Ford v Ferrari started hot off the line and raced to the center of the podium with a $52.4 million launch in first place at home and abroad. James Mangold directed this ambitious, expensive adult picture that lends a candid view into the life of a top-class race car driver and the development of one of the most successful cars in Le Mans racing history, the Ford GT40. Matt Damon stars as Carol Shelby who, before his name became synonymous with Detroit muscle, was working out of a small garage in Venice, California putting oversized American V8s in lightweight British sports cars and calling them Cobras. With sales plummeting, Ford advertising exec Lee Iacocca (John Bernthal) comes up with a wild plan to bring the company back into racing and beat the Ferrari team that had won the previous six editions of the world’s toughest endurance race. Even with all of the resources of the Ford Motor Company at his disposal, and mercurial English driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) behind the wheel, beating the Italian masters proves to be anything but an easy task.
Ford v Ferrari made $31 million in the US coming in first by a wide margin. Overseas it managed $21.4 million and held the top spot. Highlights came from Russia with $3.2 million, the UK at $2.3 million, and France, where the movie’s climactic action takes place, was its third-biggest territory with $2.3 million. Fox had this movie in the works throughout its merger process with Disney and spent close to $100 million on production alone. With the studio in need of a win after faltering on major post-merger releases like Dark Phoenix and Alita: Battle Angel earlier this year the GT40, (arguably the film’s strongest supporting actor,) delivered once again. Ford v Ferrari received favorable reviews from critics and earned a rare A+ from Cinemascore’s audience polling service. That grade almost guarantees that it will have long legs and prove to be a hit despite its high upfront cost.
Sony meanwhile had a hard time getting off the ground with their reboot of Charlie’s Angels. It came in at $8.6 million in third place on the domestic chart and finished second overseas with $19.3 million from 26 territories. Elizabeth Banks directed and stars in this edition of Angels along with Kristen Stewart and Naomi Scott. It had a tough Chinese opening of just $7.7 million but did well in Indonesia with $2.9 million. Other top foreign plays are Australia and Russia at $1.3 million and $1 million. Angels cost significantly less than the two $100 million-plus budgeted Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore blockbusters that revitalized the franchise in the early 2000s, but at around $50 million and with reviews tending negative, Sony has already decided to cut significantly its marketing and promotional costs.
Also opening in the US, Warner Bros.’ The Good Liar with Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen started with a modest $5.6 million against a $10 million budget and finished in 7th place. It picked up another $1.5 million overseas and sits at $9.5 million worldwide after foreign plays last frame.
On the foreign scene, Gaumont’s Roman Polanski helmed The Dreyfus Affair, about the infamous belle époque anti-Semitic witch hunt against a French-Jewish artillery officer accused of spying for the German Empire, opened to $2.5 million in its home market. Chilling Korean psychological thriller Parasite meanwhile reached $14.5 million and became the best-selling foreign film of 2019 in the US. It sits at $119.5 million worldwide.
Next week, Frozen II opens in the US along with Mister Rogers’ film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
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