‘Ford v Ferrari’ finishes first at the Box Office

  • >> Gabe Cohn, The New York Times
    Published: 2019-11-18 03:19:33 BdST

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Cast members Christian Bale (R) and Matt Damon pose for a portrait while promoting the film "Ford v Ferrari" in Los Angeles, California, US, November 6, 2019. Reuters

It is a lesson that Hollywood has learned time and time again, from Steve McQueen’s movies to the “Fast and the Furious” franchise: Quick cars and charismatic celebrities sell tickets.

That combination worked once more this weekend for 20th Century Fox’s racing drama “Ford v Ferrari,” starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. It opened to an estimated $31 million in domestic ticket sales Friday through Sunday, outpacing expectations. The studio had projected an opening weekend of just below $20 million.

Directed by James Mangold, the movie revisits the golden age of auto racing: Damon and Bale play the car designer Carroll Shelby and the driver Ken Miles working for Ford in the lead-up to a historic 1966 race. The cast also includes Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II and Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca.

The movie got a boost from critics going into the weekend — it currently holds a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for The New York Times, A.O. Scott wrote that “‘Ford v Ferrari’ is no masterpiece, but it is — to invoke a currently simmering debate — real cinema, the kind of solid, satisfying, nonpandering movie that can seem endangered nowadays.”

Ticket buyers also seemed enthusiastic, giving the movie an A+ grade in CinemaScore exit polls. That bodes well for the film’s staying power.

This weekend’s other big release, “Charlie’s Angels,” couldn’t have eaten the dust left by “Ford v Ferrari,” it was so far behind.

“Charlie’s Angels” opened to a paltry estimated $8.6 million in ticket sales Friday through Sunday, which would be a bad showing for even a non-franchise action movie. But this is especially weak for an entry into a well-established brand like “Charlie’s Angels” (last seen on the big screen in 2003).

“Charlie’s Angels,” directed by Elizabeth Banks, is distributed by Sony Pictures. Starring Banks, Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott, it has been marketed as a feminist update of the decades-old franchise.

The response has been middling.

 

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