The Weekend Movie Takeaway: The ‘90s Continue Their Big Screen Comeback and ‘1917’ Holds Strong
January 27, 2020
While emerging and established filmmakers offered up fresh stories in the snow at the Sundance Film Festival, the box office provided little to get excited about over the weekend.
As the world waits with bated breathe for the release of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie later this week, two holdovers continued to assert their dominance in theaters. The number one film, Bad Boys for Life, continues to be a remarkable success story by earning $34 million over its second weekend, bringing its total to $120 million.
Almost nobody saw this film doing so well, and its success is switching up the narrative on how to revive dormant franchises. We'll almost certainly now see a fourth Bad Boys movie, and studios are without a doubt peering into their vaults to see what other '90s film series might be worth bringing back.
It also bodes very well for the R-rated action comedy film, a genre that used to be Hollywood's go-to for summer blockbusters that became somewhat ignored in recent years. But the success of Bad Boys for Life shows that audiences clearly stull hunger for this kind of film.
The makers of the long-teased-but-now-apparently-actually-happening Beverly Hills Cop 4 are no doubt rubbing their hands together with glee, and don't be surprised if we soon see a Ride Along 3 or a Central Intelligence 2. Heck, somebody somewhere is probably trying to determine the economics of a Rush Hour 4.
Sam Mendes’ World War I drama 1917 also continues its remarkable success story in the second spot on the box office charts. It took in almost $16 million in the film’s fifth weekend in theaters, pushing its total over the $100 million mark.
Those impressive numbers will no doubt spur filmmakers to consider the film's ambitious “one shot” structure, in which the movie appears to take place over one single take. Another consideration is the film’s prominence this close to the Academy Awards®, seemingly enhancing its chances on Hollywood's biggest night. Some prognosticators are picking the film, which has ten nominations overall, as the likely Best Picture winner, and its continued favour by wide audiences only betters those odds.
Neither of the weekend's new offerings—Guy Ritchie's extremely Guy Ritchie-esque The Gentlemen and Floria Sigismondi's The Turning (a modern riff on Henry James' classic horror novella, “The Turn of the Screw”)—managed to make much of an impact, coming in at fourth (with $11 million) and sixth (with just over $7 million) place, respectively.
Meanwhile, over in the snow, future narrative trends were offered up to audiences for the first time at the Sundance Film Festival. The most notable so far, perhaps, being Zola. Adapted from a Twitter thread that went viral in 2015, it tells the story of a wild weekend experienced by two strippers who get in over their heads in Miami.
Co-written and directed by Janicza Bravo, it's the first film to be adapted from a social media post, and points to how Hollywood is always looking for new areas to mine stories from. Should the film eventually break out, it will have executives scouring the internet for other stories that have already shown themselves to appeal to a wide section of the potential audience.
Written by: Dominic CorryDominic Corry is a Los Angeles-based film critic, writer, journalist and broadcaster. Raised in New Zealand, he is also the West Coast editor of Letterboxd, the social network for movie lovers. For more of his film writing, see his website www.TheGoodInMovies.com