Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith in ‘Queen & Slim’
Along with Knives Out ($27 million Fri-Sun/$41 million Wed-Sun), the only other wide release newbie this holiday was Makeready’s Queen and Slim. The (correctly) acclaimed drama, about a young black couple (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who end up on the run after a first date ends with a fatal altercation with a police officer, ended the long holiday with a robust $11.7 million Fri-Sun and $15.8 million Wed-Sun debut. That would be quite fine for the Universal release, as A) it’s entirely on brand for their “small movies with big impacts that serve underrepresented demographics” sub-genre, and B) it’s quite good so I’m hoping it’ll leg out.
The $17 million Melina Matsoukas-directed and Lena Waithe-penned flick isnot exactly escapism. However, if Thelma and Louise can become a generational classic, then I’m hopeful for Queen and Slim. Needless to say, it’s unlike anything else in the marketplace right now, offering a “western” for our times that is both upfront about the horrors of the day and just lyrical enough to qualify as a genuinely “fun” character drama. Legs are an open question, although something between Creed II ($116 million from a $56 million debut in 2018) and Four Christmases ($120 million/$46 million in 2008) would get Queen and Slim between $33 million and $42 million domestic.
In holdover news, Ford v Ferrari, another star-filled programmer from a marquee director which was sold as escapism, earned $13.22 million (-16%) over its third weekend. That positions James Mangold’s acclaimed and buzzy (it earned an A+ from Cinemascore two weekends ago) 1960s race car melodrama for a $19 million Wed-Sun holiday haul. That gets the Christian Bale/Matt Damon flick to $81.003 million in 17 days of release, and the strong hold means it will likely top $100 million domestic. Presuming it holds the line overseas (and/or ends up in the Oscar race), this $98 million movie, with $148 million worldwide and counting, should eventually be the first unmitigated “big” hit in the Fox/Disney era.
Meanwhile, Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood earned another $17.275 million over the Wed-Sun holiday frame The Marrielle Heller movie’s second weekend will be $11.8 million (-11%) over the Fri-Sun frame for a $34.314 million ten-day total. Relatively speaking, this one is playing like Wonder (-17% after a $33 million launch in 2017) and The Blind Side (+17% after a $34 million launch), both of which opened against presumed mega-movies (Justice League and The Twilight Saga: New Moon) and legged out over the holiday. I’m curious how the $25 million drama, co-starring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers, plays over the next month. It’s excellent, and I hope it ends up in the Oscar race, but it’s also very much more for adults than for kids.
STX’s 21 Bridges earned $5.82 million (-37%) in its second weekend, not great considering the holiday bump, for a $20.47 million ten-day cume. Imagine if audiences cared as much about Chadwick Boseman even 10% as much as they cared about Black Panther. They’d change the industry overnight. Lionsgate’s Midway will earn $5.86 million over the holiday to pull a $50.279 million 24-day cume, while Last Christmas will drop 36% for a $1.98 million weekend and $31.658 million cume. That said, the Paul Feig-directed and Emma Thompson-penned romcom has earned $67 million worldwide, or around twice its $30 million budget. It’s no super hit (yet), but it shouldn’t sting too badly. Charlie’s Angels will fall 64% ($1.16 million) for a $16.81 million domestic and $51.4 million worldwide cume.