Big opening for 'The Magnificent Seven' shows westerns can still gallop

'Magnificent,' which is a remake of the 1960 film and stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, came in first place at the box office in its opening weekend. Other new movies this past weekend included the animated film 'Storks.'

Sam Emerson/Sony Pictures/AP
'The Magnificent Seven' stars Chris Pratt (l.) and Denzel Washington (r.).

“The Magnificent Seven” arrived at a triumphant first place in the film’s opening weekend, with the movie becoming the newest western in the last several years to hit it big. 

“Magnificent,” which is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name and stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke, grossed $35 million domestically in its first weekend. 

As noted by Associated Press writer Jake Coyle, if the film can sustain its financial success over the next several weeks, “Magnificent” will be just the newest success story for the Western genre. While the genre has had its share of misfires in the past decade, with movies like “Cowboys and Aliens” struggling, films that fit in the genre including “True Grit,” “The Revenant,” and “The Hateful Eight” all became successes. 

“The Western … has proven quite durable at the box office in recent years,” Mr. Coyle writes.

Can “Magnificent” gross more than these recent successes? Its $35 million opening weekend gross is fairly close to the opening weekend gross of “Revenant,” which grossed $38 million domestically when it debuted in wide release. And it had a better opening debut than the film “True Grit,” another success, which opened with more than $24 million. 

New York Times writer Brooks Barnes sees some of the film’s opening weekend success as having come from an impression that the remake was bringing something new to the table and from the film’s diverse cast. 

“[The opening weekend] prov[es] that studios can make hay from worn genres and remakes if they are conceived in a totally new way,” Mr. Barnes writes. “[T]he diversity generated positive media coverage … and audiences paid attention. Stars helped, too.”

As for the rest of the box office, the new animated film "Storks" took in more than $21 million in second place behind “Magnificent."

The movie “Sully,” which opened earlier this month and stars Tom Hanks as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, came in third, grossing more than $13 million this past weekend, while the romantic comedy “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” which also opened earlier this month, placed fourth, grossing more than $4 million. 

The Oliver Stone film “Snowden,” also a holdover, placed fifth, grossing more than $4 million.

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