STX and Warner Bros. came out as the big box office winners this weekend. STX saw its first No. 1 opening with “The Upside,” which beat tracker expectations with an estimated $19.5 million opening from 3,080 screen. It was expected to open to $10-12 million.
WB, meanwhile, won’t take their fourth straight No. 1 weekend, but “Aquaman” will still become the studio’s first $1 billion hit since “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012 and the fifth in studio history. The superhero film added $17 million this weekend to push its domestic total to $287 million.
“The Upside” was originally supposed to be an R-Rated film released last year by The Weinstein Company. But after Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct and TWC declared bankruptcy, STX reached a distribution deal last August with Lantern Entertainment, the label created out of TWC’s bankruptcy sale to Lantern Capital. The film was then re-cut for a PG-13 rating, a move that has paid off, as the film has earned an A on CinemaScore even as critics have given it just 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
In third this weekend is Sony’s “A Dog’s Way Home,” which is opening to $11.3 million from 3,090 screens and against an $18 million production budget. By comparison, the last film adapted from a W. Bruce Cameron novel, “A Dog’s Purpose,” opened to $18 million in January 2017. “A Dog’s Way Home” has a CinemaScore rating of A- and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 59 percent.
The third new release of the weekend is Entertainment Studios’ “Replicas,” which is turning out to be the worst wide opening ever for lead star Keanu Reeves with just $2.2 million grossed from 2,329 screens. Critics and audiences alike have panned the film, giving it a C on CinemaScore and 11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Elsewhere on the charts, holiday releases “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Mary Poppins Returns” are both approaching $150 million domestic. “Spider-Verse” is fifth on this weekend’s charts with $7.5 million weekend total and a $146 million cume, while “Poppins” is in seventh with $6 million and a $149.4 million cume.
Meanwhile, on the awards/specialty front, Focus Features has expanded “On the Basis of Sex” to 1,923 screens, earning $6.4 million to push its total to $10.3 million. Fans of Ruth Bader Ginsburg have given the film an A on CinemaScore to go with its 70 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating. Annapurna’s “If Beale Street Could Talk,” fresh off of Regina King’s Golden Globe win, expanded to 1,018 screens and added $2.3 million for a $7.7 million total.
As for the two top winners from the Golden Globes, Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” added a sing-along version of the film to theaters as the film expanded back to 1,334 screens, grossing $3 million as it inches closer to $200 million domestic after crossing $750 million this past week. Universal is holding its largest expansion for “Green Book” until after Oscar nominations, but did increase the screen count to 742 this weekend.
“Green Book” now has $38.5 million after making $2.1 million this weekend, following a week in which director Peter Farrelly apologized for sexually explicit pranks he discussed in a 1998 Newsweek interview, and screenwriter Nick Vallelonga apologized for a 2015 tweet in which he accused New Jersey Muslims of celebrating the 9/11 attacks.