Fate of the Furious took the top of the charts again, and not a single one of our newcomers cracked the top five…could this be the calm before a massive Summer cinema storm? Or were these newcomers truly this unappealing to audiences? Let’s check the tire pressure in this week’s Making Dollars and Sense! I’m running out of car puns…

The eighth film in a multimillion dollar franchise about automobiles was the highest grossing film for the second weekend in a row with $38 million, a -61% drop from last weekend, followed by The Boss Baby with $12 million, and then Beauty and the Beast, Going In Style, and Smurfs all making less than $10 million. On top of that, none of the new movies from this past weekend even broke $5 million, with the highest earning of them being Born in China with almost $4.8 million? Are audiences “bearly” interested in something that they were probably hoping would spark “panda-monium” or are they just clawing to get out of this furry situation? Let’s look at the reviews.

Born in China received mixed-to-positive reviews, with many saying it proves to be one of the stronger DisneyNature documentaries. Then again, it’s a documentary, and the family audience it tries to attain probably saw The Boss Baby or Smurfs again, or even Beauty and the Beast, so perhaps it was a bad time for a documentary about adorable, fuzzy pandas. Unforgettable was close to Born in China with its weekend haul, but the reviews were lukewarm-to-negative, saying that even though the cast was able to make it fun to watch, it’s still just another “crazy ex” movie and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. 

The Promise barely broke $4 million and the reviews weren’t terrible, but a historical drama isn’t going to do well as we’re amping up for the Summer season. Phoenix Forgotten was exactly what I said it would be last week: just another bland shaky-cam found footage mess. And lastly, Free Fire didn’t break a million, but still holds solid reviews. I didn’t get a chance to see it yet, but I did see a review that mentioned how this is a film about humanity’s quickness to fall into a cycle of violence without knowing why, and that sounds right up my alley. So if I don’t see either of this weekend’s newcomers, I know exactly what I’ll be seeing instead.

And speaking of this coming weekend, let’s take a look at what’s hitting theaters! First up is a sci-fi thriller called The Circle starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega. Based on the novel by Dave Eggers, The Circle tells the story of a massive Internet corporation that surveys every employee’s every move and life detail. What could go wrong?

The other newcomer entering theaters this weekend is How To Be A Latin Lover. It’s a comedy about a man who has lived his life seducing older rich women, but years after he finally settles down with one of his senior suitors, she leaves him for a younger man. He’s then forced to figure out how to rekindle his spark, and maybe learn to love his family in the process. It sounds quirky, and could either prove to be a heartwarming comedy or a boring raunchy flop. I’m certainly intrigued, but I’ll probably wait until I hear some reviews before I spend an evening with this Latin lover.

Overall, I’m predicting another bland weekend because, let’s be honest, we’re all just waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 the following weekend. But hey, there’s still movies worth seeing, so get out there and support public film exhibition instead of just watching something at home!

-Adam Stutsman

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