Think nothing of the fact that what is, in essence, the first weekend of the holiday movie season is being hailed for saving the “fall” box office. Things have been that bad since August.
When another lame “Madea” movie and a couple of won’t-hit-$100 million “hits” (“Girl on the Train,” “The Accountant”) have strained to get attention and traction, Hollywood will take what it can get.
Critical raves and the fact that comic book movies are the only guaranteed make-bank hits in the repertoire is driving “Doctor Strange” to an $82 million opening weekend. Nice.
He’s relied on his “Cumber-bitches” for his previous success, and that hasn’t done much for Brit Boy Benedict. But put him in a cape and give him a decent villain and there you go. I wonder if word of mouth will drive this one closer to $90 or $100, as I see this dazzling piece of eye candy as Marvel’s “Avatar,” a special effects treat (see it in 3D) that could own the holidays.
“Trolls” is the only animated film since “Storks.” It’s not Dreamworks’ best — not by a mile. Middling reviews greeted it. But it is very small kid friendly, it’s tuneful and is seriously besting estimates ($36-39) by rolling well north of $40 million on its opening weekend.
Mel Gibson went on “Today” and got cuddled by Kathie Lee, tactfully ignoring the anger/anti-Semitism and abuse that made him box office poison. Colbert also gave him “safe space,” and let him make jokes about his drunken and then sober tirades that made him sound unhinged and not a big fan of Jews.
But “Hacksaw Ridge” was always going to succeed or fail by waking up that Clint Eastwood war movie audience — older, whiter, more forgiving of anti-Semitism than say, an actor who tossed a telephone at a hotel clerk. It’s doing just under $15 million this weekend, and “Hacksaw” may have legs. It takes older audiences a while to get around to an “American Sniper” or “Flags of Our Fathers.”
“Boo! A Madea Halloween” is having a life after Oct. 31. It’ll top out near $90 million. That’s better than “Jack Reacher,” “Inferno,” and “Girl on the Train” or “The Accountant.”