Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Any bear will do, really

Buoyed by families suffering from cabin fever after snowstorms trapped East Coasters inside last weekend—and the apparently inexhaustible appeal of pandas attempting to do kung fu—Kung Fu Panda 3 made $41 million at the box office this weekend. That’s a new record for animated features opening in January, the sort of arbitrary, highly specific metric so beloved by box-office watchers and football commentators alike. But while critics’ complaints of sameness didn’t hurt Po and friends—again, pandas are super cute—bad reviews did seem to take a toll on the week’s other new releases.

Instead, the Jaws to Kung Fu Panda 3’s Shark Story, The Revenant, held strong at No. 2, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has featured its share of bear-like creatures over the years, continues to hang in there at No. 3. (“Hang in there” being industry slang for ”steadily creep towards $1 billion domestic and $2 billion internationally,” of course.) That brings Craig Gillespie’s Coast Guard period drama The Finest Hours in at No. 4 with $10 million, an appropriately tepid result for a movie that has been met with a resounding “meh” by the critical community at large.


While we’re feeling mild, let’s say that critics were even less kind to Fifty Shades Of Black, Marlon Wayans’ ill-conceived attempt to get “mommy porn” aficionados to laugh at roofie jokes. The reviews—or maybe the trailers, or maybe the fact that Fifty Shades Of Grey came out a year ago and has become increasingly irrelevant ever since—do seem to have hurt the movie, which came in at No. 9 with a pretty terrible $6 million opening weekend. (Joke’s on us though, because with a reported production budget of $5 million, Wayans’ career will most likely live to spoof again.)

But while $6 million might seem bad, that’s nothing compared to the indignities suffered by the long-delayed Jane Got A Gun, which came in at No. 17 with a bleak $803,000. That’s just behind Norm Of The North, which dropped from No. 9 to No. 16 in its third week and pulled in $925,000, albeit on 300 more screens than Jane. Talk about getting mauled by a bear.


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