Impossible Speeds to Improbable Win


For years, the box office trajectory of movies based on comic-book superheroes has been as reliable as death and taxes. And for the makers, the formula for success has been quite simple. Step One: Make a superhero movie. Step Two: Watch the movie hit No. 1. Step Three: Start shopping for that ocean villa in Antigua.

But hey, all streaks must come to an end, and this one ended with a Thing-like thud. It was indeed clobberin’ time, but it was Marvel’s original fearsome foursome that took the drubbing.

Though almost everyone expected Fox’s Fantastic Four to earn at least $45 million and win this weekend’s box office crown, it was not to be. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation took the honors for the second week in a row, hurtling to another $29.4 million (estimated). Fantastic Four, dragged down by miserable reviews (including ours) and audience apathy, could only muster a disappointing $26.2 million. Not even Mr. Fantastic himself could stretch the box office receipts enough to keep up with Tom Cruise’s money machine.

But Four wasn’t the only movie to feel a little invisible. In truth, it was a fairly grim weekend for lots of movies.

The Gift, another newcomer, was one of the weekend’s only pleasant surprises (at least from a monetary perspective). This low-budget psychological thriller wrapped up about $12 million for its makers and left it on the front stoop. The weekend’s two other debuts didn’t fare nearly as well. Meryl Streep’s Ricki and the Flash missed the Top Five altogether with a $7 million opener (just good enough for seventh place), while the Shaun the Sheep Movie—in keeping with its mute titular character—made very little noise at all. It earned just $4 mil, finishing 11th. That’s pretty baaaaaaad.

A couple of holdovers rounded out the Top Five. Vacation finished fourth with $9.1 million, while Ant-Man pocketed another $7.8 million for fifth. Ant-Man, by the way, has earned a grand total of $147.4 million in four weeks—not too shabby for Marvel’s smallest superhero. Perhaps the Fantastic Four should take notes.

Final figures update: 1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, $28.5 million; 2. Fantastic Four, $25.7 million; 3. The Gift, $11.9 million; 4. Vacation, $9 million; 5. Ant-Man, $7.9 million.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Kal El More than 1 year ago
It's a shame F4 hasn't done better. Aside from some pacing/structure issues, some odd choices regarding Doom, and a couple pesky evolution references, it really was a very solid movie. The Thing was absolutely fantastic (pun intended), and Mara bears a striking resemblance to the Sue Storm of the comics.

I'm kind of concerned this will mean yet another reboot.
Kal El More than 1 year ago
Side note: I just read PI's review for F4, and wanted to assure anyone who read it that there are positive elements that apparently went totally unnoticed (or at least unmentioned) in their review. The negatives are pretty well detailed. But there's nary a whisper of the characters' efforts to save each other and eventually the entire planet, nor of Reed and Ben's devout friendship (which fractures and then repairs after their transformations), nor of Reed's desire to restore his friend to his non-rocky form.
I also didn't see anything mentioned about how Dr. Franklin Storm urges his son to stop street racing and start making something of his life and gifts, or of his overall devotion to both of his kids.
Also, I'm surprised PI didn't mention that Reed and Sue's relationship is a respectful and clean one, with no typical scenes of bed hopping or other questionable behavior.

Other than that, their review (of the parts I read) seemed fairly accurate. Just want a fair representation of this already underrated movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So this means twice as many people chose "Vacation" over "Shaun the Sheep"? This is sad!