BOX OFFICE: “Harriet” overperforms, “Terminator” doesn’t, “Motherless” “Arctic Dogs” bomb


The only folks toasting the “good news” of the box office take from the first weekend in November are over at Focus Features, where “Harriet” — opening wide — is sprinting to an impressive $11 million or so debut.

It was projected to earn $8 or 9 million, tops. But the marketing of it worked, even if it made the film look like “A Lifetime Original Movie.” I caught it in the only multiplex in “The Last Capital of the Confederacy,” with a decent sized audience, who talked back to the screen and laughed at the most moving moments. The heroine deserved a better movie.

“Terminator: Dark Fate” should end this franchise, even though that was never the intention (damned finale hints at more “story,” the greedy bastards). It was projected to clear $35-44 million, with one prognosticator noting that $30 million would be the definition of “bombed.”

It is staggering towards $28 million and change. A deathly dull sci-fi thriller, it deserved even worse. It will make enough money overseas to tempt Paramount to release another. But they shouldn’t.

Edward Norton spent 20 years getting this New York version of “Chinatown,” “Motherless Brooklyn,” adapted and on the screen. Truth be told, he’s a little old to be playing the young gumshoe with Tourette’s, trying to solve the murder of his mentor and boss (Bruce Willis). Not the biggest failing of the picture (rubbing some of the villainous edge off its version of New York “planning” overlord Robert Moses, played by Alec Baldwin, hurts), but Norton is not the star he was 10 years ago and the box office reflects that.

“Motherless Brooklyn” will be lucky to bank $3 million by midnight Sunday. That’s one third of the already lowball projected take.

Entertainment Studios threw together an animated film with a big-name voice actor cast, and the result looks it. Audiences are avoiding “Arctic Dogs” for the dog it is. It won’t clear much more than $2, maybe close to $3 million.

The fourth weekend of the middling “Addams Family” cartoon will do triple its business, and it’s not like that one was made by a major animation house.



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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