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US week-end Box Office analysis: January 17-19, 2020

Box Office analysis for the week of January 20th. On Sunday, the Screen Actors Guild hands out its annual awards for outstanding performances during 2019 in film and prime-time television. Sunday also happens to be National Popcorn Day, an opportunity to enhance the enjoyment of watching the SAG Awards ceremony.

Sony hit it big this weekend with a record-breaking opening for its Bad Boys for Life, which took in $59.1M for Friday-Saturday-Sunday and is projected to take in $68.1M when including results from the holiday on Monday. This R-Rated action comedy is the fourth chapter in the hugely successful Bad Boys film series, which stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Based on these results, BBFL is set to become the biggest MLK debut opening in history.

Universal's Dolittle starring Robert Downey Jr. also showed strong returns in its debut weekend, grossing $22.5M through Sunday and projected to gross $30M through Monday.  Universal also held third place this week with its war drama 1917, which continued to expand in its fourth week (now playing at 3612 locations) and earned $22.1M through Sunday and $27M through Monday.

Our Industry News Roundup begins with two articles discussing the merits of leading nominees for this year's Oscars.  Variety's article zeros in on the buzz surrounding Joker, a dark tale of a loner who is radicalized by his unfortunate experiences being brutalized by those around him in society.  The story of Joker sparked controversy even before the film was released, but as time has gone on everyone's focus seems to be on the remarkable performance by Joaquin Phoenix in the title role. The New York Times walks through the case to be made for each of five films considered as legitimate contenders for best picture. In addition to Joker, these include Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, 1917, Parasite and The Irishman.  We also highlight an investor brief published last week by BMO Capital Markets on the level of investment in content that they expect to see from Netflix and other major streaming players.  They predict a continued ramp up in 2020 and beyond in the already gaudy numbers being invested, but that it will be paid back with strong growth in both audience and revenues for all the major players.

Gower Street's Rolling 8-Week Box Office Forecast now extends through the week of March 6th, when the Pixar release Onward should lead the box office parade. Despite strong results for this film - predicted to be a top 10 film of the year - the overall box office for that week in 2020 will be off 36% from same week in 2019, when Marvel opened its mega-hit Captain America.

In the Hollywood Report, Martin Grove points out the impact on this year's Academy Awards due to a compressed schedule for voting.  The members of the Academy had only one week between the date when nominations were announced and the deadline for submitting votes.  As a result, many members only had the time to see the high profile films highlighted by other awards groups.  If you want The Academy to look further into the field of candidate films and performances, you have to give them the time to do so.

This week we offer two new film tables: the Top Trending Films (13) which are scheduled for release between February and June this year, and a longer list of the Most Anticipated Films expected for 2020.

 

We conclude with our regular film data and tables: the Weekly Film Calendar covering releases over the next six weeks, recently announced Studio Release Changes, a list of Upcoming Industry Screenings, the latest MPAA film ratings and a list of important new trailers released last week. 

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