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Weekend Box Office: Nostalgia keeps selling

Beauty And The Beast (Photo: Disney)

What’s old is constantly new again at the movies. Just look at the current box-office charts, tallying this past weekend’s ticket sales. We’ve got two remakes of old television shows, a superhero-themed spinoff of an animated movie, the tenth installment in a superhero franchise, a couple R-rated thrillers blatantly indebted to other movies, another King Kong film, and a live-action remake of an animated version of an old fairy tale. Even Get Out, the sleeper hit of the season, has some familiar genre parts to compliment its new take on horror.

It’s tempting to put the blame squarely on Hollywood for giving audiences nothing fresh to sink their teeth into. Of course the box office is going to be dominated by sequels, remakes, and reboots, because that’s about all the giant recycling plant we call the studio system ever coughs up. But audiences play a part, too. They voted with their wallets by almost completely ignoring A Cure For Wellness, the most singular studio movie of 2017 so far. And they’ve quickly and handily turned the Xeroxed blockbuster Beauty And The Beast into the year’s biggest hit. Why would Hollywood think outside the box when what’s inside of it still makes everyone rich?


Topping the charts again, Disney’s spit-shined interspecies romance scored one of the best second weekends in box-office history, grossing another $88.3 million and rising past the $300 million mark in less than 10 days. But it’s not the only success story to court the patronage of ’90s kids: Power Rangers, based on a TV show that found its own use for old content (specifically that of the Japanese television show whose action footage it borrowed), debuted in second place with $40 million—a better start for the franchise hopeful than many were expecting. (Hope said ’90s kids held onto their Power Rangers action figures, because their kids may now have a hankering for cheap plastic versions of these teenage superheroes.)

Not that a rush of recognition helped all the new releases. The R-rated Life, which starts like Gravity until an Alien knockoff comes bursting through its chest, only managed $12.6 million—not disastrous, given the surprisingly economical $58 million price tag, but not enough to edge out Kong for third place, and not even in the same universe as other recent space thrillers. Meanwhile, the buddy-cop comedy Chips landed in seventh place with only $7.6 million, presumably because its own small-screen source material doesn’t inspire the same level of fond remembrance as Power Rangers. Given that it also functions as a throwback to a time when every dude-centric yukfest went heavy on the gay-panic gags, call us relieved that this particular blast from the past didn’t take. The last thing we need is an Old Dogs revival.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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