That preliminary estimate, released by Comscore on Sunday, took into consideration the $175.5 million collected by “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Disney) on the weekend. Hollywood’s 2019 lineup included one behemoth fantasy after another, including “Frozen II” (Disney), “The Lion King” (Disney), “Toy Story 4” (Disney), “Aladdin” (Disney), “Captain Marvel” (Disney) and “Avengers: Endgame” (Disney), which broke attendance records. But moviegoers also rejected a fantastic level of what Hollywood served up. Tom Hooper’s critically reviled “Cats” collapsed on the weekend, collecting $6.5 million at UNITED STATES theaters after costing roughly $100 million to create, excluding marketing expenses. At Hooper’s request, Universal sent theaters a version of “Cats” with slight special effects improvements on the weekend. Ticket buyers gave “Cats” a C-plus grade in CinemaScore exit polls. Misfires from earlier in the entire year included “Dark Phoenix,” the most recent inside the threadbare “X-Men” series; Ang Lee’s ill-advised “Gemini Man,” starring Will Smith; “UglyDolls,” an animated clunker predicated on a toy line; as well as a pop-feminist reboot of “Charlie’s Angels,” with Kristen Stewart.
Nine movies from Warner Bros. “The Goldfinch,” “YOUR KITCHEN,” “Shaft,” “Motherless Brooklyn” and “Richard Jewell,” which gave Clint Eastwood his worst opening weekend as being a filmmaker in four decades. “It’s hard to learn if this can be a secular, permanent phenomenon linked to audience viewing habits or movie title-specific,” said David Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy. The movie business is cyclical, and ending the entire year a couple of hundred million dollars behind 2018 is hardly a catastrophe – not when theaters are competing having a fast-growing selection of streaming services. Perhaps one of the most discussed films of the entire year, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” largely bypassed theaters, playing instead on Netflix. “The Irishman” and two other Netflix films, “Marriage Story” and “BOTH Popes” were showered with Golden Globe nominations. Those three films may also be viewed as major Oscar contenders. Just four percent down? At the same time once the “Star Wars” franchise expanded into live-action television for the very first time with “The Mandalorian” on Disney Plus?
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“Hallelujah,” it is possible to almost hear film executives saying. To compete in theaters, non-franchise films need to be definitive – what Drake called “great stories well told that announce themselves.” “Knives Out,” starring Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas, didn’t bring anything particularly new – it’s an old-fashioned whodunit – nonetheless it was a perfectly executed exemplory case of the genre. “We believe that there’s a false narrative about midrange movies,” Drake said. But in case a movie has flaws, there is absolutely no longer a floor. No quantity of marketing hocus-pocus could convince individuals who “SUNLIGHT CAN BE a Star,” a middling romantic comedy starring Yara Shahidi (“grown-ish”), was worth the trouble and expense of trekking into a theater. Every studio ended the entire year with several hits, including Warner, which struck a cultural nerve with “Joker” ($1.1 billion worldwide). Jennifer Lopez and her savvy stripper friends (“Hustlers,” $157 million) propped up STX.
“Rocketman” ($195 million) helped Paramount go back to annual profitability for the very first time in memory. Jordan Peele’s cerebral horror film “Us” ($255 million), Danny Boyle’s Beatles-oriented “Yesterday” ($151 million) along with the “Fast and Furious” spinoff “Hobbs & Shaw” ($759 million) kept Universal competitive. When all ticket sales are counted, Sony Pictures is likely to function as only studio – apart from Disney – to land two movies in the very best 10. “Spider-Man: DEFINATELY NOT Home,” riding on “Avengers” coattails, collected $391 million in THE UNITED STATES and $1.13 billion worldwide. “Jumanji: ANOTHER Level,” released on Dec. 13, is performing like “Jumanji: Here you are at the Jungle,” which earned $404 million at domestic theaters in 2017. Sony also struck gold with Quentin Tarantino’s “A long time ago … Hollywood” ($372 million worldwide). However, calling the film business healthy will be a stretch. The box office is increasingly split into haves – franchises, mostly aging ones – and have-nots (the rest). Studios churned out an impressive 58 franchise films this season, which consumed 82 percent with the worldwide Hollywood box office, in accordance with Gross’s film consultancy. Eighty-one non-franchise films got the scraps.