Share

Kevin Hart's 'The Upside' unseats 'Aquaman' in $19.6M debut

Share

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Hart isn’t hosting the Oscars, but he’s got a number one movie. “The Upside,” starring Hart and Bryan Cranston, surpassed expectations to open with $19.6 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The strong performance of “The Upside” pushed “Aquaman” to second after the aquatic superhero’s three-week reign atop the North American box office. Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman” still passed $1 billion worldwide over the weekend, becoming the first DC Comics release to reach that mark since 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“The Upside” opened on the heels of several weeks of Oscar drama surrounding Hart. The comedian last month withdrew from hosting the Academy Awards , just days after being named emcee, when he initially refused to apologize for years-old homophobic tweets.

On the publicity trail for “The Upside,” Hart repeatedly dismissed the Oscar controversy, saying he was “over it,” while flirting with the possibility of returning as Oscar host — something for which talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, in particular, advocated.

Whether all that attention helped raise the profile of “The Upside,” a remake of the 2012 French comedy “The Intouchables,” was difficult to extrapolate, though it surely didn’t hurt. Ticket sales were almost twice industry forecasts. The film received poor reviews (40 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and was slammed by some critics for trading on the kind of gay panic humor that Hart was forced to apologize for.

Trending:
NY Governor Kathy Hochul Melts Down After Supreme Court Strikes Down Her State's Unconstitutional Gun Restriction

Neil Burger’s film, which cost about $35 million to make, stars Hart as an ex-con who becomes a caretaker for a physically disabled author (Cranston). It was originally to be distributed by the Weinstein Co. Harvey Weinstein premiered the film at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival just weeks before the many allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against the movie mogul.

STX Entertainment picked up the movie, which on Sunday handed the five-year-old startup studio its first no. 1 release at the box office. Launched in 2014 with a mission to make the kind of mid-budgeted, star-driven films the studios have increasingly abandoned, STX has had some successes (“Bad Moms,” ”The Foreigner,” the critically acclaimed “The Edge of Seventeen”) but has often struggled to find breakout hits. Last year’s “The Happytime Murders,” with Melissa McCarthy, was one of the 2017’s most glaring flops.

STX’s Motion Picture Group Chairman Adam Fogelson pointed to strong audience reaction (an A CinemaScore) and downplayed any effect of the Oscar chatter on “The Upside,” noting that Hart “is in the culture constantly for tons of stuff.”

Fogelson called the no. 1 result a symbol of larger success for STX’s business model.

“We have been profitable on the overwhelming majority of our movies for more than a year and a half. No one needs to cry for us, but I don’t think the company gets credit for that because the way we’re doing that is so different from how traditional Hollywood has operated,” said Fogelson. “This result is just an exclamation point on the fact that this can work not just in an STX way but in an old Hollywood way, as well.”

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, credited STX with accurately reading the marketplace. The studio worked with the filmmakers to recut “The Upside” from an R-rated version to make a more broadly appealing PG-13 one.

“It’s not for the faint of heart to start up a new studio and it can take a lot of time to get things rolling,” said Dergarabedian. “But all it takes is one film to emotionally or symbolically get things rolling.”

Early January is often a dumping ground in movie theaters and the weekend featured a number of duds. Keanu Reeves’ sci-fi thriller “Replicas” debuted with just $2.5 million for Entertainment Studios — a career low for Reeves. Opening more solidly, in third place, was Sony’s canine adventure “A Dog’s Way Home” with $11.3 million.

The two biggest winners at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards — “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book” — both saw a bump. Fox’s Freddie Mercury biopic, which increased its theater count with hundreds of sing-along screenings, was up 35 percent with $3.2 million. The best comedy/musical winner “Green Book” went up 16 percent with $2 million in its ninth week of release.

Related:
Jury Finds Man Not Responsible for 'Horrific' Times Square Rampage

A couple awards contenders also expanded nationwide. Focus Features’ Ruth Bader Ginsberg tale “On the Basis of Sex” grossed $6.2 million in 1,923 on its third weekend. Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” took in $2.3 million in 1,018 theaters for Annapurna Pictures.

Next week will see the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass,” which is expected to open with $50-70 million. Advance reviews, however, have been poor, ranking 38 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

2. “Aquaman,” $17.3 million ($27.9 million international).

3. “A Dog’s Way Home,” $11.3 million.

4. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” $9 million ($9.4 million international).

5. “Escape Room,” $8.9 million ($1.5 million international).

6. “Mary Poppins Returns,” $7.2 million ($10.6 million international).

7. “Bumblebee,” $6.8 million ($35.6 million international).

8. “On the Basis of Sex,” $6.2 million.

9. “The Mule,” $5.5 million ($2.1 million international).

10. “Vice,” $3.3 million ($1.5 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to Comscore.

1. “Bumblebee,” $35.6 million.

2. “Aquaman,” $27.9 million.

3. “Dragon Ball Z Super: Broly,” $20.3 million.

4. “The Big Shot,” $16.3 million.

5. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” $15.4 million.

6. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” $15.1 million.

7. “Creed II,” $12.1 million.

8. “Mary Poppins Returns,” $10.6 million.

9. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse,” $9.4 million.

10. “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” $7.7 million

___

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation