Warring Apes and Spider-Man Try To Keep Summer Streak Alive
By John Hamann
July 16, 2017
The weekend take for War of the Planet of the Apes came in at $56.5 million. As stated above, that's only $1.7 million more than the original, which opened to $54.8 million. Tracking was looking for $60-$65 million, not far off of this estimate, but War still came in under it. A decade ago, a film with a $150 million production budget (and huge marketing costs) and this kind of debut would be in serious trouble, but as this column has stated all summer, overseas business will bail out the less than stellar domestic sales, and Fox will likely again end up just fine with their investment – as the overseas revenue is being reported at $46 million today.
While I am negative towards the audience response to this release, and feel that War For the Planet of the Apes flew under what it could have done by $10-15 million, I think it's important to remember that a $55 million opening still puts any film into the top 30 biggest openers for July (top 30 in May is $70 million). It's been a tough summer for distributor Fox – Alien Covenant died out with $74 million domestic and $230 million worldwide, against a budget just short of $100 million, and they released some smaller films like Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (likely lost money or broke even), Captain Underpants (same result), and Snatched, which was a loser for the studio as well. Fox will be back in a big way next summer, with a Deadpool sequel and another crack at a Predator reboot.
Sony's Spider-Man was something special last weekend, wasn't it? I hope you enjoyed it, because it appears to be over, or at the very least, the Homecoming is heading for a hard landing. As Kim Hollis reported yesterday in the BOP Friday analysis, Spidey dropped a scary 73% when comparing first Friday to second, but given large preview amounts that is somewhat understood. The question was whether it would recover over the remainder of the weekend. The Guardians sequel fell 70% when comparing first Friday to second, but recovered for a weekend drop of 55.5%. Wonder Woman had a Friday comparable drop of 59%, but then turned that into a weekend drop of only 43%. The Friday doesn't tell the whole story, but the weekend outcome shows Homecoming playing more like a sequel than an original. Whether that is due to Spidey's appearance in Civil War or the fact that this is the third webslinger flick released in the last five years is responsible for that behavior is the question.
The first Spider-Man, the Tobey Maguire original released in 2002, opened to a very similar $114.8 million, and with no Thursday previews, not much competition in its second weekend, and most important, no franchise fatigue, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man was able to hold with a 37.5% drop and have an amazing weekend at $71.4 million. At the time, that was the best second weekend ever. More recently, less fatigued franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 posted a $65.3 million second weekend, and Wonder Woman earned $58.5 million in weekend two, still the 25th second-best frame ever. Overseas, Spider-Man: Homecoming has picked up $261.1 million, making the $175 million budget almost an afterthought.