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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Halfway Mark Box Office (Pt 1: The Mainstream)

As part of our midway through the year report (we've already seen fun halfway top fives from the team and favourite male performances) here's a look at the box office year thus far. Tomorrow we'll get a bit more niche, okay? Figures here are estimates as of Sunday June 30th for films released in the first six months of the year.

🔺= the movie is still in over 100 theaters.

(Excluding films where a male lead is just as prominent as his female co-star)

Captain Marvel

01 Captain Marvel (Disney/Marvel) $426.7 starring Brie Larson. March 8th
02 Us (Universal) $175 starring Lupita Nyong'o. March 22nd
03 Alita Battle Angel (Fox) $85.7 starring Rosa Salazar. Feb 14th...
04 The Curse of La Llorona (New Line) $54.6 starring Linda Cardellini. Apt 19th
05 What Men Want (Paramount) $54.6 starring Taraji P Henson. Feb 8th
06 Isn't it Romantic? (Warner Bros) $48.7 starring Rebel Wilson. Feb 13th
07 🔺 Ma (Universal) $44.7 starring Octavia Spencer. May 31st
08 Little (Universal) $40.6 starring Regina Hall. April 12th
00 🔺 The Hustle (United Artists) $35.1 starring Anne Hathaway & Rebel Wilson. May 10th
10 🔺Annabelle Comes Home (Warner Bros) $31.2 starring McKenna Grace & Madison Iseman. June 26th

Runners Up: Fighting With My Family  starring Florence Pugh, 🔺 Booksmart starring Kaitlyn Dever & Beanie Feldstein, Unplanned starring Ashley Bratcher, Miss Bala starring Gina Rodriguez, Poms starring Diane Keaton,🔺 Late Night starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, and Greta starring Isabelle Huppert & Chloe Moretz. No other films with a primary female lead scored over $10 million.

Fairly sad returns on movie star bankability in 2019 thus far with high concepts and genres rather than names being the draw. That said perhaps Rebel Wilson is an exception to this, albeit admittedly on a smaller scale than what we generally think of as "movie stars" since both of her films were modest performers. And a name still obviously helps even if its just to sell a genre turn (see Octavia Spencer probably elevating Ma's performance) or to prop up weak material (Poms doesn't do $13 million without Diane Keaton, even though $13 isn't something to crow about for a mainstream comedy.)

It remains a mystery why Late Night and Booksmart weren't bigger hits given the quality overall, the enjoyable star turns, and the good jokes.



Toy Story 4

01 🔺Toy Story 4 $236.9 (Disney/Pixar) June 21st
02 How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World $160.7 (Universal) Feb 22nd
03 🔺 Secret Life of Pets 2 $131.2 (Universal) June 7th
04 The Lego Movie 2 $105.8 (Warner Bros) Feb 8th
05 Wonder Park $45.2 (Paramount) March 15th
06 Dragon Ball Super: Broly $30.7 (Funimation) Jan 16th
07 Uglydolls $20 (STX) May 3rd
08 Missing Link $16.6 (United Artists) April 12th
09 The Oscar Nominated Short Films $3.5 (Shorts) Feb 8th
10 Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion $1.2 (EOne) Feb 15th

Runners up: Okko's Inn (GKids), Peppa Celebrates Chinese New Year (STX) and Ruben Brandt Collector (SPC). No other animated titles made over $100k 


or "horror adjacent" 


01 Us $175 (Universal) Mar 22nd 
02 Glass $111 (Universal) Jan 18th
03 Escape Room $57 (Sony) Jan 4th
04 Pet Sematary $54.7 (Paramount) Apr 5th
05 The Curse of La Llorona (New Line) $54.6 Apr 19th
06 🔺 Ma $44.7 (Universal) May 31st 
07 The Intruder $35.4 (Screen Gems) May 3rd 
08 🔺Annabelle Comes Home (Warner Bros) $31.2 June 26th 
09 Happy Death Day 2U $28 (Universal) $28  
10 🔺 Child's Play $23.4 (United Artists) June 21st 

Runners up: Brightburn, The Prodigy. Nothing else made over $10 million. 

It's still the most reliably profitable genre. Filmmakers generally keep the budgets down and enough people show up regardless. You don't need stars (though some films opt to use them), you don't need anything like good reviews (a more review-proof genre you will not find), and you don't even need pre-release branding (to a certain extent). The audience may be small compared to other mainstream genres like, oh superheroes, but they're extremely loyal. 



01 🔺 Aladdin $305.8 (Disney) May 24th
02 Shazam! $140 (Warner Bros) April 5th
03 The Upside $108.2 (STX) Jan 11th
04 Tyler Perry's A Madea Family Funeral $73.2 (Lionsgate) March 1st
05 🔺 Men in Black International $65 (Sony) June 14th
06 What Men Want $54.6 (Paramount) Feb 8th
07 Isn't it Romantic?  $48.7 (Warner Bros) Feb 13th
08 Little $40.6 (Universal) Apr 12th
09 The Hustle $35.1 (United Artists) May 10th 
10 Long Shot $30.3 (Lionsgate) May 3rd 

Runners up: 🔺 Booksmart, 🔺 Yesterday (if you want to count it), Poms, 🔺 Late Night. No other comedies made over $10 million.

It's been a pretty rough year for movie comedies with audiences not showing up. Even a few of the "hits" here were disappointments based on expectations, pre-release enthusiasm, or budgets. 




01 Us $175 (Universal) Mar 22nd 
02 🔺 Rocketman $84.1 (Paramount) May 31st
03 Escape Room $57 (Sony) Jan 4th 
04 The Curse of La Llorona $54.6 (Newline) April 19th
05 Isn't it Romantic?  $48.7 (Warner Bros) Feb 13th
06 Wonder Park $45.2 (Paramount) March 15th
07 🔺 Ma $44.7 (Universal) May 31st
08 Little $40.6
09 The Intruder $35.4 (Screen Gems) May 3rd
10 Long Shot $30.3 (Lionsgate) May 3rd

Runners up: Fighting With My Family, Booksmart, Brightburn, Late NightGreta no other originals made more than $10 million.

Mainstream audiences are still allergic to original fare outside of genre films. Originals that do hit it big generally have some pre-release branding working in their favor even if they're not strictly adaptations (Rocketman - legendary musician / Escape Room - popular fad, movie-ized into horror), furthering the argument that audiences will only experiment when they're at home watching Netflix. It's all so very sad. 



Avengers: Endgame

01 🔺 Avengers Endgame $841.3 (Disney/Marvel) April 26th
Despite a record breaking run and a reexpansion this very weekend, it wasn't able to become the #1 film globally (still Avatar) or domestically (still Star WarsThe Force Awakens). But being #2 at everything is pretty damn great. Hell, even if you adjust for inflation it's still a phenomenal success and looking likely to end its run in 16th place of all time just ahead of Return of the Jedi (1983) which it's currently slightly behind and Jurassic Park (1993). So anyway you look at it, it was a massive success. This is perhaps a foolish prediction but I suspect this was Marvel's peak in terms of gross capabilities and we'll see a slow dwindling from here. The only superhero film in the forseeable future which feels like it could be this degree of massive (and even that is a stretch) is Black Panther 2.

02  Captain Marvel  $426.7 (Disney/Marvel) Spinoff/Franchise Launch. Mar 8th
Superheroes are still the biggest draws in movie theaters, going on MANY years now. But we're running out of "first" and this film obviously benefitted from the novelty factor. And yes it's disgusting that female superheroes can STILL qualify as a novelty factor. 

03 🔺 Aladdin $305.8 (Disney) May 24th
It's too bad the quality of Disney's live-action remakes of their animated features are so bad (Cinderella being a beautiful exception and, not coincidentally, the least slavish at copying and pasting the previous film) because people just keep lining up for them regardless. 

04 🔺 Toy Story 4 $236.9 (Disney) June 21st
It's Disney's world, we're all just living in it. Yes, Disney has the top four grossers of the year. 

05  Us  $175 (Universal) Original. Mar 22nd

06 🔺 John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum $159 (Lionsgate) May 17th

07 How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World $160.7 (Universal) Sequel. Feb 22nd

08 🔺 Pokemon Detective Pikachu $142.2 (Warner Bros) May 10th

09 Shazam! $140 (Warner Bros) April 5th

10 🔺 The Secret Life of Pets 2 $131.2 (Universal) June 7th

Runners up: 🔺 Dumbo (remake), Glass (sequel), The Upside (remake), 🔺 Godzilla King of Monsters (sequel), and The Lego Movie 2 (sequel). No other films crossed the $100 million mark.

So, that's 15 pictures that broke the $100 million mark in release for 2019 thus far. Disney's got 5 of them with Universal and Warner Bros each scoring 4. The only other distributors that managed it were Lionsgate (John Which Chapter 3) and STX (with The Upside)


What do you make of these top tens? 


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Reader Comments (6)

Isn't Curse of La Llorona part of the Conjuring franchise?

June 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

I watched them and really liked them obviously. But I wonder if Booksmart and Late Night would've worked better either released earlier in the year or September/October. The summer season just doesn't seem right for these types of films (as sucky as that is) at least for general audiences.

Disney, wow. Top four films, top female-led film, top comedy AND musical, top animated film. And with Lion King, Frozen, and Star Wars to come. Golly.

June 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I'd be surprised if the awful trailer didn't cost Late Night at least a few million dollars.

July 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

The whole thing is so very depressing.

July 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKl

Booksmart and Late Night weren't hits cos none of the people in them have proved there name can open a film and that to me is why there are very few actual film stars.

Rebel Wilson opened 2 films to decent results The Hustle was helped on by her name and a bit of Anne Hathaway's.

Melissa McCarthy and Jennifer Lawrence are the nearest thing to a female film star capable of putting bums in seats and they are on the wane too,Brie Larson is not a draw the Marvel name is.

July 1, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Margordonuk makes a very good point- "Booksmart" was heavily marketed as the directing debut of Olivia Wilde but obviously nobody cared.

July 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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