Box Office: “Maze Runner” finally vanquishes “Jumanji,” “Hostiles” opens wide, but not that well

boxThe tide of YA sci-fi franchises has ebbed, but “Maze Runner” has just enough in it to wash “Jumanji” out of the top spot at the box office, which it has owned since “The Last Jedi” did it’s huge opening and steep fade.

“Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” a Fox series which is now a Disney franchise as the Mouse bought out the Fox, finishes off its trilogy with a pop, if not a bang. A $24 million or so opening on a movie they threw a lot of action and production values at isn’t great, but isn’t terrible.

That’s enough to ensure Universal’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” reboot is off the top of the heap. Universal’s “Fifty Shades Whatever” will open and take over the top spot next weekend. “Jumanji,” for those keeping score at home, is already over $336 million by weekend’s end, and will make up some ground on the going-going-gone “Last Jedi” over the next month ($610 million for that one).

“The Shape of Water” picked up the most Oscar nominations Tuesday and is benefiting by finally having a big weekend. It’s nudged ahead of Oscar contender “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” as of this weekend, though both are clinging to the fringes of the top ten, back to back. $37 or so each. See “Three Billboards,” if you missed it. “Shape?” See what all the fuss is about. Maybe, like me, you’ll scratch your head over that fanboy fave. 

“The Post” and “The Greatest Showman” are doing well enough to suggest that they’re audience favorites that Oscar ignored, among the supposed contenders. “Showman” will have earned $150 million, when all is said and done. Not bad for an original musical written for the screen. Very good, actually. Hugh Jackman should have been nominated for this or “Logan,” no doubt about it.

Movie theater chains AMC and Regal decided that Hollywood proper wasn’t supplying them with content that brings in Red State America, so Entertainment Studios was born, which will release old white conservative red meat like a “Chappaquiddick” movie about Ted Kennedy’s darkest hour, a godawful “Sharknado” looking “Hurricane Heist” (a “Hard Rain” ripoff — effects heist picture) and this weekend, “Hostiles.”

hostiles1It’s a grim, bloody and slow Western starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike and Ben Foster and has opened very very wide, to a $10 million reception and passable reviews. Not from me. Most critics saw this on a DVD “for your consideration” screener, and apparently took a lot of bathroom/snack/phone scrolling breaks that made it fly by. I sat in the theater muttering for Bale to stop mumbling and for all involved in this Scott Cooper bore to “Get ON with it. And remember to RELOAD your six-shooters (they don’t).” Anachronistic politically correct speechifying, a noble turn by Wes Studi, and two hours and 14 minutes in a genre I love, and I was bored out of my non-scalped skull.

“12 Strong” and “Den of Thieves” both opened as well as they were going to and have fallen off 50% or so their second weekend. January isn’t typically a month for major releases, just Oscar holdovers and the odd dumped action or horror title.


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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