Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Don't cry for me, La Llorona

Illustration for article titled Weekend Box Office: Don't cry for me, La Llorona
Photo: Warner Bros.

Warm weather and an assortment of springtime holidays—some religious, some weed-based—kept Americans too busy to go to the movies this past weekend, resulting in what Variety says was the worst Easter weekend in nearly 15 years at the domestic box office. And those who did go out to the theater went with a thirst for jump scares: The Curse Of La Llorona, the newest in New Line’s series of The Conjuring spin-offs, easily scared up a No. 1 debut, making $26.5 million to No. 2 film Shazam!’s 17.3 million. The audience for La Llorona leaned older, male, and Latinx, but just barely: Latinx filmgoers made up 50% of the film’s audience, according to CinemaScore, which also reported an audience that was 51% male and 60% over the age of 25.


The Conjuring movies are, in their way, a faith-based film series, a formula that also paid dividends for the No. 3 movie of the week. Breakthrough, co-starring Topher Grace as a cool pastor who butts heads with Chrissy Metz over his hip preaching style, took the No. 3 spot this week, capitalizing on the built-in audience for all things miracle-based with an $11.1 million debut. It took that spot, ironically enough, from Hellboy, whose poor performance in its first week got even softer in its second week, tumbling down to No. 10. Hellboy has yet to open overseas, and the $19 million it’s made domestically so far isn’t even close to covering its reported $50 million budget, so it looks like Lionsgate’s going to be taking a loss on this one—a situation the studio must’ve anticipated, given its relative lack of promotion of the film.

A curiously inverted version of this dynamic is also playing out further down the box-office charts, as David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake took home the week’s best per-theater average. It’s a film whose long and strange trajectory started at Cannes 2018, where it debuted to violently mixed reactions; for his part, our film editor A.A. Dowd called it “more unconventional, ambitious, and even potentially off-putting” than Mitchell’s last movie, It Follows. That’s where things got weird. Amid unconfirmed rumors of a post-Cannes re-edit for the film, distributor A24 first pushed its release from June 2018 to December, then pushed it to April 19 of this year, then dramatically cut its theatrical release to just two theater screens before dumping it on VOD.

What the distributor doesn’t seem to have accounted for is morbid curiosity from cineastes, who purchased $20,079 worth of tickets on each of those two screens over the weekend. So is Under The Silver Lake really the disastrous embarrassment implied by its release strategy? Our own Mike D’Angelo doesn’t think so, but the film’s mixed-to-negative scores on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes indicate that YMMV on this one.

For more detailed information, visit Box Office Mojo.