‘Abominable’ No.1 with $20.9M; ‘Judy’ sings out
The DreamWorks animated adventure “Abominable” topped the box office with $20.9 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, while the Renee Zellweger-led Judy Garland tale “Judy” got off to a strong start.
“Abominable,” the weekend’s sole new wide release, is a co-production between Universal’s DreamWorks and the Shanghai-based Pearl Studios. So the $75 million-film’s performance when it opens Tuesday in China will be vital to its worldwide success.
The film, written and directed by Jill Culton, is about a Shanghai teenager (Chloe Bennet) who discovers a lost yeti on the roof of her apartment building. She and a pair of friends traverse China to return the creature, whom they name “Everest,” home to the Himalayas. “Abominable” garnered positive reviews (80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and a warm reception from audiences (an A CinemaScore) eager for a family friendly option.
“Abominable” marks the seventh No. 1 film this year for Universal, or eight if you count “Downton Abbey,” released by the studio’s specialty label, Focus Features. “Downton,” last week’s top film, slid to second with $14.5 million. The big-screen encore for the British series has already grossed $107.1 million worldwide.
That gives Universal the most No.1 movies of any studio this year, passing Disney. Though Disney still commands an overwhelming market share of about 34 percent, Universal has had a strong year with a varied slate (“Us,” “Hobbs & Shaw,” “Yesterday”). The studio accounts for all three of the year’s No.1-debuting original releases: “Abominable,” “Us” and “Good Boys.”
It’s been a good run for original films lately at the box office. The stripper drama “Hustlers,” from STX Entertainment, continued to hold strong with $11.5 million in its third week, dropping just 32 percent. It’s now made $80.6 million altogether. “Hustlers” potentially got a boost by having its star — Jennifer Lopez — announced this week as next year’s Super Bowl halftime act, along with Shakira.
And one of the weekend’s biggest successes was “Judy,” which opened with $3.1 million on 461 screens. The film, directed by Rupert Goold, is about the final act of Judy Garland’s life, when the “Wizard of Oz” star was plagued by drug addiction, health woes and financial troubles. The film’s main draw is Zellweger’s lauded performance as Garland, which has made her the best-actress Oscar front-runner.
Roadside Attractions rolled out “Judy” with a rare medium-sized platform release that the distributor has found success with before on films like 2012’s “Mud” and this summer’s “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” The latter is a Mark Twain-inspired adventure starring Zack Gottsagen, who has Down syndrome, and Shia LaBeouf. This weekend, it became the year’s top indie platform release with $18.1 million over eight weeks, passing A24’s “The Farewell.”
Tyler Perry says he can’t ‘up and leave’ filming in Georgia
Tyler Perry said he cannot “just up and leave” filming in Georgia despite Hollywood’s backlash against the state’s “heartbeat” abortion law.
The actor-director-writer made the remarks to The Associated Press on Friday while discussing the upcoming opening of his massive Atlanta-based studio. Some celebs have urged TV and film companies to abandon the state after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the restrictive abortion bill in May.
But Perry, whose hits include the “Madea” franchise and “Why Did I Get Married” films, said he is committed to staying put.
“Atlanta has been the dream. It has been the promised land,” he said. “So when I got here, this whole state and city has been amazing to me and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Also, I put $250 million in the ground here and in the studio. So when you have a quarter of a billion dollars sat down in the ground, you can’t just up and leave.”
Perry is planning a star-studded unveiling of his new studio complex next weekend.
The law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy before many women realize they’re expecting. The law is set to become enforceable Jan. 1.
Some actors and actresses such as Alyssa Milano, Mark Hamill and Mandy Moore have suggested a boycott against filming in Georgia. Others, like Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are proceeding to shoot their HBO show “Lovecraft County,” but said they will donate all of their “episodic fees” to organizations fighting the law including the ACLU of Georgia and Fair Fight Georgia.
— Associated Press