Cinema: 'Get Out' and 'Beauty' are box office beasts

It is no secret that Beauty and the Beast is the belle of the box office this year. Look at the records it set – just look at them. They are beautiful. It became the top grossing movie of the year domestically in a matter of days, charging past Logan, which previously charged past The LEGO Batman Movie. Those three movies round out the top three box office performances this year as of this writing, with Logan looking to crack $200 million soon and Beast rocketing toward at least $300 million something (most projections have it passing $400 million – not an easy feat).

Get Out and Split, two Blumhouse Production projects, are currently hovering at fourth and fifth respectively; both are just above the $137 million mark. Jordan Peele’s debut thriller recently squeaked past M. Night Shyamalan’s return-to-form, but both over-performed and earned back massive figures on their budgets. Get Out was made on a measly $4.5 million budget, and Split cost double that, which is still relatively miniscule. Disney may have the runaway hit of the year, but Blumhouse’s ability to produce small budget mega hits is nothing to ignore.

Side note: Blumhouse and Shyamalan might be a perfect match. Both have produced their critical and financial flops, but both excel at building an entire movie around one (often supernatural) premise. In the case of Split, both parties produced some of their finest caliber work, and were rewarded for it. Let’s see more of this pair in the future, yeah?

It is a tale as old as time: Disney releases a heavily marketed film, and, whether it is set in a galaxy far, far away or a castle deep in the woods, people show up to see it in mobs. In the case of live action remakes, we have seen them before with Cinderella and The Jungle Book (and Maleficent, kind of) – all three of which cracked the coveted $200 million mark. That is a mark Beast jumped to in almost its opening weekend alone – the $170 million opening tally set new March records.

But, here’s the thing: of course it did. The picture was a guaranteed money-grabbing tornado from its very first teaser. Unlike Blumhouse films, Disney films are almost all guaranteed hits – especially when they have household names like the classic cartoons attached to them. That is why Disney is allowed to drop a $160 million budget on a single film – and that does not even cover advertising costs, which surely were through the roof.

It is not necessarily the most relevant comparison, but it is worth looking into anyway. Get Out ushered in $33.4 million its opening weekend, which is almost 7.5 times its budget, not including advertising. What about Beast? It topped off its budget nicely with $10 million in wiggle room, which, to be clear, is an extremely impressive thing to do with a budget that beastly. Studios like Disney are all about complete and total domination, whereas production companies like Blumhouse are more about producing quieter hits that spread via word of mouth. Both are equally impressive in my book.

There are guaranteed hits like Logan, though, that could not claw out quite as monstrous a feat as Beast. Produced with a sizable $97 million budget excluding advertising, Logan scraped up $85.3 million in its first weekend; a success no matter how you look at it, but not a budget-topper like the other two movies. Same goes with LEGO Batman, which opened to $55.6 million on an $80 million budget. Successes? Absolutely. But, despite Hugh Jackman’s haggard appearance and performance, not quite Beast status.

All in all, 2017 has been quite a profitable year. The Great Wall is the only noteworthy flop so far, but only by domestic standards. It has earned slightly above $44 million in the States but $284 million globally, bringing its worldwide total to $329 million on an $150 million budget. Sure, a movie with that budget was expected to gain more traction in theaters, but if that is 2017’s biggest flop so far, then Ben-Hur may have to spend a little more time in the hot seat as the most recent huge flop. All bets are off as to what the first actual flop of the year will be – my money is on Alien: Covenant. But, we will see when we get there.