Thursday, April 18, 2024

Weather or Not: “Avatar 2” Box Office Numbers Updated Overnight, Sunday Surge of $8 Mil, “Babylon” Was Ambitious Bomb


MONDAY MORNING: Disney now says the weekend came to $64 mil after a late Sunday surge.

SUNDAY NIGHT: I know $56 million sounds like a lot. But Disney and other box office prognosticators were hoping for a $65 million second weekend for “Avatar 2.” They fell short by $9 million, down 58% from last weekend.

Was the weather to blame? I’d say it was a factor.

Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” was an expected bomb. Paramount will be writing off $100 million or more from this disaster. What’s the problem with “Babylon”? Excess. Upon excess. This could have been “L.A. Confidential” if it had a plot and a point. Instead, it was “Heaven’s Gate” meets “Ishtar.” I’d love to see a clever editor carve a movie out of that thing.

But Chazelle seems obsessed with “Singing in the Rain,” even though that movie is many years after “Babylon” occurs. I’d get rid of the orgies, they seem ridiculous and don’t add to the action. (Maybe there should be a short film of “Babylon” orgy outtakes.)

Margot Robbie exudes star power, but she looks all wrong in this film. She’s made up and dressed for a “Studio 54” film. The real key to “Babylon” is the central scene between Brad Pitt and Jean Smart.

What could “Babylon” have been? Just watch Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” I did again last night. It’s brilliant, holds up better than ever, and should have won Best Picture.

We are closing out a very mediocre year in film. Up next is Tom Hanks in “A Man Called Otto.” I say, Notto.

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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