and Clare Sera

Animated adventure about a yeti is convinced that the elusive creatures know as humans, or smallfoots, really do exist.

Clare Sera is an actress, director and screenwriter. Her previous screenplay was the Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler comedy film Blended.

 

Pili

Written and Directed by Leanne Welham

Pili (Bello Rashid) lives in rural Tanzania, working the fields for less than $1 a day to feed her two children and struggling to manage her HIV-positive status in secret. When she is offered the chance to rent a sought-after market-stall, Pili is forced to make increasingly difficult decisions in order to get the stall.

Pili is Leanne Welham’s first feature film as well as writing and directing it she also produced it. Previously she has directed five short films.

 

 

13 October

Make Me Up

Written and Directed Rachel Maclean

Siri wakes to find herself trapped inside a brutalist candy-coloured dreamhouse. Despite the cutesy decor, the place is far from benign, and she and her inmates are encouraged to compete for survival.

Make Me Up is Rachel Maclean’s second feature film. She edited it, acted it and was the production designer for the film.

 

 

19 October

Science Fair

Directed by Cristina Constantini and Darren Foster
Written by Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster and Jeff Plunkett

Documentary about nine high school students from around the world competing in an international science fair.

Science Fair is Cristina Constantini’s first film.

 

Touch Me Not

Written and Directed by Adina Pintilie

A documentary about filmmaker Pintilie as she and her characters venture into a personal research project about intimacy.

Touch Me Not is Adina Pintilie’s first feature film and has won both the Best First Feature Award and the Golden Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year.

 

 

22 October

The Hate U Give

Directed by George Tilman Jr.
Written by Audrey Wells

Starr (Amanda Stenberg) has two lives, one in her community and one in her private school. Those two lives come crashing down when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by a police officer, and Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

Audrey Wells is a screenwriter and director. The Hate U Give is her ninth produced screenplay and it is an adaptation of the critically-acclaimed novel by Angie Thomas.

 

 

26 October

Utøya – July 22

Directed by Erik Poppe
Written by Siv Rajendram Eliassen and Anna Bache-Wiig

Teenager Kaja (Andrea Berntzen) struggles to survive as she searches for her younger sister during the July 2011 terrorist mass murder at a political summer camp on the Norwegian island of Utøya.

Anna Bache-Wiig is an actress and writer. Utøya – July 22 is her first feature film; however, she’s written a number of episodes of the TV show Acquitted which she also starred in.

 

Shirkers

Written and Directed by Sandi Tan

A documentary about Sandi Tan and her co-creators who made Shirkers which could’ve been a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator who disappeared.

Shirkers is Sandi Tan’s first feature-length documentary. As well as writing and directing it, she also edited and produced it.


And that’s it for this month! Thirteen films that are made by women – ooh, thirteen unlucky for some, well it is October! Do let us know what you think of any of these films, or any of the films made by women at the London Film Festival, if you catch them this month.