FistFight is not worth it. It’s not worth the involvement of a decent cast that’s provided laughs in other projects. It’s not even worthy of that bloopers reel that you just know is coming once its 91 minutes thankfully concludes. Even they’re not very funny.
This is a loose remake of 1987 cult comedy ThreeO’ClockHigh, a fun little exercise that’s earned its status as an under appreciated flick. The common thread is the long buildup to an eventual brawl in a high school. However, this time it’s the teachers and not the students. In one corner, we have wimpy English teacher Mr. Campbell (Charlie Day). In the other, we have intimidating history instructor Mr. Strickland (Ice Cube).
These two educators are in the last day of school when a dispute leads Cube to challenge Day to its title at 3pm once the bell rings. The circumstances leading to it are not particularly relevant, though they certainly call into question why Cube’s character should be anywhere near a classroom. That’s common here. Most of the characters from faculty to the kids are dumb and constantly doing dumb things. Jillian Bell, who stole scenes in 22JumpStreet, is that teacher we’ve all had who does meth and wants to hook up with the seniors. This is one example of several where the script goes for extreme vulgarity and non-PC humor. Nothing wrong with that, but it rarely lands with its crass chuckles attempts.
Cube scowls his way through. Day plays up the always nerve-wracked weakling. Somewhere in here is an attempted message about bravery and not backing down to powers that be. If only some of the talent here could have been brave enough to punch up this lackadaisical screenplay.
It’s a weekend where the bulk of movie lovers attention may be focused on Sunday’s Oscar ceremony and not what’s playing in the multiplex itself. There are three releases going wide: Jordan Peele’s race themed horror pic Get Out, animated musical comedy Rock Dog, and Felicity Jones led action thriller Collide. You can peruse my detailed individual predictions on each of them here:
The real question in this last weekend of February, as I see it, is how the critically acclaimed Get Out performs. I have it in the mid teens, which almost certainly means a second place showing to The Lego Batman Movie in its third frame. However, the horror flick certainly has breakout potential and could go higher (61% of my blog readers believe my estimate is too low).
Both Rock Dog and Collide appear headed for dismal showings. My respective predictions of $4.4 million and $2.1 million have them outside of the top five.
And with that, the top 5 predictions for what should be a rather slow weekend:
1. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $22.1 million (representing a drop of 32%)
2. Get Out
Predicted Gross: $16.3 million
3. Fifty Shades Darker
Predicted Gross: $9.9 million (representing a drop of $51%)
4. John Wick: Chapter 2
Predicted Gross: $8.4 million (representing a drop of 48%)
5. The Great Wall
Predicted Gross: $8.2 million (representing a drop of 55%)
Box Office Results (February 17-20)
It was a rather ho-hum Presidents Day Weekend as three newcomers all failed to connect with audiences. The Lego Batman Movie easily maintained the top spot with $42.7 million over the four-day holiday, under my $49.4M estimate. Its total has built up to $107M.
Fifty Shades Darker stayed in second with $22.6 million, in line with my $21.3M prognosis for an overall $91M gross.
Matt Damon’s expensive action epic The Great Wall debuted at a disappointing third with $21.5 million, shy of my $25.6M prediction. With mediocre reviews, look for it to crumble quickly.
John Wick: Chapter 2 was fourth with $18.9 million (I said $21.5M) for a two-week tally of $61M.
The Ice Cube/Charlie Day Fist Fight was punched out by audiences with only a $14.1 opening in fifth, well under my generous $25.1M guesstimate.
Finally, the Gore Verbinski directed A Cure for Wellness was DOA in 11th place with just $5 million (less than half my $10.2M forecast).
President’s Day weekend has arrived at the box office with three new titles debuting over the four-day holiday frame: Matt Damon’s action epic The Great Wall, Ice Cube/Charlie Day comedy Fist Fight, and Gore Verbinski’s horror thriller A Cure for Wellness. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:
None of the trio is likely to dislodge the Caped Crusader and his Lego friends from the top perch in its second weekend. In fact, this particular February weekend often sees holdovers experience smallish declines. The Lego Movie dipped just 9% in the 2014 PD weekend and I expect the same type of minor dip for its spin-off.
With the #1 film safely (I think) determined, the rest of the top five is much more unpredictable. Looking over the past few President’s Day weekends, newbies opening in the mid to high 20s is commonplace. This applied to titles such as Unknown, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, About Last Night, and Robocop. I foresee both Wall and Fight falling in this range for a photo finish for #2.
Then there’s Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick: Chapter 2, both in their sophomore weekends. I don’t see Darker having a 74% drop like its predecessor Fifty Shades of Grey experienced (it had a much bigger opening for one thing). However, I could see it losing half its audience easily as grosses for this franchise are front loaded. Wick may lose less than a third of its debut crowd for a solid hold. And that could create another photo finish between these sequels.
This leaves A Cure for Wellness. Strong reviews may have helped this, but it’s not getting them and I’m diagnosing just a low double digits premiere for a probable sixth place showing.
And with that, my top 6 projections for this busy weekend:
1. The Lego Batman Movie
Predicted Gross: $49.4 million (representing a drop of 6%)
2. The Great Wall
Predicted Gross: $25.6 million
3. Fist Fight
Predicted Gross: $25.1 million
4. John Wick: Chapter 2
Predicted Gross: $21.5 million (representing a drop of 29%)
5. Fifty Shades Darker
Predicted Gross: $21.3 million (representing a drop of 54%)
6. A Cure for Wellness
Predicted Gross: $10.2 million
Box Office Results (February 10-12)
The Lego Batman Movie took the top spot, though not with as much ease as many thought it would. The critically acclaimed animated spin-off grossed $53 million, a decent number but not near the $69M made by The Lego Movie in its inaugural weekend and under my $65.8M projection. That said, as mentioned above, its drop this weekend should be slight.
Fifty Shades Darker opened in second at $46.6 million, in line with my $44.8M estimate. This is far from the $85 million achieved two years back by Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s actually above some of the predictions from prognosticators in the past week or so.
John Wick: Chapter 2 capitalized on the goodwill left over from the 2014 original with a strong $30.4 million, more than doubling the $14M earned by its predecessor two and a half years back. It easily eclipsed my $20.7M estimate.
Holdovers rounded out the top five with Split dropping to fourth at $9.5 million (I said $8.2M) for a $112M total and Hidden Figures at fifth with $8 million (I said $6.9M) for a $131M overall haul.
And that’ll do it for now, folks! Until next time…
The cinematic stylings of director Gore Verbinski returns to screens next weekend when A Cure for Wellness opens. The horror thriller set in the Swiss Alps finds Dane DeHaan as a businessman trapped in a mysterious “wellness” center. Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth costar. Its trailer is filled with striking visuals that have part of Verbinski’s repertoire. The filmmaker had some massive hits with The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean and its first two sequels. However, his previous effort The Lone Ranger was an expensive dud.
While the previews look fascinating, reviews have not been very strong and it stands at just 36% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Its two and a half hour running time (something several critics have noted as a flaw) could also be a detriment, as well as competition for the same audience from John Wick: Chapter 2 and The Great Wall.
Wellness is highly likely to place third among the trio of newcomers debuting over Presidents Day weekend and it could struggle to place in the top five. I’ll say a low double digits premiere is the diagnosis here.
A Cure for Wellness opening weekend prediction: $10.2 million
Ice Cube and Charlie Day headline the comedy Fist Fight, which hits theaters over Presidents Day weekend. A loose remake of the 1987 cult pic Three O’Clock High, costars include Tracy Morgan (in his first film after his auto accident), Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, and Kumail Nanjiani.
Mr. Cube has had his share of laugh inducing hits and franchises over the years with Barbershop, 21/22 Jump Street, and Ride Along. Day is best known for TV’s “It Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and the Horrible Bosses flicks.
Fight pits Cube as a teacher challenging his fellow educator to a schoolyard brawl. With its simple concept, known stars in the genre, and really zero competition when it comes to comedies (save for Lego Batman I suppose), I’ll predict this manages a mid 20s four day debut. It could even fight for the highest opening among the two others newbies (The Great Wall, A Cure for Wellness) over the holiday weekend.
Fist Fight opening weekend prediction: $25.1 million