It seems like acclaimed film director Sam Mendes is on cloud nine nowadays. Not only is his latest movie doing great in the box office, but he’s also collecting awards and nominations during this year’s award season.
The epic war drama 1917, which he directed, co-wrote, and produced, has officially dethroned Disney’s Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker on its first weekend of wide release grossing $36.5 million. Prior to that, the ninth and last episode of the Skywalker Saga has been dominating the box office since its release in late December.
The Universal and DreamWorks-backed 1917 has also been gaining attention this awards season. It recently pulled off a surprise victory and bested award-favorites like The Irishman and Marriage Story for the Best Motion Picture nod. Mendes also took home the statue for his directorial work on the film.
The buzz surrounding the movie will only get bigger as the upcoming Academy Awards approaches. The official list of Oscar nominees, which was released on January 13, shows 1917 vying for 10 categories including Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.
The movie has not only received critical acclaim, but it has also earned the approval of audiences, most of which were older males, and a CinemaScore grade of A-. It takes movie-goers to a gripping journey with two British soldiers during World War I who are on a mission that could potentially save a multitude of lives. It stars George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Richard Madden, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong.
The movie is yet another masterpiece from Mendes, whose portfolio includes acclaimed movies such as American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road, and Bond films Skyfall and Spectre.
Holding the third spot is the legal drama Just Mercy, which posted $10 million on the same weekend. Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson, the Destin Daniel Cretton-helmed film tells the story of a man who appeals his conviction with the help of a young defense attorney fresh out of Harvard.
Trailing close behind is its fellow new release, Paramount Pictures’ Like a Boss. With a story revolving around two best friends and their plights while running their own cosmetics company, the R-rated comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne and directed by Miguel Arteta is a hit for audiences but a miss for critics. Released on January 10, 2020, its opening weekend gross of $10 million is a decent figure given its $29 million budget.
The same can’t be said for sci-fi thriller Underwater, which stars Kirsten Stewart. Released on January 8, 2020, it pulled in a measly $6.9 million from 2,791 movie theaters. This has been deemed as a disappointing result considering that it cost $50 million to produce.
Underwater only adds to the list of recent flops from Fox after its merger with Disney in 2019. Other films in its flop-list are the superhero movie Dark Phoenix, the crime thriller Stuber, and the comedy-drama flick The Art of Racing in The Rain. This is also the last movie to be released under the name 20th Century Fox after Disney changed it to 20th Century Studios.