Memorial Day Weekend Tanks at the Box Office.... Again
By John Hamann
May 28, 2017
Audiences that attend still like what they are seeing – Pirates 5's A- Cinemascore beat the score of On Stranger Tides, which earned a B+. This is why the legs continue to maintain at around a 3.0, but the lower the opening sinks, the harder it is to make it up. Dead Men Tell No Tales will likely not earn back its production budget ($230 million) stateside. But on the other hand, the overseas business remains stellar. Pirates 5 earned an excellent $208 million away from North America, as it looks to build on an international gross that eclipsed $800 million the last time around. Should it see that kind of return again, this will be another Disney release that earns money theatrically, despite what will be another narrative about pain and disappointment for the lead Johnny Depp.
In even worse news for Baywatch, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes the second spot this weekend over three days, leaving the Paramount TV Retread 0/2 in terms of planned surprises. Again, if Baywatch had opened ahead of Guardians 2, it would have been news. Again, back to Disney, Guardians 2 didn't hold as well as it wanted to in weekend four, as it earned $19.9 million and fell 43%, whereas the original earned $17.2 million over the same weekend, dropping 31%. The original had earned $251 million after four weekends domestically, while the sequel has earned $333.2 million over the same time period. The original earned $441 million overseas, which was really its soft spot heading into franchise-dom, but the sequel has lit It up away from home, as this weekend it has reached $450 million already, leaving the first film's overseas score in the dirt. Is $1 billion in the cards for Guardians 2? It certainly has a shot, and we will know more on that by the end of next weekend.
That puts Baywatch into third, leaving one of Paramount's great hopes in the dirt through Memorial Day Weekend. The R-rated comedy that cost $69 million to make had a first Friday (it opened to $4.6 million on Thursday, combined with Wednesday previews) of $5.7 million. All of a sudden, it was looking to gross half of what the original 21 Jump Street opened to in 2012. With that production cost, Baywatch is in trouble already domestically, and will have to hope this hybrid finds an audience overseas, which in my mind is doubtful, given that the first 21 Jump Street film earned half of what it did domestically from international venues.
Baywatch ends a run of big hits for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which featured hits like two Fast & Furious films, the comedy Central Intelligence, the disaster pic San Andreas, and Disney's Moana. For Paramount, this is their fifth domestic disappointment of the year, as xXx 3 earned only $45 million stateside, Ghost in the Shell earned a sad $41 million, Monster Trucks earned $33 million, and the Rings reboot failed to reach $28 million. Paramount is in a state of disarray right now, with no one quite sure how to market Baywatch, despite audiences responding to 21 and 22 Jump Street marketing en masse. I think this is a case where the talent will be forgiven for this 19% fresh debacle, but the studio will be in the crosshairs come Monday morning. Its only saving grace is a B+ Cinemascore, which improves on the original Jump Street score (B).