Box Office: “Tomb Raider” underwhelms, “Wrinkle” tumbles, “I Can Hardly Imagine” surprises, “Love, Simon” doesn’t

box1Gosh, I got all the info I needed to put out there in the headline, didn’t I?

Oh. Right. “Black Panther” wins another weekend at the box office, is at $460 million US, a phenomenon that just won’t quit, etc. It’s all about Marvel and all the other studios are fighting over chump change.

That includes the prestige house, Warner Brothers. Their MGM co-produced reboot of “Tomb Raider” is riding underwhelming reviews to an “It’ll never see a profit” $23 million weekend. That’s the good news. It was looking like a high teens weekend for the Alicia Vikander take on Lara Croft. The bad news? It cost $90 million. Not “Avengers” money, but it will have to make a bundle overseas just to break even.

Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions didn’t have faith in their no-budget Christian music bio-drama, “I Can Only Imagine.” They spent $7 million on it (they say, and it shows) and did not preview it for critics. Opening night (Thursday), the Regal Cinema I showed up at to see it was giving away two theaters worth of tickets. A word-of-mouth strategy that they didn’t advertise, and is quite curious (Christian film festivals do that, but Hollywood studios and Big Cinema Chains?).

I am guessing that won’t count in the film’s robust showing –$14 million opening weekend. But they were handing out tickets, maybe SOMEbody was paying for them, so maybe walk-ups not paying for a movie were going for free and they’re counting that as “tickets sold by popular demand.” I certainly did. “Group Buys” by, in this case, Full Sail University? That’s what the posters said at the giveaway tickets table. Interesting. Fishy.  

simon1For “Love, Simon,” Fox Searchlight did just the opposite. They previewed and previewed and previewed it. They had a “paid” preview last Saturday night. Audiences bought tickets and saw it a week in advance. It is opening at a middling $12-13 million, and didn’t cost much, so it’s a wash. Kind of a dated, underwhelming coming out romance, but Fox says liberal and tolerant big city kids (including Orlando) are showing up, and that counts.

“A Wrinkle in Time” dropped on its second weekend — a 48% plunge, not awfully steep, but hardly enough to warrant Warners hiring director Ava DuVernay to pilot a future DC Universe franchise, which was announced this week. Mediocring her way to the top, the Hollywood way! Disney’s heavily-hyped “Wrinkle” will be over $60 million by midnight Sunday. Not where they wanted or needed to be, but if it holds like this into April, well — we’ll just see.


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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2 Responses to Box Office: “Tomb Raider” underwhelms, “Wrinkle” tumbles, “I Can Hardly Imagine” surprises, “Love, Simon” doesn’t

  1. Rebecca says:

    ” Funny ” how critics are trashing ” I Can Only Imagine “. It was a really good movie ( I am a movie junkie – going almost every week ) . The theater was packed – not an empty seat – with the audience clapping at the end. So much for ” critics”. I don’t think many people give any credence to the critics anymore .

    • Critics see everything. You went to this because you love the song (meh) or the message. I see the directors as hacks, the acting lacking. Regal was giving away tickets at the multiplex I attended. It is already a hit in any event. Crap movie, but to each her or his own.

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