Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
June 8, 2019
June arrives with a bit of a whimper. Audiences have proven time and again that they'll wait to watch subpar or mediocre product on video at this point, and this weekend's new releases bear that theory out. Looks like we're all waiting for Toy Story 4. All hail Disney.
Our top finisher will NOT be Dark Phoenix, a film that I suppose is technically owned by Disney at this point but that they really had nothing to do with. The reboot of the X-Men franchise started with X-Men: First Class, which happens to be pretty terrific and a movie that I think is one of the best of the series. Then came Days of Future Past, a messy but sort of okay follow-up that combined the casts from the new group and the old group.
Now, Dark Phoenix comes along to perform a Last Stand type botch job on the whole thing. Written and directed by Simon Kinberg (previously responsible for writing such hideous screenplays as Fantastic Four AND the aforementioned X-Men: The Last Stand), this one takes a well-loved story in Jean Grey's turn to the dark side and ruins it. Honestly, it wasn't great the first time around when Kinberg wrote the same storyline for Famke Janssen. This time, it's so so so bad.
With just a 22 percent fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes, the writing was on the wall here, and exit polls indicate that it's reviled. So, an opening Friday of $14 million is pretty much as bad as it can get, especially when you factor in $5 million in Thursday night preview dollars. That means its "real" Friday number was just $9 million. That should lead to a weekend total of $32 million. In case you're wondering where that ranks among X-Men openings, it's going to finish in last by a good $20 million. Even The Wolverine, the pretty awful follow-up to the also terrible X-Men Origins: Wolverine, did better than this. Disney's going to pretend like Dark Phoenix never existed as they allow it to fall off the face of the Earth. At least we'll always have the outstanding adaptation from the 1990s animated series.
Thus, our first place film is Secret Life of Pets 2, a sequel to a movie that I forgot had opened to $104.4 million. That kind of crazy debut was not going to repeat itself; nonetheless, SLOP2 did manage to hit $17.4 million yesterday and should come in with close to $50 million for the weekend. Yes, this is half what the original made, but the budget is only $80 million and this was effectively a completely unnecessary sequel that lacked a real idea or concept. I actually enjoyed it a great deal - it's more like a little series of cute vignettes than a movie - but I can see why people didn't rush out to give it a shot.
Hey, remember when Godzilla was new and shiny last week? Yeah, nobody else does, either. It made $4.2 million yesterday, down 78 percent from the prior Friday. I think it's going to be lucky to pull in $17 million this weekend. Yikes to the max. However, international audiences are just fine with it, as it's got $130 million from those markets.
Despite great reviews and word-of-mouth, Rocketman couldn't maintain, either. It was down 59 percent from last Friday to earn $3.8 million yesterday. I'm looking for $13 million here. A lot of people have mentioned Taron Egerton as a potential Best Actor nominee, but unless the field is thin, I don't see it happening with this mild performance.
Last weekend's Blumhouse film, Ma, still had a better hold than Godzilla. Its 68 percent decline translates to a Friday total of $2.3 million. With a $7.2 million weekend, it has still way more than earned its budget back, so Universal and friends will be pleased with the results.
Will audiences care about next weekend's new Men in Black movie? It has Thor and Valkyrie! Stay tuned to find out.