Saturday, April 13, 2024

Sequels: “Maleficent” 5 Years Later Opens 50 Percent Down, “Zombieland” 10 Years Later Better than Ever, “Gemini Man” Collapses


In October 2009, the original “Zombieland” had an opening weekend of $24.7 million. Ten years later, its sequel has landed with numbers as good: $26.7 million. Zombies never get old!

By contrast, this weekend we had “Maleficent 2,” five years after the original. The first one had a $70 million weekend. The new one? Just $36 million. Not evil enough for the US. Will still do very well around the globe. But Angelina Jolie might give some thought to doing serious movies in which she has to interact like an actual human with other characters.

Maybe they should have titled it “Femaleficent.” That might have increased audience.

“Downton Abbey” hits $88 million today. I’d love to see the screenplay for number 2. And to hear the conversations with Maggie Smith. The Dowager Countess’s cancer is moving slowly. Or misdiagnosed.

At the same time, “Gemini Man” doubled its problems, taking in just $8.5 million this weekend, two million LESS than predicted. The whole thing is over. Total now is $36 million. Say goodbye at $45 million if lucky. That’s a LOT of money lost. A big write down.

Also news-worthy: Jennifer Lopez has now starred in her first $100 million film as “Hustlers” crosses the mark today. JL0 is headed to the Golden Globes, certainly, in the supporting actress category. But Oscars look like a slim chance now that Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie are filling two spots from “Bombshell.” Annette Bening takes the third for “The Report.” Laura Dern is IN for “Marriage Story.” It’s likely we’ll get two more choices from “Little Women.” But Lopez should be happy with the Globes, which is not exactly chopped liver.

My “Bombshell” review is coming, but in the meantime, Kidman’s subtle work as Gretchen Carlson is really a knockout, and so central to the movie. It was really cool and brave of her to take a supporting role in a movie. But she is a risk taker and a good gambler. Robbie could tip the other way to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” But this work is the best of her very strong career. Wait for the big review to hear about Charlize and John Lithgow.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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