You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Weekend B.O. Aug. 1-3: What Happened to All Those People Who Couldn’t Wait to See ‘Get On Up?’

Weekend B.O. Aug. 1-3: What Happened to All Those People Who Couldn't Wait to See 'Get On Up?'

Well, it just goes to show you that, when you think you know
everything, reality slaps you hard in the face.

I was certain, and I’m not the only one, that Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” was not going to be the late summer break out box
office smash that they hoped it was going to be. With the exception of hardcore fanboys, who had heard of this comic book (with a talking raccoon) before? Those filthy, disgusting things
that I see crawling around in the alley and sneak into my backyard every night?
It doesn’t have the sort of iconic status of a Superman, Batman or Spider Man.

At best, I thought it would hit $50 million,
which would be fantastic for any other movie, but, for a super expensive summer
tent-pole movie, $50 million would be disastrous. Well, boy was I wrong.

“Guardians” hit an amazing $37.8 million on Friday alone, and this weekend, made some $94 million, the biggest b.o. opening for any film
in August ever. I guess this “Guardians” thing is much more popular than I
realized. Who knew? I stopped reading that comic stuff when I was 12. As
someone who saw the weekend numbers said to me yesterday, “The power has now shifted back to the comic book nerds!”  Damn! Can’t they get laid or something?

On the other hand, I was completely wrong about the James
Brown bio-pic “Get On Up.” I thought that it would give “Guardians” a real run for
its money. All I’ve been hearing from people was how they couldn’t
wait to see the film. I figured it would bring in a huge black audience, and especially
an older mixed audience, that had been waiting for something that appealed to
them, this summer.  I talked to someone earlier
today who saw the film on Saturday night and loved it, and said the theater was
completely packed.

I had predicted that “Get On Up” could pull in somewhere
in the mid-$30 million range, but, in fact, it did less than half that, grossing only $14 million. What happened? Where did everybody go?

Yes, it is a “baby
boomer” film, which means that they, unlike those still-virgins comic book nerds, don’t
rush out to see a film immediately after it opens in theaters. They tend to take their time, and instead wait to hear what others say about it.

The possible good news is that, positive word of mouth
could keep the film going for weeks, and it could end up being a late summer/early fall b.o. sleeper.

will tell.

What do you think happened?

Last week’s No.1, “Lucy,” hung on for second place, beating “Get On Up,” making $18.3 million this weekend, heading for $100 million.

Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” has become a art house hit, cracking the top 12 at
No. 11.

1) Guardians of the Galaxy BV     $94,000,000     
2) Lucy Uni.     $18,283,000         Total: $79,571,000     
3) Get On Up     Uni.     $14,031,000     
4) Hercules Par.     $10,700,000     Total: $52,348,000     
5) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Fox     $8,700,000     Total: $189,330,000     
6) Planes: Fire & Rescue BV     $6,424,000     Total: $47,596,000     
7) The Purge: Anarchy     Uni.     $5,551,000
    Total: $62,962,000     
8) Sex Tape     Sony     $3,550,000     Total: $33,908,000     
9) And So It Goes     CE     $3,344,000     Total: $10,473,000     
10) A Most Wanted Man     RAtt.     $3,324,000     Total: $7,059,000     
11) Boyhood     IFC     $2,522,000         Total: $7,566,000     
12) Transformers: Age of Extinction     Par.     otal: $241,166,000

RELATED: Review: Chadwick Boseman’s Performance Saves ‘Get On Up’ From Being an Incoherent Ride 

This Article is related to: Box Office and tagged , ,



Well in my city the movie was only played at theaters in the "urban" communities. The theater near my home where it is predominantly white did not play the movie.


Your lazy, played out generalizations about those who read comics was … lazy and played out. I love learning about the industry and what is coming up here, but your attitudes and unnecessary opinions sully things.


1. They should have not took it away from Spike Lee.
2. The actor dose not look like James Brown in any way shape or form….
3. No Black writers….
4. Promotion sucked…..
5. How did you think you were going to PG13 A JAMES BROWN BIO PIC!
6. The acting sucked in a lot of the movie….

Spike Lee would have told this story the way it should be told and Eddie Murphy would have played the hell out of James Brown. Politics killed this Icons bio pic, and until its up to be redone, I won't be looking at it again Netfix, Showtime, or what bootleg. Its a joke……


Bottom line, Get On Up picked a horrible release date, it should have come out in February or November, maybe December, not as a summer film. This is not any fault of The Guardians of the Galaxy. it was a really good movie, a great blockbuster to close out the summer. The kids are still out of school, it's still hot out, people want a fun movie. I read the comic book years ago so I knew the characters, but the idea that all comic book readers are geeks that need to get laid is just a stereotype, I got laid before and after the movie. Being a comic fan has nothing to do with getting laid. IJS


This looked like Garbage from a mile away. Some of us know James Brown. This aint it. James was raw FUNKY soul. My pops and uncles uses to do James Brown dances and spins. When I think of that time. They used to take me to bars with them. You could smell nothing but A$$ and Liquor in those cheesy watering holes.

This movie is a JOKE. We (Black people) don't see SOUL.


I already spoke about this over the weekend. The movie's debut was doomed to start with because it was going up against one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, Guardians Of The Galaxy. Then you had the movie "Lucy" for all the people who didn't care for Guardians or James Brown (And you know whom I'm taking about). So the fact that JB beat came in 3rd was pretty much what I expected. What?…Did you really think folks/ black folks were going to see JB over Guardians of the Galaxy, which is basically like a new kind of Star Wars?….C'mon man, you can't blame black folks for this one, the chips were already stacked up against this movie on opening weekend in the 1st place. Not to mention, the target audience for JB was basically adults our age) & older folks from our parent's generation… And how many of them actually make it out to the movies on opening day??? (How many young folks you know are going to be amped up to see a movie about JB?). Let's see how well it does over the next couple of weeks because that will tell a lot of how folks will support this film.


I'm a wait-until-DVD type for most movies. My friend who did see Get On Up this weekend advised me that this is the best course of action for this movie. We are harder to please than most though.


I would also like to say that "Guardians Of The Galaxy" is a win for Black people. Unknown Black Superheroes have a chance to shine on the big screen too now. We as a community should be celebrating "Guardians Of The Galaxy" and "Get On Up." There are plenty of unknown Black Superheroes under Disney/Marvel and Warner Bros/DC Comics.


I wonder if you guys are going to say the samething about 'Black Panther' and 'Storm' when Disney/Marvel does solo films on them? Are you going to say that, "If I want to learn about 'Black Panther' I can Wikipedia him?" or "If I want to learn about 'Storm' I can Google her?" When Disney/Marvel starts releasing films about Black Superheroes known/unknown I wonder if our community will run to the theaters and support it?


Sergio said, "I figured it would bring in a huge black audience, and especially an older mixed audience." Well I'm both and on a fixed-income. So, if I have to decide among the necessities in life–purchasing medicine, buying food, feeding my beloved pet, paying my utilities–the choice is obvious. I'm not paying between $10-15 to see a film that will be in Redbox in a month for $1.50. Just food for thought.

Phred G.

Dare I say it . . . I'm just not that big a fan of James Brown (CHILL! Repeat: We-are-not-a-MONOLITH!) so I'm not about to pay to see a film about him. I also, from the trailers, did not feel the acting was up to par. I'll wait for the dvd. Now Guardians on the other hand. Goin' on midweek sos I don't have to pay the 3D surcharge. It just LOOKS like it oughta be FUN.


Why would you think Get On Up would do so well? The black millenniums specifically don't want to see black films that are about some iconic black person(a lot of the times). They would rather see contemporary films with black people in it. Having every film targeted at black people being Tyler Perry films or bio pics is very insulting to the younger generations.The draw of Guardians was that it was funny, that it wasn't a "Hey look at me I take my self serious saving the world film." Hollywood needs to make good and great films that just happen to have black people in it, instead of trying to formulate Black Films!

Mark& Darla

Get on up was a mess.


Maybe people are finally sick of crappy, disney-fied biopics that simplify and do little justice to the legacy and life of important black entertainers and leaders. Not to mention the attrocious acting in most such films. Seriously, the last good one was Ray with Jamie Fox and Kerry Washington. Just a thought….

Miles Ellison

Maybe people forgot about the amount of talent from The Help that was involved with this movie. Or maybe people who wanted to see a good movie about James Brown remembered this fact and stayed away.


I'm black (and female) and I'm planning on seeing Guardians of the Galaxy. Do I love comic book movies? Yeah, I enjoy them when they're good. I am I a nerd? I'm not sure how you qualify. Under your assumption, Sergio, black people can't be nerds. I saw the Get On Up promos and I was… underwhelmed. I have a strong dislike for biopics. They're shameless Oscar bait. If I wanted to know about James Brown, I could read a Wikipedia article. Otherwise, the trailers did not make me the slightest bit interested in seeing an entire film. I think biopics should be reserved for incredibly unique individuals who are not well known because otherwise, what's the point?

Get On Up Screen Count

Is a big part of the story: it was on less screens than both Purge Anarchy and Sex Tape, both in their third weeks of release.

If you follow the dollars, that likely means the movie was marketed in less release markets and with a particular audience in mind. If the majority of that market represents only 13% of the US population, it greatly lessons the box office potential of the film.

It must be said, The Help opened on the same number of screens with double the per screen average its opening weekend. Given James Browns' legacy, a case could be made that tying the film up so much in the ethos of "The Help" did the film a disservice. Ray performed much better on a similar screen count as a film named after its subject and marketing that put the subject front and center, not the director's previous work.

Lot of food for thought.


Not quite sure why Sergio and others are trying to intimate that Get on Up performed below expectations. The only expectations it performed below were Sergio's, who apparently decided he'd rather troll comic book nerds than do the actual research on Guardians of the Galaxy, which gained momentum and audience awareness throughout the spring and summer due to terrific trailers and TV spots that nailed exactly what the movie was: a lighthearted space romp (not "a comic book movie") from the Marvel brand. And yes, Marvel/Disney was nervous about its prospects (why else would they schedule it for August) because it wasn't really associated with any of its main franchise titles, but again, those trailers and spots sold the movie perfectly, and once critical word started trickling in, it was a wrap.

Now, as for Get on Up, for it to score $14 million in less theaters than both Lucy and Guardians of the Galaxy is a wonderful accomplishment. I'm also wondering about this so-called "whitewashing" of the film, because the movie I saw was quite soulful and entertaining. I don't know if that was because of the performances of Chadwick Boseman and Nelsan Ellis, or for some other reason. To that end, I'm also wondering if there were any uncredited black script doctors on the film…


I think the kids went to see Galaxy and the parents went along with them.

Older folks maybe tired of biopics because I know I am! Jersey Boys didn't do well either and Get on Up was marketed the same way! Also, the Jackie Robinson story came out last year and the same guy played Jackie.


No Black writers.


I live a block for a Magic Johnson theater and there have been lines for 3 days. Black folks in my neighborhood are seeing it!


Guardians of the Galaxy was definitely better than the Star Wars prequels. I was shocked at the turn out both time I saw it, packed thursday night and 80 percent full for a Saturday Matinee.


The vitriol is because Hollywood only sees money. When a virtually unknown comic book movie grosses $94 million in one weekend, that means more comic books and less everything else. Fewer Black movies, fewer opportunities for Black and actresses. Sergio is looking at the big picture. Next time anyone complains about the dearth of Black movies and roles, think Guardians of the Galaxy.

Radio Raheema

Oh come on you guys! You should be use to Sergio by now. Back to the pressing issue on why GET ON UP underperformed. It's a little perplexing but I will say the social media "chatter" on the film was very low. No one seem moved enough to go see it ASAP. Also, the black Illuminati and tastemaker set weren't involved with the marketing push. No one tweeted or Facebooked about this movie. No one. Where was the big NAACP push? Didn't they get behind THE HELP? This movie was the perfect opportunity to get major musical stars in backing it because it's about the king of soul for gods sake. I do think they can redeem this flick if they can get Boseman in the running for an Oscar nomination. Finally, when I initially saw the trailer my first reaction was that it was a knock-off version of RAY. I wasn't moved enough to want to go out in the rain and see it. Sorry.


"I was certain, and I’m not the only one, that Marvel’s "Guardians of the Galaxy" was not going to be the late summer break out box office smash that they hoped it was going to be."

Pfft! Sorry, I'll stop laughing.

Even though it's being interpreted, we already know the James Brown story. You can also read the Guardians of the Galaxy Story, but that's within the pages of a stack of books, and a Wikipedia article's way too dry. Sooooo…the expected happened.

I enjoyed Guardians immensely. Sorry, Mr. Brown. I'll see you later.

Speaking of seeing, I saw one older woman come out of the theater for Get on up. It's not a family-friendly film. Neither is Guardians, but kids THINK that the film is for them.

Ralfy Grullon

You said the hit they were hoping it would be. They actually were striving for 60 million. 70 million would have been a huge success to them. So this actually surpassed all expectations, including Marvel's. Your article is a "oops, I was wrong" which I give a lot of respect to you for doing so, but get those facts right. Plus, it seemed like a back-handed compliment when you choose to mention nerds getting laid. The culture has shifted and anyone making jokes like that come off like bullies. You could say it was a joke, but bullies think they're joking around as well.


Not every comic book lover is a virgin or a nerd, just like every film critic isn't a frustrated, failed filmmaker who still wants to be relevant in the film industry.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *