Box Office: “The Post” opens Strong, “Paddington” does not

box1I have been fretting that Fox is mishandling its potential Oscar contender, “The Post,” opening it wide well AFTER its peak hype (early last month). The Golden Globes and other awards nominations, where a very fine film is underperforming, seems to bear that out.

But this weekend, as it finally rolls out wide, Steven Spielberg’s grownup history about a watershed moment in the press’s holding a corrupt government accountable is opening at a healthy $21 million. Or better.  People want to see a movie with veteran film stars telling a story of an intrepid, responsible press going after the Pentagon Papers and their official government “secret” history of the Vietnam War.

Good news.

The bad news comes Warner Brothers’ way, as their latest very fine, delightful children’s film (with yuks for parents, too) “Paddington 2,” is underwhelming. Deadline.com tends to underreport kids’ films and Saturday’s take will be more telling, but $14.15 million is weak. Disney gets an automatic pass due to its reliable brand, Pixar doubles down on that. Both “Paddington” films have been wonderful, warm and mid-winter releases that underwhelmed.  Too British? Too Anglo? Who knows? Everybody should take their tykes to it, and they’re not.

“The Commuter” is doing similar numbers, but it’s not an all-star semi-animated delight for kids. $14 million for Liam Neeson fighting his way through a train.

“Proud Mary” isn’t delivering numbers, and seems like a classic Jan. “dumping ground” release. Screen Gems didn’t preview it for critics (not unusual for them, not at all unusual for a January film) so it has no hype. Taraji P. Henson isn’t that big a name, despite her resume. It won’t hit $10.

“Jumanji” is still the top dog at the box office, proving Kevin Hart can be kid friendly (again, after “Captain Underpants”). It’s heading towards $600 million worldwide.

“Darkest Hour” is the best performing Oscar contender in the top ten, “Three Billboards” got a nice Globes Bounce, “The Shape of Water” has done what it’s going to do and “Phantom Thread” still isn’t in many theaters.

 

 

It’s a m

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