Box Office Finally Passes After Slow Death
By John Hamann
August 27, 2017
Well, we had to hit the bottom of summer at some point. Might as well be right at the end.
After 16 weekends of box office pain (with a few off to avoid Guantanamo), the summer movie season is finally put out of its misery this weekend. New films were brought in by dump truck and smelled of the stuff that gets dumped on Biff and his friends in a couple of Back to the Future movies. Yes, there were two major things that, at the very least, wouldn’t have helped the box office - a longer than expected Mayweather/McGregor fight on Saturday night, and that nasty hurricane in Texas that took a lot of the country’s attention.
While these items would have caused some box office pain, we can’t blame the nasty weekend box office on anything except the movies put out in release this weekend. Openers included Leap from The Weinstein Company, a low dollar pick up from Europe, and Birth of the Dragon, a story about the battle between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man, a Kung Fu master. These films are certainly not going to tick all the demographic boxes, and I am actually surprised that they both got theatrical releases – they were really just sent out to die.
I still firmly believe that a good movie, built and marketed right, can open on any weekend of the year – including late August. Neither of openers this weekend were good or marketed right, so they end up earning $5 million or less over opening weekend.
That means The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a film that is meh at best but marketed very well, repeats at number one at the weekend box office. The Sam Jackson/Ryan Reynolds starrer picked up another $10.1 million this weekend after taking in $21.4 million over its opening frame. Yes, that is a drop of 53%, but maker Millennium Films doesn’t care, and likely neither does Lionsgate, who distributes. This $30 million dollar affair already has $39.6 million in the kitty and will hit the wire as top movie in North America for the second straight weekend. That’s only going to help when it opens in Europe next week, as everyone wants to see a winner. Lionsgate picked the right date for this not-very-good movie, and late August is going to make it a winner… eventually.
Second goes to Annabelle: Creation, which again shows what a quiet weekend it is, as a horror flick – in its third weekend – finishes in second. After a $15.6 million sophomore frame last weekend (and 55% drop), Creation manages a $7.4 million third frame, this time down 53%. The $15 million New Line release is going to out-earn the previous flick in the series (Annabelle earned $84.3 million domestic), as it has $77.9 million in the kitty already. Where it's lagging, though, is overseas. That total has hit $137 million, which may seem like a lot, but Annabelle did $173 million away from home, and the current one is running out of markets. Still, it’s hard to complain when your film cost $15 million before marketing and should make $200 million worldwide. New Line has another winner in The Conjuring franchise, so I think we can expect more soon.