April 2018 Box Office Recap
By Steven Slater
May 8, 2018
Once upon a time, in a land just a few months ago, April was going to be the quiet before the storm. A few movies were going to try really hard, but no one was expecting much of anything. As showers bring flowers, so were the lowly hits of April meant to herald the big brutish guns of May. Ready Player One was going to do decent business, Blumhouse was going to have another profitable hit, and April would yearn for the days of being fast and/or furious. But then…just when you thought you could count her out…Disney and Marvel made the decision to bump the release of Avengers: Infinity War up a week. That probably had no impact on box office totals, though it did allow the entire world to see the film all at once. But even before the most hugest event in movie mash-up history could open, a sudden surge of buzz propelled a sleepier title to incredible heights. Shh…you know which one I am talking about. April turned out to be quite interesting this year.
1) Avengers: Infinity War
Opening Weekend: $257.7M
Monthly Total: $282.4M
There can be no contest. Marvel and Disney own the world now, and we should all be bowing down to their magnificence. Like some sick joke, Disney gazed into it’s magic mirror on the wall ten years ago, and asked which movie properties would earn the greatest legions of fans as we head deeper into the 21st Century. All other studios will swear fealty to the mouse house, as their efforts at gazing into their own crystal balls will not avail them. In the end, there is only one mirror to rule them all. There was some question heading towards the mighty Avengers: Infinity War as to whether or not the opening weekend crown would fall from Star Wars, given just how pent up the demand had been for Episode VII. Black Panther, which itself was in fifth place during Avenger’s opening weekend, seems to have teed the Marvel superheroes up perfectly, as the massive goodwill earned by that film had not diminished by the time Avengers debuted. If there is one statistic that sums up everything about Avengers’ performance, and Marvel and Disney at large, it is this: for all-time opening weekends, Disney now owns the top three, as well as nine of the top ten spots. They are all Marvel or Star Wars titles, with the exception of Beauty and the Beast (might as well make them superheroes, too, while we’re at it).
In just one weekend, Avengers takes the crown for April. Prospects are still iffy on whether it can beat Black Panther on the domestic front, as Black Panther had some tremendously good legs for as large a movie as it was and is. However, Avengers will surely cream it worldwide, as it has already amassed a billion dollars, and could definitely make a run for $2 billion. If it achieved that mark, it would be the fourth movie after Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: the Force Awakens. On the domestic front Avengers may wind up somewhere just behind Black Panther, in fourth place ahead of Titanic. Can next year’s Avengers: Untitled possibly live up to expectations at this point? Does it really matter any more? What is real? How do you define real?
2) A Quiet Place
Opening Weekend: $50.2M
Monthly Total: $149.4M
Let us just bump Avengers into the official “Summer” movie season, and give A Quiet Place the accolades it deserves for the month of April. The horror/thriller from John Krasinski, and produced by Michael Bay of all people, has LOUDLY made a boatload of money, receiving incredible reviews as well. I doubt this year’s version of a horror film made by a comedian will earn a best picture nomination, but maybe it will get the screenplay nod just to be funny. After opening well above expectations, A Quiet Place has had great staying power, and is actually the fourth highest grossing horror/thriller ever. This puts it in great company behind It, The Sixth Sense and The Exorcist. Not to mention, out of nowhere, this is a desperately needed hit for Paramount, as they have been drowning since they stopped releasing Marvel movies. Before a Quiet Place, they had an international hit with Transformers: the Last Knight, and Mission: Impossible has always been good to them, but this will be their biggest hit since Rogue Nation. Paramount has not had a $200 million film since 2014, and because A Quiet Place cost a ridiculous $17 million to make, it will be insanely profitable.
3) Ready Player One
Opening Weekend: $41.8M*
Monthly Total: $131M
The movie that kinda opened in March, Ready Player One had lots of room to grow, almost having the blockbuster angle all to itself. Spielberg’s ode to the kinds of experiences he used to churn out like magical clockwork, RPO actually managed better legs than expected after its lukewarm opening. Box office and reception were not rapturous, but there was a definite audience here as this will be Spielberg’s biggest film since Lincoln on the domestic front, and since Indiana Jones worldwide. Earning over half a billion worldwide and counting, it may not be the defining movie that some wanted it to be, but at least Spielberg seems to have had the most fun making a film in a long time and it showed. Excuse me while I strap on my Oculus.
Opening Weekend: $35.8M
Monthly Total: $78.5M
Years ago, Dwayne Johnson was hired to run around a green screen studio yelling, jumping, screaming, winking, smirking, laughing and maybe even acting. A crack team of editors has been cutting that footage together ever since, creating tentpole after tentpole full of special effects, and unbelievable stunts. Fun fact: Dwayne Johnson is actually 72, and collects social security on a nice house by a golf course in Florida. For his umpteenth feature since doing that green screen work, Rampage certainly is faring much worse than Jumanji, and has done less than half the business of last year’s other monkey madness film, Kong: Skull Island. This is despite having a larger budget than Jumanji, although a much lower one than Kong’s. However, Johnson is a huge draw internationally, so all of his films tend to earn a least a few hundred million overseas and Rampage is no exception. It may not receive the same degree of love as Pacific Rim from China, but Rampage has already outgrossed last month’s giant monster film worldwide.
Opening Weekend: $20.6M
Monthly Total: $53.5M
*Rooster Emoji* Blockers is a surprisingly well-reviewed comedy that is following the footsteps of another surprisingly well-reviewed comedy from earlier this year. With a slightly higher opening than Game Night, Blockers will probably end up about in the same territory as the February film ended with just under $70 million domestic, and about half that again overseas. The good news is Blockers had a smaller budget, so the returns will be pretty good. Super Troopers 2 could only dream of such a return on investment!
6) Black Panther
Monthly Total: $41M
I bet T’Challa was hoping to take a break before suiting up again with the Avengers, but movie goer’s appetite for everything Marvel is insatiable. The superlatives continue adding up for Black Panther on many fronts, and arguably no matter how well the Avengers does, Black Panther is still the bigger story. In it’s third month Black Panther crept closer to $700 million domestic, which will make it only the third film in history to achieve that. One odd quirk is that Black Panther is the rare film to make more on the domestic front than overseas. This means the character really struck a nerve with American audiences, but the worldwide total will be unable to achieve the heights of any Avengers film, including the most recent. The only other films that earned more than a billion worldwide and had more than half of the receipts come from the United States are Rogue One and The Dark Knight. Impossible as it may seem, though, Black Panther continues expanding the audience for Marvel, and now that Avengers has taken the opening weekend trophy the sky is truly the limit.
7) Truth or Dare
Opening Weekend: $18.7M
Monthly Total: $35.6M
Jason Blum still made a healthy profit from one of his productions, but for whatever reason he did not decided to produce A Quiet Place, a kindred horror film made on the cheap. As John Krasinski’s film took all the air out of the room, the dreadfully reviewed Truth or Dare did not stand much of a chance. It also seemed like this film was aping a lot of other better films almost directly, from It Follows to Final Destination, so without a truly original hook this one will barely make twice as much as it opened to. But again, it’s all gravy anyway. I am looking forward to Hereditary, myself.
8) I Feel Pretty
Opening Weekend: $16M
Monthly Total: $30.3M
Amy Schumer had her breakout hit in 2015 with Trainwreck, but has struggled to follow that up with another success. I Feel Pretty looks like a carbon copy of Snatched, with a slightly smaller open and probably ending a few million off of Goldie Hawn’s detour from retirement. Overboard what now? For being completely opposite genres, Truth or Dare and I Feel Pretty show that a poor reviewed film without an obvious hook gets you about $40 million in April. I feel pretty…confident Schumer needs a bonafide hit for her next movie, or she may be going the Netflix route.
Opening Weekend: $17.2M*
Monthly Total: $28.9M
Speaking of poorly reviewed films, not even Tyler Perry could get his latest much above $40 million. Acrimony opened at the end of March, and actually debuted fairly well for a Perry film that did not star Madea. Taraji P. Henson was front and center of this one, and there certainly is an audience that will always show up for Tyler Perry’s films, but it feels like the butter is getting spread a bit thin.
10) I Can Only Imagine
Monthly Total: $28.9M
The big faith based movie of 2018 is the tenth biggest earner for the month of April, earning more in its second month than every other faith movie combined for the year! Perhaps taking advantage of the Easter season, I Can Only Imagine has had good legs, with a multiplier approaching 5.0 after opening to $17 million and accruing over $80 as of this writing. With a tiny $7 million budget, this was profitable basically after day one. Every year it seems one Christian themed film hits it big, and this year it was the first one out of the gate.
Just missing out on the top ten is Super Troopers 2 with about $23 million, followed by some March holdovers led by Isle of Dogs with $22 million, giving Wes Anderson his fourth biggest hit. To round out the top ten films that opened in April add Chappaquidick with $16 million, The Miracle Season with $9.5 million, and Traffik with $7 million.
Given that the two biggest movies of the year have already come out by the end of April (unless I am highly mistaken about Sicario 2), it feels a bit weird to think we are just now entering summer movie season. All told, Avengers raised the bar, turning what would have been a good month into a record breaking one. Due to the schedule shenanigans, this April looks to have set a record with about $1 billion in ticket sales, just beating April of 2011 for the crown. New product was also fairly strong, as March holdovers made less than a third of the money this month (again, mostly thanks to Avengers). With May no longer having a one of it’s juggernauts, the slack must now be picked up by what should be some heavy hitters. Given the history behind Deadpool and Solo both are guaranteed to open over $100 million, but they still will never reach the heights of movies we have already witnessed this year. Again, it’s all Marvel and Star Wars' world these days, we’re just witnesses.