This is the weekend lots of box office nerds have been waiting for for some time.
By Tim Briody
September 8, 2019
Once The Lion King released in July, the rest of the summer was looking pretty weak. Labor Day weekend was one of the most miserable weekends of box office we've had in at least a few years. But things are about to get interesting again (okay, maybe just for one weekend).
This weekend two years ago, IT came virtually out of nowhere to open to $123 million. The Stephen King adaptation destroyed the September opening weekend record (in one day!), on its way to a $327.4 million, a record for King adaptations and the horror genre. Thus, the floodgates were opened, both for a sequel for the second half of the book, as well as for other King adaptations and remakes, such as the Pet Sematary update from earlier this year. Would lightning strike twice with IT Chapter Two?
Well, yes and no. Chapter Two had a stellar $91 million weekend, and honestly, the 26% drop-off from IT to Chapter Two is nothing to be ashamed of. IT was a phenomenon, earning stellar reviews and also perhaps benefiting from the popularity of Stranger Things (with the film updating the book from the 50s to the 80s, and Chapter 2 taking place in the present day). A couple of things held Chapter Two back, including reviews (64% at Rotten Tomatoes, as opposed to 86% for IT), a nearly three-hour running time (34 minutes longer than IT), and of course how audiences' box office habits have rapidly changed in the last two years.
Chapter Two's budget was also doubled the first one's (almost $80 million against IT's $35 million), but that was probably to be expected given the need for a larger cast, mainly the adult version of The Losers' Club.
If Chapter Two were to follow the same trajectory as IT, the sequel lands with $242.2 million, so $250 million is its likely landing point, and that's something we'll watch over the next month.
Very few of the remaining films in theaters are relevant as we gradually come out of the late summer doldrums.
Angel Has Fallen adds $6 million in its third weekend and has $53.4 million to date, which is probably more than it deserves. Good Boys continues to find an audience with $5.3 million this weekend and $66.8 million after four weekends.
The Lion King takes $4.1 million (down 39%) in its eighth weekend and has $529.1 million to date. Next weekend, it will cross Rogue One ($532.1 million) and The Dark Knight ($535.2 million) for 11th all-time.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw earns $3.7 million and has $164.2 million in six weekends, and I once again remind everybody that this film (and franchise in general at this point) exists for the rest of the world.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark adds $2.2 million (down 55%) and has $62 million in five weekends, which is probably enough for them to make another one in within a few years.
Ready or Not earns $2.2 million and has $25.6 million in three weekends, Dora and the Lost City of Gold takes in $2.1 million and has $54.1 million in five weeks, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood gets $2.1 million in its seventh weekend and has a total of $134.3 million and The Angry Birds Movie 2 finally reaches the opening weekend of the original film with $1.6 million in its fourth weekend and $38 million total.
Fueled almost entirely by IT Chapter 2, the top 12 films totaled $123 million this weekend, which is ahead of last year's $109 million when The Nun opened to a strong $53.8 million.
Next weekend brings us The Goldfinch, based on a best-selling novel, and Hustlers, starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, and for some reason, Cardi B.