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Box Office: ‘Mean Girls’ Tops Quiet Weekend With $11.7M as Nasty Winter Freeze Begins

A winter freeze has set in at the domestic box office as theater owners and studios grapple with a slowdown in product due to last year’s labor strikes and resulting production delays.

For the Jan. 19-21 weekend, Paramount’s Mean Girls musical stayed in first place in its second outing with an estimated $11.7 million from 3,826 locations for a domestic total of $50 million. The Tina Fey-penned musical fell more than the filmmakers would have liked, dropping 59 percent.

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The only new wide release was Bleecker Street’s I.S.S., a thriller about warring astronauts in their rival space stations. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film stars Ariana DeBose and Chris Messina.

I.S.S., playing in 2,250 locations, all but crashed to earth with a $3 million domestic debut to come in at No. 7. The pic could have a second life on home entertainment, as well as do solid business in some overseas markets. One downer, though, it got slapped with a C- CinemaScore.

Back in the upper reaches of the top 10, Amazon/MGM’s Jason Statham-led The Beekeeper stayed at No. 2 in its sophomore outing with $8.5 million from 3,330 theaters for a domestic tally of $31.1 million. Overseas, it took in another $14.2 million for a foreign tally of $44.2 million and $75.2 million globally.

Warner Bros.’ Christmas hit Wonka held at No. 3 with $6.4 million domestically from 3,316 locations for an impressive domestic tally of $187.2 million. Globally, it’s earned an even sweeter $344.6 million for a global tally of $531.8 million.

Will Gluck and Sony’s sleeper rom-com hit Anyone But You is still sitting tight at No. 4 as it zoomed past the $100 million worldwide to become the highest-grossing R-rated comedy since Bridget Jones’s Baby in 2016, not adjusted for inflation. The movie is helping to prove that rom-coms are still a viable theatrical experience, versus being the dominion of streaming.

Illumination and Universal’s original animated pic Migration rounded out the top five with $5.3 million from 3,094 theaters in North America for a domestic total of $94.7 million and $191.6 million globally.

At the specialty box office, Neon and Ava DuVernay’s Origin made its first major push after waging an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles and New York last month. The movie grossed a solid $875,000 from 125 locations for a per-location average of $7,000.

Origin, starring Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, is loosely adapted from Isabel Wilkerson’s tome Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The film tackles the story behind the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s sweeping theory of American racism. The ensemble cast also includes Jon Bernthal and Niecy Nash-Betts. “It’s heartwarming to see this film connecting with audiences and bearing fruit,” says Elissa Federoff, Neon’s distribution chief.

Elsewhere in the specialty marketplace, Searchlight enjoyed a milestone as Oscar hopeful Poor Things crossed the $20.4 million mark, a veritable small fortune for an indie film these days. Poor Things, Origin and American Fiction are among a crop of indie films hoping to see a box office boost should they pick up top Oscar nominations Tuesday morning.

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