By Chris Kavan - 09/29/21 at 12:42 PM CT
A trio of big movies - just bouncing through all kinds of genres - gives me a little bit to talk about in this week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin. On the box office side of things, Shang-Chi officially became the highest-grossing film of the pandemic era, breezing past Black Widow on its way to a $200 million plus final tally. The week's only newcomer, Dear Evan Hansen, couldn't overcome pre-release drama and withering critical reviews and landed in a distant second place. But with October fast approaching, Venom, Bond and Dune look to shake things up.
Shing-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continued its box office dominance with a $13 million weeked (down just a hair under 40%) and raising its total to $196.2 million. That was more than enough to top Black Widow ($183.57 million) as the highest-grossing film of 2021 and the pandemic era - very soon to become the first film to top $200 million. The last film to do that was 2020s Bad Boys for Life. Shang-Chi is also the first film since Tenet to top the box office for four weekends in a row. These eye-popping number bode well for future tentpole films including No Time to Die, Dune and Venom: Let There Be Carnage. We'll find out soon enough with two major films - Venom and The Many Saints of Newark, challenging Shang-Chi this weekend. No matter, the MCU film has proven its worth, and has earned nearly $365 million worldwide.
Debuting in second place with a disappointing $7.44 million was the Broadway adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen. Even before the film was released, people had been savaging early trailers, complaining about the age of lead actor Ben Platt as well as how the film treats suicide. The voices were loud enough to drown out most positive notes and critics weren't impressed, either, with a 33% Rotten result. The studio was hoping for a $10 million or so opening, but, alas, it had an uphill battle and couldn't overcome all the obstacles. While it's not a Cats-level disaster (as Dear Evan Hansen has a much more modest $27 million budget) much like the year's earlier In the Heights, it turns out adapting successful musicals to the big screen is far from a guaranteed success.
In third place, Free Guy continued its robust run, dipping just 19.2% (second best in the top 10 behind Jungle Cruise's 17% drop) and adding $4.11 million to its total, which stands at $114.1 million. This one shows little signs of slowing down - and even with competition coming up, could very well last into mid-late October at this point. It certainly has a chance at topping at least $125 million. It has already topped $200 million overseas, giving the film a healthy $317.4 million total - now that's what I call a good use of and extra life.
In fourth place we find Candyman, holding on to its fourth place spot while shedding 27.4% from last weekend, scaring up another $2.55 million and giving the horror film a new $56.9 million total. It has earned most of its total in North America where the franchise is more well-known, but had earned about $72 million globally.
Rounding out the top five was Clint Eastwood's Cry Macho, falling nearly 54% from its muted opening to take in just $2 million with a domestic release of just $8.27 million and a negligible foreign total of under $800,000. This isn't going to stick along for much longer, so if you're an Eastwood fan, better strike while the iron's still lukewarm.
Next week Venon: Let There Be Carnage looks to become the next comic book hit, we also get the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark and the animated Addams Family 2.
From the box office to the MPAA Ratings Bulletin, we have three quite disparate titles - in one corner is the family-friendly Encanto the next is Edgar Wright's fever dream horror Last Night in Soho and finally we have the hard-hitting biopic drama Spencer.
Because horror is much more in my wheelhouse, I'm going to start with Last Night in Soho. Director Edgar Wright's first foray into horror - unless you count Shaun of the Dead - sounds interesting. A budding fashion designer with a strange sixth sense, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) finds herself inexplicably transported to 1960s London where she forms a bond (and sometimes becomes) Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy). But the glamourous life of this budding singer in the swinging 60s is not as perfect as it seems and both women find their respective lives crashing down around them. The film also stars Diana Rigg, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, Elizabeth Berrington, Jessie Mei Li, Rita Tushingham and James and Oliver Phelps. This is one that has been on my radar since I first hears about it. Given the cast and director, I'm already excited, thrown in a surrealistic story and it has my full attention. Rated R for bloody violence, sexual content, language, brief drug material and brief graphic nudity.
Now we go in the completely opposite direction with Disney's next, big animated film Encanto - which seems to play like a reverse Harry Potter that follows a Columbian teen, Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) who is the only person in her large family to NOT display any magical talent. From super strength to healing, the rest of the Madrigal family displays plenty of magical aptitude, but when magic itself comes under threat, Mirabel may be the only one who can save it. Directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush have worked on previous Disney films before - most notably both worked on Zootopia - and are joined by Charise Castro Smith. The Madrigal family is big and includes Isabela Madrigal (Diane Guerrero), Mirabel's "perfect" sister who can create flowers; Luisa Madrigal (Jessica Darrow), the strongest woman in the family; Julieta and Agustín (Angie Cepeda and Wilmer Valderrama) as Mirabel's parents; Pepa Madrigal (Carolina Gaitán), an overly-emotional aunt who controls the weather and uncle Félix Madrigal (Mauro Castillo) who has a good time to balance out Pepa; cousin Dolores Madrigal (Adassa) spills the tea with her super hearing while Camilo Madrigal (Rhenzy Feliz) is just trying to figure out where he belongs with his shape-shifting powers. Youngest cousin Antonio Madrigal (Ravi-Cabot Conyers) looks up to Mirabel and uses his powers to talk to animals. Rounding out the cast is Abuela (María Cecilia Botero) and distant uncle Bruno Madrigal (John Leguizamo) who can see the future. WHEW - that is a lot of people to keep track of, through with Disney's track record, I'm sure each will get at least one big moment to stand out. Disney's been taking more chances lately with branching out and this looks like a vibrant, magical journey. I absolutely loved Coco - with Lin-Manuel Miranda providing the music, I hope this turns out just as good. Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild peril.
For those wanting high drama and probably some early awards-season hype, look no further than Spencer. Kristen Stewart takes on the daunting role of Princess Diana, but, if early reviews are any indication, it seems she is more than up to the challenge, earning solid reviews across the board. Spencer takes place during the Christmas holidays at the Sandringham Estate. The marriage of Diana and Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) is on its last legs. Rumors of affairs and impending divorce come to head during this holiday and the film explores a fictional account of what could have happened. The film is full of talent as well - Timothy Spall, Sean Harris, Richard Sammel, Elizabeth Berrington, Sally Hawkins, Stella Gonet and James Harkness all lend their talents to the film. This is certainly poised for some awards-season love, we'll see if it gets there. Rated R for some language.
Those are the two big films for the week, but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
THE BABY BOOMER DILEMMA
Rated PG for brief language.
BREAKING THEM UP
Rated PG-13 for some strong language and smoking.
Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild peril.
HARD LUCK LOVE SONG
Rated R for language throughout, drug use, some violence and sexual references.
Rated R for some violence, drug use and language.
LAST NIGHT IN SOHO
Rated R for bloody violence, sexual content, language, brief drug material and brief graphic nudity.
MONSTER FAMILY 2
Rated PG for action/peril, some rude humor and thematic elements.
Rated R for some violence.