DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods: A New Age” topped an anemic domestic box office, grossing just over $2 million in its twelfth week of release. The family film has earned roughly $49 million since it opened last fall. It is eyeing a Presidents’ Day weekend gross of $2.7 million and is playing in 1,890 theaters.
That modest figure was enough to hold off a buzzy new release, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The galvanic look at Black Panther leader Fred Hampton scored rave reviews and opened to $2 million from 1,888 locations. It is projected to gross $2.4 million and should end the weekend in second or third place. The Warner Bros. release is also debuting simultaneously on HBO Max, following in the footsteps of “Wonder Woman 1984” and “The Little Things,” a thriller with Denzel Washington. “Judas and the Black Messiah” is expected to be a major awards season player — it’s attracting Oscars attention for stars Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback and Lakeith Stanfield, as well as for director and co-writer Shaka King. If it snags a best picture nod, “Judas and the Black Messiah” will make history as the first film with an all Black producing team to get the top nomination. The studio is also pleased with the film’s A CinemaScore and the positive social media chatter surrounding the picture, believing it signals “Judas and the Black Messiah” could enjoy some box office longevity despite a slower start.
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“The Little Things,” now in its third week of release, earned $2 million. It will end the holiday with another $2.4 million in the bank, which will mean it will fight for second or third place with “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The thriller, which also stars Jared Leto and Rami Malek, has grossed $10.6 million in three weeks of theatrical release. “Wonder Woman 1984” picked up $1.1 million, which should be enough to capture the fourth or fifth spot on the charts. The superhero sequel has earned since $41.8 million opening in theaters and on HBO Max over Christmas.
Open Road’s “The Marksmen” rounded out the top five, earning $1.1 million. It is expected to gross $1.3 million over the Presidents’ Day holiday and has earned $10.6 million in five weeks of release.
These meager grosses come as the domestic box office has been brutalized by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent closures of cinemas in New York and Los Angeles. The box office was also negatively impacted by winter storms, which swept across the Midwest and are barreling towards the Northeast. The inclement weather was somewhat offset by recent cinema re-openings in the likes of Chicago and Portland.
There were a number of prominent new releases entering the enfeebled marketplace. Focus Features’ “Land,” which marks the feature directorial debut of Robin Wright, netted $940,000 in its opening weekend from 1,231 theaters. It is expected to gross $1.1 million over the four-day holiday. The drama centers on a woman recovering from a near-death experience. It debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to solid reviews.
STX’s “The Mauritanian,” a fact-based legal drama, took in an estimated $144,000 this weekend from 245 venues. It is expected to gross $170,000 for the four-day holiday weekend. The film stars Tahar Rahim and Jodie Foster and tells the story of a man who is detained and imprisoned in Guantanamo without being charged with a crime.
And Bleecker Street’s “The World to Come,” a period drama about two women (Vanessa Kirby and Katherine Waterston) who become romantically involved while living in the 19th century American East Coast frontier, premiered to $42,552. It is expected to bring in an estimated $48,935 over the holiday.
There’s not a lot of hopeful signs for movie theaters which have endured nearly a year of lost business. Sadly, help won’t be on the way. Most of the big blockbusters that were slated to open during the first six months of the year — a group that includes “No Time to Die,” “F9” and “Black Widow” — have moved their release or are expected to get delayed. Until the bulk of the country is vaccinated and cinemas can reopen in major cities, there won’t be much of a theatrical revival in the United States.
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