June 2018 Box Office Recap
By Steven Slater
July 11, 2018
In the last few cycles of social media frenzy, enough humans have found time enough to pry their vid-eyes away from SnookiePants873 to watch Jurassic Galaxy 7 Slam. While there is still some concern that bots and spam A.I.’s have been boosting streaming numbers, especially in the Enclave of China, there appears to be enough good news with regards to theatrical box office. The Wall Street Reddit lists underlying strength in the big four studios, with Disneyflix leading the charge. The concern has been allayed, at least for another month, that most people wearing the new Apple Specs in theaters are actually watching porn, since ad buy-ins for consumer spending show strong growth. The new 4D Geico ads for robot ethics insurance have been a particular smash hit.
*ACHOO!!!*. Excuse me, I seem to have misplaced by time boundaries. Where was I? Ah, yes 2018. June if I remember correctly. Very good month. Most of the world still has a degree of optimism, how quaint. As you might except, Disney leads the charge once again, and has single-handedly carried much of 2018 so far. Based on their ridiculously strong slate, this past June was the record highest, and this year is on track to be a record breaking year. Normally there is a ceiling beyond which only one movie makes it, whereas Incredibles 2 has become Disney’s third movie to break the $500 million domestic barrier in 2018, and fourth in seven months. Outside of Disney, there was also generally good news, as multiple studios had hits on their hands.
1) Incredibles 2
Opening Weekend: $182.7 M
Monthly Box Office: $425.5 M
Listen here, Solo, this is why you should wait between sequels (or prequels). When the first Incredibles film opened fourteen years ago it was during Pixar’s dominant reign as the pinnacle of 3D animation, with only Dreamworks Animation offering up any comparable effort. Pixar movies opened modestly back then, but had *ahem* incredible staying power. It should be noted, however, that even the $70.5 million it opened with was the then-largest opening for Disney or Pixar, and the second largest animated opening behind Shrek 2. Although it’s multiplier was slightly lower than other Pixar films of the era, The Incredibles finished with $261 million and maintained its place in the hearts of many over the years.
After Finding Dory showed how successful Pixar sequels are after long waits, Incredibles 2 simply had to up the ante. With the largest opening weekend for an animated film, and the largest gross for any animated film (and counting), Incredibles 2 is an absolute slam-dunk on all fronts. While it probably will not make it to $600 million, which would make it Disney’s third of the year, it will enter the top ten of all time. The question now becomes, will Toy Story 4 have any chance of raising the bar yet again?
2) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Opening Weekend: $148 M
Monthly Box Office: $246 M
Following the trajectory of the box office for the Jurassic Park franchise, one has to wonder why no one else is making blockbuster dinosaur movies. Considering that none of them, outside of the first, has been reviewed especially well, they have on average boosted their opening weekends and box office each and every time (just not in a smooth line). The second Jurassic World film bowed with numbers slightly off from the absurd heights it’s ancestor opened to, but still managed to post incredibly strong numbers. Not to mention that its opening weekend was one of the biggest box office weekends of all time since Incredibles 2 had opened huge the week prior. This is Universal’s biggest hit of the year by far, as their last box office wonder was the dismal Fifty Shades conclusion which barely limped over the century mark.
3) Ocean’s 8
Opening Weekend: $41.6 M
Monthly Box Office: $112.4 M
I see a film, which is well regarded, but it was made years ago, and had an all male cast. So the time has come to dust off the story, and replace the men with women. Then that movie will get decent reviews, open to slightly over $40 million, and finish somewhere around $120 million. Now, am I talking about Ocean’s 8, or Ghostbusters, because they are following an eerily similar trajectory. It should be noted, I have not felt anything like the venom that was being spewed at Ghostbusters, so perhaps Ocean’s 8 had an easier time riding to success. With Sandra Bullock leading a charismatic cast, there was some cause for optimism but still some worry attached to rebooting this franchise after eleven years (interestingly, when The Incredibles debuted in 2004 one of it’s contemporaries that December was Ocean’s 12). Plus, Warner Bros. only gave this new Ocean’s film a $70 million budget, lower than any of those for the previous three entries, conveying their expectations. This could becomes WB’s biggest hit of the year if it can ultimately get past Ready Player One’s $137 million, which is possible after another couple weeks. Luckily for them, unlike Universal, they have had more medium size hits as they wait for the bigger fish from their DC and Harry Potter universes.
Monthly Box Office: $87.2 M
This was the big engine that couldn’t. I am actually surprised that Solo did not crash and burn even more than it did, given the relative thud with which it opened. I know MoviePass and Gotti would be thrilled with ten percent of Solo’s returns, whereas Disney and Lucasfilm awoke to the sudden realization they were in a tailspin, and had to rethink all future movie plans. Some small consolation comes from the fact that of all the tent poles released in May, Solo was the one that came out on top for June. Our first holdover slots into position four, trying to stick the landing as Solo managed to beat $200 million domestic. It is still the lowest grossing mainstream Star Wars movie (The Christmas Special, if released theatrically, would certainly have exploded into the stratosphere...uh, metaphorically), and is a major blemish on what had been an otherwise stellar box office track record. The three modern Star Wars movies had all achieved over $500 million domestic and a billion worldwide, while Solo is lucky to see a third of those totals, if barely. International box office has not been Star War’s strong suit outside of Force Awakens, so adding to Solo’s domestic $210 million is an anemic $169 million, making for a global total that is struggling to reach $400 million. Even the last Transformers movie made more money worldwide; probably single-handedly thanks to China, but still, the burn stings.
5) Deadpool 2
Monthly Box Office: $78 M
Deadpool came, he liked it, he came again, he seemed to enjoy it slightly less, but still, he’s probably going to keep coming, even though we keep changing the locks. Given what a shocking opening Deadpool had, especially gonzo for the month of February (obviously now the month of kink and weirdness), I doubt there is much to be feared with the sequel’s open and gross being around 90% of the initial title’s. If anything, it simply shows how much staying power Deadpool has, with box office numbers that rival Guardian’s of the Galaxy, and any of the lesser MCU characters. It is only a matter of time, with Disney’s acquisition of Fox, that Deadpool enters the Avengers’ fray. I mean, maybe he could be the next big villain or something. Anyways, not to sound like a broken record, but this is Mouse House Fox’s biggest hit of the year by far, eclipsing 2017 holdovers such as The Greatest Showman and The Post, and eviscerating 2018 titles such as Maze Runner and Red Sparrow. Seriously, you can see why they had to sell the studio, even with the occasional outsize hit. Is there a Fox in the Mouse House joke here somewhere?
6) Avengers: Infinity War
Monthly Box Office: $ 39.6 M
Whereas other studios enjoy having a single title on the list so far, in slot six we have our third Disney film for the month of June, another holdover. Luckily, the story on this one has been absolutely exceptional, as Avengers would have become the largest comic book movie of all time were it not for some pesky Wakandans. It will have to settle for second place on that ranking, though it does hold first place for opening weekends. Avengers is also currently in fourth on the all time domestic and worldwide fronts, though it may just edge out Force Awakens for third spot on the latter. With box office returns that consistently and persistently increase film after film, year after year, the past ten years of Marvel movies have culminated in an absolute miracle in this world of film. With somewhat of a final chapter coming out next year, this could be the climax of the most incredible run of films in history from a box office perspective.
Opening Weekend: $15 M
Monthly Box Office: $39.2 M
Tag found about four friends to play with on the playground, which isn’t nothing. But still, now at least we know what Hawkeye was doing this whole time. “Can’t save the world right now guys, I’m, uhh, doing something Very Important!” With a moderate budget and a total approaching $50 million as of this writing, Tag should at the least not lose Warner Bros. any money. I thought this film might earn as much as the studio’s Game Night, but that one had better reviews and in hindsight better star power for the concept. Either way, we can now look forward to Ridley Scott’s adaptation of Hide and Seek, and Michael Bay’s Ring Around the Rosie.
Opening Weekend: $13.6 M
Monthly Box Office: $38.7 M
I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn there are good horror films being made year after year. Seriously, I think the bad hallucinatory effects of CGI are finally starting to wear off, as we now have filmmakers who have seen special effects their whole life entering the picture, and they are (get this) focusing on story, characters and craft! Horror has seen a nice little resurgence of late, and Hereditary is the latest film to have a bit of buzz turn a tiny film into a decent hit. While nowhere near the numbers of A Quiet Place (which surprised me considering the opening night theater near me was sold out), this is A24’s second biggest film behind Ladybird, and a great debut for director Ari Aster. This film also continues a curious social trend I have noticed, where the best recent horror films seem to take place in the middle of nowhere America. Take from that what you will.
Opening Weekend: $11.6 M
Monthly Box Office: $30 M
Boy, it sure is too bad about those Divergent movies not doing so well. Yep, sure is too bad. Adrift is the ninth biggest film for the month, and after considering the box office of the Robert Redford film All is Lost, STX Entertainment should feel pretty good about themselves. No, the domestic total will not reach the $35 million budget, but not everyone can win in the top ten. Perhaps the romance aspect of being lost at sea was a little contrived, unless they had called this film Little Titanic.
10) Book Club
Monthly Box Office: $25.4 M
Admit it, you were secretly hoping Book Club would be on two top-ten monthly box office lists this year. The counter-programming for the counter-programming, this movie shows the power of sliding into the perfect time slot, and taking advantage of it all the way to the bank. There was no real competition for this film, outside of maybe Ocean’s 8, and that has allowed it to rake in almost a third of the box office of Solo. I mean, they really should have cast Harrison Ford just to twist the knife a little more for Lucasfilm.
There was quite a handful of films that opened this past June, and falling just outside this list are Superfly, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Upgrade and Uncle Drew. This also completes the list of top ten openers for the month. June was also exceptional in that new films made up the overwhelming majority of grosses, as the top twenty films earned over $1.2 billion, with holdovers making around $264 million of that total, leaving nearly a billion dollars for new product. There was plenty to see in theaters this month, and even a few smaller success stories such as RBG earning double digits as Won’t You Be My Neighbor expanded with every weekend. I for one, feel good about monthly movie plans becoming a bit more mainstream, as we may finally have a real business model for the future of the industry, even if the current vanguard of that model seems as sturdy as a puff of smoke.
Are we still human? Are we still sitting in movie theaters watching films? Are we still using some other corporation’s money to actually go to the movie theater? As of now, yes on all three fronts, so the movie business is having a great year, and an even better June. July has its own share of moderate hits, led by the decent bow of Ant-Man and the Wasp, so the good totals should keep on coming for another month. Universal has two openers in Skyscraper and Mamma Mia 2, and Tom Cruise continues freaking us out by doing stunts while accepting AARP benefits. The one studio that seems to be missing a summer tent pole this year is Warner Bros., who have positioned their biggest hits during the last couple months of the year, out of caution to avoid any Marvel titles. Perhaps Disney should have heeded the same advice, and moved Solo back to Star War’s new customary time slot of December. For now, let’s all go to the movies.