Gillian Jacobs might not be the name you’d expect headlining the top-earning movie of the last (or any weekend) at the box office, but these are crazy times we live in. Numbers are out for box office performance over the Halloween weekend and her latest movie topped the list of earners.
Gillian Jacobs is probably best known in her role on NBC’s Community playing Britta Petty for 110 episodes from 2009-2015. Fans of the show would be happy to know there are possible plans for a sixth season and/or movie and Jacobs has some thoughts on her character coming back. For now, she’s the queen of the box office, at least for a weekend.
Now whether you think movie theaters need to die, or go the way of the dinosaur, is secondary to what’s happening around the country. There are films still hitting the big screen at least in limited release. Sure, most of the scheduled big-budget releases continue to sit things out waiting (and hoping) for a day when theaters can once again hit max capacity. But smaller films like the one Gillian Jacobs are around to pick up some of the tickets from theater-goers jones-ing to grab the popcorn and plop down in their seat.
This latest film, Come Play, stars Gillian Jacobs as Sarah, the mother of Oliver (Azhy Robertson) an autistic boy who is targeted by a monster named Larry (not feeling that name for an evil creature, but whatever). Larry is able to move through screens (phones, tablets, televisions, etc) and attacks in a variety of ways. Most of these are the standard horror-movie kind. He appears in the shadows, slowly ramps up the dread, picks off a few unsuspecting innocents and then there’s the ultimate clash. It appears very much like a horror movie paint-by-numbers.
Along with Gillian Jacobs, it is directed by Jacob Chase in his first full-length feature. Come Play was the top-performing movie in theaters this past weekend. It earned more than $3 million dollars on roughly 2,000 screens across the country. On a budget of $9 million, this is a solid opening especially considering the pandemic circumstances that have many theaters either shuttered or operating at much lower than peak capacity.
But though the movie could be in line to turn a profit, the Come Play reviews left something to be desired. Sitting at 52% on the Tomatometer isn’t the end of the world but critics thought it uneven, bland, and inconsistent in its approach to the scares and story.
It’s worth noting that Gillian Jacobs’s Come Play wasn’t the only film out there for fans. Liam Neeson’s Honest Thief, which released in limited fashion two weeks ago, came in second and Robert DeNiro’s War With Grandpa (in its fourth week) took third. There’s still money to be made at the theaters on these smaller releases which are possibly benefiting from not competing with the big boys.
Next week, Gillian Jacob’s Come Play will compete with Diane Lane and Kevin Costner’s Let Him Go which is set for a wide release. That’s been a rare designation, but other wide releases like Jackie Chan’s Vanguard and The Croods: A New Age are coming down the pike in November. More competition is on the way.