8:36 AM PST 2/2/2019
‘Miss Bala’ is the sole new nationwide opening opposite the big game as most studios sit on the sidelines.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass and the Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston dramedy The Upside are leading the Super Bowl weekend at the box office, while Sony’s action-thriller Miss Bala is looking at a third-place finish with a muted domestic debut of $6.8 million.
Overall box-office revenue for Friday-Sunday may not cross $70 million, making it the worst Super Bowl weekend in nearly 20 years.
Now in its third weekend, Glass grossed $2.8 million on Friday for a projected $9.2 million weekend. The Upside, in its fourth outing, won’t be far behind. The dramedy earned $2.5 million on Friday for a weekend gross of $8.7 million.
Most studios traditionally sit out the weekend of the big game in terms of new releases, and this year is no exception. The only studio taking to the field is Sony with Miss Bala, an English-language remake of the critically acclaimed Mexican film.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Miss Bala has been skewered by critics. The Tijuana-set film centers on a young woman (Gina Rodriguez) who seeks revenge on the drug cartel that kidnapped her friend. Ismael Cruz Cordova and Anthony Mackie co-star.
Miss Bala grossed $2.8 million on Friday, but will fall behind Glass and The Upside on Saturday. No CinemaScore has been reported for the movie, which had been tracking to open to $7 million-$10 million. (Sony has been more conservative, suggesting $5 million.)
In terms of other years, Super Bowl weekend at the box office has sometimes popped with surprise hits like Taken or Miley Cyrus’ concert pic Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. And the reason this year is weaker overall is that the combined strength of holdovers isn’t as muscly.
For Miss Bala, Sony and Hardwicke assembled a cast and crew that was 95 percent Latinx. The film is performing best in the West and Midwest. Among ticket buyers, 42 percent are Hispanic, followed by Caucasian (34 percent), African-America (12 percent) and Asian/Other (12 percent).
Among holdovers, Aquaman will come in No. 4, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will round on No. 5 in its twelfth weekend. In recent days, Spider-Verse crossed $170 million domestically to become the top-grossing animated title released by Sony.
Elsewhere at the box office, Warner Bros. is playing Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old in 753 theaters following a special screening of the film hosted by the Fathom in December. The December showing generated $3.4 million, shattering Fathom records for a doc.
This weekend, They Shall Not Grow Old is expected to earn another $2 million-$2.5 million.
Black Panther, up the for Oscar for best picture, is also returning to theaters for a special one-week run in 250 AMC Theaters. The AMC and Disney-hosted event, celebrating Black History Month, is free. AMC reports that more than half of tickets available for the week have been claimed.