Aquaman is the little film that could. After a domestic debut that some called a failure the film is now the top grossing DC Cinematic Universe film as it has now earned $940.7 million worldwide and will be the first of that film universe to cross $1 billion (though not the first DC related film).
This past weekend the film earned an estimated $30.7 million to come in first place for the third weekend. It has now earned $259.7 million domestically which is about what Wonder Woman did after the same time period. Wonder Woman went on to gross $407.2 million domestically to be the highest grossing domestic film of the DC Cinematic Universe.
Internationally is where the film has really taken off adding another $56.2 million this past weekend from 79 markets to bring its international total to $681 million.
The film is the top of the new batch of DC films beating the previous king Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by nearly $70 million and that will only expand. As far as all films based on DC Comics, it currently ranks third behind The Dark Knightand The Dark Knight Rises. It will need about $150 million to become the highest grossing DC film of all time worldwide and it will likely cross $1 billion. The film still hasn’t opened in Japan and will do so in February 8. That’s the last key market to see release.
In second place was a new film Escape Room which opened with $18 million off of a $9 million budget. Opening weekend audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore and demographics had with the crowd split 50/50 between men and women and 53% aged 25 years or older.
In third place was Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns which brought in $15.8 million to bring its domestic total to $138.7 million. Internationally the film added $23 million to bring that total to just below $120 million for a worldwide total of $257.9 million. It opens in Japan on February 1 and in Korea on February 14.
Fourth and fifth place was close with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse holding on to fourth with an estimated $13 million to bring its domestic total to $133.9 million. It added $11.7 million overseas to bring that total to $141.5 million and $275.4 million worldwide. The recent Golden Globe win should boost the film’s box office over the next week or two and a likely Oscar win will do the film well.
In fifth place was Bumblebee which added $12.8 million to its domestic total to bring that to $97.1 million. Internationally the film added $82.7 million to its total with China bringing in $59.4 million in its debut. The international total stands at $192 million with it opening in Japan on March 22, its final key market.
We’ll back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic adaptations.
Well, 2018 was quite a year. While I didn’t have a hard time picking my top five favorite films of the year, what I was surprised by was the “big middle” of everything I saw this year. Of the hundreds of movies I saw between theaters, film festivals, and originals thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, my average for everything I rated was a 3.461765 stars (out of 5). And while I only had a single 5 star movie (spoiler, it’s my #1), my most common rating for the year was a 4.5 (15 films) and a 3.5 (14 films). In terms of raw scores, my #36 isn’t that far off of my #6. That’s all to say we had a lot of really good movies– mixed with a few truly greats.
Because of that (call it indulgent, IDC) I’m giving you my Top 40, just like Casey Kasem back in the day.
The Top 40- 11: (if you skip these to get to the top ten I won’t be offended)
40. Operation Finale – Oscar Isaac leads a Mossad team to take down Adolf Eichman (Ben Kingsley) are you kidding me?!? Had to see this. File under: Jews kicking ass. 39. Overlord – the corollary to #40, but a black paratrooper taking out crazy Nazi scientists doing superhuman experiments. Reminds us Nazis are the bad guys. 38. The Rachel Divide-A Netflix documentary about Rachel Dolezal, mostly in her own words, the activist who claims she is trans-racial. It’ll make you think. 37. Ready Player One– This was my 13 yr old daughter’s favorite movie of the year. It reminds us that fun Spielberg is fun. 36. Ralph Breaks the Internet – It makes the list just for the Disney princess scene and “A Place Called Slaughter Race.” 35. A Simple Favor – Heavy on style, Anna Kendrick plays up the fun angle with director Paul Feig as a mommy blogger whose new best friend disappears. There’s a fun sort of “true crime” type mystery with the comedy here. 34. Mandy– this movie feels like a relic of another time — specifically, the 80’s with definite hints of Heavy Metal — and feels like it was made under the influence of a lot of drugs as Nicholas Cage takes revenge on a crazy cult who murdered his wife.
33. BlackkKlansman – I should’ve loved this movie more, but its weird tacked-on ending sort of blew it, and only in one shot in the entire movie did it feel like this was the same Spike Lee who gave us Do the Right Thing. 32. Quincy – Rashida Jones gives us the most intimate look at her father, master composer Quincy Jones. A great watch on Netflix. 31. Deadpool 2 – It’s a Deadpool movie. It’s great. 30. Widows – It’s a high stakes, high concept heist movie with an amazing female cast and political intrigue. It’s great. 29. Mary Poppins Returns – I love Mary Poppins. And Lin Manuel Miranda. It’s not as immediately classic as the original, but who expected it to? Emily Blunt is still amazing. And it’s great. 28. Hereditary – This is the movie that stuck with me the longest. Still, thinking about this movie makes me want to turn on all the lights in my house. Also, an amazing acting job by Toni Collette. 27. Number 37 – A movie you probably never heard of! I caught this gem at SXSW and fell in love. A South African slum gangland take on Rear Window by a first time black female director. Yes please. 26. RBG – This was a great year for documentaries. This one on the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg checks all my boxes. 25. Incredibles II – This sequel to one of the greatest animated movies of all time (and one of the greatest superhero movies of all time) did some really amazing things thanks to director Brad Bird,, but the ending took it down a few notches. But the fact that this ended up at 25 tells you just how competitive this year was. 24. Blindspotting – Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal‘s tale of police violence, Oakland, and hip hop was a little too pat in its ending, but was otherwise masterful. A main reason Oakland ended up on my list of “Who won 2018?”
23. Searching – We’ve now seen several of these movies where they’re told only through what we can see on the screen of a computers. Like found footage, there are good and bad, and this is a good one. John Cho and Debra Messing deliver powerful performances in a story about trying to piece together the mystery of a missing daughter through her social media footprint, intertwined with a father losing touch with his daughter in the age of screens. 22. Bad Times at the El Royale – This might’ve ended up higher on the list if it had delivered more on substance over style, but this was still pretty amazing. And that soundtrack! 21. Minding the Gap – An amazing documentary about young adults growing up as friends in a rust belt town as skate punks and how life and domestic abuse has kept them back. Fascinating and maybe a bit too real. 20. A Quiet Place – Wow. Nothing quite shocked audiences as much as this, as well as exposed the worst theater-goers in America. Shut up or the monsters win! One of several reasons why I said Emily Blunt and John Krasinski won the year of 2018. 19. Leave No Trace – Props to writer/director Debra Granik and to amazing performances by Ben Foster and breakout star Thomasin McKenzie in this heartwrenching look at a dad dealing with PTSD who lives a solitary existence off the grid in the woods with his young teen daughter. Of course, when Child Protective Services finds out. . . well, you’re not exactly allowed to do that. And drama ensues. (18.- tie) The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – There’s a debate as to whether this is a movie, as it is currently being presented by Netflix, or a tv miniseries, which was how the Coen Brothers originally pitched it. This is peak Coen in all their forms, but if this is a movie, this is where it would fall. 18. Mission Impossible: Fallout– Finally it feels like writer/director Christopher McQuarrie leveled up his directing to the level of his writing ability. The perfect summer movie, even if I liked a few other movies from the summer of ’18 a little more. 17. Annihilation – Along with Hereditary, this was the movie that stuck with me (in my nightmares). Astounding visuals and an amazing ending, and an amazing cast. 16. Avengers: Infinity War – We knew we’d get to this eventually, right? There isn’t much more to add. Bring on 2019’s conclusion and Captain Marvel.
15. Upgrade – Done on a tiny budget, this movie packs a punch of a $150 million blockbuster. Brutal, fun, and thoughtful. 14. Vice– Dear Writer/Director Adam McKay, Don’t lie– you made this movie just for me to enjoy, right? Built to my tastes? The fact this isn’t in my top 10 (it would be in any other year) says a lot about the other films on this list. 13. The Favourite– Dear Writer/Director Yourgos Lanthimos, Same Question. Also, thanks for bringing back the fish-eye lens. 12. Crazy Rich Asians – I haven’t wholeheartedly loved a romantic comedy like this in ages. Just pure fun, and its stellar cast is amazing. 11. Won’t You Be My Neighbor – The movie most likely to make me cry in 2018. This is just sheer goodness. Again, how is this not in my top 10?
The answer is because those movies in my top 10 are just so great themselves. Here you go, without any further ado:
“We are alone. No matter what they tell you, we women are always alone.” A beautiful film by one of the best directors working today, Alfonso Cuaron. An ode to his maid, growing up in an upper-middle class house in Mexico City, this has some of the most beautiful and thoughtful cinematography of any film. The fact that it’s in black and white should also be telling. Even more importantly, the fact that Netflix is going to be in the mix for a Best Picture this year should have every movie studio quaking in their boots. If you watch this at home in your pajamas instead of in a theater, no one will think less of you, or at least I won’t. Just watch it.
9. Hearts Beat Loud
Without a John Carney movie musical around for me to adopt this year as one of my favorites, I went with this one. Nick Offerman owns a record shop and tries to connect with his daughter who is about to leave for college through playing music together, when she falls in love with her first serious girlfriend. She writes a great song, they put it on Spotify, it gets some notice… and more. Just beautiful performances, great music, and a movie about love and family. Also, Ted Danson as a bartender.
Wait, what? Who? This documentary about the women behind the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua is one of my favorite documentaries of the year in a year with amazing documentaries. (This isn’t the last one in my list) I first saw this at SXSW and fell in love. You will too if you can find a way to see this.
7. Paddington 2
There isn’t a better word for this film than just “charming,” or perhaps “nice” or “good.” This is comfort food you didn’t think you needed. It will heal your soul and fill you with good cheer. Also? Hugh Grant for Best Supporting Actor.
6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Dear Sony, THIS is what you should be doing with your extended Spider-Man universe instead of. . . well, Venom. Every single one of your spider-personas in the film was perfect, but especially Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales. Peter Parker means a lot to so many of us. But it’s great that there are others who can take up that mantle: Spider-Man isn’t an everyman unless literally anyone could be him, regardless of age, gender, race, or species. This new, fresh take is so important, but so so is this animation. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I can’t wait to see more. More Miles and Spider-Gwen please! And Spider-Ham and Spider-Man Noir. Ok, just all of them.
This was another movie I adopted as a favorite ever since seeing it at SXSW. I can’t state this enough: as a father of a 13 year old girl, this is the most true depiction of what her life is like that I have ever seen. The rest of my favorites don’t seem to be getting much notice for major awards, so I’ll be pulling heavily for writer/director Bo Burnham and especially breakout star Elsie Fisher.
4. First Reformed
I sadly missed this at SXSW, and only recently caught up with it. I wish someone had grabbed me by the lapels sooner and made me watch it. What I dreaded as homework and maybe another stolid but off-putting performance by Ethan Hawke I instead found a complex narrative about faith, pain, moral imperatives, and a Christian view of our responsibility to take care of the earth. That REALLY checks a lot of boxes for me. “Will God forgive us?” Not if you don’t see this movie, she won’t.
Here it is. The big kahuna. The mothership. The single largest, most important piece of pop culture phenomenon in America for 2018. I literally de-friended a few fellow critics on Facebook because they didn’t like this movie, and when I pressed them for why, their reasons were bull$#!t and a cover for racism. If you can’t appreciate the filmmaking prowess on display here by Ryan Coogler, you have no business calling yourself a film critic.No other Marvel film has ever felt so little like it came off the assembly line. No other feels crafted quite so carefully, so deftly, with precision in every shot, in the delivery of every line. And to that, we have to give credit to this amazing cast. Michael B. Jordan is the greatest Marvel villain, and when he demands to see the Wakandan sunset, and die rather than live in chains, my heart breaks every time. “Show them who you are!” You did, Black Panther, you did.
2. Three Identical Strangers
This documentary came out of nowhere and astounded me. Sold to me as a story of three identical triplets adopted by different families who reunite by happenstance seemed like it would just be a fun little romp. Oh, cool! Nature vs. nurture– look at all the similarities between these boys even though they were separated at birth. And then. . . you find out what’s really going on. There’s a crazy twist that I still won’t reveal because not enough people have seen this. But once you find out, it will challenge everything you think you know about nature vs. nurture, no matter which side of the debate you are on.
1. Sorry to Bother You
This is the best movie of the year and the only film I gave 5 stars out of 5 to. Is it, in fact, a perfect movie? No. But, it’s so audacious in what it is trying to do that I will forgive any small problems it may have. And what this tries to do is skewer the intersection of class and race, delivering a stunning repudiation of Bay Area neoliberalism and technocracy. This is about the closest we get to Terry Gilliam, Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry doing a woke black power narrative, and it is fantastic. I heard from a lot of folks that liked this movie ok, until the ending, which they hated. To me, the ending was perfect and what made this so audacious– I, usually silent in most movie screenings, literally gasped, “What the f@$%?!!?!” As crazy as it was, it fit with the film’s themes and made me love it even more. For being that willing to reach for it — no compromises — this was my favorite of the year.
So, that’s it. What do you think? You may have noticed some pretty big snubs in there. Some of those were intentional, some of those I never got around to see. Tell us what you loved and what you think I missed, overrated, underrated down in the comments.
While I also have a top and bottom list of the movies of 2018, I love things outside of movies, too. Indeed, so much of what has happened in 2018 has been outside of movies, or blurring the lines between what movies and television even are with Netflix bringing us things like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the first of whach was originally planned as a tv miniseries, and the latter is just. . . well, what even is Bandersnatch?
So, regardless of medium, here are my Top 5 favorites of everything.
5. Educated: A Memoir
This book hit a lot of lists of the top books of 2018 (including culture critic Barack Obama’s), but it hit especially close to home for me because, like author Tara Westover, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her story of growing up kept out of public education was too familiar to me, as survivalism and mistrust of public schools were something I encountered too frequently. This is the same anti-intellectual stew that spawned Glenn Beck and the Bundys’ ranch standoff/takeover of the Malheur Bird Refuge. But Westover’s memoir is a testament to what happens when this is taken to the extreme, to the point that as an adult she had never heard of the Holocaust. It’s a great read and my favorite book of the year.
4. Detroit: Become Human
Ok, there may have been “better” games than this in 2018. (God of War, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II) But this story of a near-future where androids begin to gain sentience and their struggle for equality was my personal favorite. It almost wasn’t a video game– it was an interactive movie.
This is one of those games where the choices you make affect the outcome of the game, and you get to choose the fate of a revolution. Will your quest for equality for androids be violent, or non-violent? What are the consequences for the other characters you’re playing as?
This hit me right in my social-justice and robot-loving heart, and also had beautiful gameplay featuring a spectacular cast of actors.
3. Sorry to Bother You
Spoiler Alert: this was my favorite movie of 2018. First time director Boots Riley delivers a searing indictment of capitalism and racial expectations, exposing a sort of gonzo form of racial exploitation that is a perfect intersectional skewering of the nexus of race and class.
It’s very rare for a movie to surprise me, and this made me literally say to the screen, “What the f@#$?!?!“
This was the only film I gave five stars to all year, and it’s something you have to see to believe.
2. Hannah Gadsby – Nanette
I had never heard of Australian comic Hannah Gadsby before this year, so imagine my shock in watching a Netflix special in which she announces her retirement from comedy and then proceeds to deconstruct what comedy is, blow it up, and put it back together again– all told against the backdrop of a heartbreaking childhood story of coming to terms with her queer identity. I never thought anything could make me feel such a rainbow of emotions over such a short period of time. This wasn’t just a comedy special — in the same way Childish Gambino’s “This is America” wasn’t just a music videos. Those were pop culture grenades tossed into the heart of the beast that blew everything up.
1. The Good Place
More than anything else this year, The Good Place ruled my heart and mind. I have not anticipated a broadcast television show like this in a long time, and in between seasons and episodes so many binges of previous seasons.
The best thing about this show that is sorta about the afterlife but kinda mostly about ethics but really just about us dirtbags here on earth and how we treat each other is how it keeps reinventing itself almost every six episodes or so. The show’s writers seem to be laboring under the idea that at some point the network is going to figure out the scam they’ve been running and pull the plug, so we’d better get through as much of this plot as possible. Where most shows would drag out their premise, this races through multiple setups in a single season. It’s refreshing, it’s smart, but it’s also stupid.
This season’s episodes “Jeremy Bearimy” and “Janets” deserve ALL THE EMMYS, especially for acting from Janet herself, D’Arcy Cardon. If you saw them, you know why. If you didn’t see them, what are you waiting for?! To Netflix! To Hulu! Begin the binge now!
It’s the best show on tv– fight me. It’s the best thing from 2018– let’s be friends and watch it together, will you please? It will make you laugh and feed your soul. Also, it has its own official podcast, hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn, who ends every episode asking, “What’s good?”
The Good Place. It is good. And the best for 2018.
So, Who Won the Year?
I also like to look back at the year look for threads, throughlines, trends that indicate something. Invariably there are big winners and losers in the year. I want to quickly celebrate the top winners.
Honorable Mention: Nicholas Cage
Despite being somewhere between an internet meme and a pariah, Nick Cage still gets some pretty amazing work this year. His starring role in Mandy is like a cocaine-fueled horror fantasy made in the 80’s and then set to age for three decades soaking in LSD. But then he also showed up in the cartoons in some of the most unexpected places: as Spider-Man Noir in Into the Spider-Verse and as Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. We’re glad to see him working.
Other honorable mentions: Donald Glover, Streaming Services, Steve Carrell, Mahershala Ali, Dolph Lundgren, Michael B. Jordan
This was a good year for cults in movies and tv. Mandy, Bad Times at the El Royale, Wild Wild Country, and Hereditary. Also, the bizarre stories about real life sex cult NXIVM that involved Smallville‘s Allison Mack. So, way to go, cults? At least you have some diversity here– Jesus, Satan, new age, but all of them were big on sex, So, sex cults. Way to win 2018.
4. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski
These two not only had an amazing year, but they did it together. Blunt killed it as Mary Poppins, Krasinski brought Jack Ryan back, and then you have their on-screen duo in A Quiet Place. That movie was such a revelation– mostly about how terrible mainstream movie audiences are at making noise. But in a year when almost every top-grossing film was a sequel, franchise, or remake, A Quiet Place was a true original. Thanks to both of you. You won the year.
3. Comicsgate and the Alt-Right
Now hear me out. I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but the alt-right actually accomplished a decent amount this year, and it’s completely unacceptable. James Gunn is still fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Chuck Wendig was fired from Star Wars/Marvel comics. And, they raised a lot of money through crowdfunding for various ventures.
These guys aren’t playing around. And as long as they keep weaponizing things like offensive tweets, we will lose great creators from our favorite genres.
2. Asian Movie-going Audiences
Look, America, we need to understand that most movies aren’t being made for us anymore. We can decry as braindead anything like The Meg, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Skyscraper, Aquaman, Rampage, or Venom, but those movies kill overseas. There are very specific motifs and types of shots that work there that we as American audiences just aren’t picking up. This is going to have reverberations for years to come.
What’s the major difference? You can make a strong argument for diverse casts and female leads — giving us hits like Black Panther or The Last Jedi — but those movies generally just sort of do ok overseas while overperforming in the US.
That says something comforting about our country and culture at this time. But it says some things that should maybe be concerning that we won’t get complex stories like these in the future while we spit out more Venoms.
Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this is the alt right crusaders who don’t want diversity in our movies, shows, and comics will find common cause with the globalists who will continue to churn out lots of braindead action movies starring heroic dudes. Sigh.
But let’s talk about Black Panther for one moment. It’s arguably the most culturally salient and important piece of pop culture of the year, with Infinity War not far behind. For all their evils as a corporate overlord, we got something truly important for a lot of people to see — an authentically black superhero story that deals with identity, a history of violence and oppression towards the African diaspora, and that leaves us remember that “in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”
When the box office receipts went off the charts, you gave back– founding an actual charity to do the work of STEM education and scholarships like T’Challa and Shuri wanted. Thank you, Disney. For an evil corporation, you sure gave us a lot of what we loved this year. You win.
[tie] 1. The City of Oakland
Speaking of Black Panther, one of the most important pieces of the film is how director Ryan Coogler brought his Oakland roots into the film. That moment when you realize the voiceover from the beginning of the film is of young Erik and his dad N’Jobu (“Tell me a story of home.”) and the entire basis for Killmonger’s wrath is based on the economic oppression of being raised in poverty in Oakland and what he had to do to escape it. It ends with a hopeful note in the same building, that future children will not have to face such hardship. “Who are you?”
I already mentioned my love of Sorry to Bother You, but that film is not possible without Oakland as a backdrop. The same is true of another of my favorites, Blindspotting, which takes a similar look at poverty, gentrification, and violence. And then we have Bodied, the rap battle movie produced by Eminem, which plays a major part in the film, but whose setting is split between Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Still, Oakland as a force is in that film.
And then there’s real life. The Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship. A white woman calls the cops on a black family having a cookout at an Oakland city park at Lake Merritt and becomes known as “BBQ Becky.”
And then heartbreak. The Oakland Raiders plan to leave for Las Vegas looking for more corporate pork and handouts.
To understand what is going on in Oakland in film and culture is to understand a microcosm of what is happening in so many cities across the country facing gentrification and economic pressures that are displacing historically black populations. It is why I recommend to everyone they see each of these films I mentioned here and think about what is actually happening.
It’s not surprising, but Aquaman won the weekend for the second in a row with an estimated $51.6 million and a drop of just 23.5%, the smallest of the DC Cinematic Universe as well as any Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Most DC films drop in the high 60% range in the second week, with Wonder Woman being the exception with the low 40s. Marvel films tend to drop in the mid-50% range in the second weekend. This would indicate that little competition and positive word of mouth are driving the film and DC’s late year gamble is paying off. While the film would fit right in during the summer popcorn film season, this time of year it’s counter-programming to the usual Oscar/adult focused films.
The film has now earned $188.8 million domestically. International earnings is the real story of the film. This past weekend the film earned an estimated $85.4 million from 78 markets to bring its international total to $560 million and a worldwide total of $748.8 million.
The movie is currently third when it comes to worldwide earnings for the DC Cinematic Universe with about $73 million between it and second place Wonder Woman and $125 million between it and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It will likely pass both by the time its run is over. It still has to open in Italy on January 1 and Japan on February 8.
Mary Poppins Returns delivered an estimated $28 million in its second weekend, a 19% improvement from the previous weekend. It has earned $98.9 million so far domestically. Internationally the film added an estimated $28.9 million from 37 markets for an international total just shy of $75 million. It opens in Australia and Russia next weekend.
In third was Bumblebee which dropped just 5% in its second weekend. It earned an estimated $20.5 million to bring its domestic total to $66.7 million. The film has a very positive word of mouth so its struggles are likely due to the competition of Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Internationally, the film is playing in 55 markets and earned an estimated $45.7 million for an international total of $90 million. It opens in China on January 4 and in Japan on March 22. China is where the film will likely rake in the dollars and catch up to expectations.
In fourth place was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which saw a 11.2% improvement from the previous weekend. It earned an estimated $18.3 million in its third week to bring its domestic total to $103.6 million. Internationally, the film added an estimated $27.4 million from 60 markets to bring that total to $109.6 million and a worldwide total of $213.2 million. The film still has Brazil to open which happens January 10 and Japan on March 28.
Rounding out the top five was The Mule which improved 24% from the previous weekend bringing in an estimated $11.8 million and a domestic total of $60 million.
We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic adaptations and how they’re shaking out in a record setting year.
Aquaman won the weekend box office hitting the lower end of expectations and earning an estimated $67.4 million over the three-day weekend. When you add in the $4.7 million from the Amazon Prime showings from the previous weekend it stands at $72.1 million domestically. It’s expected to earned around $105 million over its five days which ends on Christmas.
The film received an “A-” CinemaScore from opening day audiences and played to an audience that was 55% male and 58% aged 25 or older. It also has an 86% rating on RottenTomatoes from the audience as of this writing.
The film was #1 worldwide adding $91.3 million from overseas and 70 markets. Its international total now stands at $410.7 million bringing its worldwide total to $482.8 million. The film is tracking higher than previous DC Universe films driven by the foreign box office. It still has to open in Australia, Italy, and Japan which opens February 8.
In second place was Mary Poppins Returns which earned an estimated $22.2 million and is looking to bring in about $31 million over the five days. This is about expectations and the film received an “A-” CinemaScore and an audience that was 59% female with 61% of the opening crowd aged 25 years and older.
Internationally the film earned an estimated $20.3 million from 17 markets. The film expands further next weekend into Mexico, Denmark, Finland, Norway with more in early January, Australia and Russia, and February debuts in Japan and South Korea.
In third place was Bumblebee which brought in $21 million over the three days. That again is expectations and the film should do well due to strong reviews. It’s expected to bring in about $32 million over the five days. The film received an “A-” CinemaScore.
Internationally the film opened in 38 markets with an estimated $31.1 million. Next week the film expands into 17 more markets including France, UK, Brazil, Korea, and Spain. In January it opens in China. It then opens March 22 in Japan.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse dropped to fourth with an estimated $16.7 million to bring its domestic total to $64.8 million. The second weekend dip was 53% which is a bit higher than expected but it also has a lot of competition. The film opened in China debuting at #1 with an estimated $26.1 million. Worldwide the film brought in $38 million internationally and its foreign earnings now stands at $64.8 million. The film opens in Mexico and Italy December 25, Brazil on January 10, and Japan on March 28.
Rounding out the top five was The Mule which added $9.5 million to its domestic total to bring that to $35.6 million.
In other comic films…
Once Upon a Deadpool came in at #17 for the weekend dropping from the previous #11. It added $775,000 to its total which stands at $5.7 million. At the foreign box office the film has earned $993,967. Those totals are being added to the original film’s totals.
We’ll be back in an hour for a deeper dive into this year’s comic adaptations.
Mary Poppins Returns is the Practically Perfect sequel in almost every way, but it’s potentially pandering to fans. What is almost a beat for beat and scene-by-scene song by song remake of the original, it’s a remake in sequel’s clothing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
After all, that is essentially what The Force Awakens was for Star Wars. But there are enough differences and updates to keep it fresh and make it fun and new.
Chief among these is its cast. Emily Bluntis Mary Poppins. Period. And the way she puts an extra bit of pizzazz on so much of her delivery helps set this Poppins apart from Julie Andrews’ performance. Blunt’s is a bit more playful and mischievous, but also at the same time more serious and menacing. Julie Andrews’ Poppins was nurturing, Blunt’s Poppins is just straight badass.
Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack The Lamplighter falls into Dick Van Dyke’s shoes as the “Bert” of this story, and he’s having an incredible amount of fun here. You can tell this is someone who has dreamed of being in a big Disney musical like this his entire life, and he’s soaking up every moment that he can. Unfortunately, just like with Van Dyke, his American accent bites through the attempt at Cockney, exposing a small gap in the performance. When the songs require Miranda to fall into his rap delivery that Hamilton and In the Heights fans are so familiar with, Miranda’s natural timbre and delivery come out and he’s just Lin-Manuel Miranda — not some cockney lamplighter.
The Banks children are also just perfectly adorable. They couldn’t have been better cast if Disney were to have assembled them in a factory somewhere, which I always, in fact, fear that Disney has done. Little Georgie (Joel Dawson) especially is a particularly great find.
And Ben Wishaw and Emily Mortimer are no slouches as the grown-up Jane and Michael Banks either. Wishaw delivers some of the more tender moments of the film, singing about the loss and grief of losing his wife, the children’s mother. It is with this that Mary Poppins Returns sets itself apart from the original. While Mary Poppins (1964) was morally complex, layered, and beautiful, it never sought to delve into something as emotional as loss of a primary family member. The way the film deals with this is endearing and beautiful, and hopefully will be a salve to any children who face this incredible trauma in the future.
The visuals are also phenomenal. Mary Poppins’ first adventure with the children is to get them clean. In an outing in their own bathtub they swim with playful dolphins and through pirate treasure in some of the most beautiful animation that we’ve seen mixed with live action in a long time.
This continues to crop up throughout the film as the children jump into a china dish and go to a circus and face off against a scheming fox (Colin Firth.who plays a symbolic double role here also as the acting head of the bank where Michael works).
Of course this is all filled with the most wonderful of music as well. While maybe not as polished and classic as the Sherman Brothers songs, these new songs from Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) are still incredibly serviceable. many of them take on an edge of vaudeville or the jazz music of the time period, which is a fun touch. As mentioned before, the theme of loss is what sets this apart, and the songs “A Conversation” and “The Place Where Lost Things Go”are particularly heartfelt as they relate to the loss of Michael’s wife/the childrens’ mother.
While the film really wants to be its own, director Rob Marshall feels like he’s merely mimicking the original film. It is scene for scene, beat-for-beat, song for song an homage, if not a straight rip-off, of the original. There’s also a turn at the end in service to the plot to tie up all loose ends that I personally had a thematic problem with, but for those who don’t necessarily share my very specific views or head canon of the original Mary Poppins, you will likely not even blink at it.
Emily Mortimer is also tragically underutilized. While they make mention of her labour organizing and a nacent possible romance with Jack, these plotlines are somewhat dropped and underdeveloped. It felt like there might have been more there at some point that was cut from early scripts or versions of the film.
The film is also full of engaging cameos. Don’t let anyone spoil them for you, and don’t even look at the soundtrack listing or IMDb, because when some of these folks show up on screen it is just an absolute delight.
This film will surely entertain parents and children young and old for years to come. Beautiful and emotionally resonant, if a little too formulaic to the original, but if you’re a fan of the original 1964 Mary Poppins and don’t mind seeing an updated version of that, this film is absolutely for you. It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
It’s a jolly holiday with Mary Poppins, the most delightful nanny ever to fly in on the East wind. This Rock Candy Mary Poppins figure is holding her trademark umbrella and carpetbag that likely contains more than anyone will ever know.
Mary Poppins Returns – Rock Candy, Vynl., and Pop! are all out this November from Funko.
If you’re in the mood to be serenaded by an adorable Vynl. duo, you’re in luck. Mary Poppins and her lamplighter friend Jack are the most entertaining pair you’re likely to meet. The Vynl. also comes with a free music download (a limited time offer).
Jack the lamplighter has some big shoes to fill as Mary Poppin’s newest singing and dancing companion, but he looks more than up to the task of tap dancing with penguins and anything else the adventure demands of him. Mary Poppins understands the vital necessity of play and is happy to spend a day flying kites with her charges.
When Mary Poppins’ coat comes off, you know it’s time to get serious about cleaning up the nursery and taking your medicine, with a nice spoonful of sugar, of course. Mary Poppins is a whimsical delight in her finest music hall attire.
This supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Hot Topic exclusive Mary Poppins figure is ready to sing, dance and teach life lessons.