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Nicole Kidman Rules the Box Office

Nicole Kidman has the top two movies in the nation today, with the surprise hit The Upside and the endless hit Aquaman. She's also got Destroyer in the top ten platform films of the moment. In short she never stops working and sometimes audiences come out for it. Listen, you could argue that she has nothing to do with the success of Aquaman or The Upside but why would you want to? Come live in our better world where the public lines up in droves and says "one for the new Nicole Kidman, please!".

More box office commentary after the jump...

Weekend Box Office (Estimates)
(January 11th-13th)

800+ screens
excluding prev. wide
1 The Upside $20.3 on 3080 screens *NEW*  
1 🔺 Free Solo $812k on 154 screens (cum. $12.3)  Review ❤️
2 Aquaman   $17.3 on 3863 screens (cum. $287.9) ReviewPodcast
2 🔺 Uri: The Surgical Strike $631k on 101 screens *NEW* 
A Dog's Way Home $11.2 on 3090 screens *NEW*
Ben is Back $478k on 598 screens (cum. $3.1) ReviewPodcast ❤️
4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse $9 on 3029 screens (cum. $147.8) Review ❤️  🔺 Perfect Strangers $422k on 132 screens  *NEW*
5 Escape Room $8.9 on 2717 screens (cum. $32.4)
5 Simmba $326k on 136 screens (cum. $4.7) 


It's a mystery as to why Roadside Attractions waited 6 whole weeks before getting Ben is Back into 100s of theaters. It's still not wide but they surely missed any potential window to exploit their stars for some holiday dollars. Not that people wanna see addiction dramas over the holidays. 

6 Mary Poppins Returns $7.6 on 3253 screens (cum. $151) Podcast, Dance Scenes ❤️
6 🔺  Shoplifters $184k on 91 screens (cum. $1.9) Interview,  PodcastOSCAR SUBMISSION ❤️
7 Bumblebee $7.2 on 3303 screens (cum. $108.9)
🔺  Destroyer $151k on 27 screens (cum. $426k)  Review, FYC Best Actress ❤️ 
8🔺  On the Basis of Sex $6 on 1923 screens (cum. $10.4) Review
8 🔺  The Wife $111k on 156 screens (cum. $8.3) Globe SpeechInterviewPoster Blurb ❤️
9 🔺  The Mule $5.6 on 3329 screens (cum. $90.7)  Review
9 🔺  Cold War $97k on 10 screens (cum. $410k)  ReviewPodcastOscar FINALIST ❤️ 
10 Vice $3.2 on 1724 screens (cum. $35.8)   PodcastRandom Thoughts
10  🔺 Stan & Ollie $88k on 13 screens (cum. $358k) Review ❤️ 
🔺 = new or expanding theater count / ❤️ = recommended by TFE
numbers (in millions unless otherwise noted) from box office mojo 


Some final thoughts:

- Talk about staying power. The Wife,  which never quite went into wide release, has not left theaters since opening on August 17th (that's 22 weeks in theaters!) and they've added over 100 theaters to capitalize on the Golden Globe win and the Oscar buzz. 

- One movie that's being pretty timid about its release (we talked about this on the podcast this week) is Cold War. It has a high per screen average but it's still only at 10 theaters, in its fourth week. They're surely waiting on an Oscar nomination. But what if they don't get it? Shoplifters by comparison isn't waiting and it's doing really well, almost $2 million already at 91 theaters.

- Two wide releases that didn't hit the top ten above: If Beale Street Could Talk went wide for the first time adding $2.4 million to its gross, a good if ungreat result (in other words if Oscar nominations don't happen in a week, it'll be a fast fade). And finally there was very very bad news for the wide release of the sci-fi horror flick Replicas. It opened on over 2,000 theaters and made only $375,000. That's one of the lowest per screen averages you'll see for a wide release: $161 per theaters. Ouch, Keanu, ouch.

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Reader Comments (39)

Street's distributor screwed them. Its widest release should have came during Christmas when there was major publicity from the stars for the movie. It was hidden from the black audience who doesn't make it their business to travel to industry adjacent cinemas. I saw Street in two different white venues before it made its way to theaters the community regularly patronizes.

I suspect the queer element of Moonlight made it a hook for white movie goers. Black heteronormative love from a James Baldwin book in his latter period simply doesn't have much for them to grab.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Yay, Glenn is back.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

And /3rtful back at it again with the savage observations. Forget these headass audiences Nicole Kidman should be an easy sell and black love is beautiful.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

Uh, sure hurtful. You seem racist and uninformed. LOL at Nicole. She will do anything to stay relevant and in the headlines. Her primary obsession is self-promotion.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Kidman's primary obsession seems to be working and maintaining an acting career, and any smart actor who wants to do that should be willing to self promote. Of course she wants to stay relevant. It's how actors keep getting offered work of note. Saying that like it's a bad thing is kind of simple

Look how many actresses of Kidman's vintage (Demi Moore, Meg Ryan etc) saw their careers die around 40, because the industry decided they'd outlived their usefulness. Kidman at 51 is one if the hottest actresses in the business because she works her ass off to prevent the industry doing to her, what they've done to so many middle aged actresses before that.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterlox


I miss Demi Moore and Meg Ryan now that you mention it

Someone write them a comedy ASAP!

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Saw "Roma" on 70mm this weekend - and it really didn't work for me. 90 minutes of nearly nothing happening and almost no point of view on what little does happen, followed by 30 minutes of extreme melodrama all meant to extract sympathy from the audience. The cinematography and production design were great, sure, but the storytelling was frustrating and suspect.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

My Globe prediction was that either Amy /or/ Glenn would win—even though I had low confidence that it would be either of them, individually.

I'm starting to feel the same way about Nicole Kidman's Oscar chances? Like on paper I can't make a strong case for why she'd get nominated for Destroyer /or/ Boy Erased. But after a year like this it seems unlikely that she'll get nothing?

I don't care much about Aquaman or The Upside but (in addition to two awards-calibre performance) maybe Hollywood does?

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

I am thirsty for Cold War and Shoplifters to expand near me. Maybe someday.
Made it out to see Mary Queen of Scots before it vanishes. Been there done that, but the score is really great and Saoirse got work, so praise.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

I saw "Aquaman" and loved it- everything a comic book movie should be exciting, fun and a bit campy. The sets and costumes were spectacular- yes it's the "Flash Gordon" of 2019

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Is "The Mule" (which is embarrassingly bad) going to quietly gross $100 million?! What in earth is going on?

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKBJr.

Kidman does give the best performance in Aquaman- it's not really a competition- but you can see she is trying to make something on her part. She also has the best fight scene. Maybe all this last minute publicity helps with a nomination? She surly deserves one for Boy Erased.

January 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G

Maybe Nicole works a lot so her children can get to know her by watching her on TV?

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJust Wondering

I mean, you can't really credit any of the Avengers actors with the success of their origin movies - I'll hear arguments for RDJ, but even then, I'm skeptical - so yes, let's give Kidman some credit for 'Aquaman'. (P.S. I know Aquaman isn't in the Avengers universe.)

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I finally watched If Beale Street Could Talk and loved it. I think my favourite performance in the film might have been Stephan James'. How come no one is talking about him?

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Nicole like Tom has always been driven to be #1. I tried to watch that Mrs. Maisel show but it was awful.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

@Brad - the way Stephan James as Fonny looks at Tish in Beale Street just HURTS, it's such intense love. It compares to Bradley Cooper in ASIB as far as how much the heart aches for them.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Saw Vice which is a riot and a total wild ride. The conventional storytelling is deconstructed to such a wacky degree but in some strange ways it came together for me. Amy Adams is effective. Christian Bale is totally credible even if I am not sure if it's a totally immersive role delineation or perfect imitation. The rest of the cast are uniformly spot-on, especially Naomi Watts. I almost thought she was a real TV anchor woman. I love the mid-movie ending fakeout. My friend, not so much.

I also saw Ben is Back. Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges are aces. It reminds me of this rarely seen Tyrel which had a limited run at IFC. The horror is immediate and intense. Even the ending solidly complement what came before that. But the setting didn't feel like Manhattan. Minor quibble.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Vice came to Europe. Thank you, America!

Nothing really works in this movie. Bale-Adams-Rockwell are good, but I wouldn't nominate them for anything. Why is Adams supporting? For every shot of Cheney, we have one of her nodding and silently judging everyone.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It’s nice to see the upswing Nicole’s public perception has been on for the past decade. There was a time when tabloids would come after her on a weekly basis in the aughts. It’d be one thing if it was for something she said or did, but it was pure, unbridled misogyny so venal you’d think Cruise’s divorce attorney ran Hollywood. It takes a truly resilient human to withstand that kind of public savagery and come out the other side.

Beale Street’s release strategy breaks my heart because it’s the type of slow burn of a masterpiece that benefits from time and reflection - two things the rush of awards season actively prohibits. There are so many images from the movie that haunt me weeks after seeing it. People will look back on its tally and wonder what the Academy, et al., were thinking, but it’s always interesting to watch these unfold in real time.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Peggy Sue: Adams is Supporting because she essentially disappears from the mobie during its last hour.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Kidman is not the main reason people are seeing
These movies

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRdf

Rdf—Nathaniel has already stated that in a subtle fashion.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Oh, Michael! I thought she would have three scenes but she's in the whole movie

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

The slow platform-release strategy for Ben is Back and Destroyer is mind-boggling: They both star massive stars getting great reviews that are on the bubble for Oscar nominations and given the precursors, those nominations probably won't happen. By the time they expand (if they ever do), the buzz will be completely gone and it will be all for nothing and most people won't have been able to see them.

Same thing kind of applies to Beale Street - if you don't strike while the iron is hot, the audiences will forget about you - but in that case it clearly has something to do with Annapurna's financial situation.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

So you're getting to see the Mexican version of Perfect Strangers. Talk about a perfect screenplay! There are EIGHT versions of the Italian original! They are from Mexico, Spain, France, Turkey, China, South Korea, Hungary and Greece. Additionally, there's an American version in development. The film can be easily turned into a play, as proven by a successful theater version in Argentina.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I saw

THE FAVOURITE - Loved! Yorgos clean all the period dramas and reinvented how to look at it. But I think the screenplay could be more profound.

GREEN BOOK - Only Mahershala survived with me. A towering performance in a ok not ok movie. A movie who make me no liking Viggo Mortensen is a movie who deserves hell!

THE WILD PEAR TREE - Great writing, directing, editing, cjnematography and acting. The actor who plays the father is ousts ding and on my personal supporting actors list of the year!

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSoshua

I watched Support the Girls, which Regina Hall carries beautifully with the help of some strong supporting players. Hollywood, please give this woman more leading roles. She has more range and versatility than most working actresses whose names we often throw around when discussing "the best."

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Love that at least YOU mentioned the Kidman double!

Side note: watched two plane movies this week and was so charmed by "Juliet, Naked" and "Old Man and The Gun". Both had a shaggy, romantic quality with a surprisingly prickly unease behind them. When will Rose Byrne get the credit she deserves!!?? And I'd trade most of this year's male nominations for some Redford love (among others). What is happening this year?!

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

How the flying fuck is "The Mule" about to clear $100 million? Not a person on Earth is talking about or raving this film at all, yet here we are? Cinemascore? WOM? 58 on Metacritic, but clearly no one cares about that. The Cult of St. Clint, apparently.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIan

I saw The Mule and it was enjoyable as a Clint Eastwood directorial exercise. Dianne Wiest could use a third Oscar right about now.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Caught a lot of stuff while snowed in --

ROMA - didn't work for me - The production design was great, sure, but the storytelling was frustrating and I got tired of the many, wide - long camera pans - at the end of the movie I thought "that was it?". So many unanswered ??s/loose ends regarding the characters.......I think ASIB, Favourite and BlackKKlansman are much more deserving and entertaining for awards consideration IMO.

Leave No Trace - Excellent performances all around - nice little gem. Hopefully Ben Foster gets some award love some day!

Homecoming w/Julia Roberts - pretty good - Julia did a really nice job - wondering where they go (story-wise) for 2nd season. We enjoyed the series.

Ordeal by Innocence (BBC Agatha Christie) - nice 3 part murder mystery - excellent production values --- I was hooked and the ending was pretty surprising!!

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterceebee

"Dianne Wiest could use a third Oscar right about now."

You would then turn around and say the Oscars are racist for not awarding Regina King.

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I saw The Mule

Diane Weist sucked in this. Big time. Embarrassing death bed scene to boot

January 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterME

Thank you, Lox. You understand us!

Jenn, you sounded bitter over another woman's success

January 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMeryl Streep

@lox - In Demi's case, the problem is that she started doing exploitative films like Indecent Proposal, and then "Striptease'. After that, it was hard for her to be taken seriously as an actress, even though she did try and do an occasional serious film.

Nicole is a powerhouse. She works very hard, she's a very talented actress, a good singer. She does promote herself, but she has a lot of genuine talent (and beauty) to promote. And unlike Julia Roberts, she has tremendous range. And she had to go through the messy divorce with Cruise and recovered from that.

Personally, I've often wished that Michelle Pfeiffer had Nicole's talent for self promotion and career focus. [ Not to knock Michelle -- it's her own life choice, but one can be grateful that we can still see Nicole on the silver screen]

January 16, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteramk

The only reason The Mule is doing well at the box office is because all the far right trump supporters are flocking to it. These are the same people that made First Man a box office bomb because the far right had tantrums over the omission of the American flag scene.

January 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

There is a reason that Clint Eastwood has been movie star for almost sixty years. He has very devoted fans. People did not got see "First Man" because while it was technically brilliant it was cold movie.

January 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

You would then turn around and say the Oscars are racist for not awarding Regina King.

Bitch? I'm not thirsty for a King win.

January 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

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