The Lost City And RRR Prove There Is Room For More Than Superheroes At The Box Office

To the average moviegoer, it may have just been another week at the movies, with a big superhero movie and a rom-com filled with big stars to choose from at the box office, among other things. However, to someone who regularly obsesses over this stuff as much as I do, I can assure you it was a downright fascinating and encouraging weekend for those who value the theatrical experience such as myself. 

To that end, "The Lost City" managed to top the charts and beat expectations, while a couple of subtitled hits from other countries also cracked the top five, while "The Batman" remained strong. It was a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too weekend for the industry, if ever there was such a thing. Let's dig into the numbers, shall we?

The Lost City finds box office gold

In its opening weekend, led by Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, Paramount's rom-com "The Lost City" easily beat out the competition taking in $31 million, according to Box Office Mojo. It proves a lot of things all at once. First and foremost, Bullock is a bona fide movie star who can put meat in seats and has been for several decades now. When we talk about the dying art of the true blue movie star, her name deserves more respect. Also, for what it's worth, Tatum is on one hell of a run, with "Dog" still doing well coming in at number seven this week, now standing at $68 million worldwide for a $15 million budgeted flick. That's the good stuff right there.

Speaking of budgets, "The Lost City" comes with a reported price tag of $68 million (before marketing). It's not cheap and it's at the very high end of what we might call mid-budget, but the early results suggest this bet is going to pay off for Paramount. Amazingly, this is now the third movie in a row to top the box office for Paramount in 2022, with both "Scream" and "Jackass Forever" also managing to do so. This is particularly remarkable as it was revealed last year that the studio was going to be scaling back on theatrical to focus on its streaming business with Paramount+. Perhaps it might be a good time to really think about corporate strategy, eh?

In any event, this is a great win for all involved, particularly movie theaters that need more than superheroes to survive. It really did seem like Netflix had the market cornered on rom-coms in recent years and it's good to see that, under the right circumstances, they can still be theatrically viable prospects.

RRR and Jujutsu Kaisen bring in big international bucks

The most incredible thing in my humble opinion about this weekend is the fact that "RRR," an action flick from India, managed to sneak its way into theaters in the U.S. and make $9.5 million flying almost completely under the radar, coming in at number three. That is straight-up awesome news for theaters, diversity in cinema, and for anyone looking to counter-program against bigger movies. These are the kinds of things theaters need right now while we all try to figure out what the future of theatrical distribution looks like in the post-pandemic, streaming-dominated era.

Also holding on tight after its huge debut last weekend was "Jujutsu Kaisen 0." Though it dropped 69% week-to-week, it still earned $4.5 million in its second frame, which puts it at $27.7 million domestic and $144.5 million worldwide. Diverse, non-American movies pulling in big bucks is deeply encouraging stuff to see for several weeks in a row, and it's hard to imagine anyone feeling anything but optimistic about this kind of programming in the future.

The Batman continues to soar

On the superhero front, "The Batman" continued to do well in its fourth week, taking in $20.5 million, good enough for the number two spot. Director Matt Reeves' gritty take on Gotham City starring Robert Pattinson has now earned $331 million domestically and $340 million overseas coming up just shy of $673 million as of this writing in total. It is downright amazing that Warner Bros. hasn't officially announced a sequel yet but, rest assured, it's going to happen. Given the rate of decline, the movie should be looking at a finish perhaps in the $800 million range.

For anyone thinking that might be a disappointment, keep in mind that it has had a very difficult time making any money in China as theaters in the country are once again closed due to the pandemic. Also, keep in mind that this is a three-hour reboot of a franchise we've seen several versions of over the last decade. Just because it may not hit $1 billion does not by any means make this anything less than a home run. And it sets up the sequel to do even bigger business.

Everything Everywhere All At Once gets a huge start

Lastly, this weekend saw Daneils' highly-acclaimed sci-fi flick "Everything Everywhere All At Once" open in limited release, bowing in just ten theaters. It did gangbusters business, taking in $509,000, with a per-theater average of more than $50,000. That's outstanding and bodes well for the film as it looks to expand in the coming weeks. Following its premiere at SXSW, the movie, which stars Michell Yeoh in the lead role, was met with near-universal praise from critics. A24 has the chance to deliver a real arthouse crowdpleaser here, and that would be a great thing to see. Let's hope the numbers continue to be good as the expansion rolls out.

Looking ahead, this weekend brings a new comic book movie to theaters as Jared Leto's "Moribus" finally rolls into theaters, with Sony hoping to recapture some of that "Venom" magic. We also have Chris Pine's "The Contractor" and the Noomi Rapace horror flick "You Won't Be Alone" debuting as well.