Box Office: ‘Boss Baby’ Tops ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Bombs

The Boss Baby
Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

“The Boss Baby” is enjoying the view from the top.

The animated comedy bottled up a leading $49 million from 3,773 locations, edging out Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a box office juggernaut that’s dominated the multiplexes since debuting three weeks ago. “Beauty and the Beast” added another $48 million to its mammoth $395.5 million domestic haul. The weekend’s other new release, Paramount’s “Ghost in the Shell,” bombed, taking in a demoralizing $19 million.

Critics were cool toward “The Boss Baby,” which centers on a cuteness standoff between babies and puppies. Alec Baldwin, in vulpine “Glengarry Glen Ross” mode, voices a power suit-wearing infant, leading a vocal cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, and Lisa Kudrow. DreamWorks Animation produced the film for over $100 million, with Fox distributing the picture. Heading into the weekend, “The Boss Baby” had been projected to debut to $30 million.

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“The picture works because it’s a great concept and having Alec Baldwin, who is such a well known voice, voicing a baby is near genius,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s head of domestic distribution.

Aronson said he was surprised that the reviews for the film weren’t stronger.

“I was shocked and still am,” said Aronson. “It’s nice when you have critics and audiences aligned, but it’s painful when you don’t get it. You wonder why do audiences like it so much and the reviewers don’t?”

“Ghost in the Shell,” an adaptation of a popular Japanese manga about a cyber-enhanced warrior (a be-spandexed Scarlett Johansson) who must take down a cabal of terrorist hackers, was produced in conjunction with DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment. If it wants to fight its way into the black, it will need to get a big lift from foreign crowds. To that end, the science-fiction story pulled in $40.1 million abroad from 50 foreign territories.

Paramount has gone through a punishing run at the box office, enduring costly flops such as “Allied” and “Ben-Hur,” while going through a series of executive shakeups that resulted in the ousters of chairman Brad Grey and vice-chairman Rob Moore. It has a newly named studio chief in Jim Gianopulos, the former head of Fox’s film division, whose task it will be to bring more creative stability to the company.

“Ghost in the Shell’s” rollout was nearly subsumed by controversy over its casting and accusations that by tapping Johansson the film had engaged in “whitewashing.” It was cited as exhibit A in a larger, industry-wide debate about studios’ habits of employing white actors in Asian roles. The furor surrounding the casting found its way into many of the negative notices that the picture received, and was the subject of several critical thinkpieces.

“It was a small, but vocal group,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s marketing and distribution head. “It had some impact, but it was more of the impact overall on reviews. I think people are becoming more vocal on these types of issues. I haven’t worked on many large-scale action movies that have a female lead, so I wish it had been embraced more.”

Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers” and Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “Kong: Skull Island” rounded out the top five, earning $14.5 million and $8.8 million, respectively. The Power Rangers reboot has grossed $65.1 million in two weeks of release, while the latest King Kong remake has made $147.8 million after four weeks in theaters.

Year-to-date, the domestic box office is up more than 5% and ticket sales this weekend were up nearly 30%, according to ComScore. The weekend caps a hot run at the box office with such hits as “Logan” and “Beauty and the Beast” powering domestic revenues in March to over the $1 billion mark for the first time in history.

In limited release, Focus Features’ “The Zookeeper’s Wife” opened to a strong $3.3 million in 541 locations this weekend. Jessica Chastain stars in the film as a woman in World War II-era Warsaw who tries to save Jews during the Holocaust. Focus will expand the movie to between 800 to 1,000 theaters.

“It just struck a chord with audiences,” said  Lisa Bunnell, Focus’ distribution president. “To have a female character who goes out there and puts herself on the front line just resonates. People in this country are looking for heroes.”

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  1. facetest says:

    All this proves is America has terrible taste in movies. Boss Baby? For real? LOL

  2. Steve says:

    Again, I’m gonna have to ask for objective evidence that GitS’s box office flop occurred specifically because of its star’s activism.

    • Josef Venport. says:

      Guardians of the Galaxy had characters that have character. They keep you laughing all through the movie and everyone has a good time and feels good. Ghost in the shell lacked personality,charm and chutzba. I hope someone does it right next time and does not leave out those adorable tachikomas.

  3. Wilber Arron says:

    How about this for a reason the movie bombed. It wasn’t a good movie. The acting was not good. The script threw away most of the things that made the original movie and two TV series interesting. I felt no connection with Section 9 and the characters. It did not even explore very well the whole point of the original movie: what makes us human. It is another of these movies that the studio thinks if we blow 50 Million on special effects people will run to see it. Advice to movie companies….It’s the script stupid.

    • Tamara Hazel says:

      So you’re saying Boss Baby was a good movie? Let’s be honest, America has the worst taste in media.

  4. Mike Carlson says:

    This is just shocking to me. I saw Ghost in the Shell and was pleasantly surprised, I thought it was really entertaining and really don’t think it deserved such bad reviews. And Boss Baby beats it? C’mon America.

  5. Frank says:

    Balwin poopie pants.

  6. tom says:

    //“It was a small, but vocal group,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s marketing and distribution head. “It had some impact, but it was more of the impact overall on reviews. I think people are becoming more vocal on these types of issues. I haven’t worked on many large-scale action movies that have a female lead, so I wish it had been embraced more.”//

    Already trying to marginalize our voices? Obviously we had an impact you morons…

    Stop with the whitewashing already…

    • John says:

      The number of people who care about “whitewashing” is small compared to the total movie-going audience, and they are financially unimportant.

    • Dave C says:

      You’re giving yourself an exorbitant amount of credit if you think the difference between bomb and smashing box office records was a bunch of websites protesting the film. Most people in North America never heard of the manga/anime, and the movie didn’t really market itself as a good time for general audiences.

      • machtyn says:

        @Dave C “Most people in North America never heard of the manga/anime, and the movie didn’t really market itself as a good time for general audiences.”

        Exactly! The movie was only very interesting to those who care about anime and the studio didn’t market it well enough to make it interesting to anyone but the manga or those interested in weird art movies.

      • machtyn says:

        I don’t get the hate on Ghost in the Shell. The Major looks white to me in the anime. There are plenty of other characters in the anime the look remarkedly Japanese.

        And Boss Baby? I found this article because I was looking for evidence that it was going to be a major flop. When a studio goes to promoting a film as much as they did for BB, I figure it’s going to be terrible. The previews did little to persuade me otherwise. And, I’m a father of 2 girls in the 5 – 10 demographic. I have a pretty good feel on what films for that demographic are going to appeal to my girls.

    • John says:

      Pay no attention to the ignorant fool who’d also replied to you. You’re absolutely right: people aren’t stupid and they’re able to see how a whitewashed character is indicative of low quality elsewhere in the same piece of work.

    • Derek says:

      The issue is that there was no whitewashing. If you were familiar with the source material at all, then you would have known that the character was supposed to be Western in appearance. But don’t let that stop you from your ill-informed histrionics.

      • Ed says:

        No John you are moron

      • John says:

        Bird yes motoko is a codename not her name. In the manga she uses a russian body and the anime a European so she suppose to look white. Towards the end you learn all her memories are probably fake and she even be an AI. The major has no known gender, race, nationality or anything.

        Also speaking japanese equals race? Thats actually kind of racist since you are assigning a language to a race. The city in gits is fiction and there is a heavy american and european gang, businessmen and terrorist element its a cesspool of races so ignore those key parts of gits and go for a full asian experience?

        Ignorance is so bad these days.

      • bird says:

        So the anime/manga takes place in Japan, has Japanese named characters (I’m willing to give that to you: Motoko Kusanagi is an alias) who speak Japanese and you’re still saying that the live movie which (SPOILER) has Johansson being the shell of a Japanese woman’s mind isn’t whitewashing? Oh and it takes place in Japan too, woops.
        Western appearance in anime does not mean what you imply it means, it is done so that the characters stand out from each other and highlight their purpose, it’s not westernization, they all speak Japanese and they have Japanese names.

  7. Sam America says:

    don’t tell me hollyweird isn’t bias with this baby boss movie which is obviously based
    on Trump with Alec ‘big fat azz mouth leftist’ Baldwin doing his same old dumb
    character voice that he just can’t do anything else. boycott hollyweird until they change.

  8. Ken says:

    Another reason GITS bombed is because their big mouth lead actress keeps yammering about politics and when you do that,you insult half of the country that doesn’t agree with you.Actors ought to do their job and nothing more.

    • Ed says:

      I will say no again

    • Rex says:

      It’s free speech, you fascist douchebag.

      • Ed says:

        I will say no

      • Ken says:

        No,you are the douchebag. This is why at most workplaces they don’t allow you discuss politics or religion because it’s too easy to piss someone else off that doesn’t agree with you and the company loses money.

    • Sam America says:

      Ken your right. I say boycott all Hollyweird until they stop with their leftist garbage.

    • Steve says:

      Do you have any actual evidence that this film lost money because its star exercised her right as an American citizen to speak out on political issues?

      • Ed says:

        Ken you are moron

      • Ed says:

        Ken you are wrong

      • Ken says:

        Steve,if you read the many,many,many comments of social media when there is an article about this movie or MS Johansson, well over 70% have been negative and when she did the SNL skit about Ivanka,people came unglued because you have to understand,when half the country voted Mr Trump,Hollywood is basically is insulting people because they supported Mr Trump. Most of white America supported him and 35% of hispanics so many people said they would no longer attend movies Ms Johansson is acting in and obviously it has had an effect. How big,who knows!

  9. KT Chong says:

    Doctor Strange was also saddled with a “whitewashing” controversy, which did not stop the movie from making a lot of money at the box office.

    • o0ber says:

      The character replaced in Doctor Strange was a minor supporting character, not really the same.

    • nerdrage says:

      Yeah. The real difference is that Marvel is a huge brand name and Ghost in the Shell is not a globally renowned brand at all. Johansson was supposed to be the big brand name to make up for that, but actors as brands just isn’t working the way it used to. Audiences don’t care.

  10. Stu says:

    I think the problem is the movie just looks cold & sterile. Just another action flick of the week. ITs common place. Even Star Wars falls into this zone now. Hopefully this is the start of people saying No, I’ve had enough of this rubbish now. Time for something better. Something with true characters & stories. Time for Hollywood to wake up & try harder.

    • Russ says:

      The original Star Wars was … well … original. It was something the viewing public had never seen before. Most of the target audience for GitS has seen it (and it’s genre clones) several times. Give us something NEW, something Original. Hollywood needs to quit recycling the same old stuff and churning out repeats, reboots, and re-imaginations of the same stuff, over and over. We are getting oversaturated and just plain tired of it.

      • Rex says:

        Star Wars was original? Ha-HAH!! In what universe? I though everyone knew all the sources it drew from, but obviously some folks are still in the dark!

    • nerdrage says:

      But Star Wars can be mediocre and still make a billion dollars at the box office. The difference is, brand name. Audiences are looking for brand names at the multiplex. Makes it very hard for anything original to get traction.

  11. Mark says:

    No surprise ghost in the shell bombed. The original l cartoon was pretty awful.

  12. Steven says:

    When you spend $100M on a film and have a choice between a famous, popular actress or a politically correct unknown, the answer is pretty obvious. ‘Haven’t seen the movie so I can’t comment on that.

  13. orihime says:

    Yeah, don’t blame the fact that the only thing Ghost in the Shell kept from the original were the Japanese themed visuals. Don’t blame the fact that they jettisoned the fascinating question of what happens when you rescue a child’s mind and raise it in a cyborg body, instead opting to make a non-satire Robocop. Don’t blame the fact that they took a confident, empowered badass with a special ops team and turned her into a quiver lip with an identity crisis. Because women aren’t allowed to just kick ass and not be an angst fest?

    True story – if it had been any good, people would go see it, whitewashing or not. Don’t blame the SJW’s – blame Hollywood’s need to dumb down and whitewash the interesting right out of a good story.

    • Dave C says:

      I don’t think general audiences would see the movie even if it was good, because the deck is simply stacked against original films nowadays. But I agree with everything else. They threw away what made GitS interesting and surreal.

    • Dez says:

      👏👏👏👏👏👏

    • Marie says:

      After the trailer, I had no interest in seeing the film. Of course they had to take a strong character like Major and make her into a whiny character who searching for “her true self”.

  14. Spider says:

    Not surprised about, “Ghost in the Shell”. The flick just didn’t look interesting to me nor buzz-worthy. …. “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”, looks to be another flick based on a graphic novel (French) that doesn’t seem to be generating much buzz, either. Though, I do plan on checking it out.

    • nerdrage says:

      Valerian’s gonna bomb too. Original titles just can’t break out anymore. Now when Guardians of the Galaxy debuts, that will rocket to the top. Got that Marvel stamp.

  15. Kevin says:

    Yes, that is why the film is one of the biggest successes of all time

    Tell me… what’s it like in your word where up is down and good is bad?

    • Dave C says:

      It sucks that big budget movies today can’t risk anything different, Hollywood releasing– [Disney/WB/Fox/Sony superhero movie] [Disney & Pixar animated feature] [Disney live action remake] [adult comedy] [disaster movie] [Star Wars]– every single year, is not good.

      Hopefully Blade Runner 2049 reclaims the cyberpunk ground that Ghost lost. And hopefully Valerian at least grosses over $100m.

  16. Ed says:

    No moron

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