‘PAW Patrol’ Nabs $13M As ‘Reminiscence’ Opens With Tragic $2M

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‘PAW Patrol’ Nabs M As ‘Reminiscence’ Opens With Tragic M

In a kind of grim example of the movie industry as it exists today, three star-driven, high-concept originals (all of which I enjoyed to various degrees) got demolished this weekend as audiences flocked to a feature-film version of Paramount and Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol. The PAW Patrol Movie opened with $12.7 million domestic this weekend, despite being concurrent available on Paramount+ for “free.” Once again, especially for family movies (Tom & Jerry, Jungle Cruise, etc.), parents either don’t know or don’t care about the duel release gimmick, or (as we saw with the duel release of Sponge On The Run on PVOD and Paramount+) would rather pay for a single piece of content versus signing up for another streaming service even if the PVOD rental is double the price of a monthly subscription.

The feature film adaptation, which cost $26 million, played on par with Teen Titans GO! to the Movies in summer 2018. That (much better, all due respect) cinematic continuation opened with $10 million alongside the $62 million launch of Mission: Impossible – Fallout and earned $52 million worldwide in the end. PAW Patrol obviously isn’t playing like a SpongeBob movie, but it’s good enough all things considered. Once again, marquee characters are bigger “movie stars” than actual movie stars or even somewhat well-known IP. Word that MGM will duel-release The Addams Family 2 (in theaters and PVOD on October 1) makes sense in this context. Those who want to see PAW Patrol in theaters are still doing so, which is either a “Yay theaters!” or “Boo Paramount+!” situation.

The $65 million Reminiscence (review) is a pretty good movie. The ambitious, hardboiled detective romp was always a “for the love of the game” swing. It’s the kind of movie (original, adult-skewing, non-franchise, star-driven, visually ambitious, female-directed, etc.) everyone complains Hollywood never makes and then doesn’t show up when they do. As much grief as I gave Warner Bros. over The Suicide Squad, which was a mega-budget “dead man walking” from conception, or Space Jam 2 (for spending $150 million instead of $90 million), they still release “real movies” like In the Heights, Cry Macho, Judas and the Black Messiah and The Little Things. They released a deluge of old-school programmers (Blinded By the Light, Richard Jewell, The Way Back, etc.) in late 2019/early 2020. “We” only showed up for It Chapter Two and Joker.

Reminiscence (co-starring Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newton) was doomed before Covid and before HBO Max. But, yes, the film’s $2 million weekend is partially due to the current pandemic variables, as was Angelina Jolie’s Those Who Wish Me Dead in mid-May. It’s also WB’s second-worst 2,000-plus screen debut behind the $1.7 million launch of Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends in August 2015. Hugh Jackman remains one of the last “new” movie stars to get a varied career outside of his marquee franchise, as well as one of the only “from obscurity to franchise stardom” to actually be a draw outside of his IP-specific marquee character. However, he’s never been a consistent draw. Even The Greatest Showman opened soft ($13.5 million Wed-Sun) before catching fire over Christmas 2017.

Martin Campbell’s The Protege (review) opened courtesy of Lionsgate. This low-buzz, low-impact title, starring Maggie Q. as an assassin facing off against Michael Keaton to avenge the death of her mentor (Samuel L. Jackson), The Protégé earned $2.935 million debut weekend. That’s obviously a lousy result, but nobody was expecting much better in these grim times. Luc Besson’s Anna opened with $3.6 million in summer 2019, so it’s arguably a “successful disappointment.” I liked it well enough, but then I’m a Campbell fan. As expected, most of the publicity centered on Keaton reprising Batman in The Flash and Campbell discussing what went wrong with Green Lantern. Alas, Lionsgate’s Summer of Sam (Jackson) has been disappointing, even if they will make money on The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and Spiral.

Searchlight’s The Night House opened yesterday as well, earning $2.8 million in its opening weekend. The low-buzz (but well-reviewed) Rebecca Hall showcase, about a woman being haunted (literally and metaphorically) by her husband’s unexpected death-by-suicide, was never really going to break out even in better times. It’s a hell of a movie, with one of the best jump scares in recent memory and an unusual sense of unease and dread throughout, but that will have to be enough for now. Folks will discover this one on HBO Max in a few months and wonder why nobody told them about it when it was in theaters. Sean Penn’s Flag Day opened with $40,000 in 24 theaters. All I’ll say is that The Pledge, starring Jack Nicholson, is fantastic.

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