Box Office: “Panther” holds off “Wrinkle in Time,” it’s all Disney this weekend

boxDisney’s diversity strategy in casting its tentpole pictures has been paying off in their approach to “Star Wars.” But the success of their discovery that “Hey, if you cast a broader net and bring in more actors of color, more subsets of the American melting pot might show up to identify with them,” has never been more stark than this weekend, with Disney/Marvel’s “Black Panther” still pulling in over $40 million three weeks after it opened, and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” bellying up to the bar with another $38 million plus.

The more kid-friendly and” critically panned “Wrinkle” may improve its standing on Saturday, family movie day. But there won’t be any tears in Burbank over the drubbing the soulless kid-lit misfire is taking from the reviewing classes.

Their strategy, and the hype that they manufacture for it, is box office gold. And silver. Other studios are sure to take note. More heroines, more actors and directors of color getting breaks. At this point, they’re using diversity as a selling point and a means of getting their movies a break from critics. They want their films grades on the curve.

Because two weak “Star Wars” installments, the garbage trailers for “Solo,” and the simple fact that they didn’t hire the best actors or director for “Wrinkle” made for forgettable, inferior films. Diversity does not guarantee quality, just a broader audience base to appeal to. If you don’t start sweating the OTHER stuff — sharper scripts, executives not afraid to tell a director “Not working out,” or re-cast if the actor’s a stiff, DECISION MAKERS of color — there will be a reckoning and it won’t be lucrative.

The new horror pic that opened this weekend, “The Strangers: Prey at Night,” a sequel, is doing a little light for horror — under $10.

But the crap on crackers being served by startups STX and Entertainment Studios, “Gringo” and “Hurricane Heist,” are both bombing.

“Jumanji” may still crack the top ten one last weekend, “The Shape of Water” is in a lot more theaters, but is getting no real “Oscar bounce.” “The Greatest Showman” is finally off the charts. “Peter Rabbit” will hit $100 million before it disappears.

“Death Wish” and “Annihilation?” Officially bombs.



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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