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Box Office: With Jason Statham’s ‘Wrath of Man,’ Summer Movie Season Gets Slow Start

Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures
“Wrath of Man,” a heist thriller starring Jason Statham, is leading box office charts with its $8.1 million debut.

It’s hardly the start to summer movie season, which typically kicks off the first weekend in May, that many theater owners were hoping would ignite with Marvel’s “Black Widow.” (Disney recently moved the release of its superhero tentpole starring Scarlett Johansson from May 7 to July 9). At the very least, it’s something to keep film exhibitors afloat until moviegoing is expected to pick up with Disney’s “Cruella” and Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” at the end of the month, followed by “F9,” the musical “In the Heights” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife” in June.
Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, anticipates the summer box office won’t rebound until “Cruella” and “A Quiet Place Part II” debut on May 28. “The numbers don’t feel yet like summer, but a movie like ‘Wrath Of Man’ can certainly get consumers in the mood for the upcoming summer kickoff on Memorial [Day] weekend,” he said.

In North America, the box office has returned in fits and starts as COVID-19 vaccination rates rise and major movie markets, such as New York City and Los Angeles, loosen capacity restrictions in theaters. That should help cinemas sell more tickets and, in turn, give Hollywood the confidence to roll out big movies. In the meantime, receipts for “Mortal Kombat,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” have been encouraging. Though its momentum has slowed, “Godzilla vs. Kong” crossed $92 million in the U.S. this weekend and has a shot of becoming the first pandemic-era movie to surpass $100 million at the domestic box office.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, “Wrath of Man” represents a pandemic anomaly because it’s having a traditional theatrical release. Unlike “Godzilla vs. Kong” or Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” the MGM film isn’t available simultaneously on a streaming service or digital rental platform. If audiences want to see a vengeful Statham kick ass and take names, the only place to do so is their local theater. Ticket buyers appear to be pleased with their purchase; the film has an “A-” CinemaScore from moviegoers. Critics were less impressed (it holds a 66% average on Rotten Tomatoes), but several reviewers pointed out that plot aside, the action was fun to watch unfold on the big screen.

Overseas, where Miramax is handling distribution, “Wrath of Man” has taken in $17.6 million to date. The movie opens wide in China on Monday.
“Wrath of Man” wasn’t the only new nationwide release. Sony Pictures opened “Here Today,” a comedy with Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal, in 1,200 North American venues. It pulled in $900,000 over the weekend, landing in seventh place on box office charts. Even by pandemic standards, that’s a dismal start for a major studio release featuring two household names in Haddish and Crystal. The film, directed by Crystal, follows the unlikely friendship between an aging comedy writer and an up-and-coming singer and received mixed reviews.

There were several holdover titles that earned considerably more money than “Here Today.” In its 10th weekend of release, ticket sales for Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” increased 25% from the weekend prior. The animated kids movie, which is currently available to rent on Disney Plus for a premium fee, landed in fifth place and added another $1.8 million from 2,315 venues. That brings its domestic tally to $43.8 million.
After three weeks on the big screen, the anime hit “Demon Slayer” slid to second place and pulled in $3 million. It has made $39 million in the U.S. and more than $435 million globally. Falling not far behind, the Warner Bros. video game adaptation “Mortal Kombat” landed in the No. 3 spot with $2.3 million. The movie, which is playing on HBO Max for no extra cost to subscribers, has generated $37.8 million in North America and $72 million worldwide.

“Godzilla vs. Kong,” also from Warner Bros., came in fourth place with $1.9 million. With $422 million at the global box office, the monster mashup has surpassed revenues for its predecessor, the poorly reviewed, mega-budgeted “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” That film, which was released in 2019, tapped out with $386 million.
Among indie releases, Oscilloscope’s “Silo” premiered to $51,689 from 208 screens, translating to $249 per location. The movie also opened this weekend on video on demand platforms. Billed as the first movie about “grain entrapment,” “Silo” is set in a small American farm town. Disaster strikes as a teenage boy gets trapped inside a train silo and faces the potential of getting buried alive.

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