Don't let anyone fool you: while at first glance this weekend doesn't seem that bad, it's going to go down as one of the absolute worst weekends of box office of 2019.
By Tim Briody
June 9, 2019
There have been 57 movies that have opened over $100 million. When you look at the list, you see comic book movies, franchise sequels, Pixar, long awaited adaptations, etc. Towards the bottom of that list is one that kind of jumps out at you. It's the only original IP (as in, no previous source material such as a book, comic, other movie or what have you) of the movies that have opened over $100 million. Three years ago, The Secret Life of Pets somehow earned $104.3 million on its opening weekend. This was essentially the perfect storm: it had a legitimately funny trailer and strong marketing, it entered theaters on a post-holiday weekend where the #1 movie was three weekends old and it was from Illumination Entertainment, the company behind the Despicable Me/Minions films, so they had a bit of an established brand.
Anyway, $368.3 million (more than Despicable Me 2 by a couple hundred grand, making it the company's biggest hit) and a few years later, we've got the sequel out this weekend and The Secret Life of Pets 2 also wins its opening weekend with, um, $47.1 million.
Yup, that's a 54.8% decline in opening weekend from the first one to the sequel. There's no sugarcoating it, this is a disaster of an opening (and it's not even the worst one of the weekend, but more on that in a bit) as even if Universal wasn't expecting the sequel to duplicate the $100 million opening of the original, there's no way they were thinking it would come in under $50 million.
They kept the budget at $80 million (after the $75 million budget for the first one), so Universal is still going to come out ahead here, but I'm pretty sure the first order of business Monday morning is going to be to cancel any plans they had for a third Secret Life of Pets.
Second place for the weekend goes to Dark Phoenix. Concluding the rebooted X-Men series begin in 2011 with X-Men: First Class, it follows up 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse which opened to $65 million. Dark Phoenix was resoundly rejected by audiences with an opening weekend of $33 million. Keep in mind the very first X-Men movie, which opened in 2000, opened to $54.4 million. In fact, this is the second worst opening for a Marvel related property since the ill-fated Fantastic Four reboot from 2015 with $25.6 million.
Absolutely buried by both critics (22% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (B- CinemaScore, which might as well be an F), the X-Men story for Fox ends with one of the bigger flops of the year. Add in a $200 million price tag, and this one will hurt even after you throw in the international grosses. With the Fox production now under the Disney umbrella, we await the future MCU reboot of the X-Men, when the movies will actually be good again.
I hate to drag out the same theme I've beaten for most of this year, but even after the MCU saved the day, it's true again: without a truly compelling reason to see something in the theater, audiences are now perfectly content to wait for it to show up on the streaming sites. Unwanted sequels especially.
Aladdin slips to third place with $24.5 million (down 43%) and a solid $232.3 million after three weekends. It's a race to $300 million right now, and it's on pace to fall a bit short, with about $270 million. Disney will absolutely take that, though, after the disappointment of Dumbo and the ridicule the trailer initially received.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters dives 67% from opening weekend to $15.5 million and $78.5 million in two weekends. That's actually right in line with the second weekend of 2014's Godzilla, which plunged 67% from $93.1 million to a $30.9 million second weekend. King of the Monsters is far off the $200 million that one ended up with, and even $150 million seems to be out of reach as well.
Rocketman slides two notches to fifth place with $14 million (down 46%) and $50.4 million in ten days. The Elton John biopic is not another Bohemian Rhapsody, which launched with $51 million and fell just 39% in its second weekend. Also, he doesn't have quite the mystique Freddie Mercury has (perhaps because he's not dead?). It's crossed $100 million worldwide, and Paramount should be very happy with that for a $40 million production.
Ma plays by the standard horror film rules, falling 57% to $7.8 million in its second weekend and has $32.7 million to date. Made for just $5 million (Blumhouse, remember?), this is a win for Universal.
John Wick: Chapter 3 holds well, adding $7.4 million in its fourth weekend and has $138.6 million to date. The Keanu renaissance continues unabated, and of course there's going to be a fourth entry in two years.
Avengers: Endgame takes $4.8 million in its seventh weekend, and the number two film of all time has $824.3 million. It fell off a lot faster than anticipated after the record opening, but between this and Captain Marvel, it's one of two films that saved the box office for the first half of 2019.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu earns $2.9 million in its fifth weekend, and continues to extended its lead as the biggest video game adaptation of all time with $137.4 million to date.
Booksmart wraps up the top ten this weekend with $1.5 million and $17.8 million after three weekends. Hailed as a future cult classic by many, it wasn't able to find enough of an audience in theaters.
Your top 12 films earned $160.6 million. Despite the two flops, that handily beats last year's $112.2 million, when Ocean's 8 won the weekend with $41.6 million.
If this weekend didn't satisfy your need for unnecessary sequels, next weekend we get Men In Black: International and a sequel to 2000's Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson, titled Shaft and also starring Samuel L. Jackson.