This weekend marks the last one before summer blockbuster season really kicks off with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—but we’ve already been hit with our first stunning movie upset of 2017. Emma Watson’s The Circle came in fourth place in its opening weekend at the North American box office, trailing behind The Fate of the Furious—still holding down first place—and, more surprisingly, the comedy How to Be a Latin Lover and the Indian fantasy Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. So, how did a movie marketed as a tech thriller, starring three of the biggest current names in Hollywood, get walloped by these unlikely contenders?
The Fate of the Furious—the first Fast and Furious movie without the late Paul Walker in eleven years—was always anticipated to win the weekend again; since the series was revamped with Fast Five in 2011 and Dwayne Johnson was added to the mix, this franchise has transformed from a street-racing curiosity to a major box office player. The emotional touchstones of family, religion, and barbecue picnics only increase the movies’ appeal, and every installment manages to raise the stakes while totaling hundreds more cars than the last. Fate is also the only big action blockbuster out right now—so if you want to watch a movie with attractive women, fast cars, and international espionage, you don’t really have any other choice. With those factors combined, it should be no surprise that Fatejust crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office, making it the 30th film in history—and fourth Universal picture—to do so.
Second place went to How to Be a Latin Lover, a comedy film shown in both English and Spanish versions, geared toward Hispanic audiences, and starring one of the biggest Hispanic actors in the world. Eugenio Derbez brought the crowds this weekend; the movie grossed $12 million in one weekend in just 1,000 theaters, a take attributed to a 90 percent Hispanic audience. It’s the biggest opening to date, according to The Hollywood Reporter, for Hispanic film label Pantelion Films, which is owned by Lionsgate and Televisa.
In third place, in perhaps the most surprising over-performance of the weekend, is Indian epic fantasy film Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, the sequel to 2015’s Baahubali: The Beginning. The first Baahubali, about a man who becomes embroiled in a feud between two warring kingdoms, is the highest-grossing Indian film within India, and the third-highest-grossing Indian film in the world. The sequel rode into the box office on another demographically targeted audience that was already familiar with the film’s characters and story. It also set some records of its own: at $10.1 million over a mere 450 theaters, Baahubali 2 had the top opening ever for an Indian film in the U.S., and the biggest IMAX opening for a foreign-language film.
Which brings us to The Circle, a movie whose seeming relevance to today’s anxious tech-tied society, coupled with a cast featuring a Harry Potter alum, a multiple Oscar winner, and a Star Wars star, should have placed it at least amongst the top three. Unfortunately for the film, negative reviews—it has an 18 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes—and a lackluster marketing campaign kept the film from performing the way it might have. At least star Emma Watson can take solace in knowing that Beauty and the Beast is still going strong a full seven weeks after its release—the Disney remake earned $6.4 million of its own this weekend—just $3 million less than The Circle.