by Julian Spivey
A lot has been made about how this past weekend was the worst weekend at the box office in nearly two decades. According to boxofficemojo.com, the top 12 movies at the box office this weekend combined to make only $49 million. It’s the worst weekend since late September 2001 when the top 12 films combined to $43.5 million and as you remember nobody wanted to watch movies at that time in America.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” widely panned by critics, finished at the top of the box office heap for the second consecutive week making around $10 million. The highest money-making new film this weekend was the animated “Leap!,” which made around $5 million. Animated family films usually perform well at the box office, but this one had almost no promotion from what I saw.
It’s not too much of a surprise to see a weak performing crop of movies in the last weekend of August, which comes after the big blockbuster summer season and before the award-season really kicks off in late-September/early-October. The box office may even be in for a little more trouble over the Labor Day weekend with nothing really on the horizon. The next sure-fire hit money-wise will be the adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” which hits theaters on Sept. 8. Horror movies almost always perform well at the box office, whether they are good or not.
Many would blame Hollywood for such a poor weekend at the cinema, but I frankly must ask: what the hell is wrong with moviegoers?
Five of the top 10 films at the box office this weekend are certified as fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning they are generally considered really good films by most film critics. Another one of the movies in the top 10, “Annabelle: Creation,” is also favorably reviewed. Now three of the certified fresh movies (“Dunkirk,” “Girl’s Trip” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) have all been in theaters for more than a month and have likely been seen already by most interested in doing so, but two of these movies are “Logan Lucky,” only in its second week, and “Wind River,” which just went into wide release this weekend.
“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” which has topped the box office two straight weeks, was only liked by 39 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes and frankly looks atrocious based on trailers and The Word’s film critic Philip Price didn’t like it at all.
I mostly want to focus on Steven Soderbergh’s “Logan Lucky,” which I absolutely cannot believe wasn’t a box office hit. I must be more out of touch with today’s cinemagoer than I ever thought I was and believe me I knew I was.
I’m not going to review “Logan Lucky,” Philip already gave it a glowing review for this site and 93 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes liked it, as well. Despite this, the movie has only made $15 million in two weeks and just over $4 million this weekend.
I’m more so going to question why you, the movie going audience of America, didn’t have any interest in seeing it. By the way, 77 percent of those who have seen it have liked it, according to the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here’s the biggest reason I thought America would eat up “Logan Lucky” … it stars Channing Tatum. Everybody seems to love Tatum. The ladies especially seem to love him. Of the 4,682 movie goers who’ve rated “Logan Lucky” on IMDb.com only 570 of them are female, though.
Another reason why I thought “Logan Lucky” would be a hit is it’s supporting cast, which includes the incredibly popular Adam Driver and Daniel Craig. That didn’t seem to matter to most. By the way, Craig is a revelation in this movie as down home explosives expert Joe Bang, completely different from anything we’ve ever seen him do on screen before. If you’re used to Craig as James Bond you’ll believe, like me, he’s worthy of an Oscar-nomination for Best Supporting Actor in this film … well, that’s if you ever get around to watching it.
I know it feels like most American moviegoers don’t seem to care or even know who directs the movies they go to see, but Soderbergh came out of a five-year movie making retirement for this film. His films, like “Magic Mike” and the ‘Ocean’s’ trilogy generally perform well at the box office. He’s also an Academy Award-winning director for 2000’s “Traffic” if you care about such things. That means he’s damn good at what he does.
That brings me to another reason why I’m shocked “Logan Lucky” didn’t perform well at the box office … it’s an action, heist comedy in a similar vein as Soderbergh’s ‘Ocean’s’ series. Everybody loves comedies, and this is one of the best I’ve seen in a while, and most people love a decent action film.
Some have brought up that the movie didn’t seem to have the biggest promotion, but I saw quite a few trailers and promos for this film on television in the week or two leading up to its premiere. I’m not sure how much that theory holds weight.
What I really loved about “Logan Lucky” may have been the reason why it didn’t do so well at the box office. The movie is in no way political, but it features a cast of white Southerners acting like white Southerners. It’s a movie featuring hard-working, blue collared people trying hard to get by and attempting to pull one over on the rich folk when they feel they have been screwed. The movie could’ve easily degraded these characters, but it never once did. It doesn’t ever treat them like they’re stupid or second-class citizens. That’s incredibly admirable. I think if a lot of people took the chance on this movie they would see this too and agree. But, the fact that it’s about this group of people that are often treated as laughingstocks, unintelligent or just not attractive to mainstream America may have hurt its appeal.
It may just be bad timing in America for a film like “Logan Lucky.”
It may also have just been that it didn’t feature superheroes or really any hope of Tatum stripping his clothes and gyrating his hips.
Either way, these are dumb reasons not to watch a movie.
But, maybe there’s another reason why cinemagoers are ignoring a good movie, made by an award-winning director, featuring a talented and popular cast? If there is you tell me, because I’m frankly confused and obviously perturbed.