Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks, arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game—right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this game—nor Brooks —are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they've ever had… or game over.
February 23rd, 2018 (Wide)
R for language, sexual references and some violence. (Rating bulletin 2506 (Cert #51364), 12/13/2017)
For the first time ever, the top two films at the weekend box office were both directed by African-American directors. That’s amazing and should be the big story. Unfortunately for A Wrinkle in Time, the big story is Black Panther’s continued box office dominance, as that film earned first place over Wrinkle with $40.82 million to $33.12 million. Disney should be happy with both results. The only other new release that didn’t bomb was The Strangers: Prey at Night, which earned third place with $10.40 million, which is excellent for a low-budget horror movie. The less said about The Hurricane Heist and Gringo, the better. Overall, the box office fell 8.3% from last weekend to $138 million. Compared to this weekend last year, the box office fell 16%. Year-to-date, 2018 has earned $2.27 billion, which is still 8.3% or $170 million ahead of 2017’s pace. That lead could be cut in half by this time next week.
Black Panther keeps beating expectations to the point where it is my fault for not being overly optimistic. This past weekend, it earned $66.31 million, becoming the third fastest film to reach $500 million. The two new releases weren’t bad either. Red Sparrow earned second place while Death Wish wasn’t that far behind in third. Overall, the box office still fell 24% from last weekend, earning $147 million. It was also down from this week last year last year by a similar 22% margin. Year-to-date, 2018’s lead shrunk by almost exactly $10 million, but we still have a $220 million / 12% lead over 2017 at $2.09 billion to $1.87 billion. That lead will shrink dramatically over the next few weeks.
March will begin the same way February ended, with Black Panther on top of the box office. The two new releases, Red Sparrow and Death Wish, might not make as much over the full weekend as Black Panther will earn on Friday. This weekend last year, Logan opened with $88.41 million, while Get Out held on better than expected with $28.24 million. There’s little chance 2018 will be able to beat that at the top, so 2018’s winning streak might come to an end.
Almost everyone expectedBlack Panther to earn first place over the weekend. I doubt there were many people who expected this. The film fell just 45% earning $111.66 million for a ten-day total of $403.61 million, helping the film make appearances on a number of record charts, including; second biggest second weekend of release, second fastest to $400 million, etc. The new releases matched expectations, more or less, with Game Night earning second place and coming within a rounding error of our prediction. Overall, the box office earned $192 million. This is 33% lower than last weekend; however, this is a good hold for a post-holiday weekend. Compared to last year, the box office was up by 55% and this is a much more important number. Year-to-date, 2018 has a 14% / $230 million lead over 2017, at $1.88 billion to $1.65 billion. This is great news at this point of the year, but we really need to stretch that lead to over $300 million in the next two plus weeks, before we are dealing with Beauty and the Beast, if we can’t, then this lead could evaporate before the end of March.
Three wide releases are attempting to take on Black Panther at the box office; none will be successful. Game Night is the widest release of the week and its reviews are amazing. Annihilation is barely opening in 2,000 theaters, but its reviews are even better. Then there’s Every Day, which is just hoping to not get lost in the crowd. All three new releases combined won’t earn half as much as Black Panther will earn this weekend, so the real competition for the returning box office champ is this weekend last year. Get Out debuted with $33.38 million, while the total box office was $123.61 million. Black Panther won’t get to $123.61 million, but it should do well enough to keep 2018 significantly ahead of 2017.
2018 got off to a good start and January more or less held its ground when compared to 2017. There were some misses, but surprise holdovers made up the difference. Looking forward, February will be dominated by Black Panther. In fact, it will very likely make more during its opening weekend than the second place film, Fifty Shades Freed, will likely make in total. Black Panther likely won’t break records, but it could come close, while Fifty Shade Freed and Peter Rabbit both have a 50/50 shot at $100 million. Last February, The Lego Batman Movie both earned $175 million, while Fifty Shades Darker earned over $100 million. Black Panther will easily beat any film from last February; in fact, it could earn more than the top two films earned combined. As long as the rest of the box office isn’t a complete disaster, February should help 2018 earn a significant edge over 2017 in the year-over-year comparisons.
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