'Smurfs' and 'Going in Style' are no match for 'Boss Baby' and 'Beauty'

Luckily, the box office beating “The Boss Baby” and “Beauty and the Beast” put on Sony’s new release “Smurfs: The Lost Village” couldn’t make the animated gnomes any more blue.

The Alec Baldwin-voiced baby with a briefcase took the no. 1 spot for the second week in a row with an estimated $26.3 million in the U.S. and Canada, beating analyst expectations of $25 million. DreamWorks Animation’s and 20th Century Fox’s family comedy has grossed $89.4 million domestically to date.

Disney’s “Beast” came in second place with $25 million in its third weekend. The Emma Watson-Dan Stevens retelling of the 1991 animated musical has amassed a stunning $432.3 million domestically and $545.1 million internationally for a global tally of $977.4 million since opening March 17. It cost $160 million to make.

Performing the best of the new releases was “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” with $14.1 million, good enough for third place. Analysts projected less than $20 million.

“I think it’s within the realm of where we were hoping to be,” said Rory Bruer, the studio’s distribution chief.

Sony Pictures returned to its “Smurfs" franchise, this time with an all-animated version (the first two movies combined computer graphics and live action). In a feminist turn for “The Lost Village,” the Smurf gang meets an all-female tribe led by Smurfwillow, voiced by Julia Roberts.

Such a performance is relatively on par with the $17-million opening of 2013’s “The Smurfs 2,” and a far cry from the first “Smurfs” film in 2011 that opened to $35 million and exploded with more than $560 million worldwide. This outing, however, was less expensive. It reportedly cost $60 million to make, after factoring in production incentives, compared to its predecessors that each cost more than $100 million.

Nonetheless, mediocre reviews and the opposite-of-stellar box office figures present a less-than-encouraging sign for the longevity of the franchise which the studio hoped the latest film would reinvigorate. The series however does have a history of doing well internationally.

“It’s always been about the global aspect of the film,” said Bruer, noting that 75% of the franchise’s gross typically comes from international territories.

While “Smurfs” did receive an A CinemaScore from moviegoers, it only got an 39% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The second-best performing new release was Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow’s “Going in Style” with $12.5 million, beating analyst expectations of $8 million.

A remake of the 1979 heist film of the same name, the film stars Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine as geriatric friends who turn to criminal activity when they fall on hard times. The $24-million movie was directed by Zach Braff, best known for the 2004 indie hit “Garden State" and the TV show “Scrubs.”

The film is an obvious target for more mature audiences, and they are the ones who most enjoyed it. While the picture received an average B-plus CinemaScore, it nabbed an A-minus from from moviegoers over 50, or 72% of the total audience.

Critics were less pleased, as the geezer comedy has a 43% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Pulling up the rear in fifth place is Paramount’s “Ghost in the Shell” with $7.4 million in its second week. The fantastical tale, which was at the center of a “whitewashing” controversy for its casting of Scarlett Johansson, has pulled $31.6 million to date.

As for the final major new release, Pure Flix’s “The Case for Christ,” debuted to $3.9 million. Analysts projected a less than $10 million take.

Based on author Lee Strobel’s faith-defending text that has been in heavy rotation on church reading lists for years, the movie follows the journalist Strobel who sets out to disprove Christianity but is instead convinced of the Bible’s veracity. It stars Mike Vogel and Faye Dunaway.

With the popular source material and the usual endorsements from pastors and faith leaders, including Strobel, the film has an 83% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the limited release front, EuropaCorp Films’ “Their Finest,” distributed by STX, pulled an estimated $77,000 from four locations for a per location average of $19,250. The independently-produced British film stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy as Hollywood creatives aiming to make the next great feature film as 1940s London is embattled at war.

Focus Features’ “The Zookeeper’s Wife” expanded in its second week to over 800 locations. It brought in $2.9 million over the weekend for a domestic gross to date of $7.6 million.

Next week, the highly-anticipated “The Fate of the Furious,” the latest in Universal’s “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, will overtake theaters, surely dethroning “The Boss Baby.”

calendar@latimes.com

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
68°