BOX OFFICE: “Glass”encases a weak winter weekend, “Boy Who Would Be King” doesn’t dazzle, “Serenity” dies peacefully

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The weekend after Oscar nominations are announced is typically limited in terms of new releases, with Oscar nominees taking charge of that “Oscar bounce” owning many spots in the box office top ten.

This year, Universal rolled “Green Book” back into theaters, and it is paying off to the tune of $5 million+. It’s still not the Oscar favorite, but “Roma” isn’t geting any theatrical help, as AMC and Regal Cinemas, the nation’s biggest chains, have refused to roll the Netflix film into theaters pre-Academy Awards. Post-Academy Awards too, I’ll wager.

It’s a TV streaming movie and while Hollywood in general has seen to its own interests in terms of release dates, movies it rolls out on DVD and POD earlier and earlier (“Green Book” will be on video in a week or so.), and day-and-date Direct TV and other VOD releases that also open in theaters, the theater chains do what they can to protest the content providers’ efforts to cut their throats.

I’ve said it many times, when Hollywood gives its top honor to a minor work that belongs on streaming TV, where it began, the game is up for the Oscars and their tie to theatrical release motion pictures.

This weekend will be owned by “Glass,” which should clear the $100 million mark today (Saturday) and win its second weekend in a row with a $16.5 million take.

Fox has high hopes for “The Kid Who Would be King,” a smart, teachable moment kids’ fantasy picture built around a British lad who pulls a sword from a stone (rebar-reinforced foundation piling, actually) who becomes a New Arthur for a troubled age.

Decent reviews buttress this self-aware action film that lightly mocks itself and its connection to such popular fantasy sagas as Harry Potter and “The Lord of the Rings.” It may hit $10 million, which considering it didn’t cost much, is a win. Bit of a letdown, I am sure, for Fox, which screened it often and early and hopes for a bigger payout.

I joked to a friend after we watched “Serenity,” the odd-twist/bad-twist neo-noir potboiler Aviron released wide this weekend, that Hollywood saw the studio and the film’s Chinese financiers coming. Thin plot, an exotic location (Mauritius) to attract two Oscar winners and an Oscar nominee to star in it, and a very silly script which has been critically pounded lead to a movie that won’t out-perform “Green Book.” $5-6 million is the expected take for “Serenity.” The movie’s backers and releasing studio were suckered.

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The last of Oscar nomination help knocks “On Account of Sex” out of the top ten, and “Stan & Ollie’s wide release similarly didn’t benefit from Academy endorsement. Both worthy films, but no buzz — no cash.

“Spider-Man” and “Dragon Ball: Broly” are dueling for the adult animated audience, but “A Dog’s Way  Home” and “Kid Who Would be King,” actual kid movies, will draw more this weekend.

 

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